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Old Dec 28, 2005, 12:39 PM   #1
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Having gotten fed up with HP for various reasons, and after checking the various forums and reviews, with some reservations regarding plugged nozzles, ink/paper compatibillity, ink usage, etc., I bought a Canon PIXMA iP5200. My needs are for a general use color printer for all purposes, plus photo-quality printing at up to letter-size from tiem to time. It was delievered a week or so before Christmas - CompUSA, $130 after rebates, free shipping.

My first project was printing Christmas newsletters, Christmas cards, and envelopes, printed at normal quality..

Cards were two per page, so about half of one side a color photo, and one half of the other side text that was perhaps half as dense as a typical text document. I printed 50 of these duplexed on 65 lb. parchment paper fed from the upper feed with mostly normal settings, but some color adjustment for the color which to my eye, was too bright and to warm.

Letters were two-sided duplex printed on plain paper from the casette. These were typica text density, but with approximately 25% on each side in color photos or graphics. There wer about 100 of these.

Envelopes were quarter-sheet size to fit the quarter folded letters and folded half-sheet cards. They had a typical address in a heavy, bold, 16-pt font, return address in 10-pt font, and a small (1 cm square) graphic next to the return address, and a full-width, 2/3 height photo, fading from full color at the lower-left corner to white at the uper-right corner. There were about 100 of these.

IUn addition, there had been a few test prints.

By the time this project was 75% printed (about 75 of each), I got a low-ink indication on cyan and magenta. Yellow and black pigment were down, and black dye was still nearly full. I was able to finish printing the remaining 25% of the project before the magenta ran out and I had to replace it.

On the following project, cyan quickly ran out, and I am still working on that project, with yellow now nearly out. The second project is a calendar. So far, I've only printed some test prints - a couple of full pages of thumbnails at normal quality, two or three full page (letter-size) photos, and a full page borderless photo, all at normal quality.

This is my first photo inkjet printer, and after reading posts on this and other forums on ink/paper incompatibility problems, banding under various conditions, bronzing, etc., I was wondering if I'd bought the wrong printer since I tend to stay with OEM ink, but a wide variety of papers.

The calendar pages are printed on two sides, and the paper I happened to have on hand that I wanted to use is Staples "professional" double-sided, heavy matte finish photo paper that I bought fairly inexpensively last year.

Last night I tried my first test print on the paper - the cover photo - but at only about 20% size on a small waste piece of the paper. It looked really good, so I tried the full size (letter size) borderless print - all still on normal quality. I printed from IrfanView after having worked the image in The Gimp and exporting to a several MP high quality JPEG. Just as I finished, the low ink warning popped up for the yellow cartridge.

I was delighted! The print looked every bit as good as a traditionally processed photo of comparable size.

CONCLUSIONS - first, at least for plain paper (standard copier paper, "parchment", and envelopes) and the Staples photopaper I tried, I could hardly ask for more. Speed is great - but keeping in mind that my previous printer at home was an HP 720 - pretty old and prety slow to be comparing against. My work printer is an HP 6122 (not a photo printer), but the Canon is still impresive compared to that. I haven't had the printer long enough to expect any clogging problems, so can't comment on that. I don't use it every day, but it probably is used a minimum of once or twice a week - usually more. It rarely is idle more than a week or two.

My ony reservations at this point is the ink usage. It's hard to make comparisons. I did essentially the same (different photos and letter content) Christmas projects last year but don't really recall what the ink cost was. My gut feel is that while this printer may have taken more or less ink for the project, at the cost of the cartridges, I think the Canon may have been more expensive. Tiem will tell. I have, in the past, stayed with OEM cartridges since I choose to have the assurance of quality and predictable colors, but if they don't come down in time, third party ink may be very tempting. I am not into refilling - tried it years ago with my previous HP and was never satisfied with the result.

Interestingly, I saw essentially no variation between online and local store prices of the cartridges. Online would even add shipping, so had no advantage. I bought at Staples (dye-based cartridges, didn't have the pigment cartridge) and OfficeMax (pigment black) for the same price as they were at a variety of places online, where I could find them. The exception was Office Depot, who only showed one of the dye-based cartridges (forget which one) and it was priced roughly twice the cost of the same at other places - wierd!

Anyhow, thanks if you stayed with this. As a new photo inkjet printer users, new Canon convert, and with a just out printer (5200), I htought first-hand experience might be of interest.

Optiker
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