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Thursday, 29 September 2016

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You might want to check out the reports on Red River Paper's site. <http://www.redrivercatalog.com/cost-of-inkjet-printing.html>
There are reports covering the ink costs per print size for both Epson and Canon printers. Their papers are pretty nice too. I started using them to print note cards (they sell much better than matted prints) but I have largely shifted to them for other prints as well.

Some relatively systematic studies of print cost and ink usage for different printers can be found at http://www.redrivercatalog.com/cost-of-inkjet-printing.html

Here's another variable to throw into the equation: What constitutes an "8x10" print? The example you show is on letter-size paper (8.5" x 11") but the image looks closer to 5" x 7". That's a lot fewer square inches than a borderless print on the same paper. I don't even want to get into the implications of B&W versus color. The one thing I'm reasonably sure of based on personal experience is that if your main concern is cost-per-print, inkjet printing is a parlous endeavor.

I've been told, as a very broad generalisation, about 1ml of total ink per 8x10 print. It helps me calculate the approximate cost of a print as a total of the paper and ink costs.

However, it seems like an underestimate as 8x80ml ink cartridges in my 3880 printer should make 640 8x10 prints and I don't think I've achieved that (although haven't kept accurate records).

It would be great to have some better informed advice from a printing expert.

Jon Cone, who developed all b/w ink sets (Piezography) for Epson printers, also produces color ink set replacements. I know folks who use his refillable cartridges with great success (even though Epson continually makes life harder for third party suppliers). Cone addressed the longevity issue for his inks here http://www.inkjetmall.com/tech/content.php?126-FAQ-ConeColor-inks

Mike, I think you covered the ink usage issue well. The only other factor I thought about was if, and how often, one either switches between photo and matt black inks or runs head cleaning/maintenance routines, each of which 'wastes' ink.

Here's my quick and dirty:

1. The ink costs less per print than you'd pay for lower quality prints from various websites, and certainly less than you'd pay at a quality local printer.

2. Aftermarket refillable inks are a crapshoot. I gave up on them after destroying an Epson R3000. Just suck it up and buy the OEM product and save yourself the headache. (Might be worth the gamble if you print a LOT.)

In answer to Wayne
There ARE people who have done the kind of analysis you ask about, but it is usually done with some sort of test print, which, as Mike points out will never match your experience.
You are also correct, there are huge markups on ink, which seems difficult to take, but ink is just a charging mechanism for all the R&D and incredibly complex technology that ink jet printers represent.
They are also selling us the printers for a fraction of the cost of manufacture.
I am not an apologist for the printer companies.I would like ink to be cheaper too. But they are providing the ability to make better color prints than we ever made in the smelly expensive darkroom in 2 square feet of desk space.
I really believe the answer is to look less at what you give and more at what you get, which is the ability to make the finest color prints ever possible, for under $10 bucks a piece.
But it has to be worth it to YOU. there are many internet services who make perfectly nice prints cheaper than you can make them yourself.
Printing inkjet prints yourself is not cheap, and not for everyone.
It doesn't lend itself to the kind of analysis you would like. The printer manufacturers know that, and are aggressive in their pricing, but given the results possible, I still think it's a bargain.

If you worry about the cost every time you print, you probably won't enjoy the experience. There are many folks who rarely print anything. And that's ok too.

Some professional level printers come with monitoring software that will give you a summary of 'materials' (ink) used for any given print job. In fact, I could swear that I had that running once for my 3880 on a previous computer, but I can't find it now. Maybe if I can find the original CD that came with the printer, there may be a utility program on there. I know I didn't hallucinate it, though.

The Red River Paper company has done a number of studies of the cost of printing. There's information here:
http://www.redrivercatalog.com/cost-of-inkjet-printing.html

Two remarks for what they're worth. First, in my experience with the 3800 and 3880, I've noted that the rate of ink usage from the first set of cartridges on a new printer is faster than normal. This is probably due to the initial charging of the empty lines, etc. So your ongoing consumption rate should be a bit less dramatic.

Second, the 3880 has a utility that prints a bouquet of usage stats on demand. These figures seem designed for helping the owner determine how much to budget for printing. I wonder if your new P600 (of the "pro" P800) features such a maintenance report?

This will probably be a repeat of the comments regarding ink, printing costs but here goes. Red River papers are a great value and have many paper options. Inkjetmall has refillable cartridges and inks in both color and B&W. I have used the monotone ink sets on my old Epson 1400 with great success, have not tried the color ink sets with refillable cartridges for my epson 3800 but may do very soon. I just bought 3 Epson cartridges which cost me around 50.00 per cartridge, Ouch. I can't believe one ink cartridge costs $50.00, way too much. I am sure the profit margin is enormous.

Genuine Epson ink for my R2000 is 29 cents per ml versus $1.24 per ml for the P600 and 69 cents per ml for the P800. This has been a very interesting discussion, and I imagine the P600 and P800 can make better prints, but I'm going to stick with my R2000 a while longer.

I'd just add that the best way to save money printing, is to print a lot at the beginning, so you become enough of an expert that you don't have to make as many test prints later.

The second best way is to buy the largest OEM ink cartridges that you can, and use them to fill smaller refillable third party cartriges. The price per ml is much better. The risk is introducing bubbles into the printhead. Bubbles will permanently destroy individual microscopic nozzles, so buyer beware. (Shaking cartriges before installing is also not recommended. Ask me how I know ;( )

The third best way is to pick one kind of paper you like, and use roll paper. If your printer doesn't have a roll feeder, you'll need to cut it down to fit. Try to control the inevitable paper dust if you can. It gets everywhere.

Good series of articles Mike. Thank you. I am always looking for others experience with their various printers.
I have been printing on Epson printers for a long time, since the model 2000, what is that 15 years? I cannot imagine taking pictures if I could not print them. I also print for other photographers.
I am fairly poor, but have never found the cost of printing to be overwhelming, such that I would ever consider not printing.
There are several resources out there which talk about the costs.
Keep us informed about your progress.

Back when my Epson 2200 still worked (it's all plugged up now), I made a lot of prints with a 6 X 9 ink area on an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper (in inches). That was in the 2009 - 2012 period. I came to the conclusion that one of those prints on Epson paper cost me about $1.50. I used the finest nozzle and dot settings that I could ask for.

I think that ink and paper cost more now, but I have the idea that the cartridges now hold more ink, so maybe the overall cost is still about the same.

Did we use to complain about film,developer, paper, fixer, stop agent costs. When we were locked in the darkroom?

Now we only have a printer inks and paper, as a consumable. I know which one I decided on!

One other thing. You should buy one of those tools for calibrating your color monitor. That makes it much easier to get your colors right without wasting ink and paper. I use a Spyder4 from Datacolor.

Having wrestled with these sorts of calculations a number of times, I think that it comes down to three main factors: 1. How much control you want over the printing process, 2. Whether you want to print BW or not, and 3. How many prints you are really going to make. If you want the control and have the money, there is no real substitute for having your own printer. However, the value proposition is not very good unless you make lots and lots of prints--because of the substantial "sunk" costs of buying the printer (and repeat every five years or so) plus the running costs of paper and ink. If you are not going to make hundreds of prints per year, you are probably better served by finding a decent commercial printer that you can form a reasonably tight quality loop with, and pay them 10-20 bucks/print for the 20 or so you are really going to make this year. Honestly, I have been pretty impressed by the consistency of prints I have been getting lately from my local Costco when I bring in a file and they print on their glossy paper. Of course, I don't control the printing process--paper choice, etc., and they are only good for color prints. But if I want glossy color prints at the sizes they offer, they are really amazingly good.

This discussion reminds me of the ones my father (may he rest in peace) and I used to have when we went on our fishing trips. At the end of each trip (usually a week) he would ask what the cost per fish caught worked out to. It's true that if you are a local who lives near a great river, you tie your own flies, use the same gear for years, and go wade fishing on your own--it's a pretty economical pastime. However, we would fly out to Montana (or another fishing Mecca), fish with guides (to be sure we caught some fish and so he could do it despite his elderly frailty), and stay at a motel or lodge. Even if we caught a hundred or so fish apiece, the cost per fish was quite substantial.

But, then again, we weren't spending the week together to catch a certain number of fish--we did it for the experience fishing provided for us. I think that doing your own printing is the same kind of thing....so long as you can afford it.

Following some of the other posts, we don't have to mix chemicals, or figure replenishment, or get our fingers in the stuff. And, a big plus for me, I can come back to a file months after the first print from a file and make a virtually identical copy with almost no effort.

It has been several years since I fooled with aftermarket inks -- I just don't print enough to make it worth the trouble. But back in the day replacement systems seemed to work pretty well for dye base printers but were often a problem in pigment printers. The thought of an irreversable clog on a thousand-dollar printer is enough to keep me paying my Epson tithe.

there is an oem cheap solution of lesser quality. i bought last year an epson l800. you can get even cheaper with a four ink model. it uses dye based inks and when they fade i will print again. this year i heard that canon too launched cheap ink printers. i dont print a lot and maybe i would have been better with a cheaper printer using costlier inks. anyway i prefered this solution (to pay an upfront cost, 300 euros instead of lets say 100) for a psychological reason. i had an old printer that stopped working because i did not use it frequently. so i bought the excuse to print more as the money is already spent.

I'm really astonished to be the first to say that, but Aardenburg Imaging has a lot scientific results about print permanence, including third-party ink sets.

What I concluded from it, relative to my expectations and so on, is that third party pigment ink can be almost as good as OEM ink, fading a bit faster but not by an order of magnitude.
With dye inks, print permanence is already questionable with OEM inks, and I didn't see so far 3rd party inks that could remotely compete with that : there can be very evident fading in a few months.

The matter is quite complex, so head to http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/ for more.


I went up the CIS route (remote ink tanks, with additional lines) with an R1800, and it does add a layer of complexity. In day to day usage I felt it OK (main annoyance : I did have to remake custom profiles), but as soon as the printer began to have faults (you guessed it, clogged nozzles), getting to the source of the problem was more difficult due to the number of variables added.
With ink being ten (10) times cheaper, I felt it was worth the hassle in the end.

Surely when working out how much ink a printer uses any print is ink used up?

If you make four prints to get to the finished print you've made four prints worth of ink. If it takes six you've used six prints worth, two if it takes two.


I do a lot of portrait work and used a black background from my analog days. When using my Epson and making A3 (approx 12x16") prints my ink consumption rocketed.

So I changed to a very light background for the portraits when printing them from digital files. Ink consumption dropped drastically.

With analog darkroom printing the background color was of course irrelevant from a cost point of view. Not so with Epson printing.

Hi Mike - Happy printing! - I run an Epson 9900, (printing is part of my photo business) so although its a larger scale, you'll also learn as you go along which colours get used most. You'll also find less need to make proof prints as you tune in the whole screen to print magic for your own system.

For me, some inks need to be re-ordered at 10%, others can go for ages at something like 1-2% (for example yellow). The killer is when a bunch of them run down at the same time. For a full set of ink for the 9900, best price in USA is $1,350, so that's $.36 per ml. Here in Ireland, each cartridge for the 9900 is the equivalent of $163, (that's $.47 per ml.) and there are times when I might order four or five, so you can see why I try to estimate when I need them, rather than keeping some in stock. I think the printer averages about .010 ml per square inch. I replaced the print head this year after 7 years. That was around 20% of the price of a new printer.

HP used to make an excellent printer that would monitor the amount of ink used to make a print and then give you the cost. Great printer, great feature. Too bad they don't make them anymore.

There was a bit of a scandal a number of years ago when it was found that Epson printers were indicating cartridges were depleted when in fact they were something like one third full. Don't know if this is still an issue but if it is there's a workaround you can find on the web. As with all such things, though, use with care and at your own risk.

Epson printer cartridges have an expiration date printed on them, but an Epson exec nearing retirement once confided to me that they don't actually expire. At worst you might have to remove the cartridge when at the expiration date and gently rotate it a few times to re-suspend the elements that have settled over time.

Using third-party inks is tempting but not advised. Doing so runs the real risk of ruining your print heads, which is a lot more expensive than any savings you might realize by taking the risk. Best just suck up the cost of using the genuine article, and consider it the cost of working.

I've never gotten on well with inkjet printing, economically speaking. I've owned a couple of good quality Epsons but found the running costs for an occasional user to be eye watering. Most of my ink used to be burned in head cleaning sessions before both printers bungled up irretrievably. I also used to resent the way that during normal use the levels of inks I knew I wasn't using would slowly drain down. If I want an occasional print I upload it to a lab and often get the print back in the following morning's post.

I have clogged up four inkjet printers beyond reasonable repair so far, one HP, two Canons and one Epson. I am not keen to do that again. I used original inks on three of them, cheap refills on one. The cheap refills worked ok but the printed image clearly did not last. We are talking few months vs decades. I suppose there may be good quality third party inks, but how to be sure? Only time will tell, in my case it told pretty fast.
Now I am using laser printer for home office documents and dye sub for photo prints. Not ideal but suits my usage better. I do not print every week like the inkjet manufacturers say you should to prevent clogging. A bit hard advice for me to follow when I travel 200 days a year.

Other comments rightly point out that inkjet printers are generally sold at below cost and most users, including me, think that inks are too expensive. What hasn't been mentioned much is how long-lasting and reliable the printers are.

I have been printing with Epson printers since around 1998; my first was a 2100; I still have it and it still prints pretty well. In 2006//7 I bought a 4000 and over the following nine years made thousands of large prints, mostly 22x13" or larger, including many panoramic prints up to 36" long. In 2015 it developed a serious fault and I replaced it with a 3880 which I use almost every single day, mostly to make large prints. None of these printers has ever been serviced or received any maintenance other than very occasional head-cleaning and alignment checks.

I would say, however, that on the couple of times I phoned to consult Epson UK's "customer care" service, I found them pretty hard-nosed. I had to ditch the 4000 because it was "no longer supported"; translation: they stopped stocking spare-parts, so you couldn't make repairs.

I have always loved printing - I had a proper fully-functioning darkroom continuously from 1969 until 2003 - and I love digital printing; I print nearly every day, mostly large prints; for sale; for exhibitions; to give to friends and family, and just for the pure pleasure of making and looking at a big beautiful print. But this amount of printing - and the cost of all that ink - has made me do two things: a) learn to become much better at interpreting what I see on my monitor (backlit, high contrast, saturated; soft-proofing can help, but not always), and b) make the first and second trial print on A4 not A2 paper.

These two measures, especially the second, keep the cost of digital printing within sensible limits.

The exspense of making ink jet prints is relative. I'm continually amazed that people complain about the cost of a gallon of gas, but not bat an eye over what they pay at the same convenience store for a pint of water. I doubt that an 8x10 costs as much as a "grande" cup of coffee at the corner Starbucks, but I know which one will last longer.

I made a decision when I bought my first printer to not pay any attention to the cost of ink...it is a "cost of doing pleasure".

For what it's worth I've been told that the P600 prints a higher resolution than the P800 which seems odd

When it comes to my personal art, prints are what I produce. But I need to be frugal, too. So here's what I do: When I come in from a photo outing, I load all of the pictures into Lightroom and do an initial selection on screen. (Since I do exposure bracketing and other variations of each shot, this greatly reduces the number of pictures.)

I print out these initial selects, nine to a page, on letter size paper, with no processing done (other than my LR defaults, of course). I review these proof sheets pretty quickly, making notes of pictures to delete and processing that needs to be done.

Then I take each of the surviving pictures into the Develop module and make a first pass at getting a final look. Once that's done, I print these pictures out, nine to a page, as before. These "processed" proof sheets lie around the living room for a couple of days, and I pick them up numerous times and form opinions.

Finally, after a day or two, I make a 5x7 inch print of the pictures that still look good, adjusting the processing as needed. These go up on the corkboard, where I continue to look at them, and maybe reprint them, until they go either in the art folder or into the trash can.

Works for me, and isn't too awfully expensive.

I noticed an interesting effect with the Indian Corn. It looks more intriguing -- greater depth, perhaps -- on the print you are holding than when squeezed into the blog column format as a JPG.

Your corn looks great on paper even though it's a digital image of the paper. I know some people frame their digital images for online viewing just the way you printed that shot, with plenty of white. Seems to set it apart. Do you have an opinion on the best way to present a sort of online print?

Pace your depression over ink cost and usage, Mike. Wait until you have to change the "maintenance cartridge" and feel its weight.

I've rationalized ink costs as being the price of having the technology at hand. Earlier in my life I used to look at things on a per use basis - that sorta skewed things when I owned a sailboat and a very finicky sports car. Later I decided that I would look at total/usage costs upfront, and if I had issues absorbing the costs, I'd think twice before moving forward. If I was a professional photographer I'd take a more clinical view but as a hobbyist, it's simpler. What irritates me about ink is the amount remaining in the cartridge when it reads empty.

I gave up on printing because I travel a lot, often for several weeks at a time. When I came back to the printer after weeks of idleness, it would print poorly, banding or color casts, due, I assume, to ink drying out in the head. At first, using the head cleaning utility worked, using lots of ink, but eventually did not come back to high quality.
Anybody else have that experience?
It happened on 3 different printers.
Now I send prints to a service and have a $800 boat anchor on the shelf.

This doesn't have to be a complicated subject.

Measure the price in ink cartridges replaced per month.

Output measurement is light, medium, or heavy use of the printer. Some narrative is valuable here: "I only print on weekends." "I try to make one or two good prints every day." "I am filling orders for customers."

An example, made up because I do not own this printer: "If you own the P600 printer, expect to use at least 3 cartridges a month, possibly 6 with heavy use."

I think presenting ink usage this way is much more valuable than the per print price.

IMO a very high cost associated with Epson printers and their OEM inks, which no one mentions very often, is maintaining clog free nozzles. I've run Epson printers for 16 years now and have read of folks who never get clogs. I'm not one of 'em! I've read all sorts of reasons why nozzles tend to clog or not--low humidity, above average room temps, etc--but, for me, I have to run my Epson 3880 and 2880 every 4 days to minimize clogs. Read that again...I said MINIMIZE; I still get them. And, when you're running a cleaning cycle that's expensive ink going down the proverbial drain!

Chalk me up as one of those who currently has no interest in printing the vast majority of what I shoot - and using online services on the (increasingly rare) occasions I want a print. Yet, it is fascinating to read about all the different things that other hobbyists do with their images and their thinking behind those actions.

A 10x8 print costs exactly £1.40 here in the UK - using Fuji Crystal Archive paper and ordered from my preferred online lab. (Adoramapix charge $1.59 and use Kodak Endura paper for the US readers)
There is no way I can match those prices - and before I made my decision to always use a lab, I did compare the output from my Canon printer and from the Lab. I couldn't see a difference.
The only downside is waiting 24 hours for delivery.

Regarding 3rd party inks they are not nearly as lightfast as the OEM inks. Join Aardenburg Imaging (it's free, but worthy of our support) and take a look at the results. The few tests of ConeColor inks show fading in much less time than the Epson Ultrachrome K3 inks, and Cone seems to have the best reputation amongst the 3rd party inks. The newest Epson ink in the P600 line is even better than the K3. But the ConeColor inks may be more than adequate for some uses, and there are significant savings.

It's been my experience that paper is a bigger portion of the per print cost than the ink is on a printer like the P800 (or larger). So I save money using inexpensive proofing papers. The best I have found is Costco's Kirkland Professional Glossy inkjet. I believe it's an Ilford product. It's not a fine art paper, and glossy RC is my least favorite paper look. However it's an inexpensive paper at $19 for 150 sheets ($0.13 per sheet). When profiled it's a good stand-in for other papers for gauging color and tonality. Even with calibrated monitors I still prefer a print to really gauge my edits. When I switch over to a fine art paper for the final print it's rare that the print isn't as I intended.

This ambiguous price per print is obviously a challenge to nail down given the variables. It appears that if you use your printer regular and use use letter size paper with the image cropped with a reasonable size. Then every time for test or final print you probably have a reasonable cost. Compared to a gallon of gas, a bottle of beer in a tavern, or a latte. If for a big project for the week-end that might look a big couple of days.

I used third-party "continuous ink-feed systems" on an Epson 2000 for color (with third-party pigment inks, before Epson's own pigment ink line) and on an Epson 1160 with third-party quadtone B&W inks for years, and they were amazingly, surprisingly, totally trouble-free.

That said, when I switched to Epson's Ultrachrome line I have stayed religiously with genuine Epson inks, that having been the point of switching to that printer.

Yes, ink is expensive, but when I think about the cost of darkroom printing top-quality 16x20 color prints, well. (It is actually cheaper in the darkroom, plus it's inconvenient enough that you don't do it as much. But I just don't make enough big prints for it to be that much of an issue. Smaller prints of course use smaller amounts of ink.)

Congratulations on your web site Mike. I just discovered it recently and really enjoy the articles and comments each day.

With respect to ink and printing costs, you might find these two articles interesting. Both are a little older but the methodology and results are interesting. The Luminous Landscape article is by Mark Segal but unfortunately since Luminous Landscape went to a subscription model you now need to be a subscriber to read it.

http://www.redrivercatalog.com/cost-of-inkjet-printing-epson-3800-3880.html

http://luminous-landscape.com/epson-3800-printing-costs/

Best wishes and thanks for all your efforts
Dave Hodson
Alberta, Canada

Why would one print? There are lots of good reasons, and one that not too many people talk about is ease of sequencing and editing a portfolio or book. It's much easier to shuffle 5x7 prints on the floor to get a feel for the flow of a sequence than it is to do it on a computer. There is not enough screen area and resolution to do this well on a computer screen.

Make your on-screen thumbnails small enough to fit many of them onto a screen to get a sense of the flow, and you can't really read individual photos anymore. Make your on-screen images large enough to see an individual photo well, and you're lucky if you can see more than 2 photos. And that's only the viewing part.

Now imagine if you want to reorder the photos: the user interface to do that is at best primitive and cumbersome, if it's even there at all. And what if you wanted to sequence pairs of photos (for facing pages of a book) where you need to move pairs of photos around? Good luck!

For an average cost of printing on an Epson printer consider what Newspace in Portland, OR charges to use their print lab. "Newspace Center for Photography is a nonprofit resource center and community hub for students, working artists, professional photographers, educators, and photo-enthusiasts of all types." They charge $9/hr plus $0.05/sq.inch of image printed (you provide your own paper). Details can be found at http://newspacephoto.org/facilities/digital-lab/

I'm coming to this late in the comment sequence, but as someone who has struggled with these issues over an extended period.

If you want to use OEM inks and are worried about the cost, then there's a simple solution - buy a large printer. They come with large ink cartridges and the ink cost per ml goes down as the cartridge size goes up. For me the sweet spot was the 3880, and I've always wondered about people who bought the 3000 instead. The ink cost per ml was so much higher. Given the included ink in each printer, the implied price difference for just the printer was not all that much. You would really have to want to print on both CDs and roll paper to buy a 3000, and in any case there are ways to print on a 3880 using roll paper. The 3880 is not *that* much larger.

The same arguments apply to the P600 / P800, except that the P800 has a roll paper option, and the included cartridges are starter carts, so the implied difference in price between the two printers is larger than it was. I'm surprised that Mike went for the P600, and I wonder if he still would if faced the same choice again. The 3880 seems to have been the most reliable printer Epson ever made (although not 100% reliable, but pretty darn high), and hopefully the P800 inherits those printer genes.

You could get even lower ink prices per ml by buying one of the larger printers, but the 4900 and the larger x900 printers have reliability problems, and the large format ones are mighty large and drink ink like a fish drinks water.

My own experience, and anecdotal evidence from the Lula forum, is that pigment sedimentation is really not much of an issue with OEM inks, which may be a concern with larger OEM ink carts. At the very worst you may need to remove and agitate the cars now and again if you really are printing very infrequently. In my view, this is one of the advantages of OEM over third party inks - they sediment, even good third party inks like ConeColorPro - you need to be much more vigilant in printing frequently and agitating. This is especially true for B&W inksets like Piezography, and is why I only use such inksets in a printer with small refillable cartridges that sit on the print head. There's a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about third party inks, but really it comes down to managing and preventing pigment sedimentation.

I have used third party colour inks over an extended period. I've stopped for the time being, partly over the sedimentation issue (there aren't any 13" or larger K3 printers with carts on the print head any more), and over the reliability of refillable cartridges. As BH said, they're a crap shoot, even the ones from InkJetMall. And as a printer ages, they work less well. It's the cartridges that are the biggest issue with third party inks IMHO. Moreover, Epson and the other manufacturers are making it harder for the chip fabricators to get their chips to work correctly.

People worry about the longevity of third party inks. As Larry Gebhardt noted, the Aardenburg results show that even ConeColorPro is not nearly as lightfast as the OEM. But I think that people obsess about these numbers too much. Fading is not a problem I've had in practice. It depends a lot on storage and display conditions. If I was back in the position of being on a budget and printing a lot and not selling commercially, I'd be less concerned that under standard testing conditions my prints were going to last say 75 years rather that 200. I'd compensate by careful storage and display, and reprinting occasionally if required.

Of course for commercial work, you need the safety and protection of OEM longevity, and you manage the ink cost by buying a larger printer.

These inks are actually even more expensive per mL than advertised, because you cannot milk a cartridge to the last drop. In fact, the lights will start flashing with still some ink left in the tank, and soon you won't be able to print at all, not until you swap out the not-quite-empty cartridge.

Thanks to everyone who commented regarding my questions. You may not have intended to help me personally, but the comments have been of considerable value....personally. I suppose it sort of relates to Mike's older post about a closet full of old camera gear, and how it relates to the price that should be paid for camera gear. I get the point: I am going to go for the P800.

I find the rituall throwing of hands in the air over ink prices quite funny. My current printer (Canon Pro-100) has little 12ml cartridges, which cost me 12,90€ (plus a proportion of postage) to replace. For a 13x19 print, that puts the ink cost at roughly 1,50€.

Meanwhile, I print on a decent 310gsm RC paper from Lumière. It costs about 2€/sheet in that size and it's the bottom of the range. Yet it doesn't seem nearly as common to complain about paper prices, and in fact many forum users seem eager to use at least baryta papers that cost 50-60% more. Many find yet more expensive options.

It is just a tiny bit tiresome to be continually re-ordering cartridges (although the paper comes from the same source), so I've decided it's an excellent excuse to upgrade to a pro-1000 with its 12 x 80ml cartridges... and the possibility of printing at A2, of course :-)

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