Want to return to photo printing…which printer?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by douglas_johnson|5, Jun 22, 2021.

  1. When I did print photos I used an Eason Stylus Photo 2200, which was state of the art at the time. But, I just got sick of all the time I spent trying to get the printer to print exactly what I saw on my screen, so I quit.

    Now I’m wondering whether there have big changes in printers since the 2200, and which are the top of the line for the Mac. Most of what I print it is black and white, but I’ll print my fair share of color as well.

    Thank you in advance for your responses.
  2. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    No new or old printer will have anything to do with trying to get the printer to print exactly what you saw on you screen. That's basic color management of display calibration and outlined below.

    Most of what you print is B&W, get a newer Epson and look into the free Epson Print Layout which will 'soft proof' using the Advanced B&W mode which is really the best way to deal with B&W printing (and toning). Maybe a P800 (older but very good) to save money.

    Why are my prints too dark or do not match my display?
    A video update to a written piece on subject from 2013
    In this 24 minute video, I'll cover:

    Are your prints really too dark?
    Display calibration and WYSIWYG
    Proper print viewing conditions
    Trouble shooting to get a match
    Avoiding kludges that don't solve the problem

    High resolution: http://digitaldog.net/files/Why_are_my_prints_too_dark.mp4
    Low resolution:
  3. I'm a fan of Canon printers, but Epson are of course good too. But, no there is really no way to get a photo to match the screen unless you do the same things that you needed to do when you tried before.
  4. I got an Epson P800 a year or two ago and am happy with it. It replaced my old Epson (Don't remember the model number- 2200?) that had died. I think a computer screen illuminates images in a way that prints don't. They're just 2 different mediums. And of course there's a subtle difference between a good silver print and what you can get from an inkjet printer. Considering the difference in labor intensiveness between the two and the high quality of inkjet prints though, unless you really enjoy the darkroom, inkjet is the ticket.

    I looked at youtube videos on Canon and Epson printers and came to the conclusion the Canon is superior with color to the Epson, but the Canon is really for people who print a lot, like daily, because it needs to be worked to keep operating smoothly. The Epson is more forgiving, so for me, who might not turn the printer on for a month or two at a time, it was the obvious choice… Most of my printing is black & white but the P800 does well with color too. I just usually make a test print, fitting 2 photos on letter size paper before making a final print if I decide to do that. After awhile I can gauge closely what the image needs to look like on screen to get what I want in the print, and one test is all that's needed. I have no idea if it's better than the 2200 was, but it's good enough for me. I'm pretty detail oriented, but not obsessive. If I was I'd be making silver prints. I only hang a few prints at a time, so most of my prints spend most of their time in boxes. The boxes pile up!
  5. I've had a Canon 9900 and now a PRO-100 and they both do great with black and white. They also do great with color but I'm rarely happy. My prints always resemble the original scene, not what I remember as the original scene. Probably can't blame the printer. IMO, the printers with multiple grey/black inks do the best black and white prints. A PRO-200 is what I'd get if I had to buy a printer right now. Couldn't afford more, wouldn't want less. I don't know if we'll ever see those incredible specials of a few years ago where the printer ended up being a hundred bucks or less after the rebate. I remember they even had a super deal on 13"x19" paper. I don't know if the current semiconductor and capacitor shortages are having an effect on printer availability, but they sure seem to be affecting everything else.
  6. Nope, you really can't. The Pro-100 prints superb images if managed correctly. If I were going to use a dye-ink printer again, the Pro-200 is what I also would buy.

    I now use a Canon Prograf 1000, and I have been consistently pleased with both B&W and color output.

    However, IMHO, the first question should always be: do you want or need archival inks? The second would be: do you want or need to print larger than 13 x 19? If the answer to both questions is "no", then IMHO, there's a strong case to be made for a dye-ink printer like the Pro-200: they are cheaper than pigment-ink printers and are much less prone to clogging. When I used a Pro 100, and before that a 9000, I sometimes left the printer idle for months, in a room that is not well temperature-controlled when not in use. In years of printing, I never had to do anything but turn the printer on. Occasionally it did what I thought was an automatic head cleaning, but it didn't seem to use as much ink as the head cleanings by my Prograf, and they never needed any intervention by me.
    Robin Smith likes this.
  7. Agree. Dyes in the Canon printer I have have never clogged the nozzles (I'm on my second one) and I use mine only intermittently (usually at Xmas/new year) and only a few times during the year. Epsons and HPs with archival pigment inks have been really problematic for me in the past.
  8. I have a Canon Pro-10, which uses pigment based inks. My daughter-in-law has a dye-based Pro-100. Both have a 13" carriage. I prefer the Pro-10 for it's intense colors at the dark end. With pastel colors for some of the 10 cartridges allows for fairly high-key prints as well. The Pro-100 excels at high-key prints, including water color renderings, but full-range landscapes and portraits as well. The Pro-100 is still available, but the Pro-10 has been replaced by the Pro-200, which would be my choice today. Canon inkjet printers use heat to produce the ink droplets. Epson printers use piezoelectric pumps to deliver the ink drops. My printer is connected by ethernet cable, and can be used remotely by WiFi. This way I can put the large 50 lb printer where it fits and use it from any computer.

    Canon print heads are user-replaceable, whereas Epson replacements require a trip to the factory. Surprisingly my Epson print heads seldom last longer than 3 years, whereas I have not replaced a Canon head in the 4 years it has been in service.

    The Pro-200 is fairly large and weighs 70 lbs. Plan to put it on a substantial table or support.
  9. The Pro 100 has replaceable heads, but in practice I found that all the heads seem to come from people selling the heads separately after having bought the Pro-100 during one of the many Canon special offers where the printers cost something ridiculous like $100 when purchased with other Canon gear. They sell the heads for about $100 each so can make a tidy profit. Canon seemed always to be out of stock. Don't know about the Pro-10 and Pro-200, they may be different as they may not have been available with the excellent Canon deals.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021

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