Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: To Print or Not to Print.....

  1. #1

    To Print or Not to Print.....

    Guys I'm debating on whether to buy myself an A3 printer to print my own images. I am computer savvy as they say but have never really bothered with printing photos. Is it a difficult process? Is it cost effective to print your own or send them away?

    Sorry if this has been covered before...

    Regards
    Mat

  2. #2
    rob marshall

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    I'd say it is not cost effective unless you intend selling a lot of your work, or you belong to a club and take a lot of prints along to meetings. Or you are rich and can just indulge!

    I bought an Epson 2400 A3+ printer four years ago for 700. I must have spent a small fortune on inks - I eventually bought a continuous ink system to replace those rubbishy little cartridges. That works out cheaper, but it still costs. I have sold prints, and I used to print for club meetings. On the whole I'd say that it wasn't worth it. I think my print head has gone now, and it's up to 200 to repair.

    What you need to do is get costs for on-line printing from a quality printing company. I say quality as the Epson and Canon printers will print to the same quality level (or as near as possible) so you want a reasonable comparison. Then estimate how many prints you will make over a life-cycle of say 4 years, and at what size. Add to the cost of the printer the costs for paper and ink, and you will have a total figure for your four year print costs. Compare that to the cost of the same number of prints done on-line.

    Don't buy a cheap A3 printer. You will be disappointed with the quality of the printing. This is the replacement for the 2400 printer. It's a good price at 477 (they have come down in price over the past few years) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Epson-Stylus...4779327&sr=1-1

  3. #3
    Jo Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    33
    Real Name
    That is my real name.

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    You might also consider HP Photo printers, Mat. I have two - a desktop 13" x 19" printer - HP B9180 PRo and a 42" HP Z3200. Quality is at least equal to Epson and Canon, perhaps better. The desktop model is about $1000 CAD at the moment. As Rob says, ink is pricey. With the large printer the inks last a very long time - it's the paper that costs a fortune.

    If you can find a small printing service close to you where you can build a relationship with the people actually doing the printing, I think that might serve you well. I have a printing business and work with photographers - we work together so that the prints reflect what they are trying to express. They often ask for advice from the printing end and, as I also dabble in photography, I have knowledge from both sides. Seems to work well.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    11,700

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    It isn't difficult, Mat, initially confusing, maybe. But you should soon work out what settings are best, etc.

    Cost versus convenience is something which only you can decide. And a lot will probably depend on where you live and what you photograph/print.

    I have switched between Epson and Canon printers with not a lot of difference between them. HP possibly tends to get linked more with general business printers but they do get good reviews for photo printing.

    Will I get another one when my current Epson R1900 surrenders? Well I will definitely get another good quality photo printer so the only real difference in price is the variation between an A4 printer and an A3 version. And put like that, it is probably worth paying the extra for that bit of convenience.

    However if, unlike me, you live in a big city with a couple of high quality photo printers just around the corner you may think differently.

  5. #5

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    Thanks for the input, @Rob that is the printer i've been looking at. Do continuous ink systems have the same quality ink?

    There is a graphics company close by i used a number of times to print signs for me. There workshop is loaded with all sorts of printers maybe i should give them a visit?

  6. #6
    rob marshall

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Thanks for the input, @Rob that is the printer i've been looking at. Do continuous ink systems have the same quality ink?

    There is a graphics company close by i used a number of times to print signs for me. There workshop is loaded with all sorts of printers maybe i should give them a visit?
    Mat

    I use a permajet inkflow system.They claim the ink is as good as Epson, and I have had no reason to doubt that, having produced some very fine prints. http://www.permajet.com/cat/2/_Eco-F...%28CIS%29.html One thing I've noticed this week is that the two local computer engineer companies that are Epson agents won't do repairs on a printer fitted with CIS. So, if you (or anyone else) did get one I'd suggest keeping the original Epson cartridges (unused), and if you need a repair (unlikely) then rmove the CIS cartridges and put the original Epson ones in just for the repair. Unfortunately, I no longer have any Epson ones.

    If you have a local quality print company, I'd try them first to check out quality, cost, and turn-around time.

    Permajet also do excellent paper, and a printer profile service to match paper, ink, printer. That's free if you buy their paper.

  7. #7
    arith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Burton on Trent, UK
    Posts
    4,789
    Real Name
    Steve

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    I think the price of ink will drive you nuts: at one place I saw Canon 13ml on sale for only 30 and what's worse is you cannot get red or green compatible.

    YELLOW screeam this has gone after only a couple of weeks and about ten prints.

    Canon Pixma 9000 Pro II will drink your ink and bankrupt you: you really need to own a bank to run one of these, and the more expensive 9500 is really what you need for B+W and costs a LOT more.

    Then also it is a new learning curve; if you plan on selling prints then you don't want the bother of posting glass, so print on fabric, sounds good since the Canon can; but some wotsit (insert rude word) thought that it is ok to go up to A3+ with a very wide border, and the only effective size you can then go to for 3:2 ratio is 15" x 10", and it just so happens that you can't get cheap 15" stretcher bars.

    So your better off with an Epson I think, the only reason I got a printer and Canon inparticular was 200 off and my local professional printers are too busy printing beer mats, and the high st lot got it wrong 90% of the time.

  8. #8

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    Cheers all it's certainly given me something to think about, especially looking at the price of paper!!

  9. #9

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    Just bought a Pixma 8120 at Frys on sale for 179.00. Know the ink will be costly but I wanted the instant ability to print a photo. I like it because it can be stand alone [no computer hookup necessary] and can print from a camera or an sd card. Shot a picture of my wife's grown son, printed a 8.5x11, put it in a frame and gave it to him all in the same evening. He had to leave the next day to return to his family in another state. Did the same for my wife. Made me look pretty smart for the moment. If I have a photo that I especially cherish I will take it to the camera shop to be printed and see how they do.

  10. #10
    Boatman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Windham NH, USA
    Posts
    349
    Real Name
    Homer

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    Matt:

    By all means print. There is a huge difference between showing a nice photo on a computer and showing a nice 11x14, matted, framed and hanging in good light.

    That said, here are the caveats:

    Cost: Not as bad as some have indicated. You can purchase an Epson Stylus 1400, wide format printer for $219 from Epson. http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/j...sku=C11C655001 It comes with a set of ink cartridges that will last quite a while. You can get third party ink from a number of suppliers. The cost is 1/10th what Epson gets. I have used MIS Inks, AKA inksupply.com, for years. Their ink is good and you can support this web site by clicking on their ad. The refill kit costs about $50, but after your initial purchase of the refill kit and inks, your ink costs drop to near zero. Paper costs can be reduces as well. Go to http://www.redrivercatalog.com/. Red River has excellent papers at less than half the price of Epson or other leading paper company. Red River even provides the ICC codes for their papers so that you can really control your prints. If you want to really show off your work, you will want to matt it for framing. www.goldenstateart.com has an excellent sellection of pre-cut matts. Shipping prices can be high but they offer free shipping on a number of popular selections in bulk ordering. The cost for a matt, backing board and glassine envelope runs about $2.00 per photo, more or less, depending upon size.

    So that's the easy part. The hard part is building printing skills to the point where you can get consistent high quality prints. Not knowing what you have for software or experience, it's difficult to know where your starting point is. I believe that making a high quality print is significantly more difficult and complicated than taking a well exposed photograph. But like anything else, it's just a matter of learning all the steps. Start by printing small; 5 x 7 and then move to 8 x10s. You'll waste less material initially. Even when you feel confident to print larger, I'd still recommend small proofs before the final large print.

    Monitor calibration becomes important as you work to make better prints. If your monitor's color does not match what the photo software and printer are doing, you colors will never be right and you go broke and crazy trying to get a good print. This is where things start to get a bit deep, so I'll end my contribution at this point.

    But, by all means print. To my way of thinking a photograph isn't a photograph unless it's hanging on the wall. It is a challenge, but you will be very pleased when you start to get good results.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatman View Post
    Monitor calibration becomes important as you work to make better prints. If your monitor's color does not match what the photo software and printer are doing, you colors will never be right and you go broke and crazy trying to get a good print. This is where things start to get a bit deep, so I'll end my contribution at this point.
    And monitor profiling is even more important

    I might add that even with profiled monitors & profiled printers, the printed results will never match perfectly - it just narrows the margin of error considerably (so it definatly needs to be done).

    As someone who does a lot of large-format printing, I just wanted to add a couple of things to what's been written above ...

    1. Initially it's a steep curve as you learn about colour management - but you'll get better colours than in "print labs" when you master it

    2. Price wise, I find it costs more to print my own postcard size prints, but I can print large prints at a tiny fraction of the cost it would have cost to get done commercially.

    3. It's very rewarding and will round out your photographic skills nicely.

  12. #12

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    I've decided to go for it and have started with purchasing a decent monitor a Dell U2311H, the next thing is to calabirate it then i'll move on to the printer which is my next question, how well does the Epson 1400 print? I mean can i hang these images on the wall?

    If it's a decent printer i'll go for that rather than fork out for a better one as i have already put a dent in my budget buying the monitor! I know there is a learning curve but i don't mind a challenge! The prints are for my own personal use btw not to make any kind of money from...

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    I've decided to go for it and have started with purchasing a decent monitor a Dell U2311H, the next thing is to calabirate it
    Hi Matthew,

    Even more important than calibrating the monitor is PROFILING it, with the appropriate hardware and software (I use a Spyder III). You'll also need to profile each printer / paper / ink / media settings combination that you use.

  14. #14
    jjbacoomba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    San Antonio,Texas
    Posts
    483
    Real Name
    Joe

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    What is " profiling"?

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    Quote Originally Posted by jjbacoomba View Post
    What is " profiling"?
    A profile is a correction that's applied to the signal sent to a monitor or printer so that in essence the monitor or printer displays the proper colour. It's created with profiling software and a hardware colorimeter or spectrophotometer that compares a known requested colour with the actual colour produced - works out the correction to compensate for any errors - and then generates a lookup table that's loaded into the video card (monitor) or software controlling printer output to produce the required correction "on the fly".

    Sean has written a good tutorial that you can find at http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...alibration.htm

  16. #16

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    Yes I am aware of profiling but have no understanding so thanks for the link Colin

  17. #17
    jjbacoomba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    San Antonio,Texas
    Posts
    483
    Real Name
    Joe

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    Thanks Colin

  18. #18

    Re: To Print or Not to Print.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    A profile is a correction that's applied to the signal sent to a monitor or printer so that in essence the monitor or printer displays the proper colour. It's created with profiling software and a hardware colorimeter or spectrophotometer that compares a known requested colour with the actual colour produced - works out the correction to compensate for any errors - and then generates a lookup table that's loaded into the video card (monitor) or software controlling printer output to produce the required correction "on the fly".

    Sean has written a good tutorial that you can find at http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...alibration.htm
    Thanks for that link Colin, that's just what I was after.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •