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What is a good printer for home printing of photo's up to A4

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Showing 1-25 of 52 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Aug 2012 19:52:57 BDT
EMANON says:
What is a good printer for home printing of photo's up to A4 ?

Posted on 12 Aug 2012 02:22:11 BDT
Simundo says:
It depends how much you want to spend!

I tried home printing but it costs a fortune in ink and paper, for me I don't bother for the number of photographic prints that I frame and display. For me it starts with the calibration of my monitor, once I have that sorted, find a professional lab that will not tinker with my photo's that I send them, ask them what printer format to optimise my photograph for and send them the photographs to print in that format. They usually come out as I intended them to.

In my experience, home printing just doesn't achieve the results I am looking for, high street labs tinker with the colour balance and ruin a perfectly good picture so I just batch my photographs (it's the same delivery cost whether I have 1 or 50 photographs) and send them to peak imaging.

Hope this helps

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Aug 2012 10:26:53 BDT
michael says:
I use a Epson Stylus R245 photo printer, quite cheap to pick up a used one.
I do a lot of Landscape and portrait photography and print my images using compatible ink cardtridges, which are very cheap on Ebay. I do use quality photo paper such as 'Fujifilm premium plus' with excellent results.
I hope this helped.

Posted on 12 Aug 2012 13:55:42 BDT
EMANON says:
I've recently tried tesco photo online for some larger prints and wasn't too impressed, is why I ask, I don't mind sending them to be printed professionally, but don't really know anywhere decent online, I'll try 'peak imaging' - Thanks.

Posted on 12 Aug 2012 17:40:56 BDT
Graham H says:
Fuji Digital Imaging, in Yorkshire is where I post mine. They use Fuji Crystal Archive and they look great. My local Kodak place also does a cracking job.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Aug 2012 19:00:14 BDT
i think you can't go wrong with an epson i have an old dx7400 it works very well with good ink and paper

Posted on 15 Aug 2012 13:39:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Aug 2012 10:08:11 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Home printing via an inkjet printer should be seen more of a convenience as opposed to cheap to run and, in absolute terms, quality of results. Although I do need to qualify this latter point.

If you are not going to want many A4 prints (or do a lot of home printing to justify the purchase of a printer) then purely on the grounds of cost, you would more than likely be better off having each one printed professionally. GEH has mentioned Fuji Digital Imaging as one possibility and advises that they use Fuji Crystal Archive paper. Unlike a home printer, this is proper photographic paper, and not an inkjet, and so they will have the look and feel of a proper photograph.

If you are considering an A4 home printer, and assuming you don't already have one, there are a few things you need to take into account.

1. Print results do very much depend upon using the makers's inks and own brand paper. Although with paper, it is possible to "fine tune" the result by experimenting with different brands. Some will produce inferior results, but others could surprise you and give you a result you prefer.

2. Whatever brand of paper you use, you do need to match its type to that which the printer was designed for. Printers use dye or pigment based inks and for best results require papers of different characteristics. Basically, papers are either porous or no-porous, and if you use a non-porous paper with printer ink designed to work with porous paper, for example, prints come out very wet and take eons to dry, and even when they do, as the ink has not been absorbed by the paper, the prints can get easily scuffed and the ink worn off. I'm not saying one type is necessarily better than another, just that the printers have different requirements.

3. Just as important as the correct type of paper, is the number of separate inks the printer uses. A good many printers use a four-ink system for photographs, but whilst the results are, on the whole, good, the colour gamut is restricted and this is why more serious printers use at least 6 separate inks for a wider gamut. Unfortunately, going to A4 exposes the weakness of a four-ink printer. Even better printers use 8 inks, and some 10, but these latter units do tend to be somewhat expensive to buy and to stock up on inks!

I have two printers, both Canon, a five ink wireless all-in-one for convenience (the fifth ink is purely for text) and an 8-ink Pixma iP8500. Side by side, there is an obvious difference in colour reproduction from the 8-ink printer, but to my eyes I can't say this was that noticeably that much different from my previous 6-ink Canon printer, the S900. So, on this basis, I'd suggest missing 4 ink printers and go for a 6 as a minimum.

4. Printer ink costs can be misleading, and I'm not referring to using compatible brands. My Canon all-in-one replaced an earlier HP all-in-one. HP ink cartridges were less expensive than Canon's, but given the small amount of ink in each HP cartridge, printing turned out to be a lot more expensive. Hence, when it failed on me a few months ago, I opted for a brand I was more familiar with.

Ink costs can be cut by using TP compatibles. I haven't an opinion one way or the other regarding their use, but would suggest that unless the colour dyes exactly matched those of the original manufacturer's inks, it won't be possible to get the same results simply because the printer profile is for the manufacturer's own inks. This will always be the case, unless the printer allows you to create your own profiles with compatibles installed. So although compatibles may indeed be compatible in use, lack of colour accuracy, as opposed to likeable results, has to be borne in mind.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2012 17:03:30 BDT
Hi TJ,
I would concur with that but have had great success with compatible inks. I find that as long as I use a good brand of photo paper: Kodak, Fuji, Canon etc the results are pretty good. Cheap paper can be apalling though.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2012 17:52:08 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Hi, Dr. A.

Whilst I haven't used any compatible brands, I do think that paper probably has more of an influence on the finished print, as you suggest. It makes a big difference even with my original Canon inks. I have heard that one brand of so called compatible ink is made by a TP manufacturer who supplies for Canon. Whether is so or not, I've no idea!

Posted on 15 Aug 2012 18:12:47 BDT
TILLY says:
i have a kodak esp 1.2 and it does a brilliant job and as advertised cheaper inks and longer lasting .i found this to be true after using an hp printer with ink costing nearly double and not lasting long either! cannot praise this highly enough. after all kodak are photo experts

Posted on 15 Aug 2012 21:40:44 BDT
EMANON says:
Don't skimp on the paper then would be good advice.

Posted on 15 Aug 2012 21:52:06 BDT
Graham H says:

Posted on 19 Aug 2012 19:18:59 BDT
Fishman says:
To answer the original question....

Canon MG6250.

It has a dedicated grey cartridge, B&W is stunning with lovely contrast. Just do it.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Aug 2012 20:49:40 BDT
I recently had to replace my Epson and went the whole hog and got a Canon MG 6250 about £150 and I'm very very happy that I did. The trouble with cheap printers is that many of them only come with one colour cartridge and when you print a photo with either sky or grass bang goes your colour cartridge and £25 of your money spend wisely and get a good printer you will save money and get a better photo. By the way the Canon has 6 cartridges including a Grey and 2 Blacks.

Posted on 1 Sep 2012 05:32:41 BDT
G. Young says:
Well your question is "for home printing" not going to an outside printer, I am 64yr old retired, who has just gone back to college to study HND photography. The college uses a high quality (i think 9 ink) Canon printer with genuine Canon inks. I use a Canon 560 Pixma with the cheapest inks available, but normally Fuji Premium Plus A4 paper, and the difference is minimal. I think I paid around £80 for the printer new, a set of 5 inks is only about £8 (Amazon) Fuji paper I buy from 7dayshop when on offer ( normally 3 packs of 20 sheets A4) College charge £1 per A4 print I find the cost of my home printing at 40/50p. Maybe for an exhibition I would go for the higher cost option (but it is maybe)

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Sep 2012 15:13:07 BDT
I have a marvellous Canon MG5250 and have changed to compatible inks available from Amazon, from a very helpful supplier, First Call Inks. These inks are a fraction of Canon's exorbitant price and seem to be just the same very high quality.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Sep 2012 12:33:43 BDT
Reckshaw says:
I use a Kodak hero 5.1 and had no issues with it. I went for this brand due to the ink cost, they are lower than you may think. I would say though using a high quality papper is a must for good photo print.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2012 10:17:41 BDT
I. Young says:
Get a Canon MG 5250 (it may have been replaced with a later model in the same range) Use Canon Pro Platinum paper and Canon ink and you will get amazing results - at a price - but at least you have control over the entire process. If you want to get the ultimate results get a Canon Pixma Pro 9000/9500 series printer, but then the costs are a good bit steeper.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2012 16:44:12 BDT
Ian says:
I would say the best balance of good printing and economic inks has to be the Kodak Hero 7.1.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2012 17:30:40 BDT
hoult says:
I want a device which will deal with 35m/m transparencies scanning , putting them up on PC and printing off on normal size photo paper.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2012 18:01:21 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Well, it all depends upon what quality you'd like in your prints, and what you mean by "normal size photo paper". If 6x4 inches is all you require, then you may be able to get away with a cheap model.

Many are happy with just getting a print from their slides and/or negs and for them some of the very basic models, that aren't really scanners, but incorporate a small digital camera to photograph them, are all they need. You can find many such models on Amazon by the likes of Veho etc. This sort of machine starts at around £40.

Whilst I have a Canon F9950 flatbed scanner for my highest quality scans, I also have a Veho VFS-004, purely for convenience when I have no need of high quality, or make large high quality prints.

The secon route is to go for a photo flatbed scanner which will invariably provide much better quality, but will be more expensive, and it will scan photos etc as well as negs/slides. Canon and Epson are makes worth considering and which provide a price range to suit.

If you wish print large, you should be looking for a high dpi optical scan quality at least 3200 for 35mm sizes. You can always dial in less resolution if you wish.

The third, and potentially the best way, is provided by a bespoke film scanner such as those supplied by Plustek. These will be the most expensive for you, but are limited to neg film or slides only.

I'd suggest you first decide what it is you actually need and then check out what is available within your price bracket. Amazon is a good way to see what is out there.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Sep 2012 10:58:08 BDT
R. Thomas says:
Reading your comments sending your photos off to a lab might well produce a better photo if you give them all the info,But surley the fun in photography is doing it yourself, I personally think sending off to get printed is cheating, how can you say that it is your own work,ok if its your business not doing somthing that you should as a hobby.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Sep 2012 11:40:32 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 16 Sep 2012 11:41:15 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Sep 2012 11:53:07 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
RT, I don't entirely disagree, having done my own d&p and enlarging for 40+ years and then digital from 2002. However, I did qualify my comment about getting a pro print and this was based on the capital cost of a decent printer, paper and inks, and which might not be justified if only a few A4 prints were needed.

I did have to make an assumption that EMANON hadn't already got a home inkjet printer, or if he did, it was a very basic one not capable of decent A4 prints.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Sep 2012 01:25:35 BDT
Simundo says:
Hi RT,

I don't consider sending photo's off to a lab cheating, the great thing about photography is that you can choose how much you want to do yourself. Stick the camera on auto and snap away or go manual, use film, develop and enlarge yourself or go photoshop crazy! It's your choice

I take a lot of photo's underwater and my pleasure is achieving the image. I go on a dive trip, find a subject, position myself so that I don't damage any flora or fauna, guesstimate the manual settings for the camera and strobe, take a photo (or two if I'm lucky), check I am not overstaying my time at depth or guzzling my air, then on to my next unwilling subject. When I get home and done as little on post-processing that I need to (99% of the time white balance and minor exposure adjustments) I don't feel I have cheated by getting the occasional enlargement printed professionally.

I guessed (luckily as it happens!) that Eamon was struggling to get decent prints from a high street developer and I have been through the same process (you should see what they do to underwater photo's!!!). It's each to their own with photography, if you want to do it all yourself to feel that it's your work that's fine, I wouldn't criticize. It works fine for me for a professional lab to produce a better quality print than I can achieve. There's nothing wrong with either approach, but the one constant is that it'll only be a good print if it was a good photograph to start with.
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Total posts:  52
Initial post:  11 Aug 2012
Latest post:  14 Jan 2013

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