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Old Nov 30, 2004, 12:35 PM   #11
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I have two printers at home for when I need "quick" prints. An Epson R300 printer which does great up to 8.5 x 11, and a Sony dye sub 4x6 printer which I use whenever I need prints of that size.

When time is not a priority, I head up to my local Sam's Club. They use the Fuji system as well, and only charge something like $2.00 each for an 8x10, and the quality is excellent. That way I get traditional "chemical prints" without running down my ink at home.


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Old Nov 30, 2004, 1:35 PM   #12
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I have been considering the question of printing at home vs. getting pics printed elsewhere, but haven't really researched the costs for both yet. My initial perception is you would have to print quite a few pics for home printing to be cheaper when you factor in the cost of the printer, ink, etc. Say a place like Costco does a print for $5 (all expenses included). If you do the same print at home on say a $150 printer, won't it take quite a while for the home printer to become the cheaper solution? :?:
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 1:58 PM   #13
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My trusty old HP930 threw some plastic parts and I needed another printer for general-purpose printing. I also got a Canon iP4000 and really like it. If you need a single printer for everything you might like it. You definitely need a printer with a large pigmented black cartridge for text or ink costs are outrageous for normal documents.

I have a wide format Canon S9000 photo printer and usually use my GP printer just for text and plain paper stuff. My photo printer was released less than two years ago and is now two generations old. The iP4000 is nearly as good at photos as the dedicated six color photo printer. But the latest version, the i9900, beats the iP4000 hands down. Newer is better for photo printers.

I would think it a waste of photo paper and ink to print photos from a multi purpose machine so old that cartridges have been discontinued. It might be good for text though, and that would let you get a dedicated photo printer. The extra colors improve the photos, although I am impressed with what the iP4000 can do with photos.

Take your black cartridge to a store like Office Depot and see if the cartridge might not be the same as an older Lexmark. According to Oddparts, Dells used Lexmark. If it works OK for text you might consider a photo printer.

If you can't get the Dell working the iP4000 or iP5000 will work both as a photo printer and general-purpose printer. They have some neat features like being able to print both sides and having two separate paper storage places so you can leave photo paper in the printer and still have plain paper. You can also put plain paper in both and it will switch when one runs out.

BTW... I'll be using a Panasonic FZ3 camera, so I don't believe it's equipped for use of a "docking station" (or is there something about the FZ3 I don't know?)
It doesn't have a docking station, but downloads are reasonable through the USB cable. You can get a card reader or printer with a card reader, but I don't think it is necessary. I just leave my USB cable hooked up to the computer. It is easy to just connect the camera and turn it on. Less chance of damage to the pins since you don't remove the card.

I'm not a fan of printing directly from the card or camera. And I am especially not fond of sorting, cropping and making decisions on a little LCD screen attached to a printer. Using software that comes with printers and cameras plus freeware you can do much better on the computer. The iP4000 came with some interesting software but I haven't tried it. Maybe JimC can comment on it.

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Old Nov 30, 2004, 2:45 PM   #14
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slipe wrote:
The iP4000 came with some interesting software but I haven't tried it. Maybe JimC can comment on it.

LOL - Actually, it doesn't look too bad...

Most of the time, I use either Epson Film Factory (I like their Album Pages feature, that lets me arrange photos anywhere on an Album Page and place text comments under them), or HP Photo Printing Software (I like it's templates, where you can print different size prints on the same page).

Both of these packages (Epson Film Factory and HP Photo Printing Software) will work with other brands of printers.

But, Irecently bought anotherPC, and I can't find my original CD for Epson Film Factory (it prompted me for a keycode when I tried to copy it from my old PC). So, I'll probably need to run two PC's for a while to get to it (although I may go with a dual boot config -- I just haven't got around to setting it up yet). :sad:

The Canon Software appears to work only with CanonPrinters, sincethe HP Printer I had didn't show up. But, it does have some good features. It will automatically index all photos on your hard disk, and seems to load albums pretty fast.

You can then select the photos you want to print (and select the number of copies you want under each thumbnail). It also has some basic image editing/enhancement features built in. For example: redeye correction, face brightener, face sharpener, face smoothing, trimming (cropping), image rotation, and can even date stamp your photos when printing them.

Once you pick a paper type, you can then select a template for the prints. You have an instant preview on the right side of the screen for how the prints will look with the template selected.

I did some quick screen captures and placed them in an album if you want to see how the software looks. Note that pbase.com is having some problems right now (after a power failure at their ISP yesterday). So, don't be surprised if it's a bit slow getting to the album:


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Old Dec 6, 2004, 6:07 PM   #15
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I use a Canon i960 for my home printer. It does a great job, but on larger photos (8x10's ) it is a thirsty machine. I tried some generic brand ink-tanks and they were pretty bad and did affect the quality of the print big-time.

With the coming of my new camera I have been checking into the new WALMART service that treats you like any film user at the one-hour service counter. The deal is you can play with your images on your computer then email them to walmart and they will be printed for you by the time you can drive down there to pick them up...as long as that takes about an hour. Another advantage is that I tend to do some of my image editing late in the evening so I email them and go fetch them the next morning. 4x6's are $.24or $.29 each depending on quantity of files submitted. I don't remember the number needed to get the price break.

I'll report back on the success or lack of it with the WalMart one hour plan in the next few days.
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Old Dec 11, 2004, 11:26 PM   #16
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I somewhat copied RyanH's test today and ordered 8 x 10's from a few places. One of the things I wanted to test was how fast things get shipped, so if a place sends pics in the next week before I leave for the holidays that will IMO be a good omen for the future if racers or others at a track order pics and want them the following week. Testing seven places also let me see how easy the sites are to navigate. To keep things consistent, I sent the same pic without any touch-up work (beyond the cropping some sites required).
Photocheap.biz was the cheapest at only $1.30 since they included free shipping for a first order (would have still been cheapest w/shipping, since s/h is only $.99). Winkflash was $2.98, xpphoto $3.37, ezprints (where I ordered some 20 x 30 posters Friday night for Xmas presents) $4.40, the Kodak center on the Costco site $4.43, smugmug $4.98, shutterfly $5.18 (after $.60 holiday discount). There were others I was considering but I figured seven was enough for now. mpix has $4.95 s/h which makes it pretty expensive for single print orders, and I'd heard quite the variance in stories about ofoto and snapfish. I've also read quite a disparity in comments about winkflash but since it was so cheap I figured I'd give it a shot.
Some observations: xpphoto and shutterfly don't seem to like the Mozilla browser (at least my version). I found xpphoto's inerface to be my least favorite. My favorites in that regard were winkflash and shutterfly. Smugmug seemed to be aimed more towards pros (for example, displaying all exif data of the pic) but then again smugmug is also pricey compared to others--after the 7-day free trial, you have to pay between $29.95 and $99.95 a year. Couple of other positives about shutterfly were 15 free 4x6 prints within the first 30 days of joining, and the ability to change an order within 30 minutes of purchase if an error is found (i.e. wrong pic selected). Not sure if others allow that, but I didn't notice others offering that.
With both Kodak/Costco and photocheap pics are stored free online for six months then deleted if there's no account activity. Others may have similar provisions, I didn't check or see it displayed right offhand. xpphoto allows online storage for only 60 days. I had no problems with ezprint Saturday using Mozilla, but when ordering posters Friday night the site crashed during checkout using Mozilla. I'm not sure if others do it or not (don't remember seeing it elsewhere), with ezprint there are different lights telling if your pic has enough resolution for the size of print you're ordering.
One final note, only shutterfly gave an estimated arrival time (Dec. 15-17). Others didn't estimate, photocheap only said order would ship out within a week. Photocheap did have a nice feature that you can order free prints on your birthday. Oh yeah, the Kodak/Costco site added sales tax which the others didn't.
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Old Dec 12, 2004, 8:40 PM   #17
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Despite price differences and different "rules" for every vendor... what I'm wanting to know is WHO PRINTED THE BEST QUALITY??

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Old Dec 15, 2004, 12:10 PM   #18
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The Epson R800 is excellent. Prints are archivaland the color is great. As well, the Epson Luster finish paper rocks.
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