I tend to like Epson printers, though some of the higher-end Canon printers are also highly regarded.
The newer Epson pigmented inks tend to clog less. However, if you find your inks do clog regularly, you can try one or both of the following:
- I used to keep a guitar humidifier tucked inside the printer. You have to add water to the small humidifier about once a week, possibly twice when central heating is on. I tucked it inside and out of the way, and though I could print with it in place, I recommend removing it while printing. You could also make your own by using a travel container for soap, punch holes in the top, and put a damp sponge inside.
- I wrote a small program that printed a page with a stripe of each color once each day. I believe these printers are designed for frequent use, and printing this page daily helped keep ink jets clear and working. When I did this, I only rarely had to run a cleaning cycle. You do waste some paper this way, but I re-used the paper, printing on both sides, and then used it as scrap paper. And then I recycled it.
I have a newer (used) Epson now, and it hardly ever clogs, and I don’t do anything to it.
Another major consideration is the size of paper the printer will take. Clearly this increases the price of the printer, but if you need to print larger prints, a printer that only handles 8.5 x 11(14) isn’t going to get the job done. Some people like printers that can use roll paper - that is how I got my new/used Epson (the owner needed to use roll paper, and this model doesn’t accept rolls). I print on sheets, so it doesn’t matter for me. Paper choice is a consideration for how the inks perform. I stick with Epson inks and paper. The paper isn’t cheap, so I always do a test print, at a lower res, on cheap paper first.
If you want archival, pigmented inks are the way to go.
I also recommend that you familiarize yourself with basic color management and that you calibrate your equipment. This can entail do-it-yourself or you can use color calibration hardware/software. Everyone I know that has worked professionally and has used the (expensive) hardware/software solutions ends up going back to do-it-yourself. I spent an afternoon with my new printer, and have got calibrated spot on. You might try REAL WORLD PRINT PRODUCTION as a reference.
Best of luck, Marla.
I'm considering purchase of an archival quality printer for producing prints of my art and photography work.
One recent online source (not affiliated with any printer company) recommends either:
- Epson SureColor P600 (uses pigment inks; higher end, in the $700 range), or
- Canon Pixma Pro-100 (uses dye inks; lower-mid range, the $300 range).
I am aware that the bigger, longer-term expense is the ink cartridges, plus the obligatory hassle of keeping the machine in regular use to avoid clogging.
I invite opinions on your experiences. Thank you!
Happy and creative wishes to all for 2016!
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