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Coated paper for an inkjet?

Discussion in 'Paper & Other Media' started by AshleyTN, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Aug 3, 2011
    AshleyTN

    AshleyTN Newbie to Printing

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    At the recommendation of a photographer friend, I just purchased an Epson Stylus Photo R2800.
    So far, seems to be a good machine.

    But, I would really like to print on coated cardstock, preferably cover weight of 80 or even 100 lb. Does this exist for inkjets?
    I want glossy, semi-gloss, even a matte might work if that makes a difference.

    I've had some of my work printed at Office Depot on Xerox Elite Cover 100lb and it looks so nice and bright. I want a similar effect from my own printer.

    Any suggestions??? (I really hope the suggestion isn't "You got the wrong printer!" Yikes.)

    Thanks!
    Ashley
     
  2. Aug 3, 2011
    Fenrir Enterprises

    Fenrir Enterprises Printer Guru

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    I've always liked using Staples Double-Sided Matte with my R220 converted to pigment inks. The 8.5 x 11 often goes on sale for $2 or less with mail-in-rebate. They do make it in larger format (13 x 19 I think). I consider it to be "coated card stock", it's about 230 gsm which is a close equivalent to 80 lb cover. Since the small printer doesn't have a GLOP cartridge glossiness doesn't matter to me. I always prefer to use Epson branded gloss paper with my R340 that still uses OEM inks to make sure I have maximum longevity and I use the Epson 5-star Matte in the R220 if it's something I really want to keep. The five-star Epson paper is quite thick. It often goes on sale for 50% off in Staples and Office Max, not so often in Office Depot. It's not going to look like a laser/color copier print, though. Laser print sits on top of the paper while ink soaks into it giving a much different look. However, your color matching will be much better with an inkjet with 6 or more colors than a 4 color laser. Also, inkjet paper is always going to be more expensive (at non-sale retail prices anyway) since it has to be coated to look good, while laser prints will look the same on premium card stock or on cheap 20 lb office paper - only the brightness of the paper will have any effect on what it looks like.

    I've used uncoated 100lb Cougar Opaque card stock with decent but not perfect results, but it's a nightmare to get the printer to feed it since the consumer-level ones have a picky feeder when it comes to thick/stiff stock (it won't "curl" enough to get pulled into the rollers by the friction feeder). Your printer should do a better job with thicker paper.
     
  3. Aug 3, 2011
    AshleyTN

    AshleyTN Newbie to Printing

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    So, what you're saying is, I ideally should've gotten a laser printer? Haha.

    Thanks for all of the tips. I don't quite speak the lingo that well though, so could you explain what you mean by converting to pigment ink? Of all of the options you suggested, is that the most cost effective way to go (for ink and paper)?

    Thank you!
     
  4. Aug 3, 2011
    Fenrir Enterprises

    Fenrir Enterprises Printer Guru

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    No, you will never have a beautiful photo lab quality print from an "affordable" laser printer. Maybe some of the 4 figures or higher printers can do incredible photo prints but they'll never be as glossy or have as wide a range of bright colors as an inkjet printer. However, today's consumer level laser printers do a very nice job compared to older ones.

    Most consumer level printers use dye ink, which is like colored water. Pigment ink actually has particles of the color in the fluid which makes it much less likely to fade but comes at a slight cost of color brightness and a heavy cost in glossiness. The older Epson R2XX/3XX series had a printhead that would allow you to use pigment refill inks even if the printer wasn't sold to be used that way. The more expensive Epson printers use pigment ink natively and since they have more colors than 6 they're even better at color matching. Many of them have a gloss optimizer cartridge to solve the problem of glossiness (if you use glossy paper in a pigment printer, it will often be noticeable that the areas with the least amount of ink/white areas will be glossy while the darker areas will be satin). I haven't done much research into the higher end Epson printers recently so I didn't notice the R28XX series doesn't have a gloss optimizer cartridge either. However, once the print is behind glass you won't notice the difference, really. But you are better off using satin or matte paper with this printer.

    The happy medium a lot of people find here is using aftermarket/refill pigment inks while trying to find deals on photo paper. It's more important to find good paper for dye printers. Since pigment ink fades less even on bad paper (I had red/yellow signs in the window at work where the lamination failed before the ink had any considerable fading... you could tell it faded only if you printed a new sign and put it next to the old one after a year in direct sunlight), I worry less about the prints from my pigment printer. You will still want to use good paper to avoid the paper itself breaking down or yellowing (but nearly all papers are acid free these days) as well as having a brighter surface that takes the ink properly without letting it puddle or spread out on the paper, so you can print as high as detail a possible. However, if you are not handy, this may not be something you want to do. I think my conversion on my R220 is sometimes more trouble than it's worth, with the clogging and aftermarket carts that don't always make a good seal in the printer, but I like the ability to create reprints that are s fade resistant so I don't have to worry about it if someone asks me to run prints of their artwork for them. Since the Epson cartridges for your printer are pigment already, you don't need to use third party inks if you don't want to, but it's going to be much more expensive (in fact I don't know if there is a refill set for the R28XX series printers yet).

    I always prefer to use the brand of paper that was designed for my printer, even if I use refill inks with it, but there are other brands out there that get excellent ratings from artists and photographers, search this board a little and see what the more recent popular ones are.

    You really can't have it cheap all the way around though. An inkjet is going to cost more than a laser both ink and paper-wise but a laser isn't likely to make as good a photo as a professional inkjet printer like yours. A laser can print on cheap media compared to inkjets but if you want nice cardstock or glossy papers for a laser it's going to cost more as well. Also, many of the less expensive lasers run on the same business model as inkjets - sell the printer cheap and charge a fortune for toner cartridges.
     
  5. Aug 3, 2011
    AshleyTN

    AshleyTN Newbie to Printing

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    Thank you so much! That really is a lot of very helpful information. I really appreciate you taking the time to write that all out for me.

    So since I have the pigment ink already, you'd say go for the Staples matte paper or the 5-star Epson papers, and I should get a nice, bright, crisp result? That's really all I'm looking for. When I print inkjet on non-coated cardstock, like you said, it feathers and just isn't good enough. (I end up putting a lot of my work on cardstock and selling it for use as notecards.)

    Thank you again!
     
  6. Aug 4, 2011
    Fenrir Enterprises

    Fenrir Enterprises Printer Guru

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    Yes I think that will work fine for what you are doing. The printer may be a little overkill for that kind of job but since you have it, you can eventually look into ways to expand your business such as selling enlargements. Also, the R2800 series excels at printing pure black and white prints (with the appropriate cartridges - check your manual), which other printers, even the pro ones, can have a hard time doing without having some kind of color tint to it.

    Unfortunately none of the major office supply stores seems to have any sale on Epson papers (or the Staples matte) this week. Check again on Sunday. The Staples Matte with mail-in-rebate is a common sale and Staples is the only store I even give in to buying things with rebates since the online Easy Rebate system is less likely to be denied than "cut out the bar code and serial number and the small hidden square on the inside of the packaging that your kids probably threw out yesterday and mail it to us so we can say you forgot to cut them into a triangle, square, and circle like it says in the fine print"
     
  7. Aug 19, 2011
    on30trainman

    on30trainman Printer Guru

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    The Staples Matte paper goes on sale starting this Sunday for 50 cents after rebate according to a Staples ad I received via e-mail today.

    Steve W.
     
  8. Aug 20, 2011
    Fenrir Enterprises

    Fenrir Enterprises Printer Guru

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    Epson 4-star matte paper was on sale this week for 50 cents after rebate but it's really only good for brochures and flyers... it's not stiff or thick enough to even really be considered "photo paper" but it's very high quality compared to most brochure paper.

    I picked up some HP matte brochure paper on clearance recently and it was quite stiff for only 32lb paper. This often goes on sale B1G1 in most office supply stores but Staples still wins with the $2/$1/$0.50 rebate sales. You should keep an eye out on the clearance sections of all the office stores though, every so often you get lucky (I found two 100 sheet packages for $2.50 apiece).
     
  9. Aug 26, 2011
    AshleyTN

    AshleyTN Newbie to Printing

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    Thank you so much! Great tip!!!
     

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