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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Decent Photo Printers vs Pro printing...I would like to pick the brains of members who have invested in 500+ Photo printers. Although i would love ...
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Old 18-01-2009, 19:21   #1 (permalink)
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Question Decent Photo Printers vs Pro printing

I would like to pick the brains of members who have invested in 500+ Photo printers. Although i would love to have a decent printer, I just can't get the figures to stack up.

I currently use Pro Am for all my printing, paying on average 1.25 for a 18"x12" print, or 93p for 15x10. Postage works out 5 for orders under 10 & 6 for under 20.

Now having worked on too many outsourcing deals in IT, I take the following view on hardware, re writing it off over 3 years. So each print, in my mind costs

((Printer price / 3 years) / number of prints per annum) + paper cost + ink cost per print.

Can this really stack up to compete with sending the stuff away to be printed ??

Would appreciate peoples views , especially if you have estimated cost per print.
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Old 18-01-2009, 19:46   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Decent Photo Printers vs Pro printing

A couple of points to remember .....

My 16x12 album spreads cost me 1 at a very good very cheap pro printers ... they cost slightly less on the 4880 - even allowing for the odd spoilt sheet etc.

I have them straight away

The lab B+W machine prints don't hold a candle to the Epson output

You have a vast array of papers available for fine art etc that will now use the photo black inks so no need to swop.

Only time I use a lab is for proofs and anything below A4 .... as the 4880 doesn't do smaller.

In real terms there is a cost .... but bear in mind you would be running a printer of some sort that eats ink and depreciates.

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Old 18-01-2009, 20:00   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Decent Photo Printers vs Pro printing

Thanks

Which papers do you use on the whole Simon, as I often see people quoting 1 min per sheet (A4) for decent paper, before the cost of ink & hardware
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Old 18-01-2009, 20:07   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Decent Photo Printers vs Pro printing

I use Fuji Pearl 17" or Epson 16" when it is on offer ... these are the papers I have priced ....

Fine art of course will cost you more .... I generally use Ilford Gold Fibre Silk for framed prints etc .... and that was about 2.50-3.00 per sheet printed .... but then the finish isn't obtainable from a lab
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Old 18-01-2009, 22:25   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Decent Photo Printers vs Pro printing

Dave, I have done the figures and ProAm cost around 1 for a near A3 size. It was costing me around 2.80 for a similar print from my Epson 1270 taking account of ink paper and capital costs over 5 years (to be fair my 1270 is still working OK after 9 years). I was recently trying to decide whether to invest in an Epson R2880 or just use ProAm. In the end I bought the R2880 which is costing around 3 to 4 for each near A3 sized print ( a very rough estimate because I have not exhausted the first set of inks yet).

If I was running a business I would not last long so why did I do this crazy thing:

a. Photography is a hobby and I like printing myself.
b. While colour from ProAm is excellent, the monochrome was only OK whereas I have full control of my mono using the 2R880.
c. Little choice of paper from ProAm (Gloss and Lustre) whereas I use Premium Glossy, Matte and various specialised Art Papers.

It was close but my decision to choose the R2880 has to be regarded as a luxury rather than essential. Anyone choosing to go solely with ProAm (or similar) are taking a sensible and sane decision and those eccentrics like me are just enjoying themselves. From time to time I will still use ProAm for some colour images as they are quick and good value.

A good alternative might be to convert an existing printer to mono only (using low gamut inks) and use ProAm for all colour.
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