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Thread: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

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    Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    Are there any printers available that can print 11" photos? All I see are 13x19, and it's more than I need (both in size and cost)

    I have an Epson R800 and a Canon multifunction, and both are utterly useless. They cannot maintain color accuracy from one shot to the next. Between clogs and voracious ink consumption, they can't be used for photos. I'm lucky to get one print out of 20 that looks right.

    All I can get is 4x6's from my portable Epson Picturemate , which somehow manages to actually (gasp) produce consistently accurate colors, AND use very little ink.

    Why is it so hard for a full-size printer to do something a $30 portable can do?

    I'm about to give up and just get my photos from Costco. If I didn't have a stash of paper, I'd have done it already.

    I looked at the Epson 1400, but (go figure) it too gets mixed reviews. For every person who finds a printer wonderful, there's one (like me) who finds it nothing more than a messy paperweight.

    Thanks,
    Greg

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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    I know it is a lot bigger than 11", but you might want to try to find a used Epson 3800 -- they are very reliable, have great and the 80ml ink cartridges make printing costs much lower than any of the small printers I am aware of. Even if you never print larger than 11" wide, I think the extra performance is worth it. The downside is probably the large footprint and the larger initial cost. If you buy used, you can probably get one for a reasonable price, and if you print a lot, it will be cheaper in the long run since the cost of inkjet printers pales in comparison to the cost of their ink...
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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    I'd second the 3800. I've had mine since the month they came out without one second of trouble. I do print some larger prints but I tend to like 11 x 17 and its great for that--for all paper choices and even some heavier media.

    Diane

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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    Thanks, folks.

    The second question is...if I'm just using normal paper, I should just skip it, right?

    Greg

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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    Any of the pigment-ink printers will clog if they're not used regularly. Then you have to unclog them, which uses up more ink.

    In terms of consistency, not necessarily ultimate print quality (although they're not bad) the best luck I've had has been with HP printers. We use big DesignJets at work, which impressed me because they do a great job of taking care of themselves: they never clog, they check their own functions, and they calibrate themselves when needed.

    Based on that experience, I bought a B9180 to use at home, and it also has been consistent and trouble-free.

    BUT... the way it gets those results is to calibrate and clean itself once per day, as long as it's turned on (and HP recommends that you leave it turned on all the time.) Early in the morning I could hear it clicking and whirring as it checked itself over. That wasn't so bad... the bad thing was that this process uses up ink, so if you leave the printer on long enough, it will eventually run out of ink even if you don't make a single print! That's the price you pay for a large printer that takes care of itself.

    So I've gotten in the habit of leaving it turned off when I'm not expecting to print. It's still consistent and it still doesn't clog, but it means that when I turn it on there's a much longer delay (about 15 minutes) before I can make prints, while it does its whole priming/self-cleaning/self-checking routine. I can live with that, but again, it's a tradeoff -- you save ink but lose spontaneity.

    I'm afraid you'll find that's true to some extent with any pigment printer, no matter what kind you get.

    As to your second question: I wouldn't say you should just skip it if you mostly use normal paper (by which I assume you mean regular inkjet paper instead of heavy glossy photo paper), but I would say that maybe a pigment printer (such as your R800) isn't doing you much good. The benefit of pigment printers is that they deliver longer fade-free print life, but that's only true if you're using high-quality papers. If you're using regular paper, you aren't getting that benefit and you're still putting up with the cantankerousness of pigment printers, which are more clog-prone and require more maintenance. You'll probably be happier and get better, more consistent results with a dye printer.

    Mind you, you'll still use a lot of ink... in fact, you'll probably use MORE ink printing on plain paper than on photo paper, because ink soaks into plain paper and the printer shoots more of it to compensate.

    So nope, no ideal answer. You just have to decide which compromise hurts you the least. Good luck!

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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    While I agree with you regarding R800's voracious ink appetite, though its mostly due to the size of cartridges and clogging if not use regularly, I disagree with you on the quality. I had the R800 and it was an excellent and consistent performer in a color managed workflow. The lack of quality that you're mentioning must have to do with your workflow and you'll encounter the same problem with any other printer if you continue to work in the same manner.

    The Epson 3800 that others recommended is another excellent printer with larger cartridges and heads that are a lot less prone to clogging. In fact I use mine only once every few months and heads have never clogged in the nearly two years that I've owned the machine. And I'm still on the original ink set.

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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    You guys rock. I appreciate all the input.

    Some comments...

    1. My Picturemate is pigment, rarely clogs, and unclogs easily. BUT...the R800 will clog within MINUTES OF USE after being unclogged. So, I have to think this R800 is defective, but I can't imagine what would cause this other than a design defect. The ink that came with it was apparently out-of-date, but now even on new ink, I'm still not getting satisfaction.

    2. The Picturemate also manages its colors PERFECTLY. The R800...I MAY have found a proper setting in ICM, etc etc...but then, the color goes off as the nozzles clog.

    Two printers from the same company, two TOTALLY different experiences. The cheap one blows the expensive one away.

    3. My papers are high quality, which is why I'm tempted to use them over Costco printing. So, the pigments will last longer than photo paper, right? But...hey, the images are digital. I can print a new one for $3. Why do I care if they last 100 years?

    I was thinking it would come in handy for on-location printing for fundraisers, but these things are heavy...and at this cost, I won't be raising much funds. .

    The 3800 gets great reviews, but is way outta my league. I think I'm going to stick with 4x6's at home (my wife uses the pigment prints for scrapbooking) and get my big ones at Costco.

    What to do with all this good paper? Maybe I'll try color management settings again on my Canon to see if I can get it to get rid of the red hue.

    Thanks again,
    Greg

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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    Greg, it seems like the Picturemate is really what you need at this point in time. Its designed to work in your environment and is perfect for 6x4 prints, the 3800 is overkill in this situation. The R800 is really a great printer, maybe you should get it looked at by Epson, the nozzles shouldn't clog that frequently.

    Color managed means a lot of work for you, ie; calibrated quality monitor, icc print profiles and you have to learn photoshop to color manage your workflow, is this something that you want to do?

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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    David,

    Yeah, I'd like to be able to print 8x10, but apparently, it's not in the cards.

    I guess I just don't understand "color management". PS and Lightroom (and Picasa, for that matter) are able to send the same file to the printer as they show on the screen, and my Picturemate is able to understand it. The colors match closely enough.

    The R800, on the other hand, will take (what I understand to be) the same information from the computer and print it with no accuracy whatsoever. It forgets to print most of the red ink, for some reason.

    So, I have to turn on color managment in Lightroom, and change it to ICM on the printer. And remember to change it back if I want to print with the Picturemate.

    I am also able to send the same file to Costco and they are able to get the colors right. I just don't appreciate the "value" of having to handhold the R800 through the whole process.

    I can see the need for special settings to get that last 5% accuracy on special papers, but I can't figure out why two printers from the same company printing on the same paper using the same settings should have vastly different results.

    Guess I'm a printing Luddite.

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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    Color management is way more than printer settings. The first step is a hardware calibration of you monitor and the correct ICC profiles for the ink and paper.

    If you want to understand color mangement, I suggest the following:

    Real World Color Management

    Color Management for Photographers

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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    John,

    Well, I guess I really DON'T want to have to understand it, to be frank.

    It's NOTHING more than pushing "print" on one printer...and damn near impossible to find the right settings on another. Remember, these are from the same manufacturer, using the OEM inks on OEM paper. That doesn't make sense to me.

    Yes, as I said, if I'm trying to nuance specific inks and papers, that's one thing. But to have a printer not be able to control itself is another. I expect a printer to look acceptably close on "stock settings" to make someone like my wife say "Looks fine to me". She's not picky. If it can't do that, there's a problem. Someone Epson screwed up with the "controlled by printer" settings.

    And if it's so mandatory to perform all these machinations, they need to make it more straightforward. Reading a whole book to learn the process is unacceptable. To use a printer? Maybe to BUILD one.

    We have to calibrate monitors to make them perfect, not to make them usable. Printers should be the same way.

    I appreciate all the help, though.

    Greg

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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    The why of color management: Color management is easier for the manufacturer to, uh, manage on a PictureMate because they sell all the consumables -- inks and paper -- in one package, right? So, they always know the exact characteristics of the papers you'll be using and can calibrate it accordingly, right out of the box. As long as your monitor is reasonably close to an average monitor, you'll be close enough.

    On the bigger printers such as the R800, they assume that you might be using all kinds of different papers, which have all kinds of different absorption characteristics and base tints. They get it as close as they can (and you can get pretty close if you stick to papers for which you have profiles, which for the R800 I believe are a separate download) but you still have to set up your own choices because there are so many different possibilities.

    If you stick to the same papers most of the time, and if your printer manufacturer has downloadable profiles for them, you often can get good results without having to do further complicated calibration (again, assuming your monitor is close to average.) I don't think Epson does a very good job in their printer drivers of making this straightforward.

    I think HP does a better job of this: if you're using an HP photo paper, you select it in a pop-out menu and print time and all the other corresponding adjustments get made automatically. If you're using a non-HP paper and/or want to tweak the color balance, inks, etc., then you can choose to make manual adjustments.

    I had an R800 and it made nice prints while it lasted, but it was kind of cranky and eventually stopped working entirely (wouldn't power on.) The dealer warned me that what Epson would charge to fix it probably wouldn't be cost-effective, so I just chucked it when an electronics recycler came to my workplace. It was the fourth small Epson photo printer that I had to simply throw away (after an original Stylus Photo, a Stylus Photo EX, and a Stylus Photo 1280.) I'm sure the large professional-grade Epsons are better, but I think the small ones are designed basically as disposables: you use it until it breaks, and by then Epson has introduced a newer model. That's why I'm trying HP now.

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    Re: Halfway decent 11" printer??? Does it exist?

    Ranger,

    Maybe that's just it....having to go back and forth between two printers or more, and having Lightroom not remember the extremely different settings, has peeved me. If I could set it once and forget it, I'd be happy. But the software guys have made it inordinately difficult. Must come from Microsoft.

    Add in the apparently inability for it to be consistent, and it's doubly frustrating. The one photo I got to print correctly (after figuring out which settings to set in which places) made it 6" out of 7"...then I got a red stripe. Clogging in the middle of a job with new ink? Huh??? Is this the "cranky" of which you speak?

    The reviews of the newer R1400 aren't half-bad...but pretty close. 30-50% of reviews have 1/5 stars...it's a bad omen.

    I'm with you...I'll have to go HP if I want a photo printer. Canon and Epson have failed me. I bought TWO Picturemates, since it's the older pigment model. They replaced it with the Dash which uses inks...a step backward perhaps.

    Better yet...leave it to the pros. :-) None of these printers will be even REMOTELY portable, so I'll get very little benefit over ordering photos from a shop. A few clicks and I either pick it up tomorrow or wait a few days for the mail. And more room in the office, and no ink on my fingers, and more money in my pocket...and no profanity.

    Thanks again.

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