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Hardware Thread, Printer Suggestions in Technical; I'm looking for your recommendations for decent inkjet photo printers - the A4 variety not those little Epson PictureMate kind ...
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    Printer Suggestions

    I'm looking for your recommendations for decent inkjet photo printers - the A4 variety not those little Epson PictureMate kind of things.

    I've not had great experiences with inkjets in the past, but my colour laser just doesn't cut the mustard when it comes to photos.

    I've been advised to look towards Epson and avoid Canon and HP, but I have suffered a great deal with clogged nozzles on Epsons over the years.

    This is for home, and will only be used relatively infrequently. Budget is not great, looking for below £100.

    Cheers

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    Re: Printer Suggestions

    Key bunch of questions for you then..

    1. What sort of printing output are you likely to do over a normal month?
    2. What sort of budget do you have for the ink/cartridge consumables?
    3. How willing are you to learn something new like refilling?

    Without knowing the answers at this point I can give you a quick run down on most of the common options at the moment..


    Canon..
    The older Pixma iP4000 and iP5000 models would be ideal as you can get low cost cartridges that aren't necessarily Canon OEM (ie: branded) but work as well as.

    The newer Pixma iP4200, iP5200 and even the MP500 are all great printers but they are all the newer "chipped" evilness that, if you're unwilling to consider refilling, won't give you anything like a good budget return as the cartridges cost around £40 for a full set.. Refilling is a good option if you're willing to accept the learning curve and there's plenty of resources on getting your carts to last longer, eg: nifty-stuff forums, stevesforums (google is your friend).

    I personally love the Canon printers after being a hardened Epson fan for years but I convert them to use a CIS (Continuous Ink system) and that is a real tricky proposal if you aren't real keen on tinkering.


    Epson.
    As you said... Clogs ahoy! when you're dealing with the C/D series printers especially. The newer D88 is supposed to use a better quality UltraChrome ink which is less prone to clogging but I can't say I've seen evidence for or against that.. In terms of best for budget use I'd highly recommend a set of refillable spongeless cartridges and bulk ink from a good quality supplier... Again the forums above can help with good references.

    The R series photo printers are ok but you can fully expect them to display a "service required" message in short order due to waste ink pads soaking up the volumes of ink that these Epsons waste in head cleaning. Easy solution to that is fitting an external waste ink tank (easy mod to complete) and getting the reset utility (I can help with that). Not the fastest and not water fast compared to the C/D series printers.. Oh and not forgetting the fact that they have 6 or more cartridges in them so you're wasting more ink and having to buy more.


    HP..
    Can't really offer an opinion on these as I'm a hardened CIS user and until recently HP didn't offer a seperate printhead from the cartridge so you'd need to ask elsewhere.


    In all honesty though, I'd think seriously about either finding a refurb iP4000 or iP5000 if you can spare a little extra cash, an iP5200 if you think you can handle refilling or an Epson D88 if you are going to print regularly.


    If you want more info on refilling, bulk inks or even CIS's drop me a PM and I'll bore you silly with info... Hope that helps...



    Overall last minute tip: The key to using Inkjets with minimal clogging is to use them regularly, ie: every few days... it actually does cut down on cleaning cycles and essentially exercises the printer so it's less likely to have time to clog..

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    Re: Printer Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    Key bunch of questions for you then..

    1. What sort of printing output are you likely to do over a normal month?
    2. What sort of budget do you have for the ink/cartridge consumables?
    3. How willing are you to learn something new like refilling?
    1. Well, as I said, I have a colour laser already, so the inkjet is going to be limited to photo printing only. So more or less everything is going to be at the highest quality setting, on gloss paper. In terms of a monthly figure, probably no more than 10-15 prints a month, less in winter times.

    2. I don't really have a defined budget for consumables. I suppose 'as little as possible' would be the most suitable answer!

    3. Perfectly willing to try new things. I have tried refilling before (Canon BJ-10 and HP 53 & 54 cartridges), but have overall been disappointed with the results and find it a messy chore!

    On the advice of a friend have been looking at an Epson R220, and was thinking about a continuous ink system I saw online for about £40 to go with it once the original cartridges run out.

    Had also been thinking about the Canon Pixma range, but someone warned me off Canon, saying they're not much good...

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    Re: Printer Suggestions

    We've just changed all our colour printers in the School to HP K550N Printers due to there speed, full A4 Photo out in 5 seconds, built in print server and the cost, 3p a colour page it keeps working out at (consumables devided by pages). Much cheaper, faster and better prints than our colour laser printers. Were very happy.

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    Re: Printer Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by crc-ict
    1. ... In terms of a monthly figure, probably no more than 10-15 prints a month, less in winter times.
    I'd think about increasing this even it means you print out stuff you'd ordinarily print on a laser via your inkjet instead.. It's just a proactive measure to reduce potential clogging.

    2. I don't really have a defined budget for consumables. I suppose 'as little as possible' would be the most suitable answer!
    Which is about the norm

    3. Perfectly willing to try new things. I have tried refilling before (Canon BJ-10 and HP 53 & 54 cartridges), but have overall been disappointed with the results and find it a messy chore!
    Refilling is by nature messy but it's something that most people find they get a knack to and it becomes a lot less messy and easier over time.

    Certainly the older and newer Canons are pretty simple to refill and just involve drilling a suitable hole, refilling and then sealing with a nylon screw with a thin rubber washer to seal the hole. Nifty-stuff forums has all you need on that.

    On the advice of a friend have been looking at an Epson R220, and was thinking about a continuous ink system I saw online for about £40 to go with it once the original cartridges run out.
    If you're intent on going with CIS kits then Epsons are a LOT easier for the novice as Canons have a lot more problems due to the way their cartridges are designed (bigger port = more potential for air leakage). However I'd recommend checking www.continuousink.info for some reviews on kits because eBay is a great place to buy but not so much on support... Many kits are poorly made and to put it bluntly "cr*p" quality resulting in leaks, and problems..

    Had also been thinking about the Canon Pixma range, but someone warned me off Canon, saying they're not much good...
    The pixma range are really very good quality and well worth thinking about so I'm not sure where or how your friend developed his opinion but to date I've had 6 different printers of varying types and only hit one problem of my own making. Printheads are a consumable over time and the chipped cartridge issue makes for more "fun" but if you go with refilling I'd recommend an iP5200.



    As to the K550, there's a printer I want to get my mitts on and they sort of encompass a printer where the CIS is built in because the cartridges are actually static and feed a seperate printhead. I've heard some good and some bad things about it... ie: noise levels, paper feed issues and from what I heard the photo quality isn't the best but it could be worse.

    Consumables would certainly be higher than 3p per page though as your page coverage would be closer to 95% rather than the 5% comparison all printer manufacturers use.

    Still n'all I'll leave it to some other peeps to put their 10 penneth worth in.. Good luck in your decision.

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