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View Full Version : Need some photo printer advice please



ZJROCKRIG
February 21st, 2010, 10:32 PM
My wife is into scrapbooking big time. She has more $$ tied up in stuff than I have in tools I think:eek:

Anyway, she has been using our regular HP printer and it sucks at printing photos IMO. I really want to get her an awsome photo printer since she spends so much time on her pages and they look fantastic except for the crappy printer pics.

So I was at Wal-mart and I spotted some "photo" printers. The ones I looked at were:

--Kodak ESP3250 $89.00 has 9600dpi. Kodak photo paper is $14.00 and an ink pack is $25

--Cannon PIXMA MP560 $99.00 has 9600dpi, wireless, w/ a 2" view screen. Ink pack is $58

-- Cannon PIXMA MP250 $40.00 has 4600 dpi, no other frills. Ink pack is $40

-- HP photosmart C4640 $89.00 has a 1.5" view screen, unknown dpi, Ink packs are $25.00 and HP paper is $30

But would you go with? I "think" the higher dpi is better for quality? But would that eat up ink cartridges faster? Would the other 4600 dpi units be just fine? How would this compare printing our own vs. sending the data chip to Wal-mart for prints (such as quality)?

Thank you!:)

ColoradoSkier
February 22nd, 2010, 10:21 AM
Go to MicroCenter and look at their photo printers. Oh wait, you are in Durango...

Jeffro600
February 22nd, 2010, 11:59 AM
Honestly, unless you want to spend huge amounts of money on papers and ink, run like hell and use your Walmarts one hour photo. Your photos will last longer, look better and cost substantially less. That 99 dollar printer will soon become a 300+ dollar printer after you keep it fed with ink and paper...that would have bought you a truck load of professional prints.

ALL inkjet printers eventually bring a level of headache and frustration that can borderline make a person crazy.

My .02...

rubbersidedown
February 22nd, 2010, 12:58 PM
I have a really nice Epson sitting here covered in dust, and has not seen ink in about 4 years due to price of ink. Now that I bought my new camera it may come out of hibernation! So if you are set on a printer look into the Epson line. I have not looked at whats hot, and new in quite a few years, but Epson is a great choice!

Tiffany
February 22nd, 2010, 01:59 PM
Agree 100% with Jeff. I have a decent Canon photo printer that mostly the kids use for school projects, but the fact that it's cheaper to buy a new printer than to replace ink cartridges makes it pretty useless for real photo printing.

Jeffro600
February 22nd, 2010, 02:13 PM
I do still have my Canon iP100 that i use if i need to print on the go(rare) but i only keep it because:

A. It uses a single color cartridge thats very inexpensive

B. Its small, lightweight and easy to haul around

C. Puts out some fantastic prints.

BUT those 15 dollar cartridges dont last long at all...id say 50-75 4x6's, maybe 15ish 8x10's...and thats assuming your heads arent clogged because you havent used it in a month and you must waste half your ink clearing them out. By the time you factor in paper, im easily well over twice the cost per print VS having them professionally done.


I only use this printer in the cases where it will benefit me by making a little extra money by having prints ready on location but it doesnt happen very often. I did a wedding as a second shooter a couple months ago and negotiated with the bride\groom and head photographer that i could set up a mini-photo booth for couples portraits...it was free for anyone who wanted a single image but i worked a deal with the head photographer that we would charge the bride\groom a flat rate and share profits...actually was a big hit and went over really well since it was a good sized wedding. I blew through 3 cartridges and about 50 bucks worth of paper inside of an evening but probably returned my investment costs easily 4+ times over.

I NEVER use it at home or where i will be paying for the expenses of its use out of my own pocket without some sort of return. If i want prints for my own personal use, ill have them printed through a printing company and wait patiently for a couple\few days till they arrive....if im in a real hurry, our local Walmart has an amazing 1 hour photo service. Saves me money and alot of headaches and you get a better end product.

ColoradoSkier
February 22nd, 2010, 02:19 PM
I want an iP100...


If i want prints for my own personal use, ill have them printed through a printing company and wait patiently for a couple\few days till they arrive....if im in a real hurry, our local Walmart has an amazing 1 hour photo service. Saves me money and alot of headaches and you get a better end product.

x2

ZJROCKRIG
February 22nd, 2010, 04:35 PM
Thank you for the replies. She does a lot of editing of the pics on a hosted scrapbbok picture site, so that is a benefit of having the internet/printer, and being able to print/pick and chose instantly the edited images right away. She also does big get togethers at different places, but at the cost of ink, I don't really want her printing everybody elses pics too...

I think we'll check on sending the edited pics to one of the stores (not sure if they do that or if you have to bring in a disc). Either way, I absolutley know she'll be scrapbooking one of these weekends, come across a pic she wants to put in, and I don't want her to have to totally stop a page she is working on because she could not print it instantly.

So out of the list above, what would you recommend? I'll check out Epson too. The Kodak really seems to be the best bang for the buck (ink and paper is cheaper), but I really like the Cannon due to it's wireless capability and view screen.

Thank you!

ColoradoSkier
February 22nd, 2010, 04:48 PM
www.Walmart.com works well for me. For higher-end stuff, I use www.whcc.com

Jeffro600
February 22nd, 2010, 06:59 PM
www.Walmart.com works well for me. For higher-end stuff, I use www.whcc.com

Same here...

Walmarts is easy to use...upload your photos online, or upload them at the store via DVD or memory card, pick em up in an hour, sometimes two if they're really busy. If i go to pick up my photos and there is any that i end up not liking or came out funky, ill pick those out and they wont charge me for them. I tend to not use them on heavily edited stuff as sometimes they apply their own color correction which can make heavy edits come out odd, especially HDR's and B&W's...if you get to know your printers though, they usually know what works or doesnt for you.

WHCC caters to higher end, specialty oriented stuff and puts that little extra attention to detail in your work for when it has to be perfect....they're super fast on shipping and have very competitive prices.

Just trying to save you the "been there, done that" experience...ive had ALOT of photo printers over the years, including some seriously high dollar, professional ones and they have all been the same...ink and paper hungry and seriously cranky if you dont use them on a regular basis.

ColoradoSkier
February 23rd, 2010, 07:39 AM
Just had another thought though. One thing you should get, if you have not already, is some sort of monitor color calibration tool (http://tinyurl.com/monitorcalibration).

I have a Spyder 3 Pro (http://tinyurl.com/yll6ntg) ($127 at Adorama), while others here have the Pantone Huey (http://tinyurl.com/pantonehuey) (2 models under $100).

I'll let the others talk about the Huey, but this is the second Spyder I have used (had a Pro 2 at my last job), and it could not be simpler to use. If you are going to use a company like WHCC for prints, or even Wal-Mart really, it is essential that you color calibrate the monitor. Otherwise what she sees on screen will not be what she gets from the print shop. This would hold true with the printer as well if you went that route.

All that being said, here's what I would do if I were you guys:
1) Get a color calibration device (order online, they are WAY cheaper online than in stores, if you can even find one in your area)

2) Pick 5 photos and make sure they look the way you want them to onscreen

3) Go through the signup process at WHCC (https://newaccounts.whcc.com/start/). You will submit the 5 photos from above for color proofs to come back (at no cost to you).

4) Also send the same pics to Wal-Mart, in the same size (8x10).

5) Compare the 2 sets to the monitor, and adjust as necessary (you likely won't need to)

Another benefit of WHCC is that when you sign up, they send you a sampler of the different paper types and finishes they have. Your wife could do some really cool stuff with the different photo papers they have available (metallic comes to mind immediately). I think in the long run she will be very glad to go down this road.

SBIUnlimited
February 23rd, 2010, 08:50 AM
Chester,
Do you load up pics to WHCC online...the same way you would send them to say...Walmart?? I've had really good luck at Walmart.... (to echo Jeffro), but have not used WHCC.

ColoradoSkier
February 23rd, 2010, 08:53 AM
With WHCC, they have some software (ROES, forget what it stands for) that you install. When you want to place an order, you use their software to locate pics on your system, then the size/ type of print you want. It will show you what cropping will happen, etc. It is really easy to use, and their print quality is outstanding. I highly recommend them.

SBIUnlimited
February 23rd, 2010, 11:43 AM
With WHCC, they have some software (ROES, forget what it stands for) that you install. When you want to place an order, you use their software to locate pics on your system, then the size/ type of print you want. It will show you what cropping will happen, etc. It is really easy to use, and their print quality is outstanding. I highly recommend them.

Thx

ColoradoSkier
February 23rd, 2010, 12:27 PM
NP - if you are still doing B&W stuff, their metallic paper might call out to you pretty strongly. I have been thinking of printing one of my B&W DSRR pics on that in a 16x20 or so. I'll bet it would come out pretty sweet. Also been thinking about it for my snowflake shots.