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Old Jul 1, 2010, 12:22 AM   #1
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Default Which photo Printer?...

OK so now I have my DSLR and I have been thinking. A DSLR is cheaper then film cameras, would printing your own photos be cheaper then getting them done at the photo center? I do relize that printing them at home will decrease the longevity of my photos to about 5 years in an album but Im not sure that I want to spend all the money to get them developed. Whats the best choice? Should I go with a home printer? If you think I should then which one is the best photo printer?
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 4:42 AM   #2
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Short answer - yes and no

No:
It is not cheaper than getting at a photo center. HP 4x6 photo paper, 100 sheets is $22.95 at Staples, or $0.23 each BEFORE the cost of ink. Most photo centers are in the teens, fully processed. Many, you can upload from home and go pick them up in an hour. Larger prints would have the same cost savings.

Also, be aware that the temptation is to print larger and cut 8x10 paper. Both 4x6 and 5x7 will fit only 2 on an 8x10, so therefore, you use more ink and print the 5x7.

Yes:
You will want a color printer for the occasional runs. Then you need to ask, do you need a dedicated "photo" printer or will the slightly cheaper 'twin' model without the photo lcd/electronics do just as good - and better with non-photo printing jobs.
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 5:38 AM   #3
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bigger the prints you do the more economic it is to have your own printer (at least i think so - was horrified at the cost of getting a a3 print done) - i like to print at A3 so makes more sence to print myself - i got the canon 9000 pixma pro mkII very pleased with it (also got it for an absolute bargin price - ordered it from amazon before they had any in stock when was released and they underpriced it got it for 299 now they selling for over 400)

as for longevity of the prints - apparently using geniune canon ink and paper i can expect some very good performance though not as good as the 9500 gives - its supposed to last for upto a 100 years

i also like the ability to print them off while sitting at home and not having to go into a store and faf around inputing details into those horrible kiosks

for smaller prints it probably is more economical though just to get them done in a store though
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 6:32 AM   #4
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It very much depends on where you get your prints done and your volumes.

If you are printing a lot of large prints then it makes sense to consider one of the proper photo printers.

But beware that you are entering the world of proper colour management. It's not easy to do it right, and can become expensive. If you are not willing to spend at least 500 on a printer plus around 750 on monitors, colorimeters, etc. I strongly suggest using one of the good online printing services like the Kodak gallery or Photobox.
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 7:19 AM   #5
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For most printing, it's much easier (and less expensive) to let someone else print them, especially if you have a way to upload them to a nearby printer and pick them up quickly if you're in a hurry (or you can wait on them to reach you via mail, which can lower your cost per print).

The Walgreens in my area does a pretty good job for 1 hour delivery type printing (and they're usually ready even faster). So, I often use them for quick print jobs, by just uploading the images and filling out an online order form. They'll often include coupons for discounts on future orders when you pick up your prints, too. Also, you'll often see online coupon codes for discounts if you check their photo page:

http://photo.walgreens.com/

Of course, the quality you can expect probably depends on how well they maintain their printers and the people working at a given location, as I've seen reports of poor quality prints from some of them, too.

You'll find good and bad quality at most of these types of printers. But, overall, the local guys here do a pretty good job, and it's very convenient for me to use them.

Just create an account and log in and they have a web based interface you can use to upload images to albums (and you can create a new album, or upload images to an existing album there). You can select multiple photos at a time (just by holding down the alt key and clicking on the photos you want to upload to an album). Then, once images are uploaded to one of your albums there, you can select the ones you want to print (and you can select an entire album if desired), and/or select the prints and sizes and crops you want to use. The online interface with Walgreens is pretty easy to use. Then, if you place an order, you can either have them mailed to you, or select a store for pickup (and the main Walgreens site just sends the order to the store once you select one).

They have a store leaving my subdivision, so they're extremely convenient to me; and usually have the prints ready in less than an hour (and I'd spend that much time trying to get a lot of prints done myself, not to mention my costs would be higher after figuring in paper and ink usage).

Using them is also great when you have family gatherings, etc., since you can send a link to the albums to relatives and let them create an account and order prints that they can pick up at their local stores (or have them mailed to them). They can also create CDs with selected photos on them.
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 3:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trihame View Post
OK so now I have my DSLR and I have been thinking. A DSLR is cheaper then film cameras, would printing your own photos be cheaper then getting them done at the photo center? I do relize that printing them at home will decrease the longevity of my photos to about 5 years in an album but Im not sure that I want to spend all the money to get them developed. Whats the best choice? Should I go with a home printer? If you think I should then which one is the best photo printer?
Hi Trihame,

As others already posted, having prints made by a photo center will be cheaper than printing them yourself. This applies to 4x6 inch prints. --- For the occasional 5x7 or 8x10 inch prints, it may be a toss up or cheaper to print them yourself because of the large increase in price for those sizes at a photo center. --- BTW, Walgreens always has a discount for prints in the flyers they have in their stores. The Walgreens photo tech told me there is a discount coupon in every flyer but the discount amount varies from flyer to flyer. Also, there is usually a minimum amount of photos (like 50) for the discount to apply.

Regarding longevity of photos that you print yourself, pigment inks have superior longevity over dye based inks. But even dye based inks can last a long time. Here's some permanence testing numbers from the wilhelm-research.com website: (I'm not verifying this info, just posting what is listed.)

HP Vivera dye based inks used in a HP 8450 inkjet printer using HP Premium or Premium Plus Glossy paper:
- Displayed prints not framed: 29 years
- Displayed prints under glass: 108 years
- Dark storage in controlled environment: 200 years.

http://www.wilhelm-research.com/hp/8450.html

It's super critical that the proper paper be used with the manufacturer's inks to obtain those ratings. Using different paper or 3rd party inks will negate the permanence numbers. Also, ozone can make photos have an orange color cast in a few months if the wrong paper is used. I live in a high ozone area and have experienced that first hand.

Regarding which is the best photo printer to buy. My family and friends do not scrutinize photos to the finest details. I personally can't tell the difference between prints from a 6 color printer or 4 color printer. I won't buy a printer that has the print head built into the printer anymore due to print head clogging issues I've had with Epson and Canon inkjet printers. I don't do a lot of inkjet printing so printhead clogging was an issue for me.

I bought a HP printer that has the print heads built into each ink cartridge and if it should clog, I can remove the cartridge and unclog the printhead or just replace the cartridge and have a printer that works like new again.

I have a HP Photosmart D5360 printer that uses one tri-color cartridge and a second cartridge. The second cartridge can be black ink, photo ink, or gray ink depending on printing text, color photos or B&W photos. This printer is not sold any more but just mentioning it to illustrate the types of ink cartridges used (not 6 or 8 color separate cartridges).

Sky

Last edited by skylark; Jul 1, 2010 at 3:48 PM. Reason: added walgreens discount blurb
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