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Best dedicated 4x6 photo printer-HP Photosmart 245 or Canon CP-200?

Canon EOS Rules , Mar 30, 2004; 09:58 p.m.

I love my Epson CX6400. It's one nice printer.

What I don't like about the printer is its inability to print nice, high-gloss photos. I've tried a lot of diferent photo papers, including Epson's 2 recommended papers, and I still can't get high-gloss photos. (Must be those pigment-based inks...)

So, I'm looking for a nice dedicated 4x6 photo printer because anything bigger won't fit in my dorm room alongside my Epson, which I intend to keep for everyday use. I've narrowed my search down to the HP Photosmart 245 and the Canon CP-200. The Canon's appealing because I can print directly from my Digital Rebel, it has higher resolution (300 dpi continuous-tone=4800x4800dpi inkjet), and the prints last somewhat longer. However, the HP has broader media flexibility, lower running costs (31-57 cents/page versus 65 cents/page for the Canon), and true B&W printing (I have a soft spot in my heart for B&W). Which one would be best?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Responses

Steven Clark , Mar 30, 2004; 11:28 p.m.

Anything using durabrite is not going to give you nice high-gloss photos. The CX6400 is designed to be "good enough" for photo usage but really the inks it uses are optimized for document printing.

As for the dedicated 4x6 printer I would suggest you open yourself up to the posibility of a larger printer. Most of the 4x6 printers don't cost much if any less than their larger siblings, and actually often produce worse output. For example the HP's only use the tricolor cartridge and so don't even have a true black in color at this size much less the 6 color pallette the larger printers have for cheaper. You'd be much better off with the 7760 at this size.

The Epson option for this purpose would of course be the R300 or R300m. The M models comes with the LCD preview display the other does not. Really you should seriously consider not getting a printer with the preview display. The display may seem convenient, but index sheets are actually significantly faster for selecting your picture when you have a significant number on the card. One thing to note is that the Epson DOES have the Pictbridge support needed for direct printing from your digital rebel.

Another thing to consider: this is a digital rebel! Your camera is capable of taking picture much bettert than 4x6. In fact at the price alot of photo labs charge for bulk digital 4x6's there is no reason to print your own at this size.

You should probably also look at some of the Canon inkjets like say the i900. They have pictbridge support almost universally these days.

Cliff Gallup , Mar 31, 2004; 11:54 a.m.

I have the CP-200. It's very small and convenient, but there is something just slightly flat about the prints that stops me from recommending it. It's also quite expensive. If you like the small, direct print format and also are into the dye-sub thing, check out the Hi-Touch (or Hi Ti) line of direct print, dye sub printers, which might be a better bet than the CP-200 (higher resolution and ability to play around with exposure settings etc). Also, the CP-200 is useless for B&W; strong color cast.

I agree with a previous poster that the printers you mention won't do your camera justice.

Constance Cook , Mar 31, 2004; 02:39 p.m.

If you have a nearby Office Max, they have demonstration models of these printers you can try out. That would give you real-world information about your own standards.

Conni

Edward Yoo , Mar 31, 2004; 04:39 p.m.

I used to have a CP-200. Although convenient and small, I was disappointed with the quality of the prints. The prints were never as sharp as the image on my monitor or my Canon inkjet. I loved the fact that there were no 'dots' on closely examining the pictures, just smooth color. I probably would have kept it, if not for 2 factors: ridiculous operating costs (paper+ink packs), and less than stellar b&w prints.

For only color snapshot 4x6 prints, it just wasn't worth it to me. I sold it a while back.

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