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Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer
  
 
SharonDLutz
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


Good morning! I have recently started considering purchasing a pro small/med format printer. I have been researching online, but wanted to know if anyone has any advice or recommendations on a printer. Also, I wanted to know how much of a headache I might be getting myself into!! Thank you!!


Nov 08, 2017 at 01:18 PM
mikek200
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


Recently,there have been great sales on Canon printers,I grabbed the Pro-100,& after all rebates final price was $129.00..As far as I know,this sale is still going on,until Jan1,2018...??
Buying a printer of this caliber,takes some weekly maintenance,in order to keep it running smoothly.
So be prepared ,these pro level printers,needs some TLC.
You are not limited to Canon,Epson has sales going on as well,with rebates,so,you have to do some research.,
Ask yourself....what size prints will I need to print?,how often will you be printing
This is not a hobby ,where you buy a printer ,,print an image 1x per month..and walk away.
-make a list of all your questions,the guys on this forum can give you tremendous advise/help.;keep that in mind...dont be afraid to ask.

Enjoy your new hobby,and use your new printer in good health.

Mike



Nov 08, 2017 at 01:54 PM
chez
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


What size of prints do you want to make. Biggest problems you will run into is keeping the printer from clogging, especially if you plan to use it sporadically. I've had printers from Canon, Epson and HP and by far the HP printers are the most reliable if used sporadically. Basically they can be left for a month without clogging, whereas both the Canon and Epson printers suffer frustrating clogs after just a week of being idle.




Nov 08, 2017 at 03:01 PM
charlyw
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


chez wrote:
I've had printers from Canon, Epson and HP and by far the HP printers are the most reliable if used sporadically. Basically they can be left for a month without clogging, whereas both the Canon and Epson printers suffer frustrating clogs after just a week of being idle.


IMHO that really depends on the ink technology - so your statement is a little broad. I have a 6 ink printer from Canon and I never had any clogging issues and I have left it idle so long that even one ink has gone off (the yellow ink turned into a murky blue) between uses. I didn't basically print for more than half a year (while I was caring for my elderly mother until her recent passing). But I ascribe that to the printer being dye ink based (and thus not a fine art printer but rather a photo printer) instead of the pigment type printer. The latter I have heard a lot of complaints about by friends...

That being said, I don't even know if HP even produces a pigment ink printer...



Nov 08, 2017 at 03:33 PM
danski0224
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


SharonDLutz wrote:
Good morning! I have recently started considering purchasing a pro small/med format printer. I have been researching online, but wanted to know if anyone has any advice or recommendations on a printer. Also, I wanted to know how much of a headache I might be getting myself into!! Thank you!!


The Epson 3800, 3880 and the newest one (P800?) all seem to be mostly trouble free. Not so with the bigger printers, even if used every day. Plenty of stuff online.

Never really read any tales of woe about Canon printer issues or clogging.

HP Z series photo printers seem to be the most economical as far as ink costs go.



Nov 08, 2017 at 03:50 PM
lara_ckl
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


How often do you plan to print? If not often enough, consider finding a good commercial printer.

What sized prints do you anticipate printing? 13, 17 or 24 wide? How long? Panoramas? Check VERY carefully what sized paper a printer can handle. Some will print 11x14 but not 11x17. Check also if a printer will put restrictions on certain types of paper. For example, for thick fine art paper some printers won't print borderless for those papers.

Do you anticipate changing paper types (gloss vs matte) often? If so, consider a brand that doesn't require a change of inks along with a change of paper type.

Be careful when reading about brands vs clogging likelihood. Clog free may mean more frequent and aggressive (read: expansive) self cleaning cycles.

If you are selling your prints, consider pigment inks.

Do you anticipate printing B&W? Some printers are better at B&W then others.

Do you already have a color calibrated workflow?



Nov 08, 2017 at 04:22 PM
 

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Abbott Schindl
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


I've been printing with Epson printers since 2000 and now have a 3880. The older printers would clog occasionally, but the 3880 hasn't had a clog since I bought it 4+ years ago. I use only Epson inks. While I don't print 17x22 very often, I opted for the larger printer because ink costs are substantially less than with 13" models (at least for Epson), and there's less cartridge changing. Also, Epson's 3880 and up ("pro" models) have some features that reduce ink waste when changing cartridges.

OTOH, I've had a couple of smaller hp printers and had endless clogs. Dealers said it might have been because I lived at 6800' elevation, but my Epsons in the same location were fine.

Epson's colors have been excellent. I've also printed on Canon P100's with excellent results. If I were buying now, I'd look first at the Epson P800 and then the Canon equivalent, although I think you'd be very satisfied with either.

What are you getting yourself into? Cost (paper, ink), time (calibrated workflow, test prints, maybe a bit more pp work), possibly a bit of frustration while you hone your workflow, and the satisfaction of controlling your output results and seeing them very quickly. You'll probably want to experiment with a bunch of papers from various manufacturers (ink, time, workflow) before settling on some number for your regular work.

I also make my own frames and matts and do the framing, and really enjoy the end-to-end processes. If you're not doing much printing, I think you're probably better off using a good service.



Nov 08, 2017 at 04:46 PM
rdeloe
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


Abbott and others make some really good points. Printers can be a challenge to maintain, ink goes off, paper is expensive, etc. Still, I'm a huge fan of printing. I still think a photograph is a physical thing, and I've noticed that by printing images I often see ways to make them stronger that are not apparent on screen. Coincidentally, John Paul Caponigro just wrote down some arguments in favour of printing on his site:
http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/18871/what-printing-can-do-for-you-2/
http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/18847/printing-can-images/

So I say go for it! There are lots of good options in the up to 13" wide format. I'm using an Epson 3880 with a monochrome carbon inkset I mix myself, and it hasn't clogged once even though it sometimes isn't used every week. Apparently these ones clog even less using Epson inks. You can't get 3880s anymore (except used), but the P800 is supposed to be good. If you don't need 17" wide, the P600 is also quite good I've heard. And then there's Canon and HP (about which I don't have any useful insights!)



Nov 08, 2017 at 05:29 PM
lara_ckl
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


If you are unsure, and yet want to give it a try, the Canon Pixma Pro100 is a great way to start. B&H is doing a promo for $130 after rebate including a free box of 50 sheets Canon 13x17 paper and (usually) free shipping. It was even cheaper was few weeks ago when there was a photo show in NYC. Adorama should have a similar promo.


Nov 08, 2017 at 06:16 PM
AmbientMike
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


I really like the Ultra-Brite ink Epson printers for 8.5x11 paper. It has over 100 years on Wilhelm site using premium presentation matte paper, which I like. It's also very inexpensive.

It doesn't have the resolution for wallets, but it's definitely fine for 8x10 and 5x7, imo. Probably 4x6 too. I think it probably does some adjustments to the image color.

The 3800 takes more work. I'll sometimes get a good print off the ultra brite, then beat it with the 3800+hahnemühle. But it takes time to do that.

How much are you going to print? I haven't had much trouble with inks drying out, but I've heard it can be a problem. The 3800 has 8-9 cartridges that run $50 ( maybe more) apiece. So you don't want them sitting around going dry.

Epson had a 12x18 (or was it 13x19?) printer I sometimes wish I would have bought, instead. Idk. Although I don't think it had the ultra chrome ink. People were like "I always have to replace cartridges," gnashing of teeth, but that was because cartridges were smaller. (And only about $12.50, I think )

Ink costs, IIRC, we're about 50% higher, but that was like 60 cents vs. 90 cents for an 8x10. So you won't see a big difference unless you print a lot.

But, seriously, the ultra brite printers are cheap, and easy to get good/great prints out of. I'd give you an old one if you were nearby.



Nov 08, 2017 at 07:37 PM
runamuck
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


I replaced my R3000 when the matte/photo switch started leaking. Considering I printed only a few matte photos in one run, it appears the switch seals deteriorated rather than wore out. In fact, it was on the original cartridge of matte black. I can only hope the P600 is far better.

I left the R3000 idle for several months when heath concerns precluded printing. Over that winter, poolar vortexes had the indoor humidity as low as 10%. After the several months I did a test pattern and it came out perfectly. Epson has pretty much overcome the problem with clogs.



Nov 08, 2017 at 08:42 PM
doc4x5
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Need advice on purchasing pro small/med format printer


If you want your prints to last, you need a pigment printer. You need to decide on the size. 17" desktop printers such as the Epson P800 (The Epson 38xx series are discontinued) and Canon Pro-1000 will have the cheapest cost per ml of printer ink (one of the most expensive liquids on the planet) compared to the 13" printers, Epson P600 and Canon Pro-100. The larger printers cost more up front but some of that is made up in lower ink costs over the life of the printer. Remember, you can always print smaller on a larger printer, you cannot print bigger on a smaller printer. Clogging issues seem to be mostly history these days. The fanboys will argue for Canon or Epson but neither has many problems these days with printers in this class. One factor that does separate the Canon from the Epson is the ease in switching from glossy to matte ink/paper. The Epson "wastes" a few ml of ink for the switch, the Canon does not. There is, of course, a learning curve with printing. It's best to have a calibrated work flow, e.g. a calibrated monitor. You should also learn the basics of color management and paper profiles. None of this is difficult but it should not be underestimated either. You can't just pull up a photo on the screen, pop a piece of paper in the printer and get a print suitable for framing, unless you have very low standards :-).

You can check the prices online though if you're fortunate enough to have a good retailer in Pittsburgh, and I hope you do (I'm not talking big box store retailer, I mean a real camera store) patronize them as they'll be there for you if you have a problem. I have nothing against B&H and Adorama and the like, I've purchased lots from both of them and others, but knowing someone knowledgeable in a real store is quite valuable.

I'll not discuss my personal printer; I'm a series of one, not exactly statistically reliable in terms of making a decision one way or another.

Good luck.



Nov 08, 2017 at 09:20 PM







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