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Printers - Are In-Cartridge Printheads Better? 91

Posted by Cliff
from the which-technology-reigns-supreme dept.
koelpien asks: "I am a tightwad geek who likes to print photos without spending lots of money on OEM ink cartridges. Both Epson and HP have let me down; HP doesn't have a lot of third party cartridges available, and refilling the OEM's is a pain, especially resetting the ink level counter. Epson is just as bad, with cheap low-cost cartridges available, yet using them will often clog the heads, needing multiple ink-depleting cleaning cycles to restore proper flow. I am on the market for a new printer, and want to know which technology most Slashdot users happy with, in relation to printer brand and the use of third-party or refillable inks. Is one technology superior to the others, or are printers mostly the same?"
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Printers - Are In-Cartridge Printheads Better?

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  • Printer Model? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hardwyred (71704) on Friday October 08, 2004 @01:36AM (#10467385) Homepage
    I have never had a single issue with my Epson CX5200, never even had to clean the nozzels and it goes through at least one round of ink every month! I even printed off all of our wedding photos instead of paying for reprints, that was almost 400 5x7 prints! Are you buying the most inexpensive printers and running them hard? Do you have your printer sitting next to a window/TV/Monitor/computer vent where it and the paper will collect more dust then it should? Perhaps your fix will be as simple as just moving your printer to a cleaner/drier spot.
    • Re:Printer Model? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pieroxy (222434)
      I've been through a lot of Epson printers, and have never regretted it. The clogged printhead occurs sometimes, mostly after the printer has been unused for a while. It is not a big deal.

      I am also pleased by the progress they have made on the durability of the inks. This is a great concern, and AFAIK, Epson rules on that side. I have printouts made by a Stylus Photo 870 that were exposed in my living room for over 3 years now, and the colors are still as sharp and balanced as the first day (at least to my
    • Re:Printer Model? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mpol (719243)
      I have never had a single issue with my Epson CX5200, never even had to clean the nozzels and it goes through at least one round of ink every month!

      That is exactly the reason why. If you use it often, the nozzles will stay clean. The problem starts when you don't print often, like not every week, or sometimes months inbetween a printjob. Then you will need to clean the nozzles often (which costs a lot of ink) or you can simply throw the printer away, because a new nozzle is more expensive then a new prin
      • "That is exactly the reason why. If you use it often, the nozzles will stay clean. The problem starts when you don't print often, like not every week, or sometimes months inbetween a printjob"

        Exactly. My old Epston Stylus 600 is absolutely unusable now because it just sat there for about 3 months. And then the black print head clogged and even with 20+ cleaning cycles, cleaning manually with 99% ispropyl alcohol, more cleaning cycles, etc., the thing simply does not print black anymore. I know that colo

    • never even had to clean the nozzels and it goes through at least one round of ink every month

      You hit the nail on the head, really. I've had a Stylus Color 800, then a Stylus Color 980, and both have fallen victim to the same problem. The print heads clog when it sits unused for a while. Even a week is sufficient to cause problems. After a few cleaning cycles, your ink is gone and the heads clog completely.

      My solution was to do without a printer for a while (used the ones at work), then buy an HP Color La
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Friday October 08, 2004 @01:54AM (#10467445) Journal
    It's cheaper to have your photos printed at the photo lab than to do it at home. The cost of a high quality photo printer more than offsets the gains per photo. Consider that you need to replace the printer after a year or so of heavy printing (these things don't last forever as we all know) and you will typically find yourself far behind what you would have saved if you had just had the photos printed by the lab.

    Now, with digital you have the opportunity to select which photos you want to print, plus the ability to digitally enhance pictures before having them printed, so this saves money over film in the long run. However, printing those shots at home is just throwing money down the drain.
    • by Kris_J (10111) *
      I agree. Printing photos at home is a mug's game. If you absolutely must have your photos on display and you don't want to have them printed at a lab, try getting hold of an old laptop and doing a digital picture frame conversion [likelysoft.com].
    • You can hardly argue with 10p for an 8x6" glossy. It gets cheaper if you do more, in some places. And of course, for some lucky people, it's 0p per print, if your gf works at the processing lab. My local Fuji minilab (where my gf works) takes the attitude that if the lab's not doing anything, the staff might as well be printing their own stuff to get more experience in using the kit.
    • Depends on what you need to do. If it is 8x10 printing, then go get yourself a Epson R200 ($100), pay for the photo paper (not the premium), and buy the retail ink ($14/cart).

      It comes out to $2.50 a print. Premium paper brings the cost to about $4 per print. Go to a store and it is much more expensive.

      If you are trying to do it cheaper then this, you are going to be pissed off and not get results worth looking at.
      • Whatever place you are going to is ripping you off. The best camera shop in the city here only charges about $1.50 for the same service, and if you get your color profiles right and take them an appropriate file, even the cheap places like Wal Mart or a drug store photolab's machine will produce a very good print for about $0.75.

        It used to be the case that digital prints were expensive like this, but not anymore. The last time I paid more than a couple of bucks for one was probably in 1995.
        • You can get an 8x10 on film paper for $0.75? Bullshit.

          • You think they cost anywhere close to $0.75 to actually print? Those machiens don't much care the area they are printing. 4x6 photographs can be printed on average for 20 cents or .833 cents/in^2 at retail prices (though you can find some poaces that print 4x6's for less than 15c each). That should price an 8x10 at 67 cents at the same rate based on area. It's not like an 8x10 print is unnecessarily oversize for a standard photo printer or that producing them has any higher cost or margin of error, so the f
      • It comes out to $2.50 a print. Premium paper brings the cost to about $4 per print. Go to a store and it is much more expensive.

        I dunno, I get 8x10s on real film with no fading issues for about CDN$10, which is approximately US$6/print. Still dirt cheap to me, and I get 4x6s for $0.50/print at the same place (Black's). For the $2/print it's simply not worth arsing around with the printer and ink and all that hassle. I don't print all that many 8x10s anyway, maybe a dozen a year.

    • I don't even think the high quality printers are worth it. Our Epson Sylus Photo 1280 can't print high quality for shit, and it's supposed to be a damn fine photo-quality printer. It doesn't seem to matter if we use Epson inks and paper or refill inks and third party photo paper; the ink seems to "pill" on the page sometimes, the dithering blows goats and generally the quality sucks. Adjusting the printing properties in the win32 driver doesn't seem to do a whole lot to help, either.

  • get a laser (Score:3, Insightful)

    by austad (22163) on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:09AM (#10467496) Homepage
    You can get a greyscale laser printer for around $100. My Samsung was around $179, and it rules. I got it about 2.5 years ago, I've put a ton of paper through it, and I'm still on the same toner.

    Color laser printers can be had for $400 or less now.
    • I'd be interested in knowing how color lasers compare to inkjets for photos.

      None of the inexpensive color laser printer descriptions I've seen ever say anything about photos. They mostly have ambiguous claims that makes me think they're for colorful primary-colored pie charts and that's it.

      Does anyone have experience with laser printers and photo-quality output?
      • Yes, they're terrible. I printed a few color pictures on an HP LJ8550, and they all look like I'd melted wax on them or something.
      • I printed a number of pictures on the HP Color LaserJet 3500 at work, and I'm very pleased with the results.
      • If you print a photo with a laser printer it will look printed as pictures in books, it will not look like a photo. The quality with my Minolta Magicolor 2350 is quite good.
        • Agreed. It has that SemiGlossy Book finish, instead of the really glossy photo finish, but I have found the output from the HP 4500 to be preferable to that of most inkjets I've used. But it's probably a case of "to each his own."
      • They are passable, but I would not ever call them "quality prints" -- the color toner will fade in sunlight, etc. much much faster than inkjet ink will. The main disadvantage in printing photos is that because the ink is not liquid it does not have any chance at all to mix with the other colors, thus the only way to create colors is via screen printing. Although the lasers are very high resolution, you can always tell the difference up close.

        If you want the benefits of both types of printing, you can try p
      • My HP CLJ 2550n does 600x600 dpi. My old Epson SC980 did 2880x1440 dpi.

        Color laser printers aren't for photos. I'd be wary of putting photo paper through them, anyway. It'd probably deposit all sorts of sticky photo paper stuff on the drum, costing >$100 to fix/replace.
      • >Does anyone have experience with laser printers and photo-quality output?

        I have pretty much the first colour laser made (an HP Laserjet Color... no part number extension) and while it doesn't look great, modchip diagrams print readably. It prints at only 300 dpi for colour.

        I expect the technology has advanced from "muddy but good enough to give away" to "good enough to hang up on the wall" over the past decade.
    • We have one of the cheapie HP colour lasers. While the thing does wonders for brochures, etc... and prints better on plain paper than my HP PhotoInkjet, the quality of the inkjet for photographic images seems quite a lot better than the laser.

      I'm not sure that colour lasers are so much intended for picture printing as they are for letterheads with coloured logos, etc?
  • Canon (Score:5, Informative)

    by gizmo_mathboy (43426) on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:11AM (#10467510)
    They are reasonably priced for the printer itself, about $100, it color separated (CMYK) with a cartridge for each color and they're only about $10 per cartridge.

    You could just get a color laser. I like the Xerox Phaser 8400. Very cool.
    • Re:Canon (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by ForestGrump (644805)
      Dunno, I got some color hp laser at work and it seems to disappoint me.

      1. After sending a print job to it, it takes about 2-3 minutes (maybe more) for it to "warm up" and do its "calibration.

      2. even after a calibration, its still off! print a straight line of color and the 2 colors don't blend perfectly, leaving a thin border of slightly off.
    • Re:Canon (Score:3, Insightful)

      by real_smiff (611054)
      Canon are great but if anyone can tell me how to re-seal a (official) cartridge properly i'd LOVE to know - i've tried blue-tack (as per ink mnfr recommendation), i've tried insulating tape, and it's still driving me potty. half the time it seems to seal and i come down in the morning and find all the ink from one or more colour dumped into the printer. it understandably has trouble coping with that much ink going into the pads. i have a Canon i850 btw. my next plan is maybe to try a hot glue gun to seal th
      • Re:Canon (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iainl (136759)
        The thing with Canon ink cartridges (I've got an i350) is that they're actually pretty reasonably priced - 5.99 in the UK, rather than 23.99 for the HP.

        So I just don't bother going down the refill route.
      • Re:Canon (Score:3, Insightful)

        by maeka (518272)
        I also have the i850, and hot glue works perfectly.
    • Re:Canon (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The Phaser 8400 is a very nice printer, but in general color lasers produce pretty ugly output. They're also expensive to use and maintain: color toner, belts, fusers, fuser oil, transfer assemblies, rollers, imaging drums, whitchawhatzits every way you look. They're also extremely mechanically complex, which affects general reliability. On the low end you probably won't have so much maintenance, but the output will be crummy and slow. Color lasers, as I see them, are really niche printers: they're perfect
      • >Cartridges may run more than $100, but will usually last for thousands of pages

        If you search around google, you can get toner refill kits. Usually you pay about $25 for the hole melting tool (which is nothing more than a high wattage soldering with a special end). After that, you pay about $15 per bottle of toner, which will fill the entire cartridge. Most cartridges are good for about 2 - 3 refills. Fresh bottles should include sealing caps.

        For the ungodly cheap person, you can then replace the d
        • My brother HL 5050 :

          From the manual :
          This printer can print up to 20,000 pages* with one drum unit. * At 5% print coverage (A4 or Letter size). The actual number of printed pages will vary depending on the average type of print job and paper.

          From froogle : $147 at several shops.
          • > My brother HL 5050 :

            The brother HL-760 is only rated for 10,000 pages. Searching google I see prices have come down to the ~$150 range, but that doesn't take the sting out of it. Furthermore, the printer has a drum life counter, and will refuse to print after 10,000 pages. And, to add insult to injury, resetting that counter requires a special plastic sheet (which I managed to find the specs for).

            Once reset, to add insult to injury, Brother was right. Their "high output" drum completely poops out
    • Re:Canon (Score:2, Informative)

      by fruitbane (454488)
      I second this recommendation for Canon. I did some research a couple years ago along this line.

      HP and Lexmark have print heads included in the ink cartridges. This means you always have a fresh print head, but it also means you pay more. And Lexmark and HP are the two worst companies about ink technology and lockouts.

      Epson has the print heads in the printer itself, but they can only be replaced by Epson techs and cost quite a bit.

      Canon printers are a little cheaper than the others, with cheaper ink as we

      • I second this. I bought a Canon (S330) printer over a year ago and it has continued to serve me well, the Black ink cartridges are CHEAP ($10CDN!!!). They don't last terribly long, but I figure 2 cartridges are about equivalent to 1 HP for my old printer. And a lot cheaper.

        The only problem I have with it is I don't print very much most of the time. (And when I do it's typically a few hundred pages at once). So a couple of black ink cartridges have dried up on me.

        That said, the cartridge dried up, but the
    • Canon has the worst linux support, though.
    • I have a Canon F60 and I am most pleased.
      Here's a review. [com.com]
      It's huge, but I print rarely and it has not shown any sign of clogging whatsoever so far. And the ink is cheap and CMYK in four separate cartridges. Has a compact flash reader too.
      I was so happy to dispose of my Lexmark POS. Their cartridges are expensive and clog immediately. I will never ever give Lexmark another cent again.
    • by wrf3 (314267)
      A "me, too!" for Canon. Had an Epson and the print-head clogged twice. The first time it was cleaned under warranty. The second time would have cost more than a new printer.

      HP's have the print heads in the cartridge which makes them expensive.

      Canon print heads can be replaced yourself (although I haven't had to do so). One son has a Canon 920 for college and we have an i560 for home. No regrets.
  • I have gone through two Epson printers (Stylus Color 640 and Stylus Color 740) because ink dried in the print head. Both printers were not worth the price in money or effort to fix them (both reasonably old), so they were both trashed. They had both been hand-me-downs from others anyway.

    However, I suddenly found myself having to do alot of printing for classes so I went and specifically looked for a printer with the print head on the ink cartridge. I got an HP Photosmart 7260 because it was the cheapest o
    • by Twylite (234238) <(az.oc.tpyrc) (ta) (etilywt)> on Friday October 08, 2004 @04:14AM (#10467937) Homepage

      Similar experience here. The head "burned out" in my Canon BJC printer. Cost of replacement R600 (~ $92); cost of newer, better printer R450 (~ $70).

      If you can remove the print head from the printer you can often recover it by soaking in warm water (just the end bit, really) and then allow it to dry thoroughly. Doesn't work with burned out heads unfortunately.

      In my experience, cartridges without a head are cheaper, but your printer will not last as long. Personal opinion, if you don't need color, get a laser.

    • I too suffered through a couple of Epson Stylus color 740's... horrible print head storage. My in-laws had the same worthless printer and same problems.

      I was glad it stopped printing so I could replace it with a $60 Canon S400 that has run like a trooper for the last 3 years!

      I purchased a printer dock for my camera that uses thermaldye transfer and never looked back. If I need larger prints - the photo mart takes care of me.
  • It depends. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sakusha (441986) on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:30AM (#10467599)
    Your question is too vague. What are your requirements? Do you do high volume printing? Or just a few HQ prints every few weeks?

    This really makes a difference. Back in the 80s, before inkjets were common, I used to operate an Iris inkjet 3072, it made 11x17 prints with a cost of paper and ink of about 20 cents, IIRC (we charged $75 per print). Quart bottles of ink cost less than modern inkjet carts, each CMYK color was fed from a bottle, I only changed bottles about once a week, and the printer ran full time about 16 hours a day. BUT the printer cost $80k and the annual service contract was something around $8k. And you had to buy the service contract because the print heads (nozzles actually) died often, they required continual cleaning and replacement, it was a very high maintenance beast.
    The point of this anecdote is you can get really REALLY cheap-per-print consumables (ink) but it isn't practical unless you're doing incredibly high volume or you need extremely high quality prints. You've merely shifted the cost from consumables to hardware maintenance.

    So get us some more data on your requirements, and we'll be better able to make a recommendation. You could buy an Iris, or a cheapo disposable Lexmark, it all depends on what kind of printing you do.
    • I'll have to second this.

      Another thing to consider is what you expect in terms of quality. Do you want your prints to last a long time? Do you want to be able to use color profiles to make the color closely match your intent?

      A really good place to do some reading, especially for people going for extra high-quality output is inkjetart.com [inkjetart.com].

      Personally, I have two Epson printers. One is a $600 Epson 2200 using Epson's own UltraChrome inks, which can go for 150 years without fading if you use the right paper.
      • Sorry, your Ultrachrome inks aren't going to last 150 years, no matter what you do. If you're spending big bucks on expensive "archival" inks, you're wasting your money.
        I have spent years trying to tell people that there is no such thing as archival inkjet prints. It is technologically impossible with all current inkjet technologies. But that is a long story, full of technical details that are irrelevant to the original question.
        If you want archival prints, you'll have to output your digital images to a fil
        • But that is a long story, full of technical details that are irrelevant to the original question.

          It may well be relevant. The poster was asking about what printer to buy and what inks. If the poster is thinking of purchasing archival inks, you might be able to talk him out of it.

          At the minimum, I'm interested to hear why you think archival inks are useless. Of course there are no guarantees, but do you completely reject the accelerated aging tests conducted by Wilhelm Research?

          One thing about archival i
          • well ok, since you asked...

            Yes, I completely reject the Wilhelm Research tests. They are fundamentally flawed. For example, Wilhelm released a 100+ year rating for an earlier Epson "archival" inkset that turned out to fade significantly after only about 30 days, Epson withdrew it and reformulated their inks almost immediately.

            Archival inks aren't useless, they just aren't archival. They'll generally last a bit longer than nonarchival inks, but they aren't archival in any sense of the word used by art cura
            • It's too bad there's not more independent, reliable info out there. Have you heard of tests being performed that are more objective?

              One point you've missed is that not all inket "ink" is dye. The Epson Ultrachrome inks are made with pigment. Some third party manufacturers use pigment as well, but the range of colors they reproduce is more limited. Ultrachrome is Epson's way of somehow using polymer coatings to give them a dye-like color range, while offering the supposed long life of pigment.

              If you have l
              • It really is dye because there isn't any binder. Think of oil paint, it's particles that are suspended in an oil binder with some solvent to keep it liquid. The solvent evaporates and the oil hardens and a thick layer of paint with high solids density is deposited. But the inkjet water based "pigments" don't have any binders, it's just the solvent (water) and the pigments. Without a binder to help you get a thick layer (relatively speaking, we're talking microscopic layers here). here isn't any way to get s
        • You are correct on the bubblejet technology. The requirements of the ink to vaporize and condense makes it currently technically impossible to make true, long-term colorfast inks.

          Epson printers, however, use a mechanical inking system (a piezoelectric crystal) and so can use cold inks. This means their dye technologies are not limited by having to withstand extreme temperature and phase changes during printing like in bubblejet technology.

          So, yes, Epson inks can reach 70+ years with no fading without too
          • But the piezo ink droplets are propelled by an electrostatic field (think: Milliken Oil Drop Experiment). Oil droplets have an ionized surface so they can be easily propelled by an electrostatic field. But water droplets are neutrally charged and you need to ionize them to propel them in an electrostatic field. So they add salts to the inks, which as a side effect promotes oxidization of the pigments over the long term. That's how I understand the piezo technology, correct me if I'm wrong, they might have n
  • i own an epson 2200...

    why would you (me) ever want to NOT use the epson ink (ultrachrome pigment)

    why would you want to RISK putting in a lesser ink being into the holy shrine?

    gawd... I mean, i can understand modding it out to be like the higher end vat-ink printers (with tubes)...

    and besides... what 2nd rate ink jerk carries light magenta? or light black?

    LIGHT BLACK
    • I have an epson printer and I use Calidad brand refills (not sure if these are available outside Australia). They carry light magenta and light cyan, the ink is of comparable quality to epsons, and a quarter of the cost.

      I suppose that makes Calidad a first rate ink jerk?

      It's a well known fact that printer companies sell printers at near-loss in order to sell high volumes of ink (which is artificially priced more than gold by weight, how does that work?). Printer companies also resort to new tricks, like
  • For me, it's canon (Score:2, Informative)

    by rufus0815 (651685)
    I used to own an Epson photo printer some time ago; now I have a Canon 560i.

    The problem with my old Epson printer was, that the ink dried out inside the printhead, changing the device from printer to garbage.
    Due to the fact, that it's not possible to change the printhead (yourself) for epson printers and they are driven by piezo-elements - this means that, if the ink dries in the printhead, the printer is wrecked. (note: I didn't use the printer often...)

    After that I went through some reviews at 'Tom`s Ha
    • I have an s600, Quality is OK, not super, The ink for it is very cheap, and is changed 1 color at a time. Knockoff inks available for it are sub dirt-cheap. I've used it a LOT and it's still hapilly chugging along.
  • by foniksonik (573572) on Friday October 08, 2004 @05:28AM (#10468128) Homepage Journal
    It has 8 cartridges... Red, Blue, Yellow, Cyan, Magenta, Matte Black, Gloss Black and a Gloss Coat.

    Each cartridge is $12-$14. Depending on your printing needs you will run out of one or another color more frequently, but not all at once and not often. Quality is supreme. Hi-Res is 5760 x 1400 dpi and no bronzeing... great for giclee... super high qual prints. It has a setting for heavy weight papers... anyways... price it out and see if it is right for you... I love it.
    • I have the little brother - R200.

      Nice quality, but the price of ink is terible. They charge more for a black cart than for any color (around $17 for K, vs $14 for C,M,Y,c,m).

      This is OK for photos, but for a utility printer (mostly text, mostly black), the little 13ml cartridges go fast.

      But the R200 and R300 can print directly to CDs and DVDs.
      • I would get a laser workhorse for utility printing if I needed that.. I mostly print out proofs for my clients, very little text document printing.

        For this I suggest buying a 4 year old HP Laserjet 4MP... or modern equivalent if you want networking features or wifi connectivity... those old laser printers can't be beat for utility.

  • 26 refills, $17. Color printing is a serious hassle. After having many problems, we spent a lot of time researching it. We bought a Canon S820 and a Canon S520, and we have had good luck refilling the cartridges using a kit from IMS [ims-ink.com], which we bought at a Costco store. The refill kit is NOT available on the Costco web site. Each kit allows something like 26 refills, and the kits cost $17 at the Costco store. The second time you do a refill, it is extremely easy. We inspected photos and font characters under a magnifying glass and were not able to see a difference between the hugely expensive Canon ink and the refill ink. There has been no difference in fading.

    The S820 has six separate cartridges. It is very slow, but photos are much nicer. The S520 has 4 cartridges. It's faster, and good for printing labels, for example. We have had no problems with print heads, which are separate from the tanks. Both use the same refill kit, which comes with 6 ink colors.

    Buy low. Then buy low again. Our experience is that it is far better to pay $50 for a printer, and replace it often with a new $50 printer, than to pay a lot and buy a "good one". The technology is changing so fast that the $50 printer of a few months from now will be better than the $400 printer sold now.

    HP: Ugh. In the past we have bought several HP color printers, and been badly burned. HP is expensive, and we have encountered many quirks. (Since Carly Fiorino took over HP, we see a lot of HP printer software seriously failing, right out of the box. Can someone with little technical experience lead a technically oriented company? It's like a horse that can do math. It appears to be possible, until you realize that it is just a series of tricks.)

    Canon: Canon is an extremely adversarial company, in our experience, but less adversarial than the other printer manufacturers, at present.

    Canon does product churning, and apparently deliberate product confusion. Before, all the companies sold 6 tank printers as "photo printers". Now Canon is selling 4 or 5 tank printers as photo printers. The Canon USA web site [canon.com] has liberal use of web developer resume-building technologies like Flash and Javascript that tend to defeat use of Mozilla's tabs, and provide for menu choice surprises. There are extremely long URIs which are difficult to email.

    The Canon i860 [canon.com] is not related to the S820. Note that the web page says, "... it provides true 4 color photo printing...". One day a few months ago, the InkJet printer companies switched from "true 6 color photo printing" to the present "true 4 color photo printing". I don't know their motivation, but the 6 color printers print MUCH nicer photos, in our experience, with much better shadow detail. Tech company marketing departments take extreme advantage of any ignorance they find in customers.

    Testing in the store. At the time, Fry's was doing its insane prices thing with Canon printers. It was possible to buy "refurbished" Canon printers for $30 and $50, which is what ours cost. They weren't really refurbished, it seemed. We tested them in the store and found that 1/3 taken from sealed boxes did not work. The third time we tried opening boxes in the store and testing printers with a laptop, we were told not to do it. The only alternative was to take printers back to the office and find that some of them didn't work. I can understand Fry's position; I can understand mine, too. We bought all the printers that we opened that worked.

    Rebates: Be really careful with Fry's rebates; often we have had experiences where they use some trick. We bought Netgear products from Fry's with rebates. All of the rebate receipts were v
  • by Apreche (239272)
    Laser printer. On ebay you can get used laser printers that work just fine for quite a nice cost. And even thought you have to buy toner cartridges from the OEM they last for freakin' ever. In the long run the savings of a color laser printer far outweighs the initial cost.
  • go (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jjshoe (410772) on Friday October 08, 2004 @08:12AM (#10468580) Homepage
    Go color laser. Pull out your calculator and do the page comparisons. Not only will you find out it's cheaper per sheet to run a color laser you will also find the quality and the fact that the ink wont run off the page when it's wet top selling features.
  • the short answer is that what you want will depend on the volume of prints you plan to output.

    if you'll look around at most every digital photography review site, you'll find that pretty much everybody recommends and uses epson printers. i'm currently using the epson r800 and it's great for my technical docs and printing direct to cds, and my wife (who is a professional photographer) loves it for photos. epson is very particular about the inks they use, both in terms on longevity and in color gamut.

    with
  • If you do a lot of printing, I would suggest a model without the print heads built in to the cartridge, I think Canon and Lexmark are like that. If you print a lot, I would suggest an HP. Maybe even a color laser, if you have the scratch.
  • If photo printing is your main use, you should consider just having a printing service do it. Walgreens, Walmart, and several online photo printing services will give you higher quality, longer lasting prints. When you factor in the cost of the ink, printheads, photo paper, the occasional inevitable screwup, and the cost of the printer itself, it is usually less expensive also.

    I expect this will change in the near future. Probably when photo laser printers become affordable.

    Right now printer makers all
  • by mzs (595629) on Friday October 08, 2004 @09:24AM (#10469008)
    I had an early HP ink jet, and it was fantastic. How early, well it used a tractor feed so it had to have the kind of paper where you tore off the sides and was connected to Victor (XT class machine). That thing was fantastic, lasted more than a decade, the print head was NEVER changed. I would just squirt more (inexpensive) ink into the reservoir. Many years later I bought an early color bubble jet from Canon, to get color and experienced ALL of the hassles that people now know are common with ink type printers. It was so wasteful and expensive to run that for charts I used my trusty old imagewriter with a color ribbon until last year.

    What changed about a year ago? The price of both new and used color laser printers fell into range. I believe that you can get a new duplex capable color laser printer from Xerox for $400 at todays prices. (That is if my memory serves, possibly there was a mail in rebate involved.) Our laserprinter is used for almost everything and it natively supports PS and has an RJ-45 and print server built-in, it is an HP something or other.

    That printer is used for almost everything my wife and I print. For photos we have a small dye-sub printer. Sony something or other. We just have it hooked-up to the TV, not even to a computer and we only use it rarely because it is cheaper to just go to pretty-much any photo place. It is nice though for when you care about the color to be exactly predictable. (Each photo place seems to get the colors a bit different in my experience.) And I have had some problems with photo places having bad card readers which will sometimes be unable to read a few of the pictures out of the multitude on the card. So for situations like that or when you want the pictures now (trust me when you have kids and your relatives or friends come over that happens) the dye-sub printer is used.

    So that is my attitude. Do not fool around with ink anymore. It was SUCH a hassle for me that it was just not worth it in terms of time and ink lost. It all just led to aggravation. I cannot even name the printers that I use now, and I like it this way, because everything just works. The printer I hated, oh I REMEMBER that one alright, a BJC-70. I remember that from all the times I was on the net searching for help and because of hassle it was!
  • getting a printer that uses chip-less cartridges.

    I believe that Canon printers are good in that respect.
    • by phorm (591458)
      This is one of my peeves about HP. While they're no ignorent enough so as to "prevent" printing on refilled cartridges, they do not register them as full when the cartridge has been removed+filled+replaced

      However, they do still print, the software-timed status meter just stays low and you get warnings every now and again. There is a trick with covering various contacts on the cartridge that will trick it into resetting counters though - but while it worked on one cartridge the other didn't seem to fall fo
  • I was printing B&W text on my HP deskjet when the output started getting really crummy. I knew both my black and CMY tanks weere running low, but I wasn't printing color at the moment and I like to hold off on cartridge replacement until absolutely necessary. So, I replaced only the black. The output still looked awful. After going a few rounds with HP customer support, I finally found out the answer: Even when you're just printing pure black, the printer spits out a coat of cyan as a primer under the
    • Adding Cyan to straight black gives a richer and "truer" black than just straight black ink. Talk to a painter. To get a rich black, they always mix a bit of blue into the black ink.
  • While I still have a 4-year-old HP inkjet as my home printer, I plan to replace it with a laser. While I originally bought this printer to print photos, nowadays I get photos printed at Walgreens down the street. (1-hour service, "light-jet" style process) Someday I'll do a "digital picture frame" like another poster suggests.
  • These can be expensive and are prone to air ingestion (when you run your cartridge dry) or even when simply replacing the ink cartridges; this pretty much makes them useless and in need of replacement.
  • I've got an HP cp1700 - $500 uberInkjet printer (although they go on ebay for $200) - pure CMYK system with easily replacable individual cartridges and printheads - so when I'm printing tons and tons of B&W photos... I just replace the black cart. Beware, it does eat nearly a meter of desk space... it's huge.
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Friday October 08, 2004 @11:38AM (#10470074) Homepage Journal
    Ask the Laser Monks [lasermonks.com]

    No, I am not making this up

  • The really depends on how much you use it. I've had both and with my printing needs the In-cartridge was better. The reason being is that we don't print on a regular basis.

    The cartridge with only the ink replacement dried up during the month that we didn't print the ink dried. Now when we tried printing again and when we decided to fork over $30(CDN) for more ink, the printer still wouldn't print. It turned out that the print head ink dried in the print head. Asking repair shops and doing some googlin
  • I had to seriously rethink my need for color. I don't print family photos, and I can get better results from the printer at the drug store kiosk. I wanted something that would not gum up if I also went long periods without printing. I eventually ditched my inkjet for a cheap laser. I picked up the cheapest Brother laser known to work with Linux/CUPS and haven't looked back.
  • Eeeewwwooo, hard copy!

    LCD is the new paper.
  • I've found that for my printing needs, usually black and white text with tables, that Kinko's works just fine. My Cannon S110 costs about 12 cents per page and runs out of ink after 100 sheets. Kinko's charges about 9 cents per sheet or so depending on the volume. (More is cheaper still.)
    Just upload your files to their online form and pick a store. It'll usually be done in a few hours. You can go pick it up, or even ship it.

    Marv.
  • by cr0sh (43134)
    Why are you printing your digital photos? They are digital, they are pure information, they can be transferred and stored indefinitely - as long as you keep transferring them to the "next" digital medium. You can email them, you can edit them, you can view them on your monitor, on your TV, on your projector, on your cell phone. You can put them on a website for others to view. Why the need for paper? If you wanted "real" photographs, why not just buy a real camera with real film (which, at least then - unle
  • I recommend Canon mainly because they have not pissed me off either on the product side or the buisness practices side. MY old Canon BJC printer lasted a long time and was good with ink (replaced the ink $7-$15 ink tanks about twice a year, maybe three times) OTOH when the Canon did eventually die I got an epson (had an old dot matrix epson which was a good printer for several years before getting the Canon) but the newer Epson printers suck ink down fast and the ink costs about twice as much as Canon ink.

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