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Old 15-03-2010, 10:51 AM
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dugnsuz (Doug)
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Printer for Astrophotos - Opinions Please.

I’m looking to purchase a good quality photo printer (+/-scanner) soon for my astrophotos.
Can’t afford to go up to A3, so a good A4 it will have to be. But I also intend to add one of those CIS ink systems …
http://www.rihac.com.au/index.php?cPath=26
Chap at “Hardly Normals” recommended a Canon MP550 model at $148.
http://www.canon.com.au/en-au/For-Yo...Printers/MP550

I’m asking for opinions and recommendations from forum members in the know as to which printer might be the best to go for – I could lose the scanner if a printer only option is the best.
All the best, and thanks in advance.
Doug
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Old 15-03-2010, 11:30 AM
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jjjnettie (Jeanette)
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Doug, my latest printer, a HP F2120, bought only to print documents, does a surprisingly good job on my astro pics.
Far better than any of the Canon printers I've had in the past.
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Old 15-03-2010, 11:48 AM
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tlgerdes (Trevor)
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I have found paper makes more of a difference than printer on the cheaper ones. I have a HP4350 all-in-one.
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Old 15-03-2010, 01:14 PM
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Most of the current inkjet printers give identical results. The type that use the six cartridges probably produce the best colour.

Using the correct paper is the secret to photo like results.

I have used a number of different ink jet printers and find them extremely expensive to run. My costs worked out at between 2 and 3 dollars an A4 page. The published figures always show better results than this of course but if you only make two or three prints per month like I required the amount of head cleaning that occurs uses 80% of your ink and the cartridges only last about a year with intermittent use any way. If you are printing 50 or 60 photos at a time the cost per print will come right down of course.

It is much cheaper to get your photos printed at the local photo shop.

For my colour photos I use my colour laser that works out at about 12 cents per print. The quality of the laser is not as good as an inkjet but is good enough for most purposes. I use the laser to print repro meccano manuals for friends and some of these are 200 pages plus in colour! I could not do this with an ink jet.

Barry
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Old 15-03-2010, 02:20 PM
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dugnsuz (Doug)
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Thanks for the replies/advice.
I had hoped to offset the ink costs with the ink reservoir system I mentioned in the first post - looks way more economical than ongoing cartridge replacement.

Perhaps paper research seems more appropriate at that price point!?
Doug
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Old 15-03-2010, 03:30 PM
Barrykgerdes
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I just did a costing on the basis of actaul photos that I have printed over the last 11 years on ink jet printers. Over $1000 on printers and about $400 in ink.

Note: I have always used a laser for text printing

From this I have probably printed 12 or so photographs and about 200 CD/DVD's (The real reason for an ink jet printer). That works out at around $7 each successful print. However the CD/DVD's have only been printed with my current printer so the cost of these is less tha $1 per print. That means the older printers on which I spent about $1000 on printers and ink for a net 12 photos. Not very economical is it.

Barry
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Old 15-03-2010, 04:42 PM
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mithrandir (Andrew)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrykgerdes View Post
It is much cheaper to get your photos printed at the local photo shop.

For my colour photos I use my colour laser that works out at about 12 cents per print. The quality of the laser is not as good as an inkjet but is good enough for most purposes. I use the laser to print repro meccano manuals for friends and some of these are 200 pages plus in colour! I could not do this with an ink jet.
I'll agree with both of Barry's points. We have a Canon LBP5100 colour laser and most people are dumbstruck at the quality you get on plain paper. A set of genuine replacement carts did cost as much as the printer.
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Old 15-03-2010, 05:51 PM
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Bassnut (Fred)
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If you are looking for a printer mainly for some astro pics, why is the economy of a laser at 200 prints on plain paper and lower quality attractive ?.

As Barry also says, Ink jets produce much the same quality, so IMO any reasonably priced inkjet with quality paper and (IMO) original (seperate) colour cartridges is the go. Unless your printing 100s of copys, or mainly text, laser is not ideal.

NO, dont get astro prints done at the shop. In my experience, astro prints are very hard to get smick, it always takes a few tweaks and copys to get right, its never the same as an LCD screen (unless you are a fanatic expert on colour spaces and calibration). Try tweaking in a shop, or going there multiple times over a few days for test prints........not ;-)
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Old 15-03-2010, 07:03 PM
Barrykgerdes
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Hi Fred

I don't use the colour laser for "real" photos. I only use it for the family snaps that arrive as email attachments. I group them together and print them 6 to a page to show around then they get trashed. The 200 page manuals I print are only manuals and relatively low res (150 dpi). The manuals incidently have been out of print up to 100 years and also out of copyright. I did a 1910 one at 300 dpi from restored pages that came out better than the master I had scanned.

The real photos I have done have been things like touched up wedding and graduation photos that needed to be restored as close to new as possible. Some of these take 3 or 4 goes to get acceptable results.

I get good astro photos from Trevor when he does them properly. So that doesn't cost me! (other than helping to finance his other astronomical projects).

Barry
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Old 15-03-2010, 07:20 PM
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DavidTrap (David)
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Have a look at some professional digital minilab enlargements. 8x12 $4.60 & 12x16 $11.90 at my local minilab. If you consider the cost of a printer and then paper and ink - I think it is cheaper. If you are like me and fire up the inkjet printer once in a blue moon, it chews about half an ink cartridge to clean the nozzles!

I also wonder about that much black bleeding into the stars on inkjet prints.

Cheers
David T
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Old 15-03-2010, 07:31 PM
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Again, pro enlargements if machine automatic, dont know what to do with nearly-all-black astro pics, the auto adjust process is a disaster.

Pro labs offer manual tweaking, but at a huge price, and then they have to understand what your after, unlikely, they have no reference or experience. Pro labs do terestial, astro is a nightmare for them, time sucking irritating.

Do it yourself, you know exactly what your after.
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Old 15-03-2010, 08:04 PM
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marki
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I use a canon MP970. Great print quality (9600 x 2400dpi), reasonable on ink costs (7 ink cartridges) and also has a built in scanner. Prints CD's scans film etc with all the bits and pieces you need to do it. Also runs on a network.

Mark
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Old 15-03-2010, 08:08 PM
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Doug, mate you can't go past the Canon IX4000, it is only a printer, so all the dollars spent is for printing only.

It prints border-less A3, and dose a superb job, not real cheap but well worth the dollars if you are looking for quality.

I have one and love it

Leon
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Old 15-03-2010, 08:12 PM
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I have just purchased a Canon MP990, six colour inkjet.

I also purchased some photo paper from Safeway (Woolworths), Woolies home brand, almost certainly made by someone else, really cheap.

I bought it to do proofs of a magazine I put together, but have used it to print some astro photos. It does a really nice job. I had to tweak the printer settings a little, which I picked up from printing a known good source. The proofs were on plain paper and looked pretty average, but the colours were really quite close to the final printed product. The astrophotos look great on glossy photo paper.

Ink cartridges are $21 each and Officeworks have the printer on sale last time I looked. It has a wireless connection and wired ethernet as well as USB. It's not the cheapest inkjet, but it does a fine job.

Cheers
Stuart
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Old 15-03-2010, 08:13 PM
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DavidTrap (David)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassnut View Post
Again, pro enlargements if machine automatic, dont know what to do with nearly-all-black astro pics, the auto adjust process is a disaster.

Pro labs offer manual tweaking, but at a huge price, and then they have to understand what your after, unlikely, they have no reference or experience. Pro labs do terestial, astro is a nightmare for them, time sucking irritating.

Do it yourself, you know exactly what your after.
The particular prolab that I quoted prices from does offer an expensive manual tweaking service, but I have found their as-is printing to be fabulous.

You can't make sweeping generalisations about every lab.

DT
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Old 15-03-2010, 08:19 PM
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dugnsuz (Doug)
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Thanks for the comments...

I think I'm probably going to pass on the printer - all that trial and error and black ink wastage just too costly for astro!!

I've used a local pro printer to do an A3 Eta Carina (which got a honorable mention at last years David Malin Awards) which cost around $25 tops - they seemed pretty approachable re my needs and the final result though not perfect was not too bad. As I only produce images that I'm totally happy with very sporadically it would seem to make sense just to go pro when the need arises I think!
Cheers for all the help

Doug
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Old 15-03-2010, 08:23 PM
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Bassnut (Fred)
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A personal experience is worth gold, point taken, and I would only go to a recomedation like yours. A random local lab is fraught with grief.
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Old 15-03-2010, 08:31 PM
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Bassnut (Fred)
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I bought an A3 printer partly with the David Malin awards in mind, a year later, they only accept emailed images, murphys law ruled there big time ;-).
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Old 15-03-2010, 08:39 PM
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dugnsuz (Doug)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassnut View Post
I bought an A3 printer partly with the David Malin awards in mind, a year later, they only accept emailed images, murphys law ruled there big time ;-).
Getting the hard copy was part of the fun of preparing my Malin entry.
They're onto a money spinner with the $5 per digital entry I reckon!!
SBIG cameras for honorable mentions this year I hope - it's only fair Fred!!!!!
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Old 15-03-2010, 08:50 PM
Barrykgerdes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marki View Post
I use a canon MP970. Great print quality (9600 x 2400dpi), reasonable on ink costs (7 ink cartridges) and also has a built in scanner. Prints CD's scans film etc with all the bits and pieces you need to do it. Also runs on a network.

Mark
I had one of those. It was good when new but after standing for a while it got to expensive to keep changing 7 cartridges. I put it in the garbage in the end. Nothing wrong except it needed a new set of cartridges.

Barry
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