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Photography Question 
Donna L. Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2002
 

Photo Printer


My Epson R800 printer just began losing print quality and three head cleanings didn't help. So, can anyone recommend a new printer? Should I change to a Canon, maybe a Pixma 9000, another Epson? I'm looking in the $400 or under range. I do print for sale. 11X14 would be nice but not necessary. Any suggestions? Thanks!


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3/18/2009 7:30:02 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member
PhotoshopCS.com
Richard's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: Correcting and Enhancing Images
4-Week Short Course: Looking Good in Print and On the Web: Color Management
  Donna,
I wrote a blog on this that takes a different turn than you might expect. See it here:
http://www.hiddenelements.com/blog/2007/01/calibrating-my-home-printer.html
From your message, I know you sell prints, but I think it is a common error to think that printing at home saves money. There is the cost of the printer for one, but then time in maintenance, endless materials, cutting and mounting supplies, space for the printer and supplies and mounting. As a former pre-press person, I could deal with it, but choose not to and send EVERYTHING out. It ends up costing me less, is less of a hassle, and I print on printers with much more flexibility than any one I could afford to own (the printer I print on currently costs between $60,000-$100,000), and I make laser light prints via chemical process on photographic paper. My service uses and stocks the best materials, and it all costs less than doing it at home. They'll mount on a variety of materials, and do framing as well.
So my suggestion: print with a service. less hassle, less cost, better results, and THEY eat the mistakes...
I hope that helps!


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3/18/2009 10:55:31 AM

 
Donna L. Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2002
  Thanks Richard. I totally agree. I send all my senior portraits, etc. out to a lab. Mostly print for home use and need a printer good enough for that. I sell a few photo cards, etc. that I print at home but nothing big ... is there a printer you recommend above others for that kind of home printing?


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3/18/2009 7:43:53 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member
PhotoshopCS.com
Richard's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: Correcting and Enhancing Images
4-Week Short Course: Looking Good in Print and On the Web: Color Management
  My home use of a printer is pretty much limited to printing Google maps, directions, sometimes letters, labels, or some other odd or end. Everything 'photo' goes to the service. The only time I have photo paper in the house might be when one of the kids has a project to do. Other than that it is plain ol' white paper. The printer set up on the family computer came free with something else. I don't even have a printer attached to my main work station, and my laptop has never been connected to one.

So, for my purposes in home printing, just about anything will do, and if it breaks, I think there is a backup in the closet. HP, Canon, Epson, Lexmark, Samsung, Brother...they all make serviceable consumer models that do very similar things. Unless you plan to invest in a printer for some specialty purpose and business ends (which, again, I think is not a best option), most models will have similar specifications.

Richard


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3/19/2009 6:23:28 AM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  I find that if I do a nozzle check, and it's clogged, I'll run one nozzle cleaning cycle, and then a nozzle check again. If it's still clogged, I just let it sit for a while (powered on), then do a nozzle check again. Oftentimes, the new ink that is trying to go out of the clogged printhead will loosen the clog. In the worst cases, another nozzle clean a day later gets the clog out.
I've also found that, if the first nozzle clean doesn't clean it out, additional nozzle clean cycles done immediately after don't help things. It's best to let the printer sit for a while so the new ink can soften the old clog.
Re new printers, the new Epson Clarion ink printers offer the color gamut of dyes and the permanence of inks. The R280 would be somewhat equivalent in terms of capabilities to your R800.

But, I'd try waiting a day between nozzle cleaning cycles, with the occasional nozzle check thrown in to help keep wet ink behind the clogs.
Something else... try to print something at least once a week, even if it's just a nozzle check (uses very little ink).


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3/21/2009 10:51:16 PM

 
Donna L. Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2002
  Thank you John!! You saved me having to purchase a new printer! After trying twice I gave up but you were right a little rest and another try and its good as new. Thanks so much!!!


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3/22/2009 7:28:05 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  Hi Richard,
I have come to the same conclusion to have everything printed by pro printing services since my Canon PixmaPro 9000 quit working. I believe it's a mechanical problem from the error message. I use calibration & the prints looked good but the ink alone was costing me so much $$ for the amount of prints I was getting.
I agree with your opinions about space, paper stock, inks, and quality. I have been using a local printing company and occaisionally MPIX but wanted to ask which printing service you use (I didn't see any mention in your article).
Thank you,
Carlton


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3/22/2009 10:40:02 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member
PhotoshopCS.com
Richard's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: Correcting and Enhancing Images
4-Week Short Course: Looking Good in Print and On the Web: Color Management
  Carlton,
I don't like to mention the service, because I don't want to be blamed in the rare case that something does go wrong for somemone else...but I use a place called Color Tech (mostly) that is near me (http://www.color-tech.com/roes.html). I think it is best to have a place to go, where you can talk to the people, see who knows what they are doing, find out about new equipment, technologies and materials...This place is an old photo service that kept up with the times and successfully transitioned to digital. If I move, though, I would probably look for another service. But I've been going to Color Tech for years anonymously. I do use other local services for other things and keep on top of the local scene.

What I am saying: there is possibly a good service or two near you to explore...

Richard Lynch


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3/22/2009 10:56:39 AM

 
Donna L. Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2002
  Carlton, for the work I print to sell, I use Bay Photo in Santa Cruz. Everything is uploaded online using Roes...simple and great results...many templates and extras...Donna


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3/22/2009 11:20:49 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  Thank you Donna & Richard,
I have used a small local graphics store and they are friendly & knowledgable but use older equipment and occasionally prints come out a little light. I dont have a lot of choices as I live out in the sticks which is why I wanted to print myself. I watched a cougar cross my street a few days ago - we looked at each other & I ran inside and grabbed my camera that already had my 100-400mm lens mounted but kitty took off. I followed its tracks to the edge of the creek and lost it at that point. Elk (big herds)& Bear also live around here :)
I have used MPIX with good results but am investigating other online print services because they dont print 13 x 19 (which I already have a bunch of frames & mattes sized for). I'll keep looking...
Thanks again,
Carlton


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3/22/2009 12:13:55 PM

 
Rita Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/15/2005
  To Donna I agree that you should calabrate but if you can not help the problem I had a s9000 and it printed very very good pictures. ai would ritatell anyone it is well worth the money..


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3/24/2009 9:56:46 AM

 
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