Choosing a Photo
August 11th 2005
Epson with CD /
Ink Jet printers
have come a long way in the past decade. Not only has the
resolution increased, but so has functionality. Many inkjet
printers can print crystal clear color images on photo quality paper
and even directly to DVD and CD media.
The prices have dropped drastically also. The other day I saw an ad
in a Wal-Mart circular posting prices as low as $39. Sure there are
better quality printers out there, but you don’t have to spend a
fortune to get acceptable or even superb quality prints. There are
a few things you need to look for before you buy, and we will
evaluate those things here.
One of the primary
factors most people look at is price. Typically Epson and Lexmark
are the lowest price. Brother and Hewlett Packard (HP) are slightly
more expensive. But is price the only determining factor? Not by a
The cost of
replacing ink cartridges should also be considered. What good is a
$39 printer if the replacement cartridges cost double the
competition? From what I have seen Epson offers the lowest price
replacement cartridges. In fact some of the generic replacements
can cost as little as $3 each.
I have heard some
people advocating refilling the old cartridge. Personally, I think
this is a bad idea, especially with the new low cost generics
cartridges. In most cases the refills require you to poke a needle
through the used cartridge to inject the fresh ink. Even if the
hole is resealed the ink may leak out. This can ruin the printer.
Since the big money
is made in selling the cartridges and not the printer, HP and some
others have designed proprietary ink cartridges that are unavailable
in the generic market. Some of these cartridges cost $30 or more.
In my opinion, this rules out HP as a good choice for printers.
The paper the image
is printed on is more important than the Dots per Inch (DPI)
resolution. We are considering “ink” jet printers here, right? The
ink will soak and bleed into normal paper causing the image to be
blurred. So if you spend $400 on a top of the line inkjet printer
and use common paper, the prints are still going to look fuzzy.
Recently I printed
a picture of one of my dad’s orchids on an 8 ˝ by 11 inch glossy
paper. I used an Epson printer that cost me around $100. I used a
6 mega pixel Canon EOS camera to take the shot. The picture fooled
everyone that I showed it too. No one could believe the image was
printed on my inkjet printer.
There are some
competing color laser jet printers on the market right now; some
even under a $1000. They separate the toner cartridges according to
color. The toner cartridges will last longer than ink cartridges,
but the cost is more. Color bleeding is less of a factor than with
inkjets because you are dealing with a toner, not ink.
You will definitely
want to look for a printer that separates the ink cartridges. I
once owned an Epson that had integrated all the colors into one
cartridge. Sure the cartridges were inexpensive, but I had to
replace the whole thing just because I ran out of one color. Also,
the inkwells were smaller and held less ink. That mean the
cartridge had to be replaced more frequently.
inkjet printers will come with five color cartages and a single
black one. This color separation will give you superb quality
prints, assuming you use the coated glossy paper.
Many of the newer
printers will include CD and DVD trays. This will allow you to
print directly onto a CD or DVD. So it you burn a music CD or DVD
movie you don’t need to mess with labels. It will definitely give
you a more appealing final product. I recommend businesses use this
method for finishing their presentation DVD’s. Hub-less DVD’s
permit printing to the center ring of the DVD. The printers will
include special software that makes this printing a snap.
manufacturers will offer a wide format option. This means you can
print directly onto 11 X 17 inch paper, as compared to the standard
8 ˝ by 11 format. You could produce your own magazines right at
home. Corel Draw and Quark Express are some great software programs
you can be use for the layout. The wide format may also provide you
a better sales presentation than just stuffing 8 ˝ by 11 papers into
There are many
specialty paper companies that sell the larger 11 X 17 inch format
paper. You might want to experiment with a thin (light weight)
paper for the inner pages and a thick (heavy weight) paper for the
cover, similar to a magazine. Always get the glossy paper for best
When using the
large format paper to make a magazine, experiment with paper to
determine what page will line up with the other. For instance, page
two may be on opposite side of the paper from page one but on the
same side as page six. It all depends how many pages you have and
if you have a table of contents. Experiment with it on smaller
pieces first to determine where to put the pages.
After you have
determined the layout and printed the booklet or magazine use a
“long reach” style stapler. They are inexpensive and you will need
it to staple the center of the magazine.
To sum it up: my
personal favorite printer is the Epson. The last 4 printers I have
purchased have been Epson. The inexpensive generic cartridges last
just as long as the more expensive Epson Brand cartridges and the
print quality has been great.
If you have any comments or
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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