Buying my first printer

Wawe

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I’m an enthusiast photographer, have owned a DSLR (currently D800) for about three years now and have so far only presented my work online. Recently I’ve found myself more and more interested in printing my pictures and hanging them on the walls at home etc.

So, in the near future, I’m looking to buy a quality printer and am now asking for advice in making the right purchase for my needs. As noted, I have pretty much zero experience or knowledge in printing apart from what I’ve read online.

I mostly shoot landscapes, including (single row) panoramas, so being able to print on fairly large paper sizes, perhaps on paper rolls, too, would be a requirement. And considering the large prints, the maximum resolution should probably be on the larger side as well. Also, it would be nice to be able to print on both multiple types of paper and, say, canvas, too.

Importantly, I do not plan to print very regularly, probably sometimes not even once a month, so I’m looking for a printer that will not cause problems if not used all the time.

At this point I have no strict budget planned for my purchase, but I think I’ll be able to spend up to some thousand (USD) on the printer alone. I’m also well aware that the prints themselves (paper and ink, that is) will be a significant factor in the total costs, but any information on some average prices or price per print determinants would be appreciated so that I could get a better picture of the expenses.

Thanks a lot in advance!
 

KenC

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As far as I know, not printing regularly would be a problem for any printer, due to inks drying out in print heads, lines, etc. The printer will run a cleaning routine to clear out any problems and this uses a lot of (expensive) ink. Unless there's some new technology that I don't know about to tackle this, you might be better off using a custom printing service.

If you do go ahead with a printer, I always liked the Epson Photo printers and the guy who prints for me has a couple of industrial ones.
 

The_Traveler

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Red River paper has done some work on cost/sq inch for ink.

I use a Canon Pro 100; when used with Canon's plugin for LR and PS, it does spectacular color up to 13 x 19 (not as great BW)
Larger Canons can use roll paper but, tbh, that gets really, really expensive and not printing weekly means much more cost in ink.

If I were doing lots of BW printing I would use an Epsom with the specialized 8 tones of grey in cartridge set.
 
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Wawe

Wawe

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Thanks for your comments!

I recognize the problems related to infrequent printing. However, I think printing my own images might develop to be an important part of my photography and I've been aiming at this for a long time. So I think I'll have to work around the issue somehow.

As for the printing size, 17" seems like the most appropriate choice for me. After doing some more research I understood that going wider than that would cost me significantly more. Please do correct me if I'm wrong on this, because if expenses were no issue I would, of course, like to be able to print as wide as possible.

Given the 17" width and also my requirement to be able print on rolls, I'm now seriously considering the Epson SC P800. Has anyone got experience on this printer? I would especially be interested in hearing about the possible issues related to using the printer infrequently, which I think might be the key issue in my case based on the comments I've received.

In addition, I think I will be doing some B&W printing as well. How do these cartridge sets work? Do I need separate sets of cartridges (are they even available and is it easy to change them?) for B&W and color printing? Or what would be the procedure if I used the same printer for both types of output?
 

Village Idiot

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I just couldn't ever justify the cost vs the quality. I use a pro lab that's cheaper that purchasing a printer and paper, does amazing work, and ships pretty fast.
 

The_Traveler

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In addition, I think I will be doing some B&W printing as well. How do these cartridge sets work? Do I need separate sets of cartridges (are they even available and is it easy to change them?) for B&W and color printing? Or what would be the procedure if I used the same printer for both types of output?

I doubt you could swap out cartridge sets, any hints of original color would taint the ink flow, I imagine.
 
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Wawe

Wawe

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Thanks again for your input.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, I understand that making my own prints will not come cheap and also have considered the trouble I need to go through to learn the color management part and so on. However, I think I'll still pursue this because for me getting the image on paper would be the last step completing the creative process, which I would prefer to do myself.

Again, based on the comments, as I had understood also from my own research, the central problem in my case would be not using the printer so often. Could I be able to avoid this issue (most likely with the P800) if I printed at least, say, once every two weeks? I think I could do this without printing something completely useless, because occasionally I also shoot friends and family, who would probably have use for (smaller) prints of some of these pictures. If this would work as a solution, would it matter if I printed in B&W or would it have to be a color print every time to use the ink from all of the colors in the cartridge set?
 

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