I recommend the epson 785epx photo printer. It is fairly cheap ($199) and can print directly from memory cards (smartMedia,compactFlash, etc). It has a very good color reproduction if you use epson paper. If you have a camera which supports PMI (print matching) then your results will be so much better (we have a nikon coolpix775 and it does support it. epson's website lists all cameras which currently support PMI).
Two things to think about before rushing out and buying, however:
- epson has had problem with orange shift (color degradation) of their photo printers (likewise for cannon800). So buy at own risk.
- some owners have reported so-called 'pizza wheel' marks on the paper as result of the paper feeder marking paper. It appear to be worst with glossy paper (epson mate heavyweight does not show it). Also stay exclusively with epson papers to avoid the marks (show up with most other paper).
For the money it is an excellent choice, but you need to invest in an usb cable (will not connet paralell).
I agree with kdjoergensen that the Epson 785epx is the best bang for the buck if you are interested primarily in photo reproduction. Besides giving the best photo quality on premium paper it also can do borderless prints – hence the marks on non-Epson glossy paper. Other printers don’t have the problem because they have a white border for the feed mechanism.
Epson makes more expensive models that will do large prints.
I have read the orange tinge that develops over time has been solved with a new magenta ink which was fading to cause the change.
I have read estimates of ink costs as high as $1.50 for an 8 X 10 at photo quality, which varies according to the color density. It is hard to get around the ink cost with the new Epsons. They make most of their profit by selling ink at exorbitant prices, so they have put a chip in the cartridge to keep you from refilling or using cheap aftermarket cartridges. You can get deprogrammers for the chips but it is another hassle for refilling which has enough hassle for color already.
I use a HP 930 which does very good photo quality but not borderless and not quite as good as the photo Epsons at quality according to some tests. You would have to look closely to see the difference. I refill my cartridges for a considerable savings in printing costs. Good ink is really important and there is a learning curve to the color – black is a piece of cake.
With HP the “photo” designation just refers to connectivity – the 930 gives the same print quality as the best HP photo printers. With Epson, “photo” refers to the 6 color archival ink. Consumer Reports did fade tests and only the Epson and HP ink can be exposed to light for any period of time without fading. They found the HPs to be slightly more fade resistant than the Epsons, but don’t consider any other brand if you plan to display your photos.
Epson makes a Stylus Photo 780 that uses the 6 color ink and prints at the same 720 X 2880 resolution and makes borderless prints for $100. They also make a Photo 820 for $150 which is faster. If you don’t want the connectivity I would consider the 820 over the 785epx as it has the same print quality and is faster. You also have the choice of parallel or USB, so you can save more by using your old cable if it is bi-directional.
After some "research and survey", I narrow down my choices to:
(1) Epson 810 or 895
(2) HP 948 or 960
(3) Lexmark Z53
Not sure which one is the best. I saw some of the printout samples they have @ the shops, seems like HP900 series produces the best compare to Epson 800series and Lexmark Z53. But I don't really trust these samples. I rather trust your opinion/experience.
Anyone uses/used the above mentioned models, pls gimme some feedback. Or if you read about these models, your feedback is very much appreciated.
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