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205 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 114563 23-Feb-2013 17:00 Send private message

hey guys,
I'm looking to buy a printer just to print off a bunch of pics in A4 (I'm not even fussy about borderless printing)

I got one off trademe which, unfortunately had been serviced before. the alignment is tentative and the yellow head seems to be clogged...would cost more to have experts look at it than it cost to buy. so, I've learned my lesson and I think I want to get a cheap brand new one to replace this.

it looks like there're a lot of options <$100

any idea what keywords I should look for, or what brands have good low-end models for this purpose?

any input to help me narrow things down would be appreciated, at this point the only thing I'm sure about is that I want inkjet not laser. beyond that I have no idea--are there good printing-only models which would be a better choice than standard home multifunction devices?

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  Reply # 768389 24-Feb-2013 08:16 Send private message

The cheaper the printer the more expensive the ink is. It's generally cheaper and to just use a lab.

You can get a continuous ink system from RIHAC in Australia that works great. Or if you want a regular printer Canon and Epson are good. I've had a few Canons but they all broke after a while, my Epson's doing well still after a couple of years.




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Master Geek


  Reply # 768462 24-Feb-2013 12:33 Send private message

timmmay: The cheaper the printer the more expensive the ink is. It's generally cheaper and to just use a lab.


use a lab? (you're not talking about printing retailers are you? because the last single A3 print I got cost me the same as replacing all my inks will cost. it's obscene.)

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  Reply # 768487 24-Feb-2013 13:20

Lykho:
timmmay: The cheaper the printer the more expensive the ink is. It's generally cheaper and to just use a lab.


use a lab? (you're not talking about printing retailers are you? because the last single A3 print I got cost me the same as replacing all my inks will cost. it's obscene.)


Firstly, you are comparing apples and oranges - a low-end home printer isn't going to be able to print A3.  Also the print quality and longevity from a proper wet lab is going to be much, much better than anything you're going to be able to produce from home.

Secondly, you are wrong.

Just as a random example, current prices from Harvey Norman:

A 6x4" print costs 8c per print.
A 12x16" print (roughly A4) costs $16.99.

Where can you possibly find 4 ink cartridges for $16.99?  



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Master Geek


  Reply # 768542 24-Feb-2013 16:06 Send private message

KevinL:
Firstly, you are comparing apples and oranges - a low-end home printer isn't going to be able to print A3.
 


...I just print two halves and put them together (if you don't do borderless printing there's a nice tab for gluing the two together). same diff.

KevinL:
Also the print quality and longevity from a proper wet lab is going to be much, much better than anything you're going to be able to produce from home.
 


negligibly in my experience. perhaps not for certain high def. uses, though.


KevinL:
Where can you possibly find 4 ink cartridges for $16.99? 


TradeMe.

of course, that is hardly the accurate comparison, as I won't use up 3 whole [color] cartridges on that one print.

I might get 10+ prints out of those cartridges.
so 10+ x $17 prints is what you should be calculating.

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  Reply # 768547 24-Feb-2013 16:48 Send private message


I think you can get cheaper printing from somewhere like harvey norman if you signup to their photo club. Sometimes they also have big discounts on larger sizes. 

Also photo printing from the lab will be superior to the prints you get from most inkjets, in terms of how long they last. I have had genuine HP inks fade pretty quickly. Ironically I had some HP cartridges filled by ink post, and the ink from those didn't fade at all.  Or you can get one of those continuous ink systems. Some inkjet, like some HP models have the heads built into the cartridge, so if they block up you just replace the cartridge. I would buy new because they are so cheap now, and stuff people sell second hand may have problems that you aren't aware of.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 768556 24-Feb-2013 17:41 Send private message

mattwnz:
Also photo printing from the lab will be superior to the prints you get from most inkjets, in terms of how long they last. I have had genuine HP inks fade pretty quickly.


d'you have any comparisons (like an old faded print photographed next to a fresh print?) just to show to what degree this might matter?

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  Reply # 768568 24-Feb-2013 18:29

A little dated, but a good explanation here: http://www.timhunkin.com/a115_inkjet%20print%20longevity%20tests.htm




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Master Geek


  Reply # 768594 24-Feb-2013 20:49 Send private message

KevinL: A little dated, but a good explanation here: http://www.timhunkin.com/a115_inkjet%20print%20longevity%20tests.htm



wow, is that even with brand name inks (looks like cyan is the main problem in that example)?

my prints are just trivial decoration, not a big 2-year investment, so I don't think this matters much. the main concern is just cost.

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  Reply # 768598 24-Feb-2013 20:57 Send private message

When you take into account paper, test prints, ink, and the cost of the printer, lab prints can stack up well. Some retailers charge heaps, sometimes dedicated labs not general retailers can have good prices. I use a pro lab for professionals only so I'm not really sure what say harvey norman charges, but I think pro labs are pretty good because they know they don't have to mess with the images, just print what they're sent.




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Master Geek


  Reply # 770142 25-Feb-2013 21:54 Send private message

timmmay: When you take into account paper, test prints, ink, and the cost of the printer, lab prints can stack up well. Some retailers charge heaps, sometimes dedicated labs not general retailers can have good prices. I use a pro lab for professionals only so I'm not really sure what say harvey norman charges, but I think pro labs are pretty good because they know they don't have to mess with the images, just print what they're sent.


I've looked at 10-20 retailers and the best seems to be $5 per A4 print. (Harvey Norman/Noel Leemings/Smiths City/etc. were all among the worst prices). obviously there's no market for poor quality cheap work...I guess that's what home printers are for, after all. so that's going to be the best route for me, it's just a matter of which printer will do the best with everything factored in (reliability, quality, ink costs, etc.) -- 20 prints on a $90 printer (+ $10 for 20 sheets of glossy) would break me even, and I'd still have the printer after that.

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  Reply # 770253 26-Feb-2013 07:58 Send private message

Check out the Epson Stylus range, read up on reviews. I have an Epson Artisan with a RIHAC continuous ink system, it works well, but I print few photos with it - I use a lab even for personal work. It's just too much hassle with most printers that aren't brand new to get it printing to the edges, no flaws, accurate or good color, borderless, etc. Though any printer will do and most with little hassle. Like I said I had Canons but they tended to fail after a year or two.

I didn't realise paper was so cheap. A quick look around suggests $1/sheet for A4/8x12.

Cost per page can be found here for some printers. This is USD, and things cost more in NZ due to remoteness, so I figure you're at around $2 per A4 page. That's much better than a lab, even accounting for mistakes and reprinting.






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  Reply # 770370 26-Feb-2013 11:09 Send private message

First with continuous system. Since you are printing photographs - look into printer calibration. If you are using 3rd party ink many do not have ICC files that you can download so the color may look different than on screen. Like if you have a Epson printer, it may say it works with Epson Premium Glossy and when you install the software or download the paper profiles which are ICC extension file types you can use software with it. Ie., disable the color management in the printer itself and use the ICC files in the Adobe software under printer dialog process. Also the continuous systems the ink are larger quantities so you need to print enough to justify.


I print my stuff from Harvey Norman or Noel Leeming for 8c an 6x4 and probably makes little difference versus A4 or A3. I dunno what the 6x4 prices are but I have seen them in packets of 20 maybe, but each was like $1 or 50c just for the paper, haven't accounted for the ink or your time or your mistakes. Also inkjets may need to waste ink doing ink head cleans if you don't print regularly ....

I picked up a A3 Epson printer on Trademe but he gave me so many inks the printer was practically free. Here are some of my maths I did in the past. I've only used the Epson paper and inks. I thought I would print myself only if it was A4 or larger cos it may be close to the same cost but I have it faster and slightly more control thru myself with Photoshop and I can use better papers like canvas, 100% matte not like that matte stuff many labs calls it which is more like luster. I'm talking about cardboard flat matte without the marble texture or any shiny appearance. You can also use thick fine art paper too which is normally only available at the pro labs which cost a lot more ...

For the maths. Dang given the posts on FB how do I search it ..... may need to do another calculation I didn't save it it would be userful in the future too..... Be back.

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  Reply # 770388 26-Feb-2013 11:45 Send private message

Couple of years of usage for me.  Incl print mistakes, duplicates etc etc... Small prints on A4 (4 images per the A4) and the few A3. 

Printed approx equiv. 87.5 A4.

Inks: 7 in printer (printer takes 7 inks).
4 new purchased
13 unopened provided for free.
= 24 in total
Minus 2 which I still have now on shelf
= 22 final total (ink cartridges). 

For mine.
As far as I can research each cartridge is 14ml.  22 cartridges x 14 = 308ml.  Divide 87.5 A4 = 3.52ml per A4 printed.  25% of one cartridge.  For my printer, each ink cost $25NZ.  Each A4 cost $6.25 for just ink.  I think I recall from memory it was 20% from another calculation.     So that's $5NZ per A4.  Mind you in the USA the paper and the ink is approx half price to NZ .... but there is the delivery cost unless you go over there on holiday.  However reduced somewhat with the strong NZD.

Let's just go with the lower no.  so $5 for an A4 for the ink.

For the paper cost. 
Epson Matte which is cheaper - 50 A4 for $45 from the likes of online "Computer Food".  Each is 90c
Or Epson Prem Glossy $30 for 20 A4.  Which is $1.50 each. 

For me it's $5.90 and up for each A4 or $6.50 for (semi/luster) glossy.  You can fit 4 smaller 6x4 on each A4 but certainly with 8c lab printing it's a no brainer for 6x4s.


You can use your paper/ink cost and do some figures .... :)



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Master Geek


  Reply # 770510 26-Feb-2013 14:43 Send private message

rayonline: I print my stuff from Harvey Norman or Noel Leeming for 8c an 6x4 and probably makes little difference versus A4 or A3


pretty much everywhere is in the same ballpark: >50c for 6x4, $5 for A4, $15 for A3

10-years-ago you could get an A4 print for $2. not sure why it has gotten more expensive rather than cheaper.

rayonline:
For my printer, each ink cost $25NZ.

... You can fit 4 smaller 6x4 on each A4 but certainly with 8c lab printing it's a no brainer for 6x4s.


it baffles me that, if this is a true/constant cost of quality prints (obviously there are budget ink alternatives not relevant to this), then why does it cost $5 for an A4 page with four 6x4s* printed on it , but only 8c for four separate 6x4s? (we're talking about the same amount of ink and printing time and paper size, right?)

*approx. size, you see what I'm getting at.

edit: the link timmmay provided shows that on inkjets, at least, it is roughly 4x more costly to print roughly 4x bigger. so $0.32 vs $5 is a hell of a mark up.

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  Reply # 770518 26-Feb-2013 14:52 Send private message

Labs are charging more because they can. They pay the same for paper whether it's 6x4, 8x12/A4, or A2, it comes off big rolls. If a 6x4 is 50c then an 8x12 should be $2.




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