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Thread: What does a newbie do nowadays in the printing game?

  1. #1
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    What does a newbie do nowadays in the printing game?

    OK...

    I'm not a newbie. I have owned a couple of inkjet (bubblejet) printers a loooong time ago. In fact, because of their continuous clogging I went to a colour laser printer. This was before I got seriously into photography. So the latest printer purchase was a Samsung CLP350 I think it is. And that never gave me a reasonable service life before it needed a new drum ...

    Question: Where are we at nowadays in the printing game as far as printer serviceability and reliability are concerned? Are they (the inkjets that is ..) way better than the 90's? Does buying a high-end printer mean you get a better reliability? (eg. SureColor P800 -vs- SureColor P5070 -vs- SureColor P7070) Do you need to do some printing on a regular basis? Semi-regular?

    I see some threads mentioning cleaning with various things like ultrasonic baths or alcohol based fluids like Windex. Perhaps even straight alcohol or even something more potent like thinners? Is this still the go even at the more professional end of things?

    I also see that some kits makers are not able to get around the inbuilt 'protections' inside chips and such for some printers. Does this mean it is better to buy something older? (I do also realise that companies like Epson will release a new printer to just get around the fact that other manufacturers learn how to get around their consumable grips ...)

    I'm sort of after an industry overview and frank assessment really as I've got a wife baying for more output from my photography and I think that printing is a viable option now.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: What does a newbie do nowadays in the printing game?

    Ha ha

    I print online only and have it shipped to me

    And vastly prefer my Darkroom

    This will be interesting!
    sin eater

  3. #3

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    Re: What does a newbie do nowadays in the printing game?

    +1 for what Randy says. I use on-line services for color printing from digitally captured or scanned films, as I prefer to spend most of my time in the dark room making B&W silver gelatin prints.
    ... JMOwens (Mt. Pleasant, Wisc. USA)

    "If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all." ...Michelangelo

  4. #4

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    Re: What does a newbie do nowadays in the printing game?

    Quote Originally Posted by swmcl View Post
    printing is a viable option now.
    I also think that on-line services are nice and this allows to spend time for working or (my case) learning in the darkroom.

    Yes, inkjet prints are nice, but not many collectors buy inkjet prints. Inkjets are a kind of reprography and often considered a decorative object more than a collectible handcrafted object of art. Perhaps a photographer may make more money by inkjet pinting than with other ways, because the photography art market is not easy. Authentic handcrafted optic prints from masters are expensive, but the rest is difficult to sell, even at low prices...

    In practice darkroom printing almost disapeared, laser (on photopaper) and inkjets are good choices, even many carbon printers (etc) depart from digital negatives... all for good reasons. Anyway, IMHO, those that are still able to make extremly good prints from a pure optical process have an strategic advantage. That also requires a very refined technique to obtain what one wants without labour and materials waste, not easy.

  5. #5
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: What does a newbie do nowadays in the printing game?

    My Epson 3800 lasted 6 or 7 years and produced over 6000 prints with negligible trouble. I've used an Epson P-800 for 27 months and produced 1800 prints with no trouble at all. It's good to be able to make a small print to check everything before using a big sheet of paper and to produce prints in minutes instead of days.

  6. #6

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    Re: What does a newbie do nowadays in the printing game?

    Inkjet printing can be superb if you have the right equipment and know what you're doing. There are many excellent papers out there to suit every taste. There are also many excellent options for printers at a huge range of price points. I'm familiar with Epson but other manufacturers make good printers too (e.g., HP, Canon).

    How much do you want to print? How big do you want to print? Serious printing can become expensive quickly. The printer is usually the least costly part of the equation over the long haul. Ink and paper can cost a lot.

    I only print black and white at the moment. I'm running an old Epson 3880. I bought one of the last refurbished ones I could find a couple years ago. I have a spare one in storage. The reason I use these ones is they're the last generation of 17" wide Epson printers that will easily take refillable carts. In North America Epson has locked out most refillables. Jon Cone (Inkjetmall.com) has developed an add-on board that you can use in a P800 to defeat Epson's lockout, but it's expensive and it voids your warranty because you have to open up the printer.

    One other quirk for me is that I mix my own inks according to Paul Roark's formulation, so it's a true monochrome inkset. Lately I've added in a blue toner in one of the channels so I can print from warm to neutral on the cotton paper I like. This approach dramatically cuts the cost of the ink. If you want a fully monochrome inkset, but you don't want to go the "mix up your own" route, you could try Piezography (Jon Cone again). It is not cheap, but Cone provides the technical support and software you need to make it a turnkey system.

  7. #7
    45-57-617
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    Re: What does a newbie do nowadays in the printing game?

    Hmmm.

    From my perspective, my living arrangements dictate that I can't setup an optical darkroom. Yet I would like to see results. The local CameraHouse is a joke. They looked at me as though I had green Shrek ears when I told them my file sizes.

    rdeloe, size wise I'm thinking 17" is good and 24" is better. I might have to tone down my thoughts!

    Defeating circuits like the one made for the P800 are good. I would want one available for the printer I buy.

    I'll look into the online services too. I did check one out the other day maybe I'll have a re-think and get a quote!

    Cheers to all.

  8. #8

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    Re: What does a newbie do nowadays in the printing game?

    Quote Originally Posted by swmcl View Post
    The local CameraHouse is a joke. They looked at me as though I had green Shrek ears when I told them my file sizes.
    There are silver gelatin printing services like the ilford one that produces true silver prints, that of course will take big files for big prints. The one form ilford for example https://www.harmanlab.com/page/57/Bl...-from-Film.htm , but they usually work with RC paper.

    You only need to send big files for big prints, for an small print you only have to send the exact amount of pixels that the printer will actually print. If you are not skilled in optimizing the print at pixel level for best sharpness (and wanting that) then you may send a (say +40%) larger file to allow the printer optimize it, today printers have very good optimizations.

    Other services specialized in fine jobs, like Bob Carnie, also print on FB photopaper with a Lambda. Those services will use the necessary digital information for the print size.

    Inkjets easily handle color tones in BW prints, some ink sets allow to print more cold the shadows and more warm mids or highlights for example, but IMHO a silver print made with a lambda, a frontier or a lightjet is a superior product compared to ink. Nothing aganist inkjets but... silver is silver.

    For on-line services it is important the digital proofing, a print always look different than what you see in the monitor, so it's important to learn how to proof, this is adjusting the display profiles, adjusting room illumination and learning to guess how it will look from the what you see in the monitor.

    At the beginning one may order a print 16 small images with different adjustments in a single print to later order the big print. If you order a print to a Lab specialized in fine jobs then they will always make a good print.

  9. #9

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    Re: What does a newbie do nowadays in the printing game?

    Silver is silver. But carbon is carbon. And platinum is platinum! These are all just ways of making a physical photograph. Which one you prefer is simply a matter of taste. I started printing "carbon on cotton" with an inkjet because I ripped out my darkroom a decade ago, but even if I had the money and space, I wouldn't go back to silver printing. At the same time, I'm just delighted that we have so many options these days that didn't exist even a couple decades ago.

  10. #10

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    Re: What does a newbie do nowadays in the printing game?

    I just noticed that you're in Australia. On the Epson Australia website, for the P800 printer (17") it says "The use of 3rd party supplies (particularly Options and Ink) is strongly discouraged". That suggests that Epson was not able to lock down the printers and prevent third party inks. You may not need a defeating circuit. That would be fantastic if you wanted to use 3rd party refillable cartridges. I'm not sure what's available in Australia in terms of inks, but if you can afford the cost of shipping from the US there are many good choices, e.g., Cone Color inks are plug-in replacements for Epson inks. I don't use Cone inks but their refillable cartridges are genuinely better than the ones you can get on eBay or from your local camera store. They look the same, but Cone is able to enforce higher manufacturing standards in China, where he gets them. (I switched to Cone's carts after one of my locally-sourced refillable carts leaked and dumped 80ml of ink inside my printer... I was able to clean it up but that was not fun.)

    As for size, that's obviously a matter of personal taste. I too thought I "needed" a 24" wide printer. I'm glad I didn't get one. The Epson 3880 (and the newer P800) is a big printer, but it can sit beside me on a little cart in a room I use as an office. The next size up 24" printer sits on a stand and starts to dominate the room. For my own purposes, I've found that a 17" wide print is actually very large. By the time I frame one that size, it's an imposing picture. Again, everyone has different tastes and some people like mural-sized prints, but for me 17" x 25" (if I'm printing a 2:3 format file) is plenty big.


    Quote Originally Posted by swmcl View Post
    Hmmm.

    From my perspective, my living arrangements dictate that I can't setup an optical darkroom. Yet I would like to see results. The local CameraHouse is a joke. They looked at me as though I had green Shrek ears when I told them my file sizes.

    rdeloe, size wise I'm thinking 17" is good and 24" is better. I might have to tone down my thoughts!

    Defeating circuits like the one made for the P800 are good. I would want one available for the printer I buy.

    I'll look into the online services too. I did check one out the other day maybe I'll have a re-think and get a quote!

    Cheers to all.

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