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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Photo Printer Recommendations?
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05/21/2002 09:13:00 AM · #1
With so many digital photographers here I'm hoping someone can recommend a good photo printer. I'd like to keep the price under $500 and the two printers I've been considering are the Canon S900 and the Epson Stylus Photo 785EPX. Has anyone seen photos printed from either of these printers? Or can someone suggest a different photo printer? The most important feature to me is picture quality - I'm not too worried about print speeds or other features like memory card slots.

Thanks.
05/21/2002 09:16:14 AM · #2
I've got an Epson 780, which is (I think) the same print engine as the one you're considering. I love the heavyweight matte paper, but they've stopped selling it here for some reason. The colorlife is pretty good, too, and nice and thick, but takes some fiddling with settings to get a screen match. The CW seems to be that Epson is the way to go if you want a dedicated photo printer, but I hear lots of good things about Canon. Will they let you make comparison prints at the store?
05/21/2002 09:33:47 AM · #3
Originally posted by irae:
I've got an Epson 780, which is (I think) the same print engine as the one you're considering

The Epson 820 is the updated version of the 780. The 785 is just the 780 with roll paper ability and a memory card slot. The Epson 820 costs $99, and from the reviews I've read, is the best value - 6 inks, borderless printing capability. The Canon S900 is a lot faster, but also costs $399.

However, I don't actually own a printer at the moment, so I can't really speak from anything other than the reviews I've read.
05/21/2002 09:46:01 AM · #4
I have the Epson 1270 (the updated model is the 1280), and I love it. If you are willing to spend your $500 limit, that's what I get. It takes up to 13 inch wide paper, and having a couple of extra inches to work with can be very nice. I think the Epson 890 (about $300) is the same print engine in a narrower (8.5 inch) printer.

A good site to get paper is Atlex. They have ink and the heavyweight matte paper (and just about every other paper Epson makes) at reasonable prices.
05/21/2002 09:48:04 AM · #5
I believe that this is the best printer available for photos without going out of the realm of inkjet printers... I have the HP DeskJet 1220c that does a nice job as well for $399, but the $499 Epson 1280 is a better printer...


Originally posted by Amphian:
I have the Epson 1270 (the updated model is the 1280), and I love it. If you are willing to spend your $500 limit, that's what I get. It takes up to 13 inch wide paper, and having a couple of extra inches to work with can be very nice. I think the Epson 890 (about $300) is the same print engine in a narrower (8.5 inch) printer.

A good site to get paper is Atlex. They have ink and the heavyweight matte paper (and just about every other paper Epson makes) at reasonable prices.



05/21/2002 10:07:00 AM · #6
Once again I am going to have to push the epson printers. I have an event photography business on the side where we go out and shoot and make all the prints on the spot. We usually have three printers there (2) epson 875, and 1 epson 1280, the results are great and whith 3 they can keep up to she speed we need of about 1 5x7 printed a min. My first epson was the 1270 and after 3 years of HEAVY use it is still making wonderful prints.
05/21/2002 10:26:58 AM · #7
I have an Epson 1270 and I have to agree with the others ... I wouldnt have anything else, for the money. Get the 1280. If you don't, don't blame us when you see it does better than what you get!!
I suggest using Epson paper for everything. The archival properties of it are best with the Epson Inks. When you start messing around with those factors, you may lose the print over time.
05/21/2002 04:29:41 PM · #8
Choose Epson--even the cheap ones are great. I have a freebe (came with my Dell) C40UX,and it prints really nice pix.Even at 1440 X 780.
05/21/2002 06:11:48 PM · #9
i have an epson stylus 900, and i can say it is absolutely amazing at printing high qulality photos on glossy film paper. i love it, too bad it was discontinued
05/21/2002 06:37:50 PM · #10
I have the 785EPX and it is great. It was recommended to me by another photographer, and I haven't regretted following his advice.
05/24/2002 01:26:53 PM · #11
Like many here, I too use an Epson, the 780 to be more precise. I am amazed at the quality of the output from this printer, but with one caveat. If you want good color you must use the proper ICC profiles for the paper and resolution that you are printing with.

I favor Epson because they have such a tremendous selection of papers available. Printing is not cheap, but worth it for the versatility and immediate results. I estimate $0.50 per 4x6 print. When set up correctly, my output is as good as any print service I've seen and I have absolute control over the print size and characteristics.

Another note about using ICCs. I can only get accurrate color when I have a program that can use an ICC. If I select an ICC from Windows or the printer driver it's no good, so be forewarned. I usually print from qimage because it offers the most print control and accurrate color rendering. Have the program output to the printer using the appropriate ICC and turn off any and all color correction from the printer driver. This may be true for any brand of printer as Windows doesn't seem to handle ICC profiling correctly, but then again I may be wrong about that.
-Gene L.
06/26/2002 10:15:12 PM · #12
I have a Canon S900 and the output is great. In fact when I use canon photo paper pro for my prints people ask me where I had them developed. The Epson printers are really good too. I own an older Stylus color series and have been happy with it. What sold me on the Canon was print quality(The canons and epsons are very close), speed(The canons are the fastest photo printers on the market right now), and color matching with my G2. Not to mention six seperate ink tanks so you aren't wasting ink. You can find a S900 for $310-$350 now plus I received a $100 rebate from canon for buying the G2 and S900 package. This offer is only valid until June 30th so hurry if you want to take advantage of it.
06/26/2002 10:44:03 PM · #13
I've got the HP Photosmart 1315 and it R O C K S. :-)
06/26/2002 10:51:59 PM · #14
i use the HP 1700 for my print ad work--printing out proofs to send to the printer---and it is awesome. I like it because of the quality and the size format flexability (13x19).
06/26/2002 11:11:38 PM · #15
I hae an Epson 785EPX and LOVE it!!!! The quality is amazong, has tons of software. The cartridges are a little cheaper than the Canon (last time I looked) I just went through a new cartridge ..... 5 8X10's, 8 5x7's, 23 4x6's and 36 wallets and I still have a little left. There is a site online where I get color cartridges for 11.95 and black for 9.95. All of those pics were printed at Max quality. I am happy with it.
06/26/2002 11:17:42 PM · #16
This is my first non-Epson but I really love my Canon S820.
06/26/2002 11:34:29 PM · #17
I've been using the Epson printers and they're great. The stylus photo models use 6 colors. The difference between which Epson is what size prints you want to make. If you can afford it go with the larger printers. I really like my Photo stylus 820 but be careful about what paper you use.
07/30/2002 03:06:06 PM · #18
Originally posted by Vinnie:
I have a Canon S900 and the output is great.

I just recently purchased the HP 1215 photosmart. I don't think I'm really all that impressed with it. I hear so much about the EPSONs and the Canon S900 - is the quality really that much better?

RE: Canon S900 - I heard that it doesn't print on non-canon paper? I know this is a fairly new printer..How is it holding up?

I don't want to get another printer, but I might be persuaded if the quality is justified (perhaps I could sell the other one).

Any Thoughts?
07/30/2002 03:17:39 PM · #19
The paper has as much too do with your success as the printer.

Sorta like camera bodies. If you buy a Canon or Nikon you buy the system as much as the camera body.

Printers you buy the ink and their particualr way to shoot it and the paper.

Kodak photo paper is found everywhere but it doesnt absorb ink real well. So...If you use an HP printer your black ink (which stays wet a lot longer in HP printers) will have a tendency to run. If you use Kodak paper with Canons or Epsons the ink will tend to bubble on the top of the paper and not look great.

Epson and Canon inks dry faster than HP so sometimes if you leave your printer for long times (a week or more) the nozzles might clog.

HP is more expensive to replace disposable plus they only have a 4 ink system versus the 6 and 7 ink systems of the Canon and Epsons. Hp has better customer service ratings.

I have used HP with Kodak paper for a year or so and get nice prints for personal use except for the black ink problem affecting photo albums. I like not having to keep nozzles clean when I don''t print for a while.

I have seen Canons and Epsons give tremendous results with Office Depot paper (or the OEM papers). And a nice Canon S900 looks to be my next try.

* This message has been edited by the author on 7/30/2002 3:17:50 PM.
07/30/2002 04:04:03 PM · #20
Canon S820 has been very good to me.


* This message has been edited by the author on 7/30/2002 4:03:36 PM.
07/30/2002 04:40:05 PM · #21
I have had TERRIBLE luck with the Office Depot 69# premium photo paper. When I print black and whites on it, they tend to fade to a green tint rather quickly. I switched to the Kodak paper and I'm having much better results so far...
07/30/2002 04:44:03 PM · #22
<Reaches over and pats his little Canon BJC-4300>

Don''t worry... ~I~ still love you :) And I can use a shot of you for "Something Old" if all else fails :)

* This message has been edited by the author on 7/30/2002 4:44:20 PM.
07/30/2002 04:46:12 PM · #23
I use an Epson 780 and have an HP 932C as well. I use the
epson for photo printing and the HP for everything else. HP 4-ink
output is really bad for photoprinting, compared to the Epson 6 ink
systems.

As many people have said, the paper is as/more important than the printer.
I've had really good results using Epson Colorlife paper, but you have to
be willing to use paper profiles, as well as having a well calibrated
monitor so that you get good colourmatching. Qimage Pro is very good at
this I've found. The 'print previews' will look very red/ magentaish
for the colorlife paper, but this works well in the final output and
balances out.

I've got a comparison of the printers on my web site at
Printer comparison
along with sample output from both the HP and epson, showing how
nasty the HP dithering is, especially for skin tones.

The epson cost $50 (yes fifty) from hsn.com - typically the ink costs
more than the printer did. Happily prints up to 8.5x11 right to the
very edges (no borders - though slight pinwheeling sometimes visible)

Great printer, but not fast.

07/30/2002 04:49:21 PM · #24
I have a Canon S820 and I am very satisfied with the output. Keep in mind the S900 is the same quality as the S820 but twice as fast. My S820 prints an 8x10 in two minutes and that is fast enough for me.

I have not been happy with the Canon Pro Photo Paper--my best results have been with the Office Depot High Gloss Photo Paper. I use it and an ICC profile that someone created for the Office Depot Super Heavyweight Glossy and the match is perfect.

This and other ICC profiles for the S820/S900/S9000 and various other papers can be downloaded at the following link:

Canon ICC Profiles
07/30/2002 06:45:15 PM · #25
Has enyone had good results with an Epson printer and non-Epson paper?
Hammermill High Resolution Ultra Gloss is the only non-Epson paper I have found that gives good prints. Has anyone found another?
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