[thechat] Photo printer

Ian Anderson ian at zstudio.co.uk
Mon Mar 27 03:33:52 CST 2006

Chris Marsh wrote:

> I've just taken up digital photography. I've armed myself with a Nikon D50,
> I have a Nikon 75-300mm lense, and I have a decent tripod, but I have not
> yet bought a photo printer. I really want one that prints up to A3, and I
> won't be using it for anything other than photos. I've collected a
> bewildering array of specifications, but does anyone have any comments or
> personal recommendations? Any information would be gratefully received!

Well, this may not be directly relevant to your case, but I have a canon 
CP300 or something like that - a postcard sized (6"x4") dye-sublimation 
colour printer that goes with the Ixus range of cameras (and all other 
Pictbridge compatible ones, of course).

It blows me away that you can print near-35mm-quality photos in your own 
living room, but the cost per print is just the same as going to the 
high street photo outlet and using a self-service photo-printing station 
(about £0.40 UK per print, not including the outlay on the printer 
itself), and the quality is about 10% poorer than the big machine they 
use themselves. (I love arbitrary percentages, don't you?)

The only niggle I have with it is that the ink roll is directly keyed to 
the sort of media you use with it. For instance, the ink roll for the 
postcard size media won't print on the credit card sized media, and vice 
versa. So it's quite restrictive; Canon sell the ink roll and relevant 
media as a single kit.

The other thing to be aware of is that the printer needs some space to 
grip the media, so the media has extra tear off bits at each end. You 
split the waste material off where it's finely perforated, and it looks 
fine in normal use. You can feel the resulting serrations along two 
edges, though. And the Canon 6"x4" media has postcard markings on the 
reverse side, which takes some getting used to.

I am looking forward to buying a colour laser as my next office 
purchase, now the price of these has come down to sensible levels. I 
despise inkjets because of their noise, poor print quality and high 
consumable cost, so I have enjoyed very quick, quiet, cost-efficient, 
but monochrome laser printing for the last eight years.

In your position suspect I would question whether I need an A3 printer. 
For the number of prints of this size you are likely to print, surely it 
would be more cost-effective to get them done at a photo outlet, and 
have a smaller format printer for general home use. But you know your 
own situation best, of course.

Hope you enjoy your Nikon D50 - people say they're superb



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