Inkjet Printers

I’m thinking of buying an inkjet printer just for printing digital pictures and would like to hear some recommendations. I have a color laser printer that meets all my needs except for photo’s. Actually for me it does a good enough job printing photo’s on regular paper, but my wife would like them to be closer to the quality of a film print.

What I’m looking for is a printer that will print a 8 X 11 page for around a dollar each (4 3"x5" photo’s per page), including the price of paper. I would like the inks to be affordable so i don’t have to run out and buy a new printer every time I run out of ink. Also I would like the ink to last at least 250 pages or more if possible. I’m not interested in a printer that will print just 4" X 6" or smaller prints.

I have seen photo paper for laser printers and has anybody ever used any? My concern about printing photo’s on photo paper with my laser printer is that there are some rollers between the drums and where the paper comes out and unless the ink dries before the rollers it will smear.

Any suggestions will be welcomed.

Have you considered getting a dedicated photo printer like a Kodak docking station? They print fairly quickly, the dye holds up, it finishes the pictures and they look pretty good. They can’t print that big, but for photos they look great and it’s instant gratification. The problem with most Inkjets is that the printer is cheap while replacing the ink costs more than the printer.

That being said, I’d suggest you look for a printer that has 5 colors and a separate black cartridge. Each color should be able to be replaced separately as well. That means you only need to replace what’s used up.

Example: I had an Epson 880 & 780. Both use a cartridge that includes all the colors (except black). I used to run out of yellow all the time and have to replace the entire cartridge at some $25-30 a pop. Needless to say, this is a huge waste of ink and money.

If you’re interested in just photos, one of the little portable dedicated printers might be just what you need.

What is your budget?

I have an Epson Stylus Photo R300, which is one of the very few printers that can print directly onto inkjet printable CD/DVD media. Unfortunately my luck with these printers has been pretty poor, as the first one I had stopped printing properly after I put in third-party inkjet cartridges and this second one I have now throws a general error for no good reason (which the software troubleshooter suggests is a paper jam, even though there is no jam). I wish I could find another printer that can do the same job.

This is the hot new inkjet from HP. People seem to like it, but it is pricey.

Very few?
Almost every printer from Epson and every printer in Canons PIXMA line does this.

To the OP: The printer you want doesn’t exist. You have too many conflicting demands and too many unanswered questions.

Photos on laserprinters look like crap… at least they don’t look like photos. But you seem happy with those, so for you perhaps a lowend inkjet will do fine. They make adeqate photo prints.

But what’s most important to you?
[li]Economy - cheap printers have relative expensive inks and all inkjets make photos more expensive than those you get from a shop.
[/li][li]Resolution - a good inkjet, however, makes better and better lasting photos and gives you more freedom when editing your photos. A cheap printer makes crappier photos than those from the shop, are still more expensive but people like the convenience of having more or less instant photos.
[/li][li]Lasting prints - You can save a bunch of money using non-original inks and/or paper. However you can’t guarantee that your prints will last. Do you need to look at your photos in a few years time? The result will look worse than when using original ink and paper, but some people don’t care/can’t tell.

It’s a myth that’s it’s cheaper to buy a new printer than buying replacement inks - especially if you want a real photoprinter. But 250 full colour prints in 8 x 11 (which I guess is A4 or close?) is on the optimistic side. It seems like you need a laserprinter and your wife needs an online photo developer.

The g/f and I love our Canon PIXMA iP4000.

As long as you do not use inkjet photo paper in your laser printer instead of laser photo paper you should be fine. I would personally test out some laser photo paper and see if the image quality is up to your own subjective standards.

Inkjets these days seem to come in two models, business and personal. The personal printers are made at a loss to the manufacturer, so the manufacturer makes up the loss and makes its profit on the supplies. So when your new printer prints a couple dozen pages before it needs a new cartridge this is the reason why. The cartridges that you buy for these printers are also not filled to the same capacity as they were before this model became prevalent. So the cost per printed page is obscenely high. You may decide to purchase refilled cartridges to mitigate the expense. This works very well for text and graphics but not so well for images. Refillers do not have access to the same dyes as the original manufacturers, so quality of images printed will suffer. What is important to remember is that image quality is subjective. If you and your audience don’t notice the difference between refilled cartridges and OEM cartridges go with the lowest cost option. Business printers on the other hand are sold at profit, print faster, are more flexible about sizes and options, have separate ink tanks for each color, and usually include hardware to exclude refilled tanks. Unfortunately, from a cost effectiveness standpoint, it takes a whole lot of printing to make up for the initial cost of the printer itself.

To add: I have the Canon PIXMA IP4000R and like it a lot.
I’m about to upgrade to either a new Canon or an Epson.

Canon’s pixma pro9000 is out this week. If I were buying a photo printer today, that’s what I would buy. It’s about $480 street. up to 13x19 prints, 8 ink pots.

For proofs, I print with my 3-4 year old Canon S800. When it first came out, I thought “goddamn, consumer photo printers have sure come a long way! these look ilke photos!” As good as my aged s800 is, current gen ink jet photo printers are even better.

For snapshots to give away to friends and family, I order prints through Shutterfly’s print service. 10 cents for a 4x6 is pretty decent.

edit: the Pixma pro9500 has 10 ink pots (3 are shades of gray/black), but I don’t know when canon is releasing that, or how much it will cost.

We’ve got an old Canon S820. It prints really good photos.

If I remember correctly, the big difference between these two models is that the 9000 uses dye-based inks while the 9500 uses pigment. The HP B9180 I linked to above also uses pigment. There’s a huge debate about which is better, but generally, as I understand it, dye ink tends to be cheaper, glossier, and easier to use (fewer issues with clogging). Pigment ink, on the other hand, tends to resist fading a lot better. Of course, if you are really planning on keeping a printed photo for a long time, you should avoid both and just send it out to be printed professionally.

I also have the Cannon Pixma IP4000… I print 5x7 prints on glossy paper and people cannot tell them apart from film photos. Plus they have the proprietary ink that allegedly lasts a really long time.

I have a budget of plus or minus $200 and the 250 page per ink cartridge would be nice but not necessary if the cost per 4" X 6" print is $0.25 each. The HP Photosmart A516 produces prints for around $0.29 each, but it only prints 4x6 and my wife would like to print larger photo’s on occasion. I don’t mind spending more for a printer in order to bring down the overall cost of purchasing ink cartridge replacements. I really don’t want to buy a new printer everytime I need ink. My last inkjet cost me $40 to buy and the color cartridge for it cost $35 and the black cartridge cost $25, thats why I bought an inexpensive color laser printer. My cost per page is 2 cents per page for black and white and 7 cents per page for color. It should be noted that the cost for the color print is based on using regular paper. The cost jumps up to around 25 cents if I use the laser photo paper.

Thanks to everyone who gave me their opinion, I may try the laser photo paper and see how that works. If it doesn’t I’ll do some more research to find the best inkjet per dollar.

I’m tempted by the 9500, as I’d really love the ability to print good black-and-whites…

That’s a myth.
The new Canons will most likely beat most or all commercial print labs (definately the cheaper that use small selfcontained photoprinters on silever-halide paper). Most highend printers from Canon, HP and especially Epson allready has better permeance than print labs when printing digital images - we’re talking 80+ years of fade resistance as opposed to 20.
Go read more at Wilhelm Imaging Research.

I am familiar with Wilhelm, and certainly agree that inket longevity has made remarkable strides, but am not yet convinced that they equal professional lab printing. I have just started using Vivera inks on my HP, though, so we’ll see how that goes.

Is there any good reason to go with pigment-based inkjets as opposed to dye-based given the advances in dye?

The company’s official product pages seem to be missing any information whatsoever on printing onto the top of inkjet printable CD/DVD media. The Epson R300 has a feed tray that lets you do it. I don’t see any mention of such an accessory for any of the PIXMA printers.
See? It’s a bullet point. Pretty easy to figure out. :P

Maybe I should just give up and get a LightScribe drive instead.

Canons only print on CD/DVDs outside of North America. Some kind of patent BS.

I was not aware of this.
Every PIXMA printer I’ve tested in the last couple of years have had this… so this is a strange case of me and Kunikos both being right at the same time. Weird.