Sunday, March 29, 2009

Printers: Your opinions please

A reader has asked what type of printer I would recommend. I have a printer that is fairly old, an Epson Photo 820 ( 810 in Europe) and have been using compatible inks for a few years in it ( as they are around $5 CAD a cartridge). This is not a recommended practice, I know, but when a printer is out of warranty and the price is right... :) I feel I am not really in a position to offer advice as I am wondering the same thing myself. I am not sure how many more legs my printer has left, I am nearly out of ink and reconsidering buying more ink but I don't know if the printer will last long enough to use up the cartridges. My printer is dye-based and is quite dependent on what type of paper I print on to get good results ( eg. brightness of colour and bold/crispness of blacks).

There are many great printers out there. I'd love to know what you think is a great printer.

Here are some important issues I'd like to discuss:

1. Is your printer a dye based or pigment based printer? ( pigment based use "water-resistant", "fade resistant"," smear-proof" inks).

2. DYE-BASED printers: Dye based printers are great for the following colouring techniques - Coloured Pencils and OMS & Copics/Alcohol based markers - Not so much with watercolour techniques unless you fix the inks somehow like with a sealing spray. I also heard that you can heat set the print ... I also heard mixed results. Maybe it depends on your paper? Watercolour paper causes less bleeding?

3. PIGMENT-BASED printers: I know Espon makes these. I know the cartridges are a bit more expensive, you will have a harder time finding pigment based compatible cartridges. However, they apparently give good print results on most papers as the ink lays on top of the paper as opposed to dye ink that is absorbed into the paper. MY QUESTION is how are Pigment based printers with various colouring techniques? Can you watercolour on them or do they smear/bleed? How about Pencils/OMS or Copics? Another question, how do you find the prints on cheaper uncoated papers? Is the colour good?

Please use the comments section of this post to give us your opinion. This is your "forum" LOL

Thanks so much for any advice given.

:)* Fred


Wendy said...

I have a lexmark inkjet printer, copier, scanner. Although the inks are a little expensive it has never let me down, still going strong after 4 years and a lot of misuse. lol.

Lynda Nielsen said...

Oh I definitely swear by HP Photosmart printers. They are so versitle, and keep going strong for many years. Rarely any paper jams, and so far nothing has been slow or broken in all this time. I've had mine for about 5 years now, and still get perfect results. No smearing, and prints on almost any paper. (Vellum will smear) Ink is about average price, $29.99 for black and $34 for tri color. I have never even heard about a pigment ink printer, I'm curious to hear what people have to say about that as well.
Hope this helps a little.

Tracey Lynn 'Fred' Miller said...

from Carolivy:

I have 2 Epson printers. An Epson Stylus Color 777 and an Epson Stylus Photo 2000P. I use replacement cartridges for both of these printers, as, like yours, they are out of warranty and they are much less expensive. If I had to buy another printer, I wouldn't buy anything BUT another Epson! I have used other printers, but I always come back to my Epsons! I think they are the best printer out there IMHO.

gypsyrose said...

at the moment I am useing a lexmark p4350 with original inks.
I had an old epson cant remember the model that was brilliant with compatable inks, but it died on me replaced it with an epson stylus d92 which takes 4 seperate cartridges and have had aweful trouble with compatable inks so decided it was cheaper to buy ink for the lexmark although I did find epson gave me a brighter print. thats my opinion anyway.

Mada said...

I'm another Epson 'freak' :D
I only had two printers in my life, both Epson and I would never buy another brand.
The old one I cannot even remember what model it was, a "stylus" something. The one I'm using now is a multi-functional Epson Stylus DX7400.
It has 4 cartridges, one for each colour and I guess it works with pigment ink - according to Fred's descriptions. :)

Due to... various reasons - lol... I very rarely use good quality paper, most of my printing is done with regular Xerox paper. I am very pleased with it, the colours are "real" and they don't smear. Of course, they are not as shiny as photo paper would show them, but for my needs and possibilities, regular printer paper is just perfect.

When I need something for decoupage or colouring (digi-stamps) I print on cardstock. This is probably the only thing I'm a bit unhappy about, the printer doesn't load thick(er) cardstock so I have to always find a thinner one.

When I use watercolours the ink (contours) does smear a bit if you're not careful. In my experience, even when I heated/dried the ink it still smeared with watercolours.
A better method is to heat emboss it (with clear embossing powder) as soon as it comes out of the printer, but I am usually too lazy or in a hurry so I just leave it as it is and try to be careful while colouring.
When I used coloured pencils and baby oil there was no smear (yet) :)

It's difficult for me to make a comparison for the price of the cartridges but I will say that over here they are not cheap but they are affordable - I change the whole set (4 cartridges) every two months or so. I do not print each and every day but when I do it's always 8-10 color pages and 3-4 sheets of designs/contours only.

I've had this printer for almost 2 years now and it never caused me any problem. The scanner works fine and the copier is very accurate for colour copies.

Hope this helps any.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tracey
I have hp photosmart express. Unfortunately the ink does bleed when I use water colour paints. But I find the printer great for what I use it for. Thanks for the tip on a spray to hold the ink

Anonymous said...

Anyone looking for a new printer; I would recommend a Kodak.
They are absolutely Fantastic.
The ink cartridges are so much cheaper than most,plus you can print out several sheets before you have to replace the ink cartridges and the printing quality is wonderful.
Kodak is my #1 choice in a printer.

Anonymous said...

I actually own several brands. For everyday type printing, HP or Brother works fine (I use a Brother laser) however, for any photography or scrapbook projects.... Epson all the way. I purchased the Epson 1400 and still have the smaller Epson 800. I love those printers. And you can purchase dye or pigment ink cartridges. HTH.

twinkletoe said...

It definitely is confusing with so many different printers out there. Thanks for posting this question as it helps with my printer search. Pat XX

Printers said...

Yes, inks for inkjet printers do get very expensive. How about using a Canon, I have read a lot of good reviews from various reputable sources.