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Thread: Recommend me a printer please.

  1. #33
    Member Trash Man's Avatar
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    Now I have a dilemma, do I get the i450 or the Photo 900 :/

    Anyone know of any review sites for printers?

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    hi

    well at least you are down to a choice of just 2 printers namely i450 or the Photo 900 so i guess you will have to just pick one and see if you like it as the more reviews you read the more undecided you will become

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    Hopefully I haven't been too negative towards Epson. They are still very good printers just like HP but I think Canon currently have the lead in all round quality, speed and running costs esp if you choose your printer well. IMHO Canon simply have the same sort of lead that Epson held for so long back in the Epson SC 640 days (when 1440dpi hit). It took a few years for other printer manus to catch up in photo quality, speed and running costs. In fact the printer Epson released next were a step down mostly because they cost a LOT more to run and wasted even more ink. TBH all modern Canon, HP and Epson inkjet printers are excellent buys and are a big step up from the top end ones of a few years ago. Having used and seen quite a few printers over the years I can definitely say Canon are currently the wisest move.

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    Just to muddy the waters a bit (more), I did a fairly comprehensive running cost test on printers a few years ago. These machines are ALL now well out of date, but the test still has one point of relevance.

    Running cost has been raised as an issue, and the cost of cartridges quoted. The cost of cartridges is, on it's own, of little direct relevance.

    I had four printers (one each from Lexmark, Canon, HP and Epson). Each was fitted with a new set of cartridges, and the SAME test page printed repeatedly until each cartridge ran out of ink. The print used was a photo, about 8" x 6", and was anAdobe test image. The results were as follows :-

    Canon - 83 pages
    Epson - 63 pages
    Lexmark - 49 pages
    HP - 124 pages.

    So, if you just rely only cartridge life, that makes HP the cheapest to run. However, the HP cartridges were, at that time, £59.98 compared to £18.99 for the Epson (PC World prices). By that token, the HP is the dearest, not the cheapest.

    If you take the cost per page, you got :-

    Epson - 30p
    Canon - 34p
    HP - 48p
    Lexmark - 67p


    Then, of ocurse, you have to remember that some printers work well with papers that others don't work well with, so you have to factor the cost of photo-grade paper into the calculation.

    At that time, and again at retail prices, Epson paper was £14.99 for 100 sheets, whereas HP was £15.99 for 20 sheets - more than 5 times the cost ) (PC World prices, and equivalent grades of paper).


    Now, I'm not suggesting that these cartridge life figures hold for any printers OTHER than the ones tested, or that these relative prices are still accurate. They probably aren't.

    However, when assessing running costs, don't be seduced by simple cartridge costs - it is a LOT more complex than that.


    EDIT - Incidentally, I established when each printer ran out of ink using by inspecting visually, AND using an X-Rite Colour Densitometer. In all cases, my eye could catch the change in colour balance of a page caused by a cartridge expiring on EXACTLY the same page as the densitometer did

  5. #37
    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    fair enough sara, but you didn't rely on the epson drivers writing "empty" onto the cartridge eeprom when it got down to 33% capacity, or the recent S & I series of canons (some of which have lower color print costs than basic color lasers). the test is still fairly valid - lexmark are still the most expensive to run in current models, but the eeprom'd epson carts are an excelent way to force users to buy more ink...

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    Originally posted by Austin
    Running costs (ie ink) is not as simple as all that though. You have to factor in how much ink is in the carts, how much the printer uses, how much gets wasted in cleaning cycles, how the printer monitors ink levels and how good/bad the compatible carts tend to be.

    Epson are reknowned for wasting loads of ink each time you power the printer on and any time a clean cycle is run. They are also notorious for reporting ink tanks as empty VERY prematurely and making it very hard for you to replace them when the printer isn't prompting you. Other downsides are a noisy feeding mechanism, disgustingly poor fast mode and finally the text quality is pretty poor when compared to Canon or HP.

    HP are very good, it took them a long time to catch up. Throwing away the print heads with each empty cart makes the carts very expensive, they also use quite a nasty method of offering better photo quality by using a cludged black+light_colour tank in combination with the normal colours. Nice result but simply not worth it, esp cost-wise.

    Lexmarks are just poo, plain and simple. Quality and speed are noticably inferior to the big three and they cost a fortune to run.

    The reason I think Canon are so good is great perf in ALL areas. Very fast, very high quality prints (in all areas), very quiet (they even have a night-time mode), great drivers and incredibly cheap to run. Most compatible carts are top notch, I've found Jettec to be absolutely as good as Canon branded ones. Canon also seem to care more for the older printers too, HP and Epson are so slow on this (drivers eg for WinXP).

    PS. Don't bother refilling as it involves a whole world of problems including damage to the printer, not worth it esp if you choose wisely in the first place. Flibb IIRC Canon i850 is simply a faster version of the i550 and has the tiny 2pl droplet size ... probably THE best inkjet printer you can get. Watch out if it's designed for the US though, power lead etc.
    Just to reiterate what I said on Page 1. My old Epson 640 I mentioned earlier had quality (at least on photo) not far off what printers today can achieve (although speed was way down) and it was at the time one of the cheapest printers to run. Straight after Epson went mad with chips (to prevent compat carts) and (unrealistic) ink monitoring which really pushed the price up. My 640 did guess when the carts were empty ... I found I could just reinsert the cart manually as it was still 30%+ full EVERY time. Anyway even with manually ensuring the carts are empty on my Epson 640 I can say without doubt that my current Canon i550 carts last a good 5 times longer, most likely more. They aren't expensive either AND have the added bonus of using a cart for each colour (CMYK) so waste is virtually nill. I couldn't believe the speed, quality and running costs of my Canon i550 ... it really blew me away and I'd seen many modern alternatives too.
    Last edited by Austin; 01-11-2003 at 10:47 PM.

  7. #39
    Drop it like it's hot Howard's Avatar
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    Lexmarks are just poo, plain and simple. Quality and speed are noticably inferior to the big three and they cost a fortune to run.
    I'll just add my opinion to this rather daunting thread

    I agree that Lexmarks are slow and expensive to run, but IMO the image quality is FAR superior to Epson's. The quality of Epsons in my experience has been nothing short of bloody awful. All washed out and lacking any depth.

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    I would say to get a canon i850. Pc World were selling them for £99. Its much better built than any epson I have seen and it looks nice with the aluminium lid. Its also quiet and fast and gives very good photo results just like epsons. It has individual colour cartridges with visible ink levels and no chip on it and you can replace the print heads unlike epsons for around £20. My last epson died because the print head got clogged up and epson wanted to charge more than I paid for the printer to fix it! The cadridges are £6 or £2.50 for fakes.

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    I used to have an Epson Stylus Photo 750, it produced very good results, but as someone mentioned before, convieniently after the warrenty period expired the printer started to have alignment problems, then cartridges would run out *very* quickly, then it failed completely.

    HP are stupidly expensive with average results on photo quality work, Lexmark are cheap for the printers, but expensive for everything else and the quality can be poor.

    If you want photo quality work then I've heard *very* good things about the Canon i950, the only problem is the printer isn't exactly cheap..
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    Another heads up here for the Epson Photo 915. Owned it for a fortnight and quality is superb - I keep printing photos for my m8s at uni - the photos as only as good as your camera! pretty much the same quality as commercial prints.

    Also, it's pretty stylish too in sleek black n grey

    I paid £115 from Dabs
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    Eek... 30p per pages is a lot

    I am better off just using the uni's b/w laser printer.
    For b/w they are probably better in quality than ink-jet. And price per page is 5p.

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    Resident abit mourner BUFF's Avatar
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    The 30p/page figure will be for a colour page.

    In b&w it should be more like 2-5p + cost of paper.
    Whilst the uni's laser is likely the cheapest option, what if you want to print something when the uni is shut?

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    Can anyone find me somewhere that has stock of the Epson Photo 900?

    I can't find it anywhere If I can't find that then it will have to be the 915. Does the 915 still do the CD/DVD printing?

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    Originally posted by Trash Man
    Can anyone find me somewhere that has stock of the Epson Photo 900?
    The only place I've seen it at £75 is PC World. I guess availability might vary branch-to-branch.

    Originally posted by Trash Man
    I can't find it anywhere If I can't find that then it will have to be the 915. Does the 915 still do the CD/DVD printing?
    So far as I'm aware, no, the 915 doesn't. The only two machines in that range that do that are the 900 and the MUCH more expensive 950.

    There is, however, a new machine due (the Stylus Photo R300), which will print direct to printable CD/DVD and has a number of other advantages too. List price is £149 (or £179 including a 2.5" colour LCD).

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    Originally posted by Trash Man
    Can anyone find me somewhere that has stock of the Epson Photo 900?

    I can't find it anywhere If I can't find that then it will have to be the 915. Does the 915 still do the CD/DVD printing?
    hi

    if you want a long drive PC WORLD ABERDEEN had a pile of then at the weekend

    but failing that www.pcworld.co.uk

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    It's out of stock on the web site

    I'll give my local branch a ring tomorrow.

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