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Printer/Paper options for M8 images


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Now that I've made the leap into M8 photography (as a hobbyist, not a pro), I think it's time to retire my over 3 y.o. HP Photosmart printer and invest in equipment that will do my images justice when I print them to display.

 

Any suggestions on what is working well for you guys- both color and B&W?

 

I'm talking right out of the box, plug and print, OEM ink (or if better alternative, give suggestions), and stock papers readily available. I'm sure there are "professional" setups available, too but I'm not extremely computer savy and am looking for something fairly simple when printing some of the more special images.

 

I'm using a newer MacBook Pro and Aperture 2.

 

As always I really appreciate you veterans offering some suggestions.

 

Regards- Hal

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Try this site, I have found it to be really helpful for setting up a printer and getting really great prints. He likes Epson printers and that is what I have used for several years with their papers. You can also get custom profiles but it sounds like you want the simple and easy route and this is the place to start. It was for me.....

Computer Darkroom - Home

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Very much depends on your budget and size limitations. I don't like the non-professional Epsons. My experience has been blocked nozzles, which mean the printer has to return to base for a very expensive repair. On Canons and HP's, you can replace the print heads yourself. The warranty service from Epson was of a staggeringly low quality for other things like roll feed problems (on R800 and R1800). I now have an HP B9180 in France and a Canon Pixma Pro 9500 in the UK. The print quality from the Canon is marginally higher but it is more difficult to tweak the print to get a good light dark balance. Reds are better as it has a dedicated red cartridge. The Canon is smaller and much quieter than the HP but much slower (about 50% slower I would guess). The HP is much cheaper to run and wastes far less ink from its much bigger cartridges than the Canon. Initially the HP was very unreliable and I had 5 guarantee replacements in the first 6 months. The brand new one they eventually gave me, rather than refurbs, has been fine ever since (nearly 2 years now). I leave mine 6 months at a time unused, as I move between my houses in the UK and France. Both start up OK but again, the Canon spends about 30 minutes autocleaning after a 6 month layup and uses about 20% of a cartridge contents on deep cleans and re-primes. If size/noise/vibration are not a serious consideration (which they were for me in the UK), I would go for the HP every time. It is also a lot cheaper to buy than the Canon.

 

If you want prints that last, it is always a good idea to go for a pigment based ink printer rather than a dye based ink model. Manufacturers are now claiming that their dye inks have a long life but I still have my doubts. I have had HP Vivera ink pigment prints sitting in full sunlight in my French house for over three years now, with no visible fading at all. They are not behind glass either. I am impressed.

 

For a larger A2 size printer, I feel that there are only two choices an Epson 3800 or 4880. Epson's professional service is a wholly different operation from their home products service. Both of these are truly first class printers and the price has now dropped to a reasonable level. If they had been the price they are now, when I bought the HP two and a half years ago, I would have bought a 3800.

 

On paper, for everyday image printing I like Ilford Galerie papers. It makes a big difference that Ilford supply specific ICC profiles for each paper for most photo printers, so that you get correct prints pretty much immediately, assuming your screen is correctly profiled. For specialist papers, I think the Hannemuhle papers take a lot of beating. Again profiles are available.

 

Wilson

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Hal,

I should have mentioned that I use the Epson 3800. It uses larger cartridges than the 2800 I had originally. I was always running out of ink with the 2800. Both are great printers though. If you are not going to print for a week or so, you need to turn the completely off so that the heads will not clog. By doing this, I seldom need to clean the heads.

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Hal

 

I only print on a very irregular basis and had a nice Canon something or other but the heads wer perpetually clogged. I now have a HP Photosmart Pro B8350 and use Qimage and can leave the thing for months before I print and all is well.

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M8/Lightroom/HP9180 simple, runs smoothly even after weeks in between printing sessions.

I use mostly Hahnemuhle papers (photo rag, photorag pearl) and Ilford baryta.

Same here though I print on Satin Canson, always A3.

Note I previously ran this setup on a Windows PC and it was a disaster as all drivers got mixed up. I bought an IMac (first time in my life) and from then, it's been great.

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HP B9180 ... I leave mine 6 months at a time unused, as I move between my houses in the UK and France. Both start up OK but again, the Canon spends about 30 minutes autocleaning after a 6 month layup and uses about 20% of a cartridge contents on deep cleans and re-primes. If size/noise/vibration are not a serious consideration (which they were for me in the UK), I would go for the HP every time.

Wilson

 

Really helpful. Although i-photo reviewer says (politically incorrectly:eek:) "The HP printer should be left in standby mode all the time as the printer performs a self service every six hours, this keeps the ink flowing - but according to our government it is not ECO friendly, we are encouraged to turn off appliances when not in use. I guess when they turn off the exterior lights on Big Ben, the House of Commons and other public buildings then we will turn off our printers."

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That is a real bugbear of mine. These politicians spout about saving energy but I do not see the spotlights illuminating public buildings being turned off after midnight, after which time very few people would want to see them anyway.

 

The power light and daily cycle of my printer consumes significantly less power than those bright spotlights.

 

About time we were led by example!

 

Simon

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Really helpful. Although i-photo reviewer says (politically incorrectly:eek:) "The HP printer should be left in standby mode all the time as the printer performs a self service every six hours, this keeps the ink flowing - but according to our government it is not ECO friendly, we are encouraged to turn off appliances when not in use. I guess when they turn off the exterior lights on Big Ben, the House of Commons and other public buildings then we will turn off our printers."

 

I actually leave my HP B9180 on all the time I am in residence and yes from time to time it clanks into life all by itself and does some maintenance. However it hardly seems to use any ink doing this. The Canon does the same but nearly every time I come to actually print something, it seems to need one or other of the 10 cartridges replacing, so it wastes a lot of very expensive ink.

 

Please note however, that in the interests of the environment, I always turn the duck island lights off at night and also the moat circulation pump (only British readers will understand this one ;-}})

 

Wilson

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I actually leave my HP B9180 on all the time I am in residence and yes from time to time it clanks into life all by itself and does some maintenance. However it hardly seems to use any ink doing this. The Canon does the same but nearly every time I come to actually print something, it seems to need one or other of the 10 cartridges replacing, so it wastes a lot of very expensive ink.

 

Please note however, that in the interests of the environment, I always turn the duck island lights off at night and also the moat circulation pump (only British readers will understand this one ;-}})

 

Wilson

 

LOL!!!! You could always claim the lighting for the island and moat on your expenses I suppose :-)

 

Simon

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You guys have been so helpful. Your suggestions and links seem to narrow it down to two excellent printers: the Epson 3800 and HP 9180. At about half the price I'm inclined to try the HP 9180 first, but the latest reviews on Amazon (US) and HP's own website have been giving it HORRIBLE ratings due to reliability issues (but everyone notes fantastic printed images when it's working).

 

Should I take a chance or spend 2X the cash for the Epson (which I think will also do A2 printing)?

 

Thoughts? Hal

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Hal,

If you can afford the 3800 - go for it - you will not regret it but be aware that it is big and very heavy. If you are going to put it on a table, it needs to be a substantial one.

 

If it's the HP, buy the extended warranty (sadly not available in France when I bought my B9180). If the HP goes wrong, they courier you a replacement and you put the broken one in the same box and phone for a pick up. The upside is that with 5 replacements, I still have about another 3 years worth of free carts to get through, as you get another set with each printer.

 

Wilson

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You guys have been so helpful. Your suggestions and links seem to narrow it down to two excellent printers: the Epson 3800 and HP 9180. At about half the price I'm inclined to try the HP 9180 first, but the latest reviews on Amazon (US) and HP's own website have been giving it HORRIBLE ratings due to reliability issues (but everyone notes fantastic printed images when it's working).

 

Should I take a chance or spend 2X the cash for the Epson (which I think will also do A2 printing)?

 

Thoughts? Hal

 

Hal,

 

I almost bought a 9180 but in the end, decided on the 3800 - the overall winner for me was the size of the ink cartridges - the additional cost of the 3800 is easily offset by the cost of inks for the 9180.

 

Also, Wilson's experience with the 9180 swayed me too.

 

I haven't regretted the decision. The 3800 is a fine machine.

 

Cheers

 

 

Mark

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You guys have been so helpful. Your suggestions and links seem to narrow it down to two excellent printers: the Epson 3800 and HP 9180. At about half the price I'm inclined to try the HP 9180 first, but the latest reviews on Amazon (US) and HP's own website have been giving it HORRIBLE ratings due to reliability issues (but everyone notes fantastic printed images when it's working).

 

Should I take a chance or spend 2X the cash for the Epson (which I think will also do A2 printing)?

 

Thoughts? Hal

 

Just remember the 3800 does not take roll paper, if that is impotant to you.

Good luck with you choise.

Inunnguaq

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