Choosing A Printer and Ink

This evening I learned a lot about printers and printer paper in my photography class.  I am taught by Holly of Photos by Design, here in Sarnia.  Holly is a professional photographer (and is the official photographer for Sarnia’s Hiawatha race track) and was the first pro photographer, in Canada, to purchase a digital camera.  Guess what her 3 megapixel camera cost her?  Would you believe it was $9,000?  Holly didn’t flinch.  She knew digital would take off, even though all the others were laughing at her.  They told her she was wasting her money, and insisted digital would not catch on.  Imagine their surprise as she printed off the winning horses (at the racetrack) the very night of the race.  Needless to say, Holly caused quite a stir and many more professional photographers ran to buy their own digital cameras.  The findings that I will share with you have been well researched by Holly.  She used all the name-brand printers and reported the following.

What determines the quality of a printed photo?

  • Type of computer program (Mac prints 25% clearer, followed by Windows 98.  Vista printed the poorest quality)
  • Type of ink (ink jet is better than laser)
  • Brand of printer
  • Brand of paper

How does the quality of printing at home compare to printing at Walmart?

Printing at home outnumbers printing at Walmart, providing you use Chrome, or Ultra Chrome, ink.  We will discuss paper tomorrow.

Tell me more about ink types

My titles and columns will not allign.  The first column is the type of ink.  The second column represents the number of years a photo will last without fading.  The third column represents where the ink is used.

  1. Water-based                       1 to 3 years           Used with water-based printers
  2. Dye                                     20 years                Used with home printer
  3. Dye Sublimation                 20 years                Walmart, photo kiosks
  4. Photographic                      20 years                Professional photography shops
  5. Chrome                               20-50 years          Home and professional store (by request)
  6. Ultra Chrome                      50-100 years        Home and professional store (by request)

Want to find out how your photos are doing?  Put a photo into a dish of water for 24 hours.  Your ink should not run at all.  If it does, then you need to consider making a change.

What printers do you recommend for long-lasting and high quality photos?

Epson 800 ($399) and Epson 1900 ($549) Chrome Ink

Canon 9000 ($449) Dye Ink

Dell:  All are waterbased

Lexmark:  All are waterbased

HP:  Nothing comparable with the Epson

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Posted on : Oct 14 2008
Posted under Tips & Tricks |

13 People have left comments on this post

Oct 15, 2008 - 12:10:32
Karine said:

Maybe because you did not try HP pro printers… good. Phot lasting 200 hundred years. Amazing prints. My boyfriend and I are preparing a photo exhibition with this printer 🙂

Oct 15, 2008 - 06:10:33
Manna said:

Wow, thanks for all the info!!!

Oct 15, 2008 - 01:10:30
MaggiLiz said:

HP is also one of the leading printer manufacturers. I think she should have tried their printers, e.g. the HP Photosmart Pro B9180 Photo Printer – they claim their pictures last 200 years. Since she didn’t include the HP, I question her recommendations.

Although, the Epson 1900 using Ultra Chrome is a great photo printer.

Oct 15, 2008 - 04:10:30
Ethel A said:

Holy cow, Beth! This is a gem of a blogpost! Thanks for sharing everything you’re learning. This is invaluable information, for sure!

Oct 16, 2008 - 01:10:39
MaggiLiz said:

Hi Beth
I found the information very useful. Thanks for taking the time to add it to your blog.

Oct 16, 2008 - 01:10:09
Kimmy said:

Perfect timing for this post – we need a new printer. I can’t believe all the information you have on printers. Thanks I can’t wait to see some more cards 🙂

Oct 27, 2008 - 05:10:54

The good photography depends a lot on the skills of the person brandishing the camera. The basics of digital photography are not hard to pick up, if you go through some simple techniques. Thank you!!

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