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Best photo printer under $200?

Kelly O'Neal , Nov 23, 2004; 09:17 p.m.

Hi All.... I'm looking to get a photo printer, mainly so I can print out vacation pictures but also for some small enlargments for the wall, etc. I saw the HP 8150 yesterday and really liked it, especially the ability to print without a computer. Any feedback on this printer? Other ones that you'd recommend instead? I want to stay under $200- $250. I might be convinced to spend more if it's really worth it, though. Thanks!

Responses

Craig Ferguson , Nov 23, 2004; 10:07 p.m.

Try searching the archives - it's been answered a million times. Here's 2 threads to get you started.

thread1 thread2

Kelly O'Neal , Nov 24, 2004; 01:30 a.m.

I have searched the archives, but have not found feedback on the HP 8150 or the HP 8450. I was hoping that someone would have it--or have considerd it-- and be able to comment.

David F. Stein , Nov 24, 2004; 07:34 a.m.

I would enter a web search and see of the models you are interested in have been reviewed by a consumer magazine like Popular Photo, Shutterbug, or one of the digital imaging or computer magazines. Beyond image quality, the real issue is cost per print for ink and paper. That can soon dwarf the startup cost of a printer. Actually, the Wall Street Journal had a lead article on this within the past week or so, reporting that HP was going to "fight back" against folks having prints done by Costco, Walmart or an online service by offering better priced paper. The otherwise outstanding article never pointed out as far as I could determine (I may have missed it, given the length of the article) that with desktop printing at home we are producing ink-on-paper prints, whereas "Fuji Frontier-like" services offer digitally enlarged images on real photo paper. It might be worth looking up the WSJ article. GOOD LUCK.

Maureen M , Nov 24, 2004; 08:51 a.m.

HP was going to "fight back" against folks having prints done by Costco, Walmart or an online service by offering better priced paper.

Since HP consumables are said to be the most expensive per print, lowering the price of paper will just be smoke and mirrors if their ink cartridges don't come down in price or get filled with more ink. I would avoid HP.

For 4x6, I use a little Epson PictureMate printer for "29 cent" prints. It uses pigment inks, so the prints won't fade. Plus, if the ink in the $29 paper/ink bundle doesn't last for all 100 pieces of paper, Epson will reimburse you for the leftovers at the rate of 29 cents each, plus $1.10 for postage. So far I've gone through 3 packs and only had 4 sheets left from one. Not enough to bother taking advantage of the guarantee.

For larger prints, take your pick of any of the excellent Epson printers. As for the marketing gimmick of printing without a computer, why would you want to do that? Any digital photo benefits from some editing before printing.

Kent Morris , Nov 24, 2004; 11:33 a.m.

I have the HP 7960 and I have been please with it. I don't yet have a digital camera so can't comment on the ability to print directly from the printer, but the printer is easy to hook up and use. Of course the main reason I bought it myself was the ability to do great B&W at a reasonable price.

Check out the review of the 7960 and the 8450 at photo-i, i think it will give you the information you want.

-k

http://www.photo-i.co.uk/

http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/printers/HP%208450/page-1.htm

Jesper de Jong , Nov 26, 2004; 07:33 a.m.

If it's important for you that you can get prints of your digital photos cheap, forget getting your own printer.

Printing with your own printer is expensive. The printer itself may be cheap, but photo printing paper and ink is expensive.

Having your prints done by an (online) printing service is cheaper than buying your own printer, paper and ink.

Kelly O'Neal , Nov 26, 2004; 01:30 p.m.

I think that printing pictures from the printer directly is significantly more than a "marketing gimmick." For printing snapshots from parties, etc... photos of the dog to send to my mom... the ease of being able to do it from the printer and not hassle with the computer far outweighs any small quality difference I could get by playing with the photo for 20-60 minutes in photoshop. Plus, the HP has basic controls (saturation, lightness) built in.

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