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Cheapie printer better value?


david_killick9
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I just spotted a Canon i450 printer selling for approx. $US100. Of

course it is plasticky but it produces 2-picolitre droplets and has

the same resolution (4800dpi) as a Canon i850 selling for more

than twice as much. Both have the same six individual ink

cartridges which are supposed to be better value than Epson's

single cartridges for B+W and colour. The pricier Canon has an

aluminium strip to simulate metal construction, but underneath it

has like the same plastic made

by-cheap-labour-somewhere-in-Asia look. I wouldn't mind

spending more on a printer if it would last even a tenth of the

time of a Leica, but with even salespeople telling you the

maximum expected lifespan of such items is only three years, is

it really worth spending much on a printer (or, indeed, any digital

technology?)

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David, I had the Canon 450 and it is okay, but if you are going to

print from your Leica films why not consider the quality and

archival abilities of the prints instead of how long the printer itself

will last? It's the images you want to last I would think. A carbon

ink based printer may be a better answer. I suggest the Epson

line as one to investigate. True, the Epson 2200 is more top of

the line thus a lot more expensive, but it will give you a lot more

versatility and longivity for the prints.

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I'm not sure what the salespeople where refering to, but mechanically a printer should last more than three years. In technological terms it will be out of date immediately unless you buy a top of the range model that should maintain some credibility for a year or two.

 

But judging a printer by what it is made of may be a big mistake. Take for instance if you bought a printer three years ago built to last a lifetime, like a tank, and spent more on it becuase of this. It would not have been true photo quality like current models, and you would have been waiting twenty minutes for your A4 print as opposed to today's 1 minute from a top line Canon. And you would still have it, built like a tank but inferior in every way to a cheaper modern alternative. If future developments keep apace, you may not see a lot more in image qualty, but speed and other refinements will make todays printers, well built or not, look stupid.

 

My recommendation would be spend 'extra' on a good printer with the quality and speed that will make you want to use it. A Canon S900 or S9000 perhaps. You can get bulk feed ink systems, both colour and dedicated B&W, and you will be able to do away completly with a wet darkroom or lab should you choose. And in another year or two, chuck it and get the next model if it is a significant improvement.

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