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Ink Prices


Colin Smale 18 515 England
17 Mar 2021 12:25PM
When is something going to happen re the price of inks? Like many photographers nowadays I go to a local printer to get my pics printed and because I am a regular I get a good discount. However, we still use printers for other things, until recently a generic ink was good enough but now even those inks are too expensive compared to what they were. I can now buy a new printer (with inks) for the same price as it costs to replace the inks in my current printer.
Can it really be that a printer costs nothing???
Something very wrong isn't there.
Dave_Canon 14 2.0k United Kingdom
17 Mar 2021 1:37PM
No. It is still as it has been for many years. The manufacturers can afford to sell the printers cheap because they can recover the money through selling ink at high prices. Yes, you can use a commercial printing service and it cost me much more to print myself but I have full control and can ensure I achieve the print quality I want. So I accept it is not cheap for a good quality photograph from a photo quality ink jet printer. On the the other hand, for routine printing of documents, I use a B&W laser printer which is very low cost to run.

Dave
thewilliam2 4 1.5k United Kingdom
17 Mar 2021 1:53PM
Even with wide-format printers and their 220ml carts, ink is usually the biggest cost.

When we retired our Epson 7800, the ink had cost about 4 times as much as the machine (new minus fleabay sale price). We were selling prints as archival so used genuine inks.

When we had the studio and did a lot of mail marketing, we had a CISS for the office printer which saved us a fortune.
wsh Plus
3 61 United Kingdom
17 Mar 2021 2:42PM
I will recommend an Epson Ecotank printer. Most of the money spent on replacing ink cartridges is for the cartridge itself which generally yield a very low quantity of ink.
pink Plus
17 6.6k 8 United Kingdom
17 Mar 2021 5:03PM
I use a Canon PRO1000 A2 printer which takes 80ml cartridges, compared to my Epson A3 R2400 printer which had 13ml cartridges I find it a lot more economical to use, I sell quite a few prints so use genuine Canon inks, once the warranty has expired I will consider a CISS system for it.
The Canon cartridges cost about £35 each, I log how many prints I do so can gauge the cost of the print that needs to be recovered in the selling price.
I used to have an A2 Epson printer (3800) that had 200ml cartridges but it let me down by clogging up and the print quality was not so good so I made the switch, printers definitely benefit from being used on a regular basis and I try and print at least once a week, even if its only an A4 test print.
Like Dave has said I also like to be in control of the whole process and very much enjoy printing and framing images for sale or exhibitions, its better than watching rubbish telly!
Ian
Dave_Canon 14 2.0k United Kingdom
17 Mar 2021 5:23PM
I did consider Continuous inks systems when I bought the Epson P600 but calculated that it would not really save me anything over 5 years as I was only printing 70 near A3 prints p.a. That has dropped to 40 per year in a normal year so definitely unsuitable for my use. Of course, in the last 12 months I have hardly printed any photographs as print competitions have disappeared due to COVID though they will be back later this year. I was not aware of the Epson Ecotank printer and will find out more about it in due course though I do not expect to be looking for a new printer in the near future.

Dave
Jestertheclown 12 8.4k 253 England
17 Mar 2021 6:07PM
For we mere mortals, bashing out 6x4 and occasional A4 prints at home; to whom, I suspect, the OP was referring, the cost of ink cartridges has become silly.
I used to have an old Epson in which I used compatibles from Amazon which cost, quite literally, just a few pound for a set of four.
Nowadays, I've got a very cheap Canon Pixma of some kind and compatible black cartridges which used to be about a tenner are now twice that and barely any cheaper than Canon original ones.
The same can be said re. colour cartridges although I haven't used compatible ones for a while as the last two that I used produced some strange results.
Colin Smale 18 515 England
17 Mar 2021 6:51PM
I was 'commercial' but retired now. I have a feeling that home printing is fading into history now and good job too. The only thing I do miss is having the choice of paper to suit the print.
As far as I am concerned guys/gals, forget the idea that I want to print my own images, regular use of my local lab translates into good discounts, gives me more time for photography when I want to do some.
It is all about the price of inks which, although I haven't checked seems to have doubled. I am going to cite 'the emperor's new clothes'...take a good look and see if you are really seeing the big picture, Canon/Epson inks v generic inks, there was a wide gap in the prices, now there's hardly any difference, that has got to be 'rip-off'.
Dave_Canon 14 2.0k United Kingdom
17 Mar 2021 7:29PM

Quote:I was 'commercial' but retired now. I have a feeling that home printing is fading into history now and good job too. The only thing I do miss is having the choice of paper to suit the print.
As far as I am concerned guys/gals, forget the idea that I want to print my own images, regular use of my local lab translates into good discounts, gives me more time for photography when I want to do some.
It is all about the price of inks which, although I haven't checked seems to have doubled. I am going to cite 'the emperor's new clothes'...take a good look and see if you are really seeing the big picture, Canon/Epson inks v generic inks, there was a wide gap in the prices, now there's hardly any difference, that has got to be 'rip-off'.



Firstly, you are probably right that home photographic printing (not office type printing though) is fading but why the comment "a good job too". At my camera club you can easily see who home prints as, with only a few exceptions, the quality of home printed is much better particularly for B&W. Having the choice of paper helps and I tried a 3rd party ink once and the colours and quality was very poor compared with genuine inks. However a professional printing service like Sim Lab can produce excellent colour prints matching my Epson quality subject to only two types of paper. They do not match the B&W quality produced by the Epson multiple black inks.

Dave
sherlob Plus
15 3.2k 130 United Kingdom
17 Mar 2021 7:38PM
Colin,

Be sure to check the volume of the ink cartridges sold with a new printer - I recall reading that these are usually only filled to 10-20% that of the capacity of replacement cartridges. I don't know if this is common practice, but I made a mental note to check before if I was to buy again.

Adam
Colin Smale 18 515 England
17 Mar 2021 8:28PM
Yes that's true Adam.
Jestertheclown 12 8.4k 253 England
17 Mar 2021 8:51PM

Quote:I recall reading that these are usually only filled to 10-20%

That's also my understanding.
Dave_Canon 14 2.0k United Kingdom
17 Mar 2021 10:17PM
Not quite true but effectively similar. The first set of cartridges with the P600/800 Epson ink jet printers are called starter cartridges and are smaller. When the printer is first used part of the set up is to deal with the driver etc. but part to initiate the ink system. There are long tubes which connect the moving print head to the ink cartridges and these are initially empty so the initiation fills these tubes which take a lot of ink. I found that with the remaining ink, I was able to print about 25% of the expected capacity of full normal cartridges. The next set did provide the expected volume of prints. This is not a secret and you can find this in the many reviews and I was aware of this before I bought the printer. What would have been nice is had they included another full set of cartridges but presumably Epson/Canon and others wish to maximise their profit.

Dave
hobbo Plus
10 1.7k 4 England
18 Mar 2021 6:23AM
I have practically given up home printing of anything, except the odd invoice, or as a guide to a painting I might be doing....

Iím just in the process of negotiating a price for 50 off black and white archive quality prints on A4 satin paper very similar to an old film camera print thickness.
Instead of being in a Photo-book they will be stored in Museum Quality glass clear acrylic pockets inside a loose leaf folder... which will mean, they can be taken out to be framed temporarily, or just to show.....

Hobbo
LenShepherd 13 4.3k United Kingdom
18 Mar 2021 9:01AM

Quote:I use a Canon PRO1000 A2 printer which takes 80ml cartridges, compared to my Epson A3 R2400 printer which had 13ml cartridges I find it a lot more economical to use, I sell quite a few prints so use genuine Canon inks, once the warranty has expired I will consider a CISS system for it.
The Canon cartridges cost about £35 each, I log how many prints I do so can gauge the cost of the print that needs to be recovered in the selling price.


This is useful information.
I use the Epson 80mm cartridges for the P800.
This halves the ink cost compared to my previous small cartridge printer.
As A2 printers come with about £350-400 more ink in them than a small cartridge printer, they are not much more expensive to buy - though still about £1,000 up front - and A2 printers have a big footprint.
Unfortunately Epson inks are knocking on the door of £44 each - which is about 30% more than your £35 for a Canon cartridge.
My ink costs work out at around 70p for an A4, £1.40 for an A3 etc.
Add paper and depreciation on the printer over time makes home printing distinctly expensive.
For the highest quality for Exhibition, retail or competitions I find home printing can be best - though distinctly more expensive than all but the highest quality commercial printers.

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