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Ink jet photo printers and printing Problem with your ink jet printer or are you exploring ways of making your prints ever more vibrant and pleasing. Post your ink jet printer posers here.

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Old 24-05-13
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Poorly printer

I have a six year old Canon MP600 print/scan/copy printer which has worked wonderfully whether using Canon or good quality compatible inks.

However, recently I'm getting a lot of banding when I'm printing out images - whether on photo paper or greetings cards.

I've cleaned, deep-cleaned (boy does that use the ink up), re-aligned the nozzles and am running out of ideas.

So - is it time to bite the bullet and buy a new one?

I keep looking at those new A3 printers, but not really sure that I'd use that facility a great deal. I'm also thinking that a dedicated photo printer could be better, if I could find a small flat bed scanner (I'm currently digitising quite a few collections for people) rather than getting another MFP.

Carol
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Old 24-05-13
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Re: Poorly printer

The head may be gone if so it may be time to change your printer as it will cost as much to replace the head and new ink as will pay for a new printer
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Old 25-05-13
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Re: Poorly printer

We recently bought an Epson XP-202 printer/scanner for home use. I think it cost £39. It uses Epson dye-based print so it will prints photos well but document printing looks good. It's also wireless and you can print wirelesly from smart devices. This is the basic model without an LCD screen, but I'm very pleased with it.

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Old 25-05-13
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Re: Poorly printer

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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
We recently bought an Epson XP-202 printer/scanner for home use. I think it cost 39. It uses Epson dye-based print so it will prints photos well but document printing looks good. It's also wireless and you can print wirelesly from smart devices. This is the basic model without an LCD screen, but I'm very pleased with it.

Ian
I do have a dye-sub printer for the mobile portrait studio I take to craft fairs, prints absolutely cracking shots.

I'm looking for a printer that will print on glossy photo cards - not sure whether to jump ship from Canon for an Epson though.

Going to have to borrow Dave's printer tonight as I sold quite a few cards at the craft fair today - and have another tomorrow...

Thanks

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Old 26-05-13
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Re: Poorly printer

I used to be greatly into Epson printers due to print quality, but I jumped shipped awhile back to Brother. What won me over is that Brother printers don't rely on chipped cartridges - making it much easier to use third party inks (or, in my case, refillables). You don't have to worry about the printer claiming incompatible chips, because there are no chips. Even if you stick with regular OEM ink cartridges, they're typically not the thimble-sized ones that Epson try to sell us.

In the old days, a standard Epson ink cartridge would contain over 10ml of ink (up to 17ml in some cases). Today a "standard" cartridge contains as little as 3.3ml of ink, and even their "high capacity" ones contain around 6ml of ink - that's barely 2/3rds of the old standard sized carts, yet they have the cheek to call it "high capacity". It's a bit of a con job on Epson's part (I'm not saying that other OEMs don't do it also, but I only used Epson printers at the time). How much ink is 3ml? Not even a teaspoon!

I have several decent Epson printers here that haven't been used for several years due to ink costs. I don't know if it was their intention to chase their customers away, but that's what they've achieved. I would still be with Epson if not for their increasingly tiny ink cartridges and restrictive "chip" practices.

If you do decide to go with Epson and intend to use OEM ink, check out the print cost first because you could be changing your cartridges every two minutes - every time you change one, all the others go through a purge process. The last time I used one of my Epsons, it spent its entire life with the "ink low" light flashing because one was always running low, and changing that one would force one of the others into an "ink-low" state. And that was when cartridges contained 10ml of ink - these current thimble-sized 3.3ml cartridges would probably be empty after a couple of headcleans.

Be wary. Printer manufacturers sell their printers (relatively) cheap and make their money by selling us tiny droplets of ink using words like "high capacity".
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Old 27-05-13
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Re: Poorly printer

I think the best advice is to do your homework on any printer you are interested in. And it's the total cost of ownership which is the bottom line - how long you expect the printer will last, how many prints you expect to produce over the lifetime of the printer, the ink cartridge and cost options and of course the cost of buying the printer in the first place. You should also make an allowance for print quality.

Pretty much all manufacturers, including Brother, make inexpensive to buy printers that can only be used with inks that will prove expensive if you use the printer a lot. If you do the research you will find mid-priced printers that are cheaper to run and more expensive printers that are even cheaper to run. That is the economics of the ink jet printer industry and Brother is not special in this respect.

The Brother DCP-J140W wireless-capable printer scanner costs around £50 an its cartridges are about £9 for 270 pages (colour) - 3.3p per page or £18 for 300 pages (black) (Staples pricing), or 6p per page.

The Epson Expression Home XP-202 is the equivalent model I went for at home for the children mainly to use and while I got a special deal at the time for £39 the typical price at the moment is £45. Colour ink cartridges (XL) are £13.50 - looks more epensive than Brother but the cost per print is 2.9p because the cartridge capacity is 470 pages. Black XL ink cost per page is 3.6p per page.

So Brother isn't a guaranteed best value solution. On top of that I would argue that Epson print quality is better, for which I would happily pay some extra for.

I don't doubt that Brother has printers with better value ink running costs but so does Epson. I expect both manufacturers' comparable printers will cost more, too. But both these sets of figures re meaningless without total cosy of ownership.

Our Epson Workforce 4525 printer at the office cost five times as much as the home printer we have but by the time both printers get replaced I expect the office printer to have average a total cost per print (including cost of buying the printer) to be way below that of the home printer.

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Old 27-05-13
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Re: Poorly printer

It's certainly true that anyone considering a new printer should check out the running costs. I did this awhile back and was staggered to find that printer manufacturers were using the same trick with laser printers - something that many people instinctively think are cheaper to run than inkjets. These days, they're not. Some inkjets are cheaper to run than some lasers. It's uncanny. I have two laser printers here that should be cheap to run but aren't when it comes down to it, so they're not being used.

I'm not interested in Epson vs Brother comparisons because all OEMs resort to similar tricks - the first article I found on the subject was about some HP printers that have large physical cartridges but just a tiny bubble of ink inside them. All I can offer is my own experience, and that is that I have several Epson printers here that I haven't used for some years because the cost of ink is so prohibitive that I was afraid to print anything on them for fear that one of the several cartridges would run out. And this is not on entry-level Epson printers - these printers cost me 300 each, yet I can't afford to run them. Printers with thimble cartridges are a revolving door of buying replacements. Third party inks for Epsons are not usually practical because you either get the dreaded "incompatible" error when the chip doesn't work right, or they cause air bubbles/blockages that render the printer junk, and that's in addition to losing the archival nature of their pigment inks.

For day-to-day use, the concept of just sticking giant cartridges in a sub-50 printer and spending barely 10 on ink for two years regardless of how much I print while having no issues with "chips" is what works for me. If I used one of my Epsons in the same way, I would have spent something like 400 on ink rather than 10 over the same period. That's ridiculous.

I would totally recommend that people have at least two printers running side by side - one for daily printing with a printer/ink combination as cheap as you can make it, plus a more expensive one that's only turned on when you want top-quality photos (don't leave it on or use it for daily printing because self-maintenance routines will ensure that those tiny thimble-cartridges are empty by the time you want to print something).

As I say, the one thing that turned me away from Epson was when they starting bringing out cartridges smaller than their standard ones and calling them "XL". It's like they believe their purchasers are too stupid to know that they're being conned. I was perfectly fine with them bringing out "lite" cartridges alongside their standard ones, but this re-labelling of them is nothing short of hoodwinking. I mean, you've stated that the "XL" cartridge from your Epson is rated at 470/450 pages. When Brother call a cartridge "HY" (high-yield) it's rated for 900/750 pages. 470/450 pages isn't "XL" - it's "standard" - and it's time Epson stopped hoodwinking potential customers. Epson's "standard" cartridge is rated for 175/180 pages, but Brother define "standard" as 450/325 pages. The only reason Epson's "standard" cartridges are so tiny is because they know that changing one causes a purge in all the others, so it's in their best interest for you to change them as frequently as possible so that you waste even more ink in the increased frequency of replacements - and you'll be replacing them a lot if the black will only print 175 pages. When one OEM's "standard" cartridge can contain barely a third of the ink of another OEM's "standard" cartridge, it's time that there was some industry standard so that terms such as "standard" and "XL" are more consistent between manufacturers.

Oddly enough, we do have a printer here that we use daily and we continue to buy OEM ink for it - it's an old HP Officejet K550DTN that we got in a sale for 80. That takes cartridges that print 2,580 pages (black), and 1,650 pages (colour). Suddenly those 470 page "XL" cartridges from Epson seem even smaller - less than a fifth of the capacity of the HP, yet they're still called "XL". I can't be the only one who thinks this is just stupid, can I? And those 175 page cartridges are nothing short of a joke - the cartridge itself must be worth more than the ink it contains.

At the risk of going even further off-topic, I think all OEMs (including both Brother and Epson) and including those that haven't been mentioned, should take a leaf out of this old HP printer of mine (not the newer HP printers because they're as bad as everyone else's these days). "XL" should be something like 2,500+ page for black and 1,500+ for standard. "Standard" should be around 1,000 pages. And, if they want to bring out smaller ones, they should be called "lite" (or similar) and be for around 500 pages. These 175 page cartridges should be stamped out, and they certainly shouldn't be called "standard". If all manufacturers did this, then the only thing we'd need to concern ourselves with would be the cartridge price - but I suppose putting clear decision-making information in the hands of the consumer isn't in the OEM's best interests, is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
On top of that I would argue that Epson print quality is better, for which I would happily pay some extra for.
I wouldn't disagree with that but it's worth pointing out that Brother print quality has improved in leaps and bounds. My first Brother printer was very poor when it came to photographic prints, so I was apprehensive about replacing it. I shouldn't have worried. Their "innobella" ink/paper combination works incredibly well. Probably not up there with an 8-cartridge 500 Epson, but still more than adequate.
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Old 28-05-13
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Re: Poorly printer

That's given me quite a lot to think about, and thank you all for your help and assistance.

Temporarily, I seem to have solved the problem by replacing all the inks and was able to print out a dozen cards for sale at the craft fair on Sunday. Sods law being what it is and having sold a lot of cards (and only one portrait) at the Saturday fair, this time it was the other way round - only 1 card (which I had printed the night before, a father's day card) but 27 portraits so it was the little dye-sub which was working overtime.

However, I do realise that it looks like my old printer is coming to the end of its useful life but at least I have a month until the next craft fair to sort things out.

So I'm going to do a lot of printing to use up all the inks I have in stock (that's what you get for bulk buying) and then look for a fairly high-end photo printer, keeping this one in reserve for black and white every-day stuff.

Thanks again
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