best printer in 2019 for under $300
Old 09-04-2019   #1
iridium7777
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best printer in 2019 for under $300

for some background, i've had a Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II for about 7-8 years that i really hate with a passion.

it never printed true black & white, no matter what i did, everything always ended up either with a green hue or with some sort of a brown hue.

color is never really better, usually it's the reds in the kids faces/cheeks that are extremely over saturated, i essentially had to turn the pink hue down to get any sort of skin tone correct.

i rented a monitor/printer calibrator many times but never got it to print correctly in B&W nor in color and honestly i don't want to bother trying anymore, my kids are getting older and i'm sitting on a backlog of pictures that i always wanted to print.

i really don't want to give canon another chance but i'm not sure what other viable options are there, besides epson.

anyways, if you had 300$ to spend, either in second market (please don't advise a printer that's 10 years old; 1 or 2 year old models or new second hand is fine) which printer would you get?

some primary needs:

1. Needs to have the best calibration for color out of the box as possible (is such a thing possible?)
2. print mostly 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10. larger would be nice but don't need to
3. would like real blacks in b&w
4. don't need wifi or any of that other stuff, it would be hardwired to my mac
5. would like flexibility in inks/paper without doing massive re calibrations (is such a thing possible?)
6. print speed is unimportant, i'm not a photo studio.
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Old 09-04-2019   #2
JeffS7444
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iridium7777 View Post
1. Needs to have the best calibration for color out of the box as possible
No such thing as a single printer calibration: It is specific to your model of printer and the paper used. You can sometimes get paper profiles from the paper vendors.
Quote:
2. print mostly 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10. larger would be nice but don't need to
Don't worry, there's no such thing as a really small printer offering 8 or more inks.

Quote:
3. would like real blacks in b&w
Look for a printer model with at least one photo gray ink in addition to black and matte black.

Quote:
4. don't need wifi or any of that other stuff, it would be hardwired to my mac
Not worth the trouble to avoid - you won't save money.

Quote:
5. would like flexibility in inks/paper without doing massive re calibrations (is such a thing possible?)
Yes, provided that the paper vendor offers profiles (see #1)

Quote:
6. print speed is unimportant, i'm not a photo studio.
Don't worry, slowness is standard with all makes and models.


Though not within your target price range, I chose Canon's Pixma Pro-10 partly because it seemed to have good 3rd party support for inks and paper profiles. Impression so far is very positive: It produces beautiful b&w prints out of Lightroom (I see no green or purple tone).
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Old 09-04-2019   #3
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For the price, you can't go wrong with the Epson XP-150000

https://epson.com/For-Home/Printers/...r/p/C11CG43201

or the referb
https://epson.com/Clearance-Center/I...p/C11CG43201-N
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Old 09-04-2019   #4
Bill Clark
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Quote:
really hate with a passion.
My thoughts.

I’m retired. When I had my business, I made the decision to link up with a quality lab and have them make the prints.

WHCC is located here in Minneapolis. If I had files sent to them by 10 AM, the prints were at my door the next day. They had me use sRGB color space and that’s what I gave them. They made a few very large prints for me as well as panos for wedding albums and they turned out great.

The cost of the printer is one time but ink cost is another subject.

Now, for the few prints I make for my family I use Walgreens and Shutterfly.

Having someone else make the prints gives me more time with my camera making the photographs I like.

Hope this helps you!
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Old 09-04-2019   #5
analogangler
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I have the same printer. As I recall, the Canon profiles are a bit wonky between the Photo Glossy and Pro versions, but I found that if I use the glossy photo paper setting things come out pretty close to my calibrated monitor.

I found the book https://rockynook.com/shop/photograp...-3rd-edition/# helpful, though it sounds like you've already done a lot of troubleshooting. Cheaper than a new printer if it helps you figure out the issues, and rocky nook has sales sometimes. No affiliation with them.

If it works for your location, I like Bill's suggestion on finding a good third party printer.
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Old 09-04-2019   #6
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I have cheapest Epson c88+. They might still sell it as new.
It prints on L maximum size. It has bw mode for matte paper.
It works on cheap carbon inks and it prints on any paper. From fancy ilford gallery to watercolour and hand craft paper.
I’m not photo studio, no calibration done. If I don’t like colors, it cost little to reprint.
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Old 09-04-2019   #7
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I hate to say it but if you aren't getting good prints out of your printer it is operator error.

If you are printing pictures of your kids you might want to consider a pigment printer. A few more bucks now and they will be able to show them to their grandchildren.

My advice though is to have someone else make your prints for you. You won't have to learn how to print and you won't spend money on something you are barely going to use. Like Bill mentioned above, use someone good. I've used Adorama and Aspen Creek in the past for metallic prints. You can choose whatever paper you want of course. If you are on a budget, just wait for a sale. Aspen Creek is generally the one I recommend to people who ask me. I'm sure there are a lot of others out there too. You might even find one locally.

Hope that helps you.
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Old 09-04-2019   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iridium7777 View Post
it never printed true black & white, no matter what i did, everything always ended up either with a green hue or with some sort of a brown hue.
Epson printers with the ABW raster image processor do print neutral greys. Make sure the model you choose has that if you want to print b&w. I am not sure the ones using the Claria inks recommended here does have ABW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iridium7777 View Post
i rented a monitor/printer calibrator many times but never got it to print correctly in B&W nor in color and honestly i don't want to bother trying anymore,
A true color managed workflow from monitor to printer is not that difficult and is really necessary to end frustration. With a true color managed workflow, you can quickly get to where your first print is your final as it matches your monitor exactly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iridium7777 View Post
anyways, if you had 300$ to spend, either in second market
Be just as concerned about ink costs as the purchase price of the printer. Realize consumer inkjet printers all use the old Gillette razor blade business model where they sell the base product below cost and then make the profit selling you the consumables. I have used Epson printers for 20 years and have spent probably 8 times the initial cost of the printer in ink.

Also recognize that a $300 printer will come with $160 worth of ink. So a used printer makes no economic sense unless it comes with full ink carts.
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Old 09-04-2019   #9
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I have cheapest Epson c88+. They might still sell it as new.................
I wish the c88+ was still available. Mine died after about 10 years use as my regular document printer. I'd buy another one just like the one I had if they were still available new.
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Old 09-04-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
I wish the c88+ was still available. Mine died after about 10 years use as my regular document printer. I'd buy another one just like the one I had if they were still available new.
Do not hesitate to add to your cart right away. It is in CAD
https://epson.ca/For-Home/Printers/I.../p/C11C617121F

My C88+ is 3 YO, BTW.
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Old 09-04-2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Do not hesitate to add to your cart right away. It is in CAD
https://epson.ca/For-Home/Printers/I.../p/C11C617121F

My C88+ is 3 YO, BTW.
There is a major problem for me with it being Epson Canada. When I go to check out, I must select a province from a drop down list to ship to. There is Alberta, New Brunswick, etc. but there is no Florida.
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Old 09-04-2019   #12
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Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
There is a major problem for me with it being Epson Canada. When I go to check out, I must select a province from a drop down list to ship to. There is Alberta, New Brunswick, etc. but there is no Florida.
Try calling Epson Canada.
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Old 09-04-2019   #13
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I need another gadget like I need a hole in my head, but I like the idea of using an inexpensive 4-color inkjet printer to produce quadtone b&w prints.
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Old 09-04-2019   #14
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Maybe I'm overlooking something obvious, but what's all the fuss with getting an Epson C88+ in the USA?


https://www.bestbuy.com/site/epson-s...?skuId=8458625
https://www.newegg.com/epson-stylus-...-070-_-Product
https://www.amazon.com/Epson-Stylus-.../dp/B000FSOZE4
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Old 09-04-2019   #15
Ko.Fe.
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I think, it was unavailable in USA for couple of years.
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Old 09-05-2019   #16
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JeffS, thanks. There were no c88's available anywhere when my original died about six months ago. Too bad I threw away all the c88 new ink carts when I threw away the printer.

I never used the c88 as a photo printer only for documents. I always had a R2400 or P600 for photos. I never tried to dial in the c88 for photos using quality paper.

I did learn to make very good b&w prints using a Epson 1280 back 15-18 years ago. I used MIS Eboni and other 3rd party inks and a special workflow. It was not easy and had a steep learning curve. It was something I would not recommend today as the newer printers make that part so easy. Now easy b&w does not mean sending a JPG straight to the printer as there is still much in the post processing but actual printer part is much easier.
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Old 09-05-2019   #17
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If you want clogged nozzles and printer heads after a week or two of being idle then get a Epson. Otherwise get the pixma pro-10 from canon
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Old 09-05-2019   #18
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I've never been bothered by the cost of ink for my Epson. Even when I was printing lots of color 13x19 photos, the ink use seemed reasonable compared to the results. Now I usually just print on 8.5x11 and the ink cartridges seem to last forever.

While it's a bit of an exaggeration to say Epson's clog after a week or two, you absolutely do need to run the printers pretty often to keep them working. I try to print something every week to 10 days and that's usually enough to only have to run the cleaner program occasionally.

I remember the old days when my HP PhotoSmart made RC prints that turned weird colors after a year or two. Today it's pretty easy to get quality inkjet prints on real art paper that look great and are more stable than lab prints in the past. Takes a little time to learn but then it's a simple process.
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Old 09-05-2019   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
I never tried to dial in the c88 for photos using quality paper.
For grins, I created a custom profile for my 4-color Canon Selphy and it works great! Its color gamut cannot match that of the Pixma Pro-10, but within its limitations, I've gotten some very pleasing color prints from it. Now if only Canon would produce a quad tone b&w cart for it.
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Old 09-05-2019   #20
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Originally Posted by stompyq View Post
If you want clogged nozzles and printer heads after a week or two of being idle then get a Epson. ........
I have not had an ink clog in about ten years with either the Epson R2400 or the P600 I have now. And that is sometimes going months between printing sessions. I never bother doing a nozzle check unless it has been many months since I last printed. And every time it comes out perfect.

Now I did have a series of Epson 1280's from about 10 to 18 years ago that did frequently need nozzle cleaning. I attribute much of that to using MIS pigment inks in a printer designed for dye based ink.
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Old 09-05-2019   #21
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For grins, I created a custom profile for my 4-color Canon Selphy and it works great! Its color gamut cannot match that of the Pixma Pro-10, but within its limitations, I've gotten some very pleasing color prints from it. Now if only Canon would produce a quad tone b&w cart for it.
Jeff: about 12-14 years ago, those of us on the old ContaxG discussion group would do print exchanges. This was back when many of us were trying to figure out quality inkjet printing. But in those print exchanges, you would submit the appropriate number of the same print to the organizer. On the designated day, he would rearrange the prints so everybody got one print from everyone else in the group.

Those different prints were made on a variety of different printers, some never acknowledged to be suitable for photo printing. But just about everybody had figured out how to make decent prints from whatever printer they had. Most of us concluded it was possible to get pretty good prints both b&w or color from just about any printer. Some were just much easier to figure out than others.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #22
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actually it does... i'm gonna try going this route.

i bought a monitor calibrator and will try having these guys print a few of my photos. their prices seem reasonable, i rarely print anything above 8x10.

thanks for your suggestion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Clark View Post
My thoughts.

Iím retired. When I had my business, I made the decision to link up with a quality lab and have them make the prints.

WHCC is located here in Minneapolis. If I had files sent to them by 10 AM, the prints were at my door the next day. They had me use sRGB color space and thatís what I gave them. They made a few very large prints for me as well as panos for wedding albums and they turned out great.

The cost of the printer is one time but ink cost is another subject.

Now, for the few prints I make for my family I use Walgreens and Shutterfly.

Having someone else make the prints gives me more time with my camera making the photographs I like.

Hope this helps you!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #23
iridium7777
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it could very likely be operator error, on color, although i highly doubt that green hue in B&W is my fault and not a real limitation of the printer.

i am following bill's advice and will re-cal my monitor and download the lab's profiles and will let them print a few photos for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PRJ View Post
I hate to say it but if you aren't getting good prints out of your printer it is operator error.

If you are printing pictures of your kids you might want to consider a pigment printer. A few more bucks now and they will be able to show them to their grandchildren.

My advice though is to have someone else make your prints for you. You won't have to learn how to print and you won't spend money on something you are barely going to use. Like Bill mentioned above, use someone good. I've used Adorama and Aspen Creek in the past for metallic prints. You can choose whatever paper you want of course. If you are on a budget, just wait for a sale. Aspen Creek is generally the one I recommend to people who ask me. I'm sure there are a lot of others out there too. You might even find one locally.

Hope that helps you.
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