View Full Version : Desktop printer?

09-08-2009, 01:33 PM
I really need to get a new printer. My old museum piece is falling apart, doesn't produce great quality and 9/10 times fails to pull the paper through properly.
I'm not necessarily looking for anything top of the range as I'll continue to send my portrait photographs to a pro-lab, but would like something half decent, that doesn't print streaky and wonky pictures like my current one. Ideally around 100 (max 250). It would be useful if I could print small photographs (proof prints/keyring prints etc at a photo quality) & maybe little thankyou cards or advertising postcards. The colours would need to be pretty accurate and it would be good if it could accept thin(ish) card. Am I expecting too much for a small budget?

Any ideas?


09-08-2009, 01:39 PM
We have always used an Epson but the last one only lasted 5 minutes, have now got a HP C7280 which is brilliant, photo software included. Try Amazon as it was about half the price of the shops, for this and other printers, well worth a look.

crafty sara
09-08-2009, 01:55 PM
I also have a HP Photosmart (All-in-one series),
which I got half price from Tescos few months ago.

I have had 2 Epsons before these, but prefer HP one got now, better quality of photo/picture. It has individual ink cart so it makes in cheaper to replace them. As they dont seem to go all at once.

The scanner & Photo copier (black & white & colour) is also good on it too.

09-08-2009, 02:15 PM
I have a HP photo-smart C4180 (all in one) it's now about 3 years old and still working fine.
The photo's print really well even with ordinary ink they look like 'proper' photo's. They can also be printed straight from the memory card without a computer. I do have to lighten most photo's as they come out a bit dark. The colours are very true to life though.


15-08-2009, 07:52 AM
I'm also looking for a printer and have narrowed the choice down to the ip4600 or the MP540 if I choose an all-in-one.

If anyone has any experience with either of these I'd love to hear from them!


Extra Special Touch Gifts
15-08-2009, 11:14 AM
I'm also looking for a printer and have narrowed the choice down to the ip4600 or the MP540 if I choose an all-in-one.

If anyone has any experience with either of these I'd love to hear from them!


I've got the 4600 and its fantastic! It will print card happily... and the ink isn't to expensive. It has separate coloured inks (rather than mixed colours in one cartridge) and you other replace the colour you have ran out of!

I bought it from John Lewis for about 100 (best price at the time)... but i think if you look around you could get it cheaper.

I spent weeks researching... and this was the best for my money.


15-08-2009, 11:42 AM
we use a lazer printer - quicker and better quality but toners expensive.

15-08-2009, 01:53 PM
So are the al in one printers any good then? I just assumed they would have crammed as much mediocre technology into one box to justify the price tag and that I'd be better off spending the money on a dedicated printer (as I don't need a scanner etc).

Plenty of suggestions to look into, thanks.


15-08-2009, 03:01 PM
I have an Epson DX3800 all in one which I have had for several years and which prints photographs really well. It cost 49 so owes me nothing. I agree that it seems so cheap you think it would be no good, but I suspect most of the printer manufacturers make their money on toner cartridges. Mine has four separate ones. It has to be good for my photo prints and this is the third Epson I have had.

15-08-2009, 08:42 PM
We have a 4(?) year old HP PSC1350 - they were around 170 new, but I got mine for a "bargain" 99 ex display.. Of course now, the same printer is about 35...

As for "mediocre" technology.. forget it.. you really do get decent print quality, good photo output, a variety of card/paper/envelopes will print happily.. The Scanner is good for replacing all those "files" of must keep paperwork.. and handy for anything from archiving photos, jewellery photographs (yes really.. some of the folk on here swear by using a scanner rather than a camera).. And it is surprising how often you end up taking photocopies of things "because you can".

Printers are "cheap" because the manufacturers make money selling branded consumables - a bit like when you get a "free" mobile phone on a contract.. it is "free" because the vendor gets a commission on the calls you make...

Things to look out for..

INK! - check which cartridges you would need, and check how cheap/expensive they are.. Manufacturers put the same ink in them all, but often each cartridge only fits one or two printers.. this ennables them to keep ink prices artificially high.. you may be better choosing a different printer to save on the cost of consumables!! - Most manufacturers specify an "average" output per cartridge - beware though if you are doing predominantly photo printing - average print capacity is based on a standard page which is only 10% ink - a photo will be 100% so a 300 page cartridge will only do around 30 - 50 photos in comparison.

Single Colour INK facility: With a colour ink cartridge, you get about 12ml of each of the three basic colours.. problem is, when one colour is running low, you have to replace the whole cartridge.. so if you intend to do a lot of colour work, it can be worth investing in a printer that will take 3 individual colour cartridges.. or, perhaps even the 6 colour ones.. it may be expensive buying all the colours.. but in the long run the cost per print might be lower..

Print Speed - if you are doing lots of photos rather than text, better to buy a faster printer.. the standard "pages per minute" quoted is for that standard page again.. a photo will possibly take 10 times as long.

Paper feeds: Many basic printers come with a single feeder, not really a problem if you only use A4 standard paper, but if your printer is used for photos a lot, as well as other printing, can be handy to have a dual feed.. usually the main one is a box that clips in below the standard feeder so if you are using alternatives (card/photo paper/envelopes) they just feed in manually.

Return Feed vs Through Feed: HP printers seem to have return feed as standard.. the paper goes in at the front, and goes round a roller and the print is returned at the front. This is great for space saving in a small work area.. and your printer will sit happily at the back of the desk.. On the minus side, these are not the best printers for heavier card and thick envelopes etc.. as they have to go round a roller about the same diameter as a 2p piece.. the heavier the weight of card the less well it will feed through.. so it is worth considering a through feed printer if you want to use very heavy card, fancy envelopes, heavy acetates etc.. I have printed on 240gsm OK with my HP.. but I dont think I would go much heavier.. I also had a bit of a problem with A6 heavy quality envelopes the other week - I ended up running the envelopes through sideways, with the flap opened out, as the flap kept catching as the envelope went round the roller causing paper jams.

Thumbnail previews: HP do it, and I suspect most others do too.. you load your camera memory card in the card reader slot, and press the button to get a sheet of thumbnails. Even my 4 year old does it. With HP, you can take the preview sheet, and use a pen to mark the photos you want full size (each one has a box you mark like a lottery ticket!) then you scan the preview sheet, and the printer churns out all the chosen prints.. I NEVER use it! but it is a neat trick! Many of the newer models have an LCD screen so you can do all this using the display - handy if you want to buzz off a few prints without firing up the PC.

Wireless: If you already use wiFi on your PC or Laptop a WiFi printer has benefits.. you save 10 - 20 on a cable for starters! It is easy to share the printer with other computers so you no longer need one for each.. you can site the printer away from your desk if you want to keep your workspace clear and dont need to buy an (expensive) extra long USB cable.

Laser printers do give better quality output, though if you print labels or acetate, you have to get special ones or they can melt (laser toner is set with heat). On the down side, as mentioned, Toner is hugely expensive by comparison, and the printers cost more to buy.. Another benefit is that laser images are generally more durable than inkjet ones - it is possible to scratch an inkjet photo print if it is handled badly - admittedly you need to be rough with it to do so..

For volume photo work you would probably find it far far cheaper using Max Spiellmann or other high street photo shops - the cost of a single print is often high, but for copies they are incredible.. I use them to do my christmas cards which are photo image based, and they do 25 copies of an image for pennies per print.. far far less than doing it at home... I can even walk in to town and wait for them and get them quicker than my (old!) printer could print them!

Brands: - you will find folk swear by the one they use.. each has its plus and minus points.. HP are good, though not if you want a through feed design.. Epson are affordable, and the inks can be cheaper to buy.. Canon are usually good, but in my experience, rarely are the inks cheap - and sometimes difficult to find.... Lexmark always used to be very cheap to buy initially, but VERY expensive on ink.. though they may be more competitive these days.

One option to consider is Kodak.. A couple of friends bought a seemingly very good "all in one" printer on QVC some months ago when it was on special offer.. I believe it comes with a low price guarantee about the cost of inks.. You can buy them elsewhere, I have seen them online and at Staples etc.. so maybe a brand worth testing/considering if you plan to use it a lot..

hope all that helps!:):D:sleep:

15-08-2009, 08:57 PM
I just went and looked at the Kodak site.. B&**%r me are they cheap! :o

Black ink 6.99 5 colour cartridge 9.99 or 17 for a pack with one of each.. My HP black is 18 on its own...!

there is also a chart showing average cost of ink per annum for a whole range of printers..

"Based on its own primary research studies and multiple secondary research studies by Lyra Research and Infotrends/CAP Ventures, Eastman Kodak Company conducted extensive statistical analysis to determine printing habits of users of inkjet printers. This analysis determined the average amount of printing performed annually is approximately 800 black text pages, 550 mixed colour graphic pages and 150 10 15 cm (4 6 in.) colour photos"


The cheapest (Kodak) is 48 per annum... Lexmark X4850 the most expensive at 303!!!!!!:o

NB: It is well worth looking at the table, as it lists the cost for the Black printing, the mixed colour, and the photos separately.. so if you do a lot of one type, you could calculate the likely cost of running for many current printers.

15-08-2009, 10:41 PM
You want a printer. I've got one for you.

I've had an Epson Stylus Photo 320 since 2005. Mostly it has been quite good, but just occassionally when I use non Epson ink, it gets color casts, particularly in desaturated areas. It was doing this, perhaps because the black cartridge was acting up, just when I had some printing that I really wanted to do. I didn't want to wait the time to order print cartridges online, so went off to splurge on a whole set of Epson ones. But the print cartridges had gone up in price, and a whole set was over 60, and they weren't in the store anyway. But they had this Canon printer there, and I found out it is reputed to have less of a problem with colours in greys, and was only 90 some odd including a full set of ink cartridges, so I decided to buy it instead of hunting around for the ink cartridges. It is basically the same level of printer as my other, which cost about the same back when I got it, but a bit better from both being newer and more modern. I already have a good scanner, so didn't need an all in one. If you want to get a new printer, I would highly recommend it, particular if you want to save costs, because it seems to be reputed as having one of the lowest operating costs. It is the PIXMA iP4600. But if you want a really pretty decent printer for considerably less, just buy my Epson, and I'll throw in a good collection of print cartridges with it as well. You will have to get your own black cartridge, because that was what started the whole thing. Need to think about what a reasonable price for it would be. It should be no more than 50 because that's half the new price. It should probably be quite a bit less than that, except that the 10 cartridges I would be throwing in, about half Epson raise the value a bit. Make a reasonable offer, and I'm sure we can come to an agreement.