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I do my A4 (about 8x10) prints on a Solid Ink printer. It's cheap (about 14 cent per A4 print on 220 grams paper) and the results are "press print like". I use this mainly for distributing photos to family, friends and sportsclubs to people who are impressed by size, rather than ultimate photo quality. To my taste prints are much better than colour laserjets, but photo inkjets are better than the Solid Ink printers. The speed, low cost and the fact that the wax prints are not critical for surface and material to print makes it a great solution for normal quality prints at low cost for me. I can do prints on paper, as well on plastics, transparents, even metal sheets, etc. Colours come out very consistent, better than any inkjet printer does on non-compatible media. I bought my Phaser 8560 ADN with a lot of wax based colour sticks second hand from a press service agent at a bargain price.
I also have a Canon S9000 and Pixma Pro printer for colour critical prints. I like the S9000 for the low cost ink and possibility to use refill cartridges. The Pixma Pro is the better printer but the cost of a print prohibits the use for give aways or prints that have to be done at low cost. Best results are from Canon paper and profiles for printer/paper combo's. I have done some printing on Hahnemühle paper, great paper, but what a mess and waste of paper and ink before I had the results that I wanted. It's now easier with good profiles, but still I find the loss of sheets when results are just a tad off waste of money and time spend. In general, when I do inkjet printing I do several different testprints with different settings in teststrips before I am satisfied. Aslo cleaning heads and wasting expensive special ink is a returning excercise every month. That makes inkjet printing more expensive than it should be. It's again like in the darkroom. Printing was never quick and easy or cheap if you wanted the best results. But then results from the inkjet printers are most satisfying from all kinds of prints.
Since the Solid Ink prints are too low in quality for work that I want to be a better showcase, but not always worth the investment in time and money for homemade prints from the inkjets, I also buy some printing from labs every now and then. That varies from series 20x30cm and bigger RC silver halide prints, to canvas prints, coffeetable photobooks, mouse pads, etc.
10x15 cm to 20x30cm prints are prints that I can have done via our Agfa Digilab 2 printer in the camerastore. As some of you know I am co-owner of a camerastore that I have with a friend and businesspartner who runs the daily business. So these prints are almost free for me, but though the quality of the prints do remind of old classic photos, the quality (especially colour gamut) is not up to the standards of modern inkjet printers. So basically I use this "service" from my own camerastore only for the purpose of bulk prints that I don't want to spend all my time. Typically a family holiday with my brother and sisters and we print some sets of snapshots from on card we dump our photos that we want to share in print (who wants that these days anyway ). My parents seem to be the greatest consumers of these prints
To be honest, printing is gradually becoming of less interest to me anyway. I have all the print gear, but for my own use increasingly I share my pictures via social media and a personal website, more than anything else. For business use it has become common use to deliver files and let the customers decide wether he wants to use those for websites, Prezis, PowerPoints, corporate brochures, or whatever.
Edited on Dec 02, 2012 at 10:15 PM · View previous versions