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Do we need a printer at all?

David Nicolas , Sep 06, 2004; 04:48 a.m.

How do you react to the following thought? Labs (like Fuji) print cheaper than home printers, and perhaps with equal or better quality. Does anyone have contrary opinions on this, e.g. that a printer like Epson R800 or Epson 2100/2200 makes better prints (or longer lasting) prints than, say, a Fuji lab? If not, then why buy a home printer?


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Andreas Weber , Sep 06, 2004; 05:45 a.m.

That's easy. The prints from my Epson 2100 look like I want them to look. The lab prints look like some stupid maschine thinks they look good... If the lab prints satisfy you, there's no need to buy a printer , if you think they could be improved, there is.

Ray - , Sep 06, 2004; 05:50 a.m.

I would like my own printer. I love the convenience and how you have total control of the printer.

I believe for small prints 6x4" it may be the same as home printing. But u need time for the cost of the printer to invest itself. As too with the calibration hardwares and softwares. For large prints I think is where the savings would kick in.

Yep, I read many reviews that the 2100 or so gives better print when its calibrated, some use that for income, they make the final prints for the client. John Shaw uses the Epson 9600 - a huge thing at 44" wide. He's been unhappy with the lab's work.

Heard they offer archival quality. www.computer-darkroom.com

I heard the 1290 or so is also v good if not as good as a pro lab, v good nonetheless. Not sure about the R series thou.

I think it all comes down to conv and fun. When u need to prepurchase all these $$ things it does need sometime before it makes a return. I don't think its a funny matter or the quality really to the avg person. It comes down to interest. The lab's hardwork has shifted to your's thou.

Ray - , Sep 06, 2004; 05:54 a.m.

Edit: funny matter? I meant money matter! The monitor calibration is not bad $150, the printer calibration can be $500 for the desktop version or the pro's *unneeded) is $1500-2000! Not cheap, I don't think money is an issue when comparing outside and home prints. Quality yes better but for the avg person maybe not..

Edward H , Sep 06, 2004; 06:11 a.m.

I have an Epson 2100/2200. I sold it after a month after I found out how expensive it was to keep it running.

Labs are cheaper, have better paper and a better printing process. Ink vs laser just doesn't compare.

Strangely enough, I haven't had the color problems other people seem to be swamped with, even though I run Linux and haven't BOUGHT any weird, expensive "color calibration" software. Spending tons of money on software that does what you can do yourself makes no sense to me.

David Vatovec , Sep 06, 2004; 08:18 a.m.

I feel the Fuji Frontier is the best route for glossy prints, and if You can`t get what You want from it is a matter of bad communication between You and Your lab. The Frontier prints have way bigger gamut than any ink jet, however in some cases the inkjet may have more "pop" due to the compressed gamut (just like slides over negatives).

I like the "artistic" surfaces where the ink jets shine, and i use one for that, for output i can`t get from the lab (fine-art surfaces, semi gloss, mattt,..)

C Carl , Sep 06, 2004; 09:57 a.m.

I'm with Edward & David.

I use my Canon S800 for proofs & test prints, but always send my portrait jobs and family-album photos to WHCC, Mpix or ezprints. They're cheaper than buying Canon's inks and Pro Glossy paper, especially for small prints. Their prints are claimed to last for "50+ years" (Fuji Professional Crystal Archive paper at WHCC) or "100 years" (Kodak Professional Endura paper at Mpix), if I recall correctly.

I only use printing services who don't adjust the colors and luminance (unless you request that service).

"Brandon's Dad"

Graham Serretta , Sep 06, 2004; 10:19 a.m.

"I feel the Fuji Frontier is the best route for glossy prints, and if You can`t get what You want from it is a matter of bad communication between You and Your lab."

Or between the Frontier and the 'Tech running it.....

Scott Eaton , Sep 06, 2004; 11:35 a.m.

The lab prints look like some stupid maschine thinks they look good

I recently started using a Frontier lab closer to where I work, and had several files from my 10D I had previously printed at a different Frontier shop re-printed at the new lab.

The files printed at my new Frontier lab matched exactly the prints done at the old Frontier shop.

So, what we've concluded from the story problem above is Fuji Frontiers, if maintained correctly, deliver extremely standardized prints without having any damn thing to do with operator judgement. If you're using crappy amatuer films and taking them to flaky labs, I agree you'll get varying results.

To really add to my satisfaction, all my Frontier prints from files, be it from my increasingly rare film scans or 10D capture match exactly to what my monitor is showing without running a bunch of expensive monitor calibration software. You people are listening to a bunch of pre-press geeks jerking you around and making up solutions for problems that don't exist if you really think you need $1000 worth of calibration software to match basic display dynamics to color photographic paper. You have no concept how easy that makes it for me to get perfect results, and to take the lab rat totally out of the equation since they aren't allowed to make judgement calls on my files - period. Two bucks an 8x10 as well.

Next point: I've used all the Epson printers, including the 2200 and similiar 9600, and even the best calibrated ones are still not as seemless and easy to work with as a Frontier writing to glossy Fuji Crystal Archive paper. The Fuji paper is archival, and it doesn't have holes in it's gamut range like all ink-jets do. Again, the main strength of home ink-jet printing is using artsy matte papers and not glossy papers.

David Nicolas , Sep 06, 2004; 11:54 a.m.

Thanks all for your answer. What about matte prints (say A3)? Made at a Fuji lab, or made on the best paper on an Epson 2200? Is the Epson then better as for quality?

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