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Author Topic: Printer reccomendation  (Read 978 times)

MattBurt

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Printer reccomendation
« on: May 01, 2017, 06:30:11 PM »

I need a new printer.
I had an older AIO Epson that quit and I got rid of it and have not had any printer for a few months. I can print at my office, but not photos with any reasonable quality.

I'm curious if you might have some recommendations for me. I have most of my prints done by MPix or CGProPrints or a local printer for extra high quality if I need it.
Ideally I'd like something that would work as a general printer as well as a photo printer but I'm also willing to keep those jobs separate if it's too much compromise.
Probably up to about 11x17 should be big enough. I'd print both B&W and color work, fine art or event photos. I doubt I'll print my own canvas so that ability isn't a priority. Metal might be nice to print on if possible but also not a deal breaker if not or it's too pricy.

Sometimes it's a few weeks between print jobs so something that isn't likely to clog if idle for a while would be great.
Of course I'd like to spend as little as possible to meet my needs, but no less! :)

What should I look at? Thanks!
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Printer reccomendation
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2017, 10:58:14 AM »

You could look at the Epson P600. It'll print up to 13x19, can handle being idle for some weeks, and makes excellent photographic prints. I don't use a photo printer for general printing - a decent laser printer is cheaper per page, I think.

I have a P800 which replaced a 3800, which gave me 9 years of great prints.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Printer reccomendation
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2017, 12:27:08 PM »

My experience is much like Ken's. I have a P800 that replaced my aging 3800, and I love it.

I expect the P600 would do beautifully for your photo printing needs, but I would supplement it with a Brother monochrome printer for non-photo printing. They are reliable and cheap. When my ancient HP Laserjet 1200 finally dies I will replace it with a Brother.

Eric
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MattBurt

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Re: Printer reccomendation
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 05:51:24 PM »

Thanks guys. I can probably just share my wife's laser printer and I don't print much anyway so that requirement isn't really a requirement. :)

I'll have a look at those suggestions.
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NAwlins_Contrarian

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Were you happy with photos printed on your old Epson AIO?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2017, 12:19:24 AM »

Quote
I had an older AIO Epson that quit and I got rid of it and have not had any printer for a few months.

Were you reasonably happy with photos printed on your old Epson AIO? If that is the sort of thing you want, then I have the answer: the Epson XP-960. For about $230 US currently, you get an all-in-one that improves photo printing by giving you (1) six ink colors (CcMmYK) instead of the standard four (CMYK), and (2) prints up to 11x17 inches instead of the standard letter / 8.5x11 inches / A4. It uses Epson's Claria dye ink, which means it should be more tolerant of not printing for a while than most pigment-ink printers are (other than those that--if left on--monitor the situation and use up ink keeping themselves clear).

Now about B&W prints: in my limited experience with the Epson R280, which I think uses the same inks, it can print decent B&W prints, although they may not necessarily be totally, 100% neutral. The Canon TS9020 ($150) is an all-ink-one that adds a gray ink, presumably improving B&W neutrality and tonality, but drops the light cyan and light magenta; also, it can only print letter / A4, not 11x17. The dye-ink Canon Pixma Pro-100, in the U.S. often on special for $130 delivered with paper, has gray and light gray inks in addition to the CcMmYK inks, produces very nice B&W prints (at least on glossier papers), and prints up to 13x19 inches, but is not an all-in-one, and it is large.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 12:27:36 AM by NAwlins_Contrarian »
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graeme

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Re: Printer reccomendation
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2017, 06:19:48 AM »

Whichever printer you buy: If you end up using none OEM ink / paper combinations with it get some profiles done - it's worth it even for a very basic printer.

I've been using 4 colour canon printers with Lyson dye ink for about 6 years. I settled on one gloss & one matt paper to use, got profiles made & have been very happy with the results. I can even get decent BW prints. It's worked out much cheaper than using OEM media.
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MattBurt

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Re: Were you happy with photos printed on your old Epson AIO?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2017, 02:15:08 PM »

Were you reasonably happy with photos printed on your old Epson AIO? If that is the sort of thing you want, then I have the answer: the Epson XP-960. For about $230 US currently, you get an all-in-one that improves photo printing by giving you (1) six ink colors (CcMmYK) instead of the standard four (CMYK), and (2) prints up to 11x17 inches instead of the standard letter / 8.5x11 inches / A4. It uses Epson's Claria dye ink, which means it should be more tolerant of not printing for a while than most pigment-ink printers are (other than those that--if left on--monitor the situation and use up ink keeping themselves clear).

Now about B&W prints: in my limited experience with the Epson R280, which I think uses the same inks, it can print decent B&W prints, although they may not necessarily be totally, 100% neutral. The Canon TS9020 ($150) is an all-ink-one that adds a gray ink, presumably improving B&W neutrality and tonality, but drops the light cyan and light magenta; also, it can only print letter / A4, not 11x17. The dye-ink Canon Pixma Pro-100, in the U.S. often on special for $130 delivered with paper, has gray and light gray inks in addition to the CcMmYK inks, produces very nice B&W prints (at least on glossier papers), and prints up to 13x19 inches, but is not an all-in-one, and it is large.

Thanks. The photos from that AIO printer were refrigerator caliber but nothing more. I'd like something a little better but these prices sound a lot easier to manage. I've looked at that Pixma Pro-100 before and that might be about the level of printer I need. If I need really big or canvas I still get that done from a service.

What's the catch for the Pixma Pro-100? Ink? Calibration? Reliability?
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MHMG

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Re: Were you happy with photos printed on your old Epson AIO?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2017, 08:23:50 PM »

Thanks. The photos from that AIO printer were refrigerator caliber but nothing more. I'd like something a little better but these prices sound a lot easier to manage. I've looked at that Pixma Pro-100 before and that might be about the level of printer I need. If I need really big or canvas I still get that done from a service.

What's the catch for the Pixma Pro-100? Ink? Calibration? Reliability?

The Pro-100 is a great little dye-based photo printer and, with Canon RC photo papers, has longevity meeting and even exceeding traditional RA-4 process silver halide color photos (.e.g, Fuji Crystal Archive II). The "catch" if one can call it that, is the Pro-100's sweet spot is indeed RC photo media. If you want to print on RC media and mimic the look of traditional photo finished prints, then the Pro-100 will fool almost everyone used to viewing traditional photo finished prints because that's what it's designed to do. However, the Pro-100 is not well suited for printing on other media like plain paper or fine art matte papers (restrictive margins, inferior tone and color on those media compared to other pigmented ink printers).

If you want to have more versatile media handling and have a printer that can serve as a plain paper office printer in a pinch as well, then consider the Epson SC P400. It is competent with RC and non RC papers, pretty much any media you can feed it including plain office papers so, it can pinch hit when you need a document printed rather than a photo.  Unlike the Epson SC P600, it can switch on the fly between MK and PK inks without wasting ink. P600 exhibits less clogging, but P400 is not bad, and total cost of ownership is less than the P600.  And the P400 has best-in-class gloss optimizer that places its image aesthetics on glossy/luster type RC photo media right up there with the Canon Pro-100. Plus, it's a pigmented ink printer, so print longevity is superior to the Pro-100's dye-based prints. The P400 also uses red and orange inks to extend color gamuts in reds and oranges plus smooth the printed dot structure nicely, especially in the all important skin tone colors.  The "catch" for the P400 is that it does not have any photo grey inks, only black ink which gets used only in the deepest shadows of the prints. As such, although amateur printmakers will probably be very happy with B&W output on the P400, a discerning printmaker will prefer the B&W output  and print to print consistency from the P600 because the P600 has the photo grey ink channels that help to deliver better grayscale neutrality and tonal smoothness.  That said, a discerning printmaker would also most likely have the ability to roll his/her own custom ICC profiles, and if you raise the game to custom profile a P400, then it's b&W output can be excellent whereas out of the box B&W with generic ICC profiles only it shows a tiny little amount more of print-to-print variation, especially over longer time frames where ink cartridge changes occur.

I actually own aCanon Pro-100, an Epson SC P400 and an Epson SC P600. All three have aspect to them I really like.  Although I prefer the longevity of pigment ink prints, I have never liked any amount of bronzing and gloss differential that goes hand in hand to varying degrees with all pigment printers which don't have a gloss optimizer ink channel.  So, with P600 on gloss/luster media I typically have had to resort to print sprays like Hahnemuhle Protective Spray to eliminate essentially all traces of bronzing and gloss differential. Nowadays, I just coat the P600 glossy prints using the gloss optimizer in the P400 by sending the P600 finished print through a second pass in the P400. Tell the P400 to print a blank white page, and it will dutifully coat gloss optimizer only over the P600 print output, thus eliminating the need for a post treatment with a spray can method.

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
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NAwlins_Contrarian

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Re: Printer reccomendation
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2017, 11:49:21 PM »

Quote
What's the catch for the Pixma Pro-100? Ink? Calibration? Reliability?

As long as you understand that it's a dye-ink printer, there's no catch. We have one at the office. It comes with ICC profiles for Canon photo papers and makes great prints on them (at least the ones we've used). Will they last as well / as long as pigment prints? Probably not. Will they last as well / as long as traditional wet prints (RA-4 process)? The indications are probably so. Also, I would not expect the Pro-100 to print very well on the more canvas-type media. On all of this Mark is far more the expert, and I agree with much of what he said. So I will only take issue with one thing he said:

Quote
If you want to print on RC media and mimic the look of traditional photo finished prints, then the Pro-100 will fool almost everyone used to viewing traditional photo finished prints ....

My anecdotal experience so far is that Pro-100 prints generally look somewhat better than traditional color wet prints, and even non-enthusiasts seem genuinely taken aback by the quality. The Pro-100's B&W prints on glossy photo paper look very good too, although I'm not sure they quite match what Ilford Multigrade IV Portfolio RC glossy developed in Ethol LPD gave me back in the day. Of course FB prints are a somewhat different animal.
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MattBurt

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Re: Printer reccomendation
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2017, 12:47:08 PM »

Thanks for all the info!
I think for my current needs and budget the Pixma Pro-100 sounds like it hits the sweet spot.
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