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#608640 - Fri Mar 25 2011 07:11 PM Home photo printers
satguru Offline
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I am considering buying a home digital printing system as I produce so many now it may be easier than uploading hundreds every so often and remembering which ones to choose. More than actual price my main concern is are the printers able to produce the same results as the professional labs, and is it still likely to lose many sheets due to errors as when someone made some for me the majority of attempts were unusable. Does anyone have a home printing setup and if so how does the price compare with a normal printer, and the paper packs, and what is the relative quality and success rate of printing?
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#608726 - Sat Mar 26 2011 01:38 AM Re: Home photo printers [Re: satguru]
romeomikegolf Offline
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Sat, I have an HP Photosmart 7762 printer that includes a card reader. It uses a separate photo cartridge that can be quite expensive if you buy the branded one. The quality is excellent (depends on the resolution of the photo of course) . It will print all common sizes up to A4 at a max resolution of 4800 dpi. Mine is now almost unobtainable, but there are ones that are as good if not better.
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#609052 - Sat Mar 26 2011 08:01 PM Re: Home photo printers [Re: romeomikegolf]
satguru Offline
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Sounds good to me, my main usage would be printing a few hundred 6X4 inch so would have to bulk buy paper and probably ink. That would cost me about £15 including postage if I send them away online, would the supplies alone exceed that for the same amount?
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#609345 - Sun Mar 27 2011 03:54 PM Re: Home photo printers [Re: satguru]
Copago Offline
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It's my experience that printing at home is a lot more expensive than getting them done at a shop. BUT it is convienient .. if you want an odd size or you want one NOW then you can do it instead of waiting for the shop to open or the post to come.
I have an epson printer that is about five years old and still going strong .. I'd love ot upgrade it but I just can't justify it as it's so reliable! I would go for an epson when the time come to upgrade.

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#609366 - Sun Mar 27 2011 07:21 PM Re: Home photo printers [Re: Copago]
flopsymopsy Offline
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I have an HP Photosmart C5180 - it's pretty good but I wouldn't use it for bulk printing as photographic quality paper plus ink would cost quite a bit for several hundred images. Plus printing full colour can be a slow process, and often needs doing twice, for example because the ink smudges - getting it done by an online company with all the gear should produce a reliable quality.

I'd be interested to know how many you can get online for £15 though.
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#609432 - Mon Mar 28 2011 01:26 AM Re: Home photo printers [Re: flopsymopsy]
tellywellies Offline
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I know there are some very good inkjet printers around. They might be the way to go if you plan to frequently use whatever one you choose. If they aren't used frequently, the ink can dry up in the ink nozzles. Then quite a bit of valuable ink can be used in cleaning cycles, rather than for printing. I had an expensive Epson that suffered from this problem and in the end, the print-heads refused to clean up at all. An expensive Canon was the next one along but this one broke mechanically after about 18 months. All inkjet printers will need a cleaning cycle once in a while.

I know the printers going wrong could have been just bad luck but if the cost of printers and ink were divided by the number of prints I did, I'm sure the cost of each print would have worked out quite high.

Therefore, I wouldn't ever buy another expensive printer. The one I have at present is a Brother DCP-385C. The cost was about £50-00 and it does an adequate job for letters and the greetings card inserts that Mrs TW needs.

For printing photos, we switched to a dye-sublimation (dye-sub) printer. This uses a different system of printing altogether (see here). It gives top quality prints of 6x4 every time. I don't think we've had a failure rate with that. It works straight from the camera and some basic editing (cropping - resizing) can be done before printing. A consideration when it comes to printers is how long the prints last without fading. Dye-sub prints are reckoned to be good in this respect.

A couple of alternatives to using an online service or printing at home. Perhaps you have already thought about them:

* Transfer the photos to the computer, choose the ones you want, put them on a USB stick and take them to a high-street printing service. Their printers are likely to be better than any that we might buy for home use. It could work out cheaper than buying a printer, ink and photo-paper.

* I believe some of the machines found in supermarkets give pretty good results too.
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#611596 - Sat Apr 02 2011 06:12 PM Re: Home photo printers [Re: tellywellies]
satguru Offline
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I am very tempted now regardless of the cost, as the quality is the main consideration followed by the convenience. I can take 100 photos in some weeks and even if you just select the best it doesn't take long before you lose track if you don't print, and it takes an afternoon and/or evening at least to select a batch and then upload them, especially once I've stopped noting the ones I want to print on the day.

I pay 5p a print for 6X4 using foto.com and the postage is a few pounds on top of that. Most charge double or more but the only disadvantage is they don't upload from Flickr so can't simply locate everything there directly but open files one at a time from my pictures. I'll look at the cost of paper now as the printer isn't a big deal for one as my existing one is well over ten years old and perfectly good for everything else, and if the dye-sub doesn't make many bad prints sounds like the best way. Basically I want the same printer type the shops and labs use if not ridiculously expensive if I do get one as unless the prints are as good there isn't a lot of point. The ones my auntie did still look good 5 years or so on so clearly capable of good results although the large majority of attempts wasted a lot of A4 paper on the way but that appears to have been solved since then, fingers crossed.
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#611600 - Sat Apr 02 2011 06:31 PM Re: Home photo printers [Re: satguru]
flopsymopsy Offline
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I've used Photobox a few times and have always been pleased with the quality. They have a system which might be useful to you where you can buy credits in advance, then use them as and when you need prints - that's good value if you know you'll need, say, 400 prints a year. But remember that the credits only last a year so there's no point buying 400 if you then don't use them.

You can upload to Photobox from flickr and Picasa, or ftp them, which would be quicker than a standard upload.
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#626524 - Wed May 18 2011 02:03 PM Re: Home photo printers [Re: flopsymopsy]
satguru Offline
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I can now announce after a lot of research have just brought home a Kodak ESP7250, although not too expensive claimed lab quality photos so besides being one of the names I was told were the best claimed to do the only thing I wanted it for. I've just set it up and printed my first (after two whoopsies) photo, the road sign in the photo a day thread. The sample paper was the usual thick stuff but the ones I bought are thin but suppose it doesn't matter in an album really. They do look the same as the others although I'm not sure but the thin paper prints didn't look quite as good as the thick ones I wasted, although with only one done so far will wait and see. It just looked a bit dull in comparison.

The paper does cost more per piece than I pay online, and the ink is prohibitive, even more than my paper printer, and have no idea (the shop hadn't a clue) how long a colour cartridge will last for 6X4s. It's already had its first glitch, I tried printing from my memory card as it has a screen and doesn't need a computer, and only saw just under 1000 of the 1200 or so photos, and have to scroll through every single one directly to get through them which to me seems like a real oversight when you consider that's a typical number and wouldn't have hurt them to do the same as my camera (6 years old as well) which has an up/down button to scroll per date as well as the side arrows for one by one. As that was standard technology in 2005 it's pretty naff a company like Kodak couldn't be bothered to include it as I simply gave up and resorted to using the computer even though my main aim was to use it in another room and just put the memory card in. It will print from Flickr as well which I did but takes a few seconds to load a photo, but as the files can have a few hundred that's 10-15 minutes per photo so will have to use that for a last resort as not all my photos are on the PC and not going to install everything on the laptop as well especially as it doesn't live here.

But one way or another I'm going to do my print run and as long as the results are ok I'll just have to put up with any glitches, but if anyone's got a Kodak and come across these problems before if any can be solved (mainly not reading the memory card properly, as I can't see any quick ways to scroll with the remainder it does see) it would be a relief as I'm not going to take it back like some people I know if it isn't perfect.

Edited to update I've done about 30 now and seem fine, although the paper I get from the lab is heavy and cheaper than this thin stuff they look the job and will survive in an album anyway. I'm researching the memory card problem but really don't want to take it all back now I've set it up. At worst I'll have to bung them on a flash drive if it's not possible with the card but although missing some photos may mean a fault scrolling through over 1000 one at a time is built in and that isn't going to change even if I found a way to display them all.


Edited by satguru (Wed May 18 2011 04:42 PM)
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