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Author Topic: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above  (Read 2079 times)

JamesBlonde

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Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« on: January 21, 2019, 12:38:51 pm »

Hi all :)  I've asked this question on a different forum, but was pointed in this general direction by one of the locals, so thought I'd ask here!

What printers would you suggest for someone who wants to print A2 and above in a panoramic format and sell?  The largest prints I've sold to date have a maximum width of 16.5" / A2, but may wish to go larger in the future.  Just to add to this, I also shoot infrared and generally convert to black & white, so I'm not just looking at excellent colour performance, but also B&W. I'd like it to take cut sheets as well as roll if possible. This would be my first grown up printer, and I understand I'll need to learn a fair amount to get the best out of it, but print labs just aren't an option any more after one too many faulty orders.

This started with someone locally offering a Canon IPF8000 for 350, though I've since found out it needs all 12 inks, at least 1 head, a maintenance cartridge, and I couldn't find native Windows 10 drivers.  (He thought it was an IFP8100 labelled as an 8000, which might have been worth further consideration as at least drivers exist, but that was based on his belief that the 8000 was a 6 colour printer and his was a 12 colour printer.  I think he saw the 8000S and got confused perhaps).  I'm thinking that's not as good a deal as I originally thought, and am now looking at other options. 

I like the idea of larger format printers, mostly because it doesn't size restrict me, but I'm aware of the potential expense after looking into the IPF8100, and the need to use it regularly. Having said that, I don't want to be paying out for ink after 20 prints, as seems to be the case with the desktop printers I've used in the past (and then not used cos they're just expensive to run), so larger ink capacity options is a bonus.

I don't have a limitless budget, but I think I'd realised I could be spending in the couple of thousand price range, with a possible need for more for consumables.  I would happily pay less, but possibly a bit more if it's genuinely worth it. I need to be conscious about size / space (the IPF8100 just planted the seed of in idea - I hadn't actually figured out where to put it yet!) so something more compact would obviously be a bonus. I'm also aware that some printers need cartridge changes for different papers / print types which wastes ink. I'd like to avoid that, but it's possibly not a showstopper - as long as I know.

Used is an option, so could be interested in vague ideas on used prices, but I don't want used to mean "this is on its last legs, the wheels are falling off, the head(s) are dead and the main board is likely to fry"

I have a "great idea" of offering my print services locally to help subsidise this. This is of course silly, and it'll never happen, but if any of your suggested printers would allow for this, do please let me know!

Epson SC-P800 is probably the front runner at the moment, but other ideas / suggestions have been the Canon Pro-2000 and possibly a used IPF8400.  The Canon Pro-1000 might still be a consideration if there would be any advantage, but obviously I'm aware there is no roll option, so no panoramas. 

Any other suggestions or advice??  Thanks in anticipation! :)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2019, 01:08:15 pm »

If you want to print larger than A2, you cannot use an Epson P800 or a Canon Pro-1000 which both have maximum carriage width of 17 inches. You would be best advised to go for either an Epson SC-P7000 or a Canon Pro-2000 which can print up to 24 inches wide. If you need to go wider than 24 inches you are into an Epson SC-P9000 or a Canon Pro-4000, being 44 inch printers. Price goes up with size. These different machines have different feature sets, so you are best advised to read the specs and the reviews on the options to determine which you think will best meet your needs. All of them produce fine prints in different ways and with some different features.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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mearussi

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2019, 01:45:33 pm »

I assume you live in England and so I don't know how useful my experience will be. But in my case I recently purchased a used Canon ipf6400 for $400 off of Craigslist. The original owner had replaced all the inks with 3rd party so I had to spend an additional $450 replacing them for a total of $850, still not bad.

There was a bit of a learning curve for me as all my previous printers were Epsons and the software on the Canon is very different and more complicated. But other than that the printer works fine and I'm very happy with it. BTW, on the ipf6400 the maintenance cartridge can be reused by resetting it (internal software reset command) when it reaches 20% and then dismantling and cleaning it--this can take several hours but saves about $90. 

Also when buying a used ipf make sure you print out a full nozzle check (which can only be done in maintenance mode) and not the partial one in regular mode. This way you can accurately judge the condition of the head.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 01:50:30 pm by mearussi »
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2019, 02:14:29 pm »

To buy a used printer you really have to know what you are doing. It can turn out to be a massive headache and a large waste of money and time unless bought from a reputable source who can back it up with service should the need arise. And one should be able to inspect it thoroughly and use it in situ before purchase. Also the older IPF models do not print as well as the new Pro-2000. I've seen comparisons and I can say with confidence that the results from the new models are superior.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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JamesBlonde

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2019, 06:04:57 pm »

Thanks! :D

I could get away with the P800 if I accept that I'm not going to print bigger than 17" wide - and to date I haven't.  The biggest consideration is length of print, and I'm not limited by the P800 if I use rolls of paper, which I know I can't use on the Canon Pro-1000.  (I have experience of Canon desktop printers, which I guess is why I haven't let that one go entirely, but actually I'm willing to be swayed... If Epson are easier to use)

The Pro-2000 I suspect is more than the printer I need, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I'd need to size it up and scout out some space for something that big if I was going to properly consider it.  We're looking at probably 1000 difference between the 2 options though.

I think you've put me off buying used :)  To be fair, the IPF8000 with at least 1 new print head, 1 maintenance cartridge and 12 new inks, and no native print driver and an inability to test due to the lack of ink and working head was probably going to end up costing not far off the price of a new Pro-2000. 

I'm guessing, given that these are the manufacturers / models I keep hearing about, that there aren't really any other quality options in the middle ground, or other manufacturers to consider? No is a perfectly reasonable answer (if surprising, but then I guess paper sizes double, so seems reasonable that the printer sizes and prices do too...)

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Mark D Segal

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2019, 07:20:21 pm »

Apart from Canon and Epson, there is also HP, which we tend to hear less about than the others - they do not have a comparable 17" model, but they do have a new 24" model: HP Design Jet. Some members of this Forum really love their previous model z3200 etc. I haven't heard much about this new model but could be worth looking into if there were a dealer in reach.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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JamesBlonde

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2019, 01:45:28 pm »

I think I was coming down on the side of the P800, until a sales rep has thrown the Epson P5000, 6000 and 7000 into the mix - they appear to be on offer at the moment, all substantially less than a Canon Pro 2000.

The P5000 seems to have worthwhile benefits over the P800, but the question is, am I going to print the volumes to justify it (and avoid clogging heads)....

The same question also arises with the P6000 and P7000, but then does the extra flexibility of a 24" printer, being able to print width ways what I'd otherwise be printing length ways, for not an awful lot more money, make it a more compelling option?  Yeh, it's going to be fun trying to find a home for something that big, but....   

I can't see me going beyond 24" now I properly consider it, unless I start printing 2 or 3 photos across a sheet, which would result in me printing less often - so self defeating. 
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2019, 01:59:51 pm »

Hi James, I'm using a P5000. It's a step-up from a P800 in a number of respects: (i) wider gamut from more inks (orange and green); (ii) automatic in-built roll feed; (iii) more control over maintenance with extra menu items for keeping the nozzles clean; (iv) larger ink tanks making for much lower ink cost per ML; (v) built like a brick s..t-house and (vi) 360 rather than 180 nozzles per inch. Those smaller nozzles I think contribute to it needing more frequent usage than the P800 to minimize ink usage for maintenance. It should be run a couple of times a week to minimize the need for cleaning cycles, but those cycles can be confined to single channel-pairs as needed. Print quality is superb if printing properly. The head and the inkset are the same as for the P7000/P9000 models. The main reason for stepping up to a P7000 would be if you wanted to allow for the height of your panoramas to be higher than 17 inches - for example if you wanted to make a pano 24 inches by 3 feet rather than 17 inches by 3 feet. I do recommend before making a decision you also check out the Canon Pro-2000 - a very nice machine with some slick features and fine output.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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JeanMichel

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2019, 02:17:38 pm »

An additional element to consider is the margin size you want to maintain. I tend to keep a minimum one inch margin on all sides, and preferably two inches. On my SC 6000 I tend to only print to 20 inches of the 24 available.
I am also happy with my P800 and use it for smaller prints and only sheets. I pretty much only use the P6000 for rolls, but if of course works for sheets larger than letter size.
For my work, I do not miss the additional inks of the P7000.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2019, 05:39:16 pm by JeanMichel »
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2019, 02:30:29 pm »

Depending on the photo, the extra gamut of the P5000/7000 inkset can come in handy, but for a great many photos it wouldn't make a visible difference.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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mearussi

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2019, 05:03:32 pm »

Another reason for a 24" is if you ever want to do canvas. After subtracting 6" on the 24" side for a gallery wrap you're still left with a respectable 18" width canvas size. But with a 17" at the most you can only get a 12" wide canvas.
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HarveyM43

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2019, 05:52:55 pm »

Thanks! :D

I could get away with the P800 if I accept that I'm not going to print bigger than 17" wide - and to date I haven't.  The biggest consideration is length of print, and I'm not limited by the P800 if I use rolls of paper, which I know I can't use on the Canon Pro-1000.  (I have experience of Canon desktop printers, which I guess is why I haven't let that one go entirely, but actually I'm willing to be swayed... If Epson are easier to use)



Unfortunately the Canon pro-1000 limits you to  25.5 inch long prints according to Canon's website. So the Epson is the only choice for 17" wide panos   
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Terry_Kennedy

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2019, 08:37:04 pm »

Unfortunately the Canon pro-1000 limits you to  25.5 inch long prints according to Canon's website. So the Epson is the only choice for 17" wide panos

The "limit" (if you can call it that) on larger Epsons is around 50 feet. This seems to have been a constant from the original Stylus Pro 9000/9500 to the current SureColor P10000 (I've actually owned all 3 of those, though I just have the P10K now). Earlier versions of Photoshop were limited to 30,000 pixels in length, but that was addressed a long time ago. Long before 50 feet you'll want either the automatic take-up reel option or some helpers (with cotton gloves!) to manually roll the completed print. I regularly print up to around 15 feet long.

I don't know if we'll see the techology from the P10000/P20000 filter down to narrower models - not needing to waste ink / time when switching matte / photo black is a huge improvement. But trying to put the $2500 head from those into a printer that sells for $4000-$5000 is likely why we haven't see narrower models based on the P10K/P20K.
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Dan Wells

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2019, 09:53:12 pm »

Another vote for the Pro-2000. I have one and love it. One near-universal truth about large printers is that the prices posted on the Web aren't correct - the dealers have quite a bit of room on the machines (almost none on ink, though). If you're going off a web price, call Shades of Paper (in the US) or one of the others to find out what they're able to get it to you for. I don't know where you're located, and the situation may vary by country.

A quick rundown on the differences between the Pro-2000 and the Epson P7000, which also applies to the 44" Pro-4000 and P9000. Note: the heads and color gamuts are the same on the Pro-1000 and P5000, but the paper feeds aren't - having never used the 17" machines of this generation, I don't know how their feeds work:

1.) The most important difference for many individual photographers may be that Canons can sit idle between prints, and the big Epsons really don't like to. If you print at least once a week, either will be fine. If you're like me (and many other photographers) and go a month without printing, then you spend a day at the printer, a Canon will be much easier to maintain. If you print a lot every day, the situation reverses and the Epson's permanent head becomes an advantage.

2.) Epsons have an incredibly versatile paper feed system. They load rolls from the top, and it's very easy to get the roll in. They also have a straight paper path, which allows manual feeding of essentially anything from silk (on a backing sheet) to metal. As long as it's thin enough to go down the printer's maw, it'll feed through an Epson. Canon's paper feed has a 180 degree turn in it - it goes in the bottom front, then comes out above where it went in. It's a little harder to load than Epson, but still not bad. Heavy fine art paper makes the turn fine, but I'd be wary of REALLY stiff paper and possibly things on backing sheets. Of course, anything rigid like metal, wood or cardboard won't make the turn.

3.) Both have wide gamuts and beautiful color - the Epson is better in saturated oranges and greens, while the Canon is better in deep blues and magentas. Realistically, both are excellent in almost any color found in nature - much of the difference is in super-saturated colors used in graphic arts. I print deep green leaves on my Canon all the time, and I'd have to have a really saturated leaf it right next to an Epson print to see any difference at all. Conversely, I only have a few images with deep blue water or twilight skies where the Canon blues are noticeably better. If you're printing images of ultra-blue paint, or of orange traffic cones, the difference may be more significant...
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2019, 11:48:17 pm »

Where you say: Note: the heads and color gamuts are the same on the Pro-1000 and P5000, you probably meant Pro-2000 rather than P5000.

Any pigmented ink printer regardless of whether it's Canon or Epson will need to use ink for maintenance once it sits around unused for a number of days. The Canon does it under the hood, whereas with Epson it's more obvious. I haven't seen rigorous apples to apples comparisons of which models are most economical on use of ink for maintenance notwithstanding that a number of people have strongly held views on the matter, some better documented than others.

As for gamut - Using Ilford Gold Fibre Silk in both the Pro-1000 and Epson P5000 (about the same as using it in a Pro-2000 and Epson P7000), overall gamut volume is 831K for the Canon and 981K for the Epson, a difference of about 150K. You will notice in the attached screen grab that the Canon gamut exceeds the Epson in very little of the spectrum - a bit lighter tone blues and a bit of darker tone orange/reds. That said, for many images these differences would be immaterial.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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JamesBlonde

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2019, 01:35:25 pm »

Another vote for the Pro-2000. I have one and love it. One near-universal truth about large printers is that the prices posted on the Web aren't correct - the dealers have quite a bit of room on the machines (almost none on ink, though). If you're going off a web price, call Shades of Paper (in the US) or one of the others to find out what they're able to get it to you for. I don't know where you're located, and the situation may vary by country.

A quick rundown on the differences between the Pro-2000 and the Epson P7000, which also applies to the 44" Pro-4000 and P9000. Note: the heads and color gamuts are the same on the Pro-1000 and P5000, but the paper feeds aren't - having never used the 17" machines of this generation, I don't know how their feeds work:

1.) The most important difference for many individual photographers may be that Canons can sit idle between prints, and the big Epsons really don't like to. If you print at least once a week, either will be fine. If you're like me (and many other photographers) and go a month without printing, then you spend a day at the printer, a Canon will be much easier to maintain. If you print a lot every day, the situation reverses and the Epson's permanent head becomes an advantage.

2.) Epsons have an incredibly versatile paper feed system. They load rolls from the top, and it's very easy to get the roll in. They also have a straight paper path, which allows manual feeding of essentially anything from silk (on a backing sheet) to metal. As long as it's thin enough to go down the printer's maw, it'll feed through an Epson. Canon's paper feed has a 180 degree turn in it - it goes in the bottom front, then comes out above where it went in. It's a little harder to load than Epson, but still not bad. Heavy fine art paper makes the turn fine, but I'd be wary of REALLY stiff paper and possibly things on backing sheets. Of course, anything rigid like metal, wood or cardboard won't make the turn.

For what it's worth, the prices I'm seeing (single supplier, but these are the lowest prices at a quick search) are:

P800 - 1,026.00 (with roll holder)
P5000 - 1,594.80
P6000 - 1,822.80
P7000 - 2,038.80
Pro-2000 -  2,994.00

I have to assume there isn't a > 1000 difference in quality between the Canon and Epson printers, though the dealer suggested Epson tend to discount their printers at the start of the year (these deals are on till the end of January), and Canon tend to discount theirs in the summer.  It was suggested that the Canon would likely be available at shows (of which there is one in March I think) for around 2500.  I guess it all depends on when I press the trigger on this....  The print lab have been very apologetic about the problems...  ;D

I'm going to be printing at least once a week - I'm fairly content about that. 

In terms of flexibility, I like the idea* of being able to print on other materials, so a straight through path definitely sounds interesting, so that's possibly 1 plus for the Epson (over and above the price).

   
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dehnhaide

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2019, 03:45:26 pm »

For what it's worth, the prices I'm seeing (single supplier, but these are the lowest prices at a quick search) are:

P800 - 1,026.00 (with roll holder)
P5000 - 1,594.80
P6000 - 1,822.80
P7000 - 2,038.80
Pro-2000 -  2,994.00
 
Wow! I'm amazed what this European delivery channels can do to a market. Where I am from (Romania) the price ranges are actually the opposite. I remember before buying my PRO-2000 that I was looking for an Epson but the quotations just wouldn't let me anywhere close to the targeted P7000.

PRO-2000 - 2000 EUR (printer stand included)
P7000 - 3200 EUR

Imagine I was thinking the same: there can't be a 1200 EUR difference between the two and naturally went for the PRO-2000 and I am soooo very pleased and happy with it!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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rdonson

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2019, 04:11:59 pm »

James, you've not mentioned what size panos you think you're going to be printing or what you'll be doing with the panos that are printed.  I'm assuming from the conversation that you're looking for a high quality printer but I'm curious if these will be mounted or hung or what. 

Some companies such as Red River offer 13x38" sheets of paper in a range of papers and the costs are quite reasonable if that's of interest to you.  They also offer 17x25" papers as does Breathing Color.
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JamesBlonde

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2019, 06:45:28 pm »

James, you've not mentioned what size panos you think you're going to be printing or what you'll be doing with the panos that are printed.  I'm assuming from the conversation that you're looking for a high quality printer but I'm curious if these will be mounted or hung or what. 

Some companies such as Red River offer 13x38" sheets of paper in a range of papers and the costs are quite reasonable if that's of interest to you.  They also offer 17x25" papers as does Breathing Color.

You're right - I've not! :D  This is the other half of the conundrum - what my product is.   I guess what I've defined as my requirement so far is that I'm looking for is flexibility, room to grow, and quality high enough that I can sell and not be concerned that the image won't last or looks cheap - so long lasting inks on fine art papers and a fine / quality printer

With my panos, my aspect ratios are all over the place, but generally between 2:1 and 4:1 - there are bigger ones, but I don't see those getting printed often if at all.  If there are cut papers that meet my needs - and those 2 suggestions would meet some of them - then I'll use them in whatever printer is suitable.  Rolls give me the flexibility not to care too much, but I won't overlook other options, and cut papers will be in the mix for non-panoramic stuff, if it makes more sense. 

In terms of size, I'd want the height of a print to be big enough to display on a wall and not have to get too close that it loses impact.  If I managed to get an exhibition some day, be large enough to grab attention.  I don't see anything much less than 17" short side doing that.  From the experience I've had to date, roughly A2 / 16.5" short side, has been the most common item to sell.  I tend to like my printed images to have at least a border, but more recently a mount (or frame), so the finished product is bigger than the image.  I don't see myself doing a large number of edge to edge prints, and I understand that wastes more ink as well?  The lab has mounted / framed for me to date, and I haven't fully considered how I might do this were I to print myself.  It may be that I just print on fine art paper, with a border, as my default product offering, and buy off the shelf frames / mounts if the customer wants one (as I said, not thought beyond the print yet - can you tell?! ;) ).   

So, at the moment, an A2+ printer that can take long paper would meet exactly my current demonstrated needs, but perhaps doesn't give me the space to grow or flexibility.

And I'm saying all this as someone who:
- has has no real experience of printing high quality images myself or printing on anything larger than A4,
- has been ordering as and when I've needed something from one of 3 professional labs.  The results have been inconsistent (print quality has been fine, it's more likely creases or a defect in the paper, print or border, or a batch of fine art prints yellowing over time), poor customer experience, and not being sure when a print might arrive - which is the why, and the reason I've never pushed my work, or pushed selling - it's only ever been organic from social media posts so far)


 
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Dan Wells

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Re: Printer options for panoramas - A2 (17") and above
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2019, 01:38:46 am »

Having used both 17" and 24" printers extensively (the 17" models years ago, and not the current ones), I prefer the 24" models, but with some caveats.

24" roll paper is more available (more choices kept in stock), and cheaper per square foot than 17" roll paper (in my experience in the northeastern US market).

24" printers have far better ink prices per ml than the smaller 17" printers. Something like a P5000, which uses larger cartridges, reduces the difference.

24" wide prints are really impressive - one of my favorite sizes.

BUT

17" printers sit on a desk, and some of the smaller models like the P800 and even the Pro-1000 are not terribly obtrusive - a P5000 takes up a lot of room on a desk. 24" printers are substantial pieces of furniture, sitting on a stand and weighing 150-200 lbs.

17" printers have practical cut sheet feeders that take 10-20 sheets of art paper, and many of them will even accept 100 sheets of office paper. It's perfectly possible to use a P5000 as an office printer as well as a photo printer. Just make sure you check which paper feed you have selected before printing a 50 page spreadsheet on Platine!

You CAN print sheets on a 24" printer  - but you don't WANT to!!! They only feed one sheet at a time, and that one grudgingly. I once printed my Masters' thesis on a 24" iPF 6100 when my laser printer ran out of toner at the worst possible moment, since I needed to get a draft in the next day, and I used the only working printer I had. It took about an hour to hand-feed 60 sheets into the damn thing, and I was glad that my housemate was there to feed the printer while I clicked OK in the driver for every single sheet!





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