Lots of questions inside and some pictures

Super Coupe

TPF Noob!
Apr 30, 2009
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Ok bare with me because I am a little new at some of this. I have had some college classes with digital photography so I am familiar with some things. Let's say I want to buy a printer to print digital pictures. I want something that will be able to print a poster size picture if needed. What is a good printer to get that is affordable and will give me quality results? Also I am unfamiliar with how you go with setting up the printer to make it how it looks on your computer screen. I know you have put something on your monitor and it calibrates it or something like that. I am wanting to start a side business taking pictures is why I am asking these questions. I also have a Nikon D40. Do you think I need to upgrade to a better camera? I know I will have more questions but for now that should do. Also would like some critique on this picture I took of my car. I havn't touched it in any programs yet.

Well, I have to admit, I dont have much experience with printers....at least not ones that print poster size. I know my printer (the company that makes my large prints) uses a Canon.

As far as your D40. Its perfectly capable of producing money making shots. Keep using it and dont worry about it until you get to the point where you really NEED more camera.

I like your shot. The fact that you got the lightning in it is sweet. Im not to excited about the over exposure on the taillights/license, but that was probably unavoidable given the long exposure required for that shot. Gotta love the storms in the lone star state.
Welcome to the forum.

If you are wanting to print 'poster sized' photographic quality prints...you are probably looking at several thousands of dollars for a printer. Not to mention that good photo paper isn't going to be cheap and the ink will eventually cost you more than the printer if you print often.
Or you could just have them printed at a lab. This goes for all sized prints, not just posters.

It's still nice to have a printer for your own convenience, but all things considered, I recommend using a good lab.

Whether printing at home or at a lab, the first step to accurate prints is calibrating your monitor. You will need a calibration device, something like the DataColor Spyder

The D40 is certainly a capable camera...especially if you use it with quality lenses. If all you have it the 'kit' lens, you may eventually want to upgrade, depending on the type of photography you are doing. More mega pixels doesn't always equate to better image quality...but it does help when you want to make large prints....so you may eventually want to upgrade the camera as well...but see what your D40 can do first.
While i'm not the best one to answer, hopefully I can point you in a semi-good direction.

While I can't recommend one that can print poster sized photos, I can recommend one that will print letter size (8.5" x 11") as well as 8" x 10", 5" x 7", and 4" x 6" photos that, at least from the ones i've printed, are nearly impossible to distinguish from lab prints from your photo shop. Its also a standard printer for any printing needs as in reports, or in your case invoices or the like.

As for getting results that will look as good as you see on your screen, maintinence, cleaning and using high-grade paper are key, and I highly suggest you use the paper from the maker of your printer, If its a Cannon, buy cannon paper and ink, if its a HP, use their brand. Traditionally off-brands or using another maker's paper won't get the same results, its not always true though. You can experiment with whatever you buy.

For my recommendation, I was amazed with the results I got from the Cannon Pixima MP620. It retails for around $130. Its nearly impossible for me to distinguish the printer photo from the photo lab prints. But I wasn't planning any commercial endevors with it either. But its not exactly a commercial photo printer.

There are several good writings on printing photos to get lab quality results and I won't go into detail about this since i'm learning myself but there is some research you'll want to do first, as there are a few tricks. Hopefully someone else can expand on this. I'd start by searching these forums and the internet for printing photos, and read some reviews for the top photo printers. Just google it.
Thank you for all your replies. You all have been a big help. On the Datacolor Spyder, is there a big difference in the 3 versions? There is a pretty big price gap in them.
Thank you for all your replies. You all have been a big help. On the Datacolor Spyder, is there a big difference in the 3 versions? There is a pretty big price gap in them.
As far as I know...the main difference between them is the software that comes with them.
The Express software is pretty basic and it only allows you to calibrate one screen, but it gets the job done. If you want to do multiple screens or have more control over the process, then one of the other packages might be a better option.

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