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Old November 10th, 2003, 02:01 PM   #1
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Printer recommendations?

Any favorites among the newest lot of photo printers? I'm tempted by the Canon since you can change each color of ink separately but am turned off by the latency time of their inks (can take 24 hours to stabilize to the proper color).

My wife likes the styling of the new HPs but I've had so-so success with HP quality over the years. I have no experience with Epson.

This will primarily be for printing photos (from the digital Rebel) as well as "art" from PS Elements. I'm also interested in printing on odd materials - canvas, silk (both of which you can get as inkjet papers), maybe fiberglass screen.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 03:15 PM   #2
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I have a Canon i9100. There are some latency issues, but they are minor, and the print is fully stablizied within 12 hours, and 90% there within an hour, in my experience. The difference between a stabilized print and one fresh out of the printer, while noticeable to me, isn't great.

The key to getting quality color prints is the same for any printer: the monitor and printer must be correctly calibrated. Once the printer is calibrated, it's pretty much a set-and-forget process. I use Spyder with OptiCal for monitor calibration and Profiler Plus for the printer. As the name suggests, Profiler Plus creates a printer profile that you can set as the default in PS Elements (and, of course, PS). Once everything is properly calibrated, what you see on the screen is what you'll get on the printer, consistently.

I was considering the Epson 2200, but rejected it over the Canon for a number of reasons. Specifically, the Epsons have clogging issues when used on a casual basis, they are very, very slow, and paper and ink costs are higher than the Canon. The quality difference between the Epson and the Canon is negligible. The comparable wide-carriage HPs, unfortunately, were not in the running, quality-wise. I have an older HP (4-color)here in the office which I occassionally use for photo printing. It does a nice job, particularly on HP photo glossy paper, but isn't anywhere as nice as the Canon i9100 on Canon Photo Glossy Pro paper. Also, as far as I know, the Canon i9100 is the only printer which can do full 13 x 19 _borderless_ prints.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 04:45 PM   #3
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>the Canon i9100 is the only printer which can do full 13 x 19 _borderless_ prints.

Yeah, I have the Canon i950, a notch down from the i9100.
Other than larger paper sizes and a USB2.0 vs USB1.1 interface, I don't see much other than a $200 price difference between the units. Same six color inks and print resolution.

What I don't like is that both of these modern printers have tiny buffers. Memory: 80 KB buffer

Also, as a warning, use the manufacturer's recommended paper.
Although I though I was saving 50% on photo paper, the non-Canon paper took nearly a day to dry and showed white pixel-thick streaks on the paper, throwing off the print head alignment process. Switching to Canon paper (with default print head alignment) fixed everything.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 04:52 PM   #4
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Yeah, I have the Canon i950, a notch down from the i9100. Other than larger paper sizes and a USB2.0 vs USB1.1 interface, I don't see much other than a $200 price difference between the units. Same six color inks and print resolution.
There are actually other differences as well. The i950 has a slightly smaller drop size, allowing it to print slightly finer pictures. When I was shopping for printers, I had the Canon rep print out the identical test print on identical paper on both printers. The i950 gave a slightly warmer (and, I think, more pleasing) print. However, drop size notwithstanding, the apparent resolution was identical, which is to say, superb, and it's easy enough to tweak the printer profile to whatever color you want.

The buffer size isn't too much of an issue for me, as I spool print jobs to disk anyway and let the computer mediate with the printer. Both the i950 and the i9100 are blazingly fast, producing a borderless 8 x 10 in about a minute.

I only use Canon papers, but I have a project that will require turning out about 400 8-1/2 x 11 prints. I'm going to try cheaper papers. I think the trick is to establish an appropriate printer profile for each paper.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 05:00 PM   #5
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Switching from the recommended Canon papers will require custom profiles. Try the paper manufacture first, many have profiles for different printer, paper combos.
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