Can someone please reccommend a Large Format Home Printer for Photos

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by ron_brown|6, May 25, 2014.

  1. Can someone please recommend a decent large format home printer to print photos for under $500.00. I often have prints made up to sizes 10x13 to 16x20. I think by the time I pay third party printers, like MPIX for their printing and shipping fees, I may be better off printing them myself to save some money. Last year I spent over $3000.00 from other printers printing my work and shipping it. I think I would like to try and print my own images, and just package them and ship them from home. Any recommendations are sincerely appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. the only machine to consider is the Epson 3880 but it's $1100 (before any rebate) but you get full cartridges (80ml) so you get A LOT of ink w/ the unit. It's a 17" printer that will print up to 37" in length (longer if you want to use a RIP). Everything in the < $500 zone is 13" wide.
     
  3. Canon iPF imagePROGRAF 6400.
    Same high quality as the Epsons, Better (cleaner) blues than Epsons, far fewer problems with clogged nozzles than the
    Epsons, and lower operating costs (mainly due to lower ink consumption levels than the Epsons.

    Also excellent support of non-OEM papers with along list of excellent profiles for Moab and other paper makers . But if
    you want to use Epson media Ina Canon printer you'll have to make your own.
     
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The 3880 is about $600 over your budget and the 6400 is $2000 over your budget. These aren't particularly realistic given your budget.If you drop the requirement for 16x20, you can get a decent printer from either Canon or Epson in your price range. Otherwise, instead of using MPIX, try Costco using the Dry Creek profiles for your local store. The pricing at Costco is ridiculously low and the quality is very high. There are some tricks to using them - for example, to get an inkjet print, you need to print a fairly large size, but you can print two on one sheet of paper to deal with that.
     
  5. Buy used. I own a Epson 1400 but the cost of ink was killing me prompting me to look for a cheaper alternative, so I bought two Epson 4800 for $200 each (at different times) on Craigslist (one set for glossy ink, one set for matte).
    They're very tough printers. Just make sure the heads aren't plugged before you buy.
    I've also seen Epson 3800s, 3880s and 7800s as well (though for more money). You can also buy outdated ink on eBay for about 1/10-1/5 the price of the cost of the 13" printers ink (my average cost per ml is 27 cents). Doing this has saved me a lot of money over using a service, though it does take a little time to learn how to use the printers correctly.
     
  6. Check out the EPSON R2000 ($500), I've owned this for about a year and have been very happy with it, cartridges will run about $20 each (or about $25 on ebay for an 8 pack), a work around is to buy third party ink tanks.
     
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The R2000 doesn't reach his stated maximum print size.
     
  8. if the OP doesn't do too many >13" wide prints, it might be best to simply get a lower cost 13" unit and continue to send out the larger ones to a lab.
     
  9. if the OP doesn't do too many >13" wide prints, it might be best to simply get a lower cost 13" unit and continue to send out the larger ones to a lab.​
    That's what I do
     
  10. In the $500 price range: Canon PIXMA PRO-10. The limitations are: no roll feeder and width is limited to 13 inches, but it
    is terrific for up to 13x19- inch prints and the blues are better than the similar Epsons.
     
  11. I be had both the R2000 and Pixma Pro-10. Both are very capable but I like the Canon more. Using third party inks is a
    bad idea, period, no matter what printer you are using.
     
  12. Your stated reason for buying a printer is to save money. None of this discussion has directly and specifically addressed whether any of the printers recommended will actually save you money, or even what they cost to make prints with various inks and papers.
    The generally-reported experience is that if you make more than a few prints, a more expensive printer using larger ink cartridges (like an Epson 3880) will quickly pay for its extra cost, compared to a cheaper printer using smaller ink cartridges (like an Epson 2880 or now the Epson 3000). So I think someone spending over $3000 a year to get prints made needs to carefully analyze whether it really makes sense to limit the printer budget to $500, or even $1500. You might find the $2500 printer Ellis recommended would pay for itself in a year or two.
    All of that said, I question how many people really save money printing at home--I suspect not too many. Good reasons to print at home include getting more control of the process; getting the wider gamut and/or greater variety of papers that an inkjet can provide, compared to regular RA-4 process light-sensitive paper; or getting prints immediately. But cost? Better run the numbers carefully.
    Mpix shipping will eat you alive if you place many orders, each for small numbers of prints. If you have to do that, Shutterfly or some other service may be a cheaper option, at least if you don't need the prints too quickly. On the other hand, maybe just place fewer, less frequent orders and include more prints in each. Or try your local Costco--lots of people seem to like their service.
     
  13. I'm not under any false belief that I'm saving money printing at home :) Not when Costco can print a 16x20 for something like $5 or $6. It's all about control and the satisfaction not to mention yet another time/money sucking hobby.
     

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