View Full Version : Laser printer suggestions
I've got a Canon BJC-4550 bubble-jet printer that does B&W + colour up to 11x17 but ink cartridges are pretty expensive ($50 Cdn). With our dry winters and infrequent use, even storing cartridges in a humidor, I don't get much use from a cartridge before it's trash. The print quality is so-so but I have only used it for documents and drawings.
In conjunction with my "transcription service", I now need a printer to do QUALITY digital B&W at least 8x10 (11x17 would be nice). I am thinking a "laser" printer would be immune to the dryness problems.
I don't want to spend a WHOLE lot but I need good quality images.
Consider having someone else make your final prints. Once you have your system calibrated with the vendor's you can keep control without having to invest in a printer.
Jane - I've not seen output from a laser that I would hang on a wall...even from some of the best ones out there. The way the toner builds up on the paper in the darker areas is a real deal breaker.
Even from really expensive image setters and laser proofers for photographic work they suffer from odd glossiness, and that same embossed toner look. They work well proofing graphics work (large areas of relatively flat color, and trying to match commercial printing) but for photos, I think you'll be very dissapointed, especially for the money.
I can't help with laser printers, but I can offer my experience with the Epson 2200 inkjet.
I live in an extremely dry climate. The high desert of Central Oregon. Furthermore, the house gets very warm in the summer, often into the 80s. Humidity is almost never above 20% inside.
I bought my printer a little over a year ago. I used it almost every day for the first month or two. Then, as I become more focused on black and white in the wet darkroom, it sat with little use. At one point I think almost two months. When I started using it again, I needed to run the cleaning program twice (no big deal at all). Since then, I try to fire it up at least every few weeks. And I've had no problems with cartridges drying out.
I wish I'd kept records for numbers of prints per cartridge, but I haven't. At 10 usd a piece for the ink, and with seven cartridges, I'd feared that printing would become extremely expensive. But it hasn't. The cartridges run out at different rates, and I've replaced two of them much more frequently than the others. But overall, I've only gone through maybe two full sets in a year. Dozens of 13x19s, and probably a hundred 8x10s. I may be way off on that, but I can say with certainty that it is not prohibitively expensive. Early on I figured ink on an 8x10 was way under a buck a print. Perhaps someone else here can give a more accurate estimate.
Black and white does exhibit some metamerism. I found the results better than expected, but I think a dedicated b/w printer is the only real solution to this. I haven't noticed the bronzing on the premium luster paper people go on about, but my eye may not be that good. Matte results are terrific.
My main point is that with virtually no special attention, and with infrequent use, the printer has performed perfectly. It doesn't get much less humid than this anywhere except maybe Death Valley (most years) and I haven't lost a single cartridge to anything other than natural causes.
Hope that helps some.
If you are talking volue then you may want to consider a used Fuji Pictrography 3000 or 3500. The consumables are less expensive. I have seen them at auction in th e500 range and less; of course if you need replacemetn parts you will be looking at big bucks. The other answer would be a refurbished Epson R800 which will cost you around 300 and will give you prints the equal of or better than what you are now getting from your Canon.
I'm selling my Pictro 3000 with a good bit of paper and donor if you are interested. Write me offlist.
The Epson 2200 with the Quadtone rip on matte paper does a great job, if you like the look. The only problem I have is the dmax is real low compared to silver paper. It is much closer to platinum as far as the look goes than FB silver paper. Don't blast me on this guys, I am not saying it is better or as good as a platinum print, only that it with the matte paper and less dense look it is closer to platinum than glossy fiber. It sure will be better than a laser printer for any photographic use. Also, the Quadtone rip shows no metamerism to my eye, and you can balance the color between warm and cool very nicely.
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