Are inkjet photo printers any good?

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Ken
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#1
I'm Rip Van Winkle. Just woke up from 25 years away from photography. Tell me about inkjet photo printers. They didn't have them before.

As an example, review sites seem to like this one: Canon Pixma TS9120

Is having one in this price range any fun? I doubt I'd print a bunch, but I have some ideas. I'd want them to look good though. Like glossy photographs. Sharp and bright. Something a young Rip would recognize.

How's the maintenance on these? I can't see myself making more than a dozen prints a week (maybe 6 tries each for 2 good prints.) The example printer takes 6 cartridges. How long will they last, unused? I'm more concerned about them drying up than running out. Would that happen if I didn't use this machine, say, all summer? Could I start where I left off?

Do these usually come with ink, even trial-size ink, or do I have to buy ink before I know if I like it?

Back in the film days I dabbled in making color prints. But it was impractical and unsatisfying to do on a small scale. Results from Jobo kits and the like just weren't worth the cost and effort. I'm concerned consumer inkjet printers are the new Jobo. Am I wrong?
 

nandbytes

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#3
What sizes are you looking to print and what's your budget?

I print up to A3+ sizes at home and I am very please with the quality and price. I certainly don't save money doing it. its more of a personal satisfaction thing which I appreciate not everyone cares about.
 
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Rich
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#4
What sizes are you looking to print and what's your budget?

I print up to A3+ sizes at home and I am very please with the quality and price. I certainly don't save money doing it. its more of a personal satisfaction thing which I appreciate not everyone cares about.
Second that, it's not cheap, but very satisfying when you watch a nice print roll out
 
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Col
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#5
The cost of Inkjet printing is exorbitant - And if you only use itsparingly the nozzels will clog up making the printer unusable. Buying cheap inke will only make the situation worse.

you would be better off getting the photos printed elsewere. And you did not mention the size of prints needed
this is exactly right, i haven't had the nozzles clog, but because i only used to print every couple of months the printer would go through its cleaning cycle every time i used it. This meant that it used more ink flushing itself through than it ever did printing, and when cartridges cost roughly 50 quid for a set then it's really not a cost effective solution. Any photos i want to print now i do through online vendors, costs very little in the grand scheme of things.
 
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David
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#6
The quality is excellent particularly for the specialised printers for photography. In fact it is hard to see how the image quality could be improved in a way that is visible. The best printers have a gamut similar to Adobe RGB and I doubt many could notice a difference between that and a wider gamut. Printing 6 a week is a lot more than I do now; probably just under one a week. I tend to print several in a batch and then not print anything for many weeks. The head does not seem to clog if the humidity is high as it has been all winter. But in periods of low humidity, it is best to do a nozzle check say once a week. 6 tries to get 2 good prints seems appalling. I expect to print correctly first time. The only occasions that I may have to reprint is when I have missed something in the editing. I can expect to get what I see on the screen. I do use Lightroom for printing and Proof printing so can see a simulation of how it will look before printing.

I would not agree about the colour darkroom printing which I did regularly for 20 years. Of course it was not as easy as a computer and modern inkjet printer. Those of us who print do not do so to save money. It costs be around £3.50 to print each near A3 sized print (cost of paper, ink and printer over 5 years) but I could get this for around £1.50 from a professional commercial printer. However, I can achieve much better quality for B&W and there is the satisfaction of printing yourself.

Dave
 
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Ian
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#7
I certainly don't save money doing it. its more of a personal satisfaction thing which I appreciate not everyone cares about.
Thirded. Sort of.
Generally, the cheaper the printer, the smaller the carts, the more expensive the per-print cost, and the more likely it is to break/clog/jam. Actual print quality these days is very good - especially if you don't scrimp on paper and get something decent. I've always bought OEM inks.

However, I've looked at it, and if you want prints on decent paper, then the cost is more sobering. An A4 print at DSCL is 70p on their toilet paper. It's a whopping £7 on their Permajet paper. I don't know which paper it is, but you can buy a box of 25 sheets of most of their stuff for about £25-£30. My advice would be to get a print done their on their cheap stuff and if you're happy with that, Bob is your auntie's husband. If quality is more your thing, home printing can actually be viable, but in my opinion, it's more about paper choice and less about the inks.
 
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#8
I'm a camera club member using an Epson P600. Results are excellent. I see other members' prints from Canon printers and commercial print shops - it's impossible to tell which is which.
I print at home for personal satisfaction. I can say "I took it, I processed it, I printed it, I mounted it - it's my work". May sound silly to some people, I know.
HOWEVER, it's more expensive than sending files away to be printed commercially.
With a colour managed workflow it's unusual for me to reprint for quality reasons
 

nandbytes

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#9
Thirded. Sort of.
Generally, the cheaper the printer, the smaller the carts, the more expensive the per-print cost, and the more likely it is to break/clog/jam. Actual print quality these days is very good - especially if you don't scrimp on paper and get something decent. I've always bought OEM inks.

However, I've looked at it, and if you want prints on decent paper, then the cost is more sobering. An A4 print at DSCL is 70p on their toilet paper. It's a whopping £7 on their Permajet paper. I don't know which paper it is, but you can buy a box of 25 sheets of most of their stuff for about £25-£30. My advice would be to get a print done their on their cheap stuff and if you're happy with that, Bob is your auntie's husband. If quality is more your thing, home printing can actually be viable, but in my opinion, it's more about paper choice and less about the inks.
I use permajet paper (bought them on offer so got it 10-20% cheaper) and cityinkexpress refillable inks which are really great quality.

I use dye based ink printer rather than pigment based one because the ink clogging is less of a problem for infrequent use. I use the printed once or twice a month and that's enough to keep it going.

my missus on the other hand uses canon selphy for 6x4 prints for her family albums.
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
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Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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#10
my missus on the other hand uses canon selphy for 6x4 prints for her family albums.

Last time I bought Selphy packs, they worked out at about 22p/print on postcard paper - what is the cost now?

I use a Canon Pro-100 for my photo printing. Not sure of the cost per print but IMO it's worth it for the immediacy and full control over the process. Despite irregular use, I've never had an ink blockage from it or my previous 2 Canon printers, nor have I had a paper jam. Does take up a fair bit of space though!
 

nandbytes

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#11
Last time I bought Selphy packs, they worked out at about 22p/print on postcard paper - what is the cost now?

I use a Canon Pro-100 for my photo printing. Not sure of the cost per print but IMO it's worth it for the immediacy and full control over the process. Despite irregular use, I've never had an ink blockage from it or my previous 2 Canon printers, nor have I had a paper jam. Does take up a fair bit of space though!
Works out around 17-18p for me. We stack-up on offers or from amazon warehouse deals.

I use canon IP8750. Not as good as the Pro-100 supposedly but very close to it. Takes us less space which is the main reason I have it. Also as I said it uses dye based ink over pigment ink which is more likely to clog.
 
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Rich
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#12
I have one of those Selphy printers and some boxes of the dye/postcards, haven't used it for ages
For everyday printing its a Canon IP7250 A4 printer using generic inks for 9 quid a full set
Also have a Canon Pro-10 for the better stuff, lovely looking prints although pricey to run, but isn't that what a hobby is for?
Don't recall any clogging up with the pigment, has an inbuilt cartridge agitator to keep things on the move
 
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nandbytes

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#13
I have one of those Selphy printers and some boxes of the dye/postcards, haven't used it for ages
For everyday printing its a Canon IP7250 A4 printer using generic inks for 9 quid a full set
Also have a Canon Pro-10 for the better stuff, lovely looking prints although pricey to run, but isn't that what a hobby is for?
Don't recall any clogging up with the pigment, has an inbuilt cartridge agitator to keep things on the move
Perhaps it isn't a problem with the canon Pro printers these days. Still space is an issue for me personally. When I have my own office room one day I'll definitely be getting one of those.
 
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#14
@drsilver

FWIW

I bought the Canon TS8250 it uses the 6 tanks and @ £85.99 from John Lewis was IMO a bargain considering the next/newest 8000 series, the TS8350, at £149 was quite a leap in price for just(?) the addition of the 5Ghz band WiFi.

I have yet to use up the setup inkset and have printed docs (single page and auto duplex) and a few photographs on the Canon 5x5 (sample pack) and the 6x4 semi gloss & gloss that I bought with the intention of printing the odd family photo and an inhouse test of ones I have/might get printed commercially for my exhibtion(s)

In regard to the photographs, I was very pleasantly surprised as to just how good they printed in some ways the equal of the current commercially printed ones :D

PS I have the ink warning on the Cyan and have a standard full set of inks (except the Photo Blue) with Magenta & Yellow low but no warning yet.....................I have printed 182 pages and that includes 6 off 6x4 and 3 off 5x5 photos

PPS oh, you can only see how many pages printed when you print off a nozzle check................a pity it does not display the page count either on the LCD display of the web GUI :(

HTH?
 
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Norman
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#15
Many years ago I had a printer that took 8 inks at a cost of £120 a time. After a couple of years I tried compatible inks, BIG MISTAKE, I didn't get through one lot before I had to throw the printer out due to blocked print head.

Similar thing happened to a later printer when I used compatible inks that had been recommended by a friend who had been using them for a couple of years. My printer lasted 2 months with them. Now I only ever use genuine inks.

I tend not to waste prints because of low quality, almost every print is really good. My wastage come from stupid errors ie A4 image cropped as I sent it to 6x4 paper, put paper in upside down etc. This would not happen if I took more care.

Hewlett Packard have 'Instant Ink' on compatible printers where you sign up for x number of pager per month and they send inks when you need them, you don't have to ask as your printer tells them when inks are getting low. The wife uses one and she is happy with the quality.

I keep meaning to test out a print service and have heard Mixam are good and not too bad a price. For A4 or smaller I will continue to use my Canon for now.
 
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Pete
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#16
I sold Epson printers back in the late 90's early 2000's and any problems were 90% down to non genuine ink. These days that's changed, not had any issues at all with my own Epson and Canon with compatible ink.
 
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Gez
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#17
I've been using Epson printers since 2000 and yes there were issues over blocked heads but that could be overcome. I have been using an SC P800 for a few years now and never had a single problem (that's buggered it probably) A calibrated screen, original inks, paper profiles and soft proofing means no waste and much cheaper prints. Great quality and a lot of satisfaction.
 
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Demon
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#18
Use to use the inkjet printers before realising how much hassle it is. I used to use CISS systems which is like set of tubes connected to your printer than has ink. It is cheaper than even refilable cartriges but honestly. Even average lab outperforms any budged printing on cost/hasstle ratio.
 
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Rich
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#19
Use to use the inkjet printers before realising how much hassle it is. I used to use CISS systems which is like set of tubes connected to your printer than has ink. It is cheaper than even refilable cartriges but honestly. Even average lab outperforms any budged printing on cost/hasstle ratio.
I enjoy all the messing about trying to get a good print, very satisfying watching it come out
Get it right and the quality is better than your average high st or online print place
 
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Trev
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#20
I enjoy all the messing about trying to get a good print, very satisfying watching it come out
Get it right and the quality is better than your average high st or online print place
Fully agree with this. I use a Canon Pixma Pro 10S and fortunately have the time, money and space to be able to use one. I find it is an essential part of my photography.
 
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#21
Fully agree with this. I use a Canon Pixma Pro 10S and fortunately have the time, money and space to be able to use one. I find it is an essential part of my photography.
I have the older Pixma Pro 10, not a cheap way to get a print, sort of money you would only spend on a hobby
 
OP
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drsilver
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Ken
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#22
I ended up buying that Canon Pixma TS9120 printer I mentioned in the first post. I'm more than pleased.

Images come out like I see them in PSE for the most part. Easily as close as they do on the web. I mentioned a Jobo kit up above. Way, way, way easier than Jobo, and frankly, better results.

It came with ink. I've probably made 20 4x6 prints and 6 8.5x11s. Cartridges come in Regular, XL, XXL. (Sure, I'm a grumpy old man, but why not S, M, L?) Looks like the included cartridges are full regulars.

1587257309885.png

It's kind of clunky to make work, but you'd expect that out of a $120 special-purpose machine. You're not paying for commercial efficiency. I bought it with the intention of using it to print photos. And really, how much do you have to touch the machine to do that?

But then I found the scanner. I wrote about that in another thread. I scanned 63 flush-mounted B&W prints that I've been carrying around in an old Agfa paper box for the last 35 years. But that pointed out a benefit and a flaw.

I picked a spot for the printer on top of a file cabinet. But it was hard to use the scanner there. If you're connected to WIFI (setup clunky but solvable) then moving it involves unplugging it and plugging it back in. One cable.

Except that I'm a hard-wire guy. It's philosophical (in my GOM brain). I believe when hard wire is an option, it's the best option. Always. I got ethernet to the top of that file cabinet. To go from ethernet to WIFI and back requires setting up the connection on the printer for each from scratch. It takes about one and a half times to get tired of that.

But like I said, prints look good. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to use them for, but so far it's been a fun toy.

20200418_162412.jpg
Samsung Galaxy S8. Flash = ON
 
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Rich
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#23
I ended up buying that Canon Pixma TS9120 printer I mentioned in the first post. I'm more than pleased.

Images come out like I see them in PSE for the most part. Easily as close as they do on the web. I mentioned a Jobo kit up above. Way, way, way easier than Jobo, and frankly, better results.

It came with ink. I've probably made 20 4x6 prints and 6 8.5x11s. Cartridges come in Regular, XL, XXL. (Sure, I'm a grumpy old man, but why not S, M, L?) Looks like the included cartridges are full regulars.

View attachment 275772

It's kind of clunky to make work, but you'd expect that out of a $120 special-purpose machine. You're not paying for commercial efficiency. I bought it with the intention of using it to print photos. And really, how much do you have to touch the machine to do that?

But then I found the scanner. I wrote about that in another thread. I scanned 63 flush-mounted B&W prints that I've been carrying around in an old Agfa paper box for the last 35 years. But that pointed out a benefit and a flaw.

I picked a spot for the printer on top of a file cabinet. But it was hard to use the scanner there. If you're connected to WIFI (setup clunky but solvable) then moving it involves unplugging it and plugging it back in. One cable.

Except that I'm a hard-wire guy. It's philosophical (in my GOM brain). I believe when hard wire is an option, it's the best option. Always. I got ethernet to the top of that file cabinet. To go from ethernet to WIFI and back requires setting up the connection on the printer for each from scratch. It takes about one and a half times to get tired of that.

But like I said, prints look good. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to use them for, but so far it's been a fun toy.

View attachment 275773
Samsung Galaxy S8. Flash = ON
Glad you are pleased with your choice Ken, looks good for the price, having fun with it is the main thing.
Quick question about the WiFi set up because my much older printers (Pixma Pro 10 and Pixma IP7250) are quick to connect.

Have you got a WPS button on your router?
If so all you need to do is press the wifi button on your printer until it flashes then press the WPS button on your router within two minutes
Automatically connects and stays that way even when the printer and/or pc is turned off
My IP7250 is on the other side of the same room, the larger one is in an upstairs room and both work fine.

Just need to get framing those photos now :)

Stay safe
 
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drsilver
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Ken
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#24
I've got a pretty big 2-story house and my router is centrally located in the rafters in the garage. Best placement for full-house coverage. So that single WPS button push requires climbing a ladder.

I don't mind configuring network connections once. But once configured, the machine should store them and make it easy to swap back and forth. Every other network-connected device I own allows that. Or at the least, like every other device with an ethernet port, once you plug the cable in, you're done. That should override all other network settings.
 
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James
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#25
Im toying with buying a new printer or getting prints done while you wait/posted to me
Current printer is a £50 all in one epson that doesnt like photopaper so never print anything out as a result. I dont want to have to go to a shop to print one image every couple of week so have been looking at either a mail order option - £2 postage every time - or a new printer - something along the lines of the Pixima TS8250/8350.

Now providing I have a calibrated monitor will i get the image as I see - kind of plug and play - it or do I have to load profiles/calibrate the printer or some other witch craft based on using a standard photo paper?
 
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Norman
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#26
Now providing I have a calibrated monitor will i get the image as I see - kind of plug and play - it or do I have to load profiles/calibrate the printer or some other witch craft based on using a standard photo paper?
You should get the image you see as the software will use the display profile to display it correctly on your monitor and use the printers profile to match the output to the printers recommended paper. I know the photos from my Canon Printer improved dramatically when I used Canon photo paper rather the a non-Canon paper.
 
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#27
I use Ilford paper in my Epson P600, and generate my own ICC profile using a ColorMunki Photo. Ilford's downloadable profiles are only slightly inferior. The major (quality) paper suppliers like Ilford, Permajet, Fotospeed offer downloadable profiles and, I believe permajet/Fotospeed will send you a file to print and return to them so that they can generate an accurate profile for your individual printer/ink combination.
If you are just starting out I would stick to the paper made by your printer manufacturer before you start experimenting. If you get poor results you want to eliminate as many variables as possible. Once you are more confident you can try other paper types. YMMV
 
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