Advice for buying home printer

sabotage3d

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Hi,
I am looking to buy a home printer mainly for printing family photos and artwork.
I only need up to A4.
My budget is up to 180 gbp.
I have narrowed my search to these models but I open to other printers as well as long as they fit my budget.
These models are for UK: Canon TS5050, Canon G3510, Epson Ecotank 2710.
I couldn't find any information for the droplet size of the canon models, but the DPI suggests that the Epson has smaller droplet size.
Canon TS5050
Pros:
  • Pigment and Dye Black
  • Huge variety of third party inks and refill systems
  • Good for photos and documents
  • Price
  • Border-less photo printing up to A4
Cons:
  • Reviews suggest it uses too much ink for cleaning the head.
  • Ink pads can fill quickly
  • Paper can jam and no paper holder
  • Lower DPI than Epson's model at 4800 x 1200
Canon G3510 the same model as G3501.
Pros:
  • Cheap ink costs
  • Good for documents and slightly less for photos due to the pigment black
  • Border-less photo printing up to A4
Cons:
  • Only Pigment Black
  • Ink pads can fill quickly
  • Lower DPI than Epson's model at 4800 x 1200

Epson Ecotank 2710
Pros:
  • Cheap ink costs
  • Good for photos
  • High DPI 5,760 x 1,440
Cons:
  • No borderless for A4 photos
  • Price
  • Only Dye Black
 

The Hat

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@sabotage3d, What exactly do you need rather than want ?

You start off with droplet size and then fall down the big hole of DPI, because they are the both things that should never be mentioned, because all the inkjet printers are much the same and evenly matched, and you'll never notice the difference anyway.

Your next topic is on ink usage for cleaning purposes, well there’s not one inkjet printer out there that doesn’t waste ink, and ink pads filling to quickly, two good reasons for not buying an inkjet.

Next your worried about pigment ink, is that bad or good, what sort of longevity are you expecting from your photos, pigment is better and dye is a disaster especially if you intend to refill.

Then you move on and mention paper jams, price and borderless well the cheaper the printer the quicker they will expire and have higher running costs (Not always), looking after your paper and storing it correctly will prevent paper jams and borderless prints can be a gift or in most cases even a curse.

The Eco tank printers look good for the first few months but your photos may suffer once exposed to daylight and you may seek or want better options, but these printers are not cheap because you’re paying up front for the cost of ink.

In the end there are no cheap options, all inkjet printers cost one way or the other and so does the paper you’ll use, sometimes the paper can be as expensive as the inks themselves.

Here’s a printer you might not look at (Maxify) because it’s not what you’d call a photo printer, but when it comes to reliably it’s the best on the market right now, it has a lot going for it in every respect, but it doesn’t do high quality photos, here’s an example..

https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/what-is-a-photo-black-cartridge-for.13821/post-120056
 

sabotage3d

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Thank you for your reply @The Hat .
All your comments are on point. I was just trying to weigh the pros and cons of my research based on reviews and this forum.
From reading this forum someone mentioned the droplet size as a factor for high quality photos and that pigment ink doesn't play nicely with glossy paper.
The reliability points were just based on some people reviews.
In my mind I was thinking the droplet size should be related to the DPI.
The only Maxify that fits my bill is Canon MAXIFY iB4150, but I don't like the photo quality.
I think I will just go for TS5050 and see how much ink is using if I am not happy I will return it.
Is there a way to slightly reduce the cleaning cycles of this Canon's?
 

The Hat

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@sabotage3d, The Droplet size can be a factor if you want it to be but as I said all the inkjets have good droplet size to the point where you can’t see it, and pigment ink works just as well as dye ink on glossy paper but not as good as dye, so there are some trade-offs..

Back to the dreaded DPI saga, the dpi of all the inkjet printers are way above what the human eye can see so it’s better to count it out rather than in, beside you set the PPI in your photo editor yourself and that has nothing to do with the printer.

The photo quality of the Maxify is nothing to write home about, but it’s not bad considering it’s not a photo printer and the two samples I provided were just to show the what you can expect, nothing more.

The model you’ve decided to buy will be challenging to refill so be prepared to spend quite a bit on OEM inks, and the answer to your last question is no, Canon will waste your ink like it was going out in style, that’s the nature of the beast.. You can reduce it only if your refilling..
 

sabotage3d

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Thank you for the information.
Can you please clarify on that I will have to spend quite a bit on OEM inks?
One set of 5 OEM cartridges is roughly 6-10 pounds. Is it eating a lot of ink when printing photos?
If I have to choose a refillable tank printer which one would you recommend?
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I only can confirm @The Hat 's comments on DPI and droplet size, that's misleading advertising stuff, the printers operate with varying droplet sizes and DPI values related to driver settings, but you don't have direct access to those parameters in practice.
There are Epson Ecotank models which offer A4 borderless printing for photos like the ET-2750 if that's a buying decision for you.
Ink consumption for photo printing is def. much higher than printing text, the ink coverage is much higher, but that applies as much to Canon as to Epson printers. You may assume as a ballpark number that you need approx. 1ml for a full scale A4 print with a wide variance - depending on your image - light or dark , and be aware that cleaning cycles consume ink as well which relate to your printing patterns over time - it makes a difference for the printer if you print 1 page per day or 30 sheets in one job.
 

The Hat

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If I have to choose a refillable tank printer which one would you recommend?
I can’t recommend any refillable tank printer because I don’t know enough about them to give you a good answer, but I can say that Canon and Epson have them both so your choice is limited to these two, check both their websites for reliable information but don’t go by customers reviews, they can be extremely flawed..

Inkjet printing can be a great experience but remember everything costs one way or the other, and only you can put a price on the experience, mostly its priceless for the pleasure you get.. If cost is a major factor then don’t get started..
 

Ink stained Fingers

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We can discuss details and differences between printer models but I'm reluctant to make specific recommendations, you probably have a list of must have - like to have - don't care - options and properties for a printer, and it is your judgement at the end how you weigh those.
You are listing the TS5050 as one of the possible printer models - this printer comes with 5 colors - a pigment black for text print on matte papers and a photo black for prints on glossy papers, the G series models and most of the Epson ET... Ecotank printers only come with 4 colors - with a black for matte papers. The driver is mixing magenta and cyan to black which does not look as dark and neutral as the TS5050 is printing it. Is this relevant, is it important for you ? This is one of the points for which DPi or droplets size are not relevant at all. Epson has a ET7700/7750 Ecotank model with 5 inks as well but probably out of your pricing range.
What are the benifits of the Ecotank and tank system G series printer models - the handling of the refill process is very convenient, you do it not that often - a bottle contains 70 ml of ink vs. a typical cartridge with 10 - 15 ml. The pricing of the bottled inks are much lower than the prices for cartridges - with a caveat - you don't get the same type of inks - these bottled inks give you less UV/ozone longterm durability than the genuine Epson or Canon Claria or Chromalife inks. This may not be relevant for lots of users, so you are most likely happy with the lower prices.
So to comment on the photo print capabilities of the addressed models - the print quality with the ET.. or G-series models is o.k. but the TS5050 can do better with the photo black when it comes to a more critical judgement of photo prints - so coming back to your judgement on this particular detail - how relevant/important is this over other requirements. ?
 
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sabotage3d

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What pushed me to look for a photo printer is that I ordered an album from one of the popular websites and I wasn't happy with the grading of the photos they were too dark and all very different. I would like to tweak them myself in Lightroom or Photoshop.
My main consumer review websites are Which and Rtings. Which is mostly recommending the Ecotanks and G series and no to much the TS series due to the ink cost.
Rtings seems to be a bit more technical and the highest scoring printer for home photo is Canon PIXMA TS6320 (TS6350 europe). I first looked at TS6350 but compatible cartridges are double the price of TS5050. The only main difference I can see is that TS6350 has Chromalife on the genuine canon cartridges.
They also have reviewed Canon PIXMA G7020 the highest from the refillable printers and the ecotanks a bit lower.
There are also third party CISS and refill methods for TS5050, but they look messy.
I won't be printing hundreds of photos, but I will like the convenience of the refillable printers the only think pushing me back is the initial cost.
Just to clarify a refillable genuine ink would be similar to the compatible ink?
It would be important for me to have good blacks on the photos.
I have attached the comparison photos. You are absolutely right that the blacks are not as good on the refillable's 4 colours. I think the ecotank 2710 has only dye black used for photos?
 

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Ink stained Fingers

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Those prints don't tell me much , as long as it is not clear how they are printed - paper type, driver settings , color management settings - with or w/o icm profile active , quality settings, gamut of the icm profiles and more.
Some of the 4 color Ecotank models come with a dye black, and other models with a pigment black, CMY all dye inks. And watch - some models don't support borderless printing. But if you want to you can swap pigment/dye black very easily, the bottle tops can be removed.
Please let me rate various dye inks - there are the genuine Epson Claria and the Canon Chromalife inks which are the best in terms of longer term - UV - ozone stability, but it's not just the inks but as well the paper - the coating - which plays an important role. And there are bottled inks for the ET... and the G series models which are of a weaker long term stability , it's o.k. for lots of prints, but this performance difference can explain a pricing difference. And there are 3rd party refill inks - into cartridges or as a substitute for the bottled inks - they all are of a lesser longevity but unknown in detail - no supplier is williing/able to supply any valid information about that.
The Epson ET7700 is an exception , its 106 (in Europe) inks are equal to the Claria inks. Epson has a wider range of tank system printers - even different in different sales regions around the world; there is a L805 with 6 inks which is a photo printer only - not scanner on top - just a photo printer like the P50 or XP-55 with a tank system attached.
So the choice is not becoming easy - if you look to the cost you rather should consider the total cost over a period of time -e.g.e. 2 years with all cost elements accumulated - printer, inks for the assumed print volume, refill cartridges if available. The ET7750 comes with 2 sets of ink bottles - 2x70ml per CMYK color and 2x140ml pigment black.
I'm not familiar with the refill options for the TS5050 or similar models , do you need refill cartridges with auto reset chips ? The 5 color line up of lots of Canon printers makes them pretty universal, this configuration exists since more than 10 years already, and photo printing was always very good.
 
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