NEW COMPARE PRINTER PAGE!! A QUIZ- Can you
spot the best print?
SHOOT OUT: Cheap Versus $$$
See how the three major manufactures prints
stack up to each other
Also of interest : Brain
Photo Fun- Info on Digital Photography
AND THE Absolutely
MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR YOUR PC: EASY
NORTON GHOST GUIDE
If you are not using ghost and you have PC- well---
YOU SHOULD BE!!
Welcome to this page
dedicated to inkjet printers and ink--- the NO BALONEY review and
info page. Almost EVERY commercial and even non-commercial printer review and
inkjet info shortchanges the consumer- and ignores long term usage
problems, and practical application of printers and ink.
PAGE LOOKS AT EVERYTHING beyond the superficial claims and typical shallow
reviews- typical reviews that GREATLY MISLEAD users and buyers of inkjet
printers and ink.
This has turned out to
be the SECOND most popular page on my entire site- which you MUST visit
when you are done here- THE AMAZING BRAIN
ADVENTURE LAB. If you think this printer page is good- just wait till you
explore the Brain pages- Click on Briana to visit Brain
Adventure Books for the most
amazing adventure of your life.
page is receiving THOUSANDS of hits a day, and I am constantly revising this
page as new information comes in, so bookmark this page, and visit
info on the new season of Canon printers is down the page, in which I compare
with last year's superlative models.
1) Don't go broke
buying overpriced inkjet refills.
We have now found suppliers who actually offer ink cartridges at fair prices.
retailer, and most internet sources we have found charges at least 300% to
600% times the price of these companies. We've tested their inks- they
work wonderfully, and
a fraction of the cost of the OEM ink you pay through the nose for.
These are NOT
paid endorsements in any way, just passing on our research in this area, more details
We've tested several custom formula third party inks against Canon (and some
Epson) factory ink cartridges and there
is little reason- except for greed- that anyone should be paying $20- $60 to refill
their inkjet printers. It is obscene. Details below on this page.
2) For large quantities of
printing by professionals and artists, REFILL
your cartridges for a fraction of store bought carts. Details
use off the shelf refill kits, however. Your ink will cost you1/20th the price
of regular refills. There are Continuous Flow Systems available- these
come with their own set of problems however, again details below...
3) If you need a printer, I suggest any Canon desktop regular printer at the mid-price range, $100 or more
(i.e. models i560, i860, i960, i900D, i9100,i9900) rather than anything else. I don't have any info on the small mini-portable printers, but will tell you this, the ink cartridges are pretty tiny.
REGARDING the new line of Canon printers:
Okay, Canon printers BEAT ALL, no question. But the new season of printers, the
PIXMA printers are a de-evolution of last years superlative i-series printers-
which were PERFECT. Alas, most companies are guilty of planned obsolescence, and
often make changes for changes-sake to sell new printers. I
recommend the Canon i960 above EVERY printer made-- but they are being
phased out, so get one while you can, found for about $135 online these days.
The i960 offers the fastest,
most vivid, most highest detailed, sharpest imaging of
ANYTHING, including all other Canon models. It is the LOTUS ELAN, the Ferrari,
the Acura NSX of inkjet printers.
The new $179
is 6 color, but only as fast as the i960 at
lower resolutions. Higher resolutions, its slower- for the same speed as the
i960 at all resolutions, you need the 8500. For many people, the ip600 or ip600d
-adds an LCD for computerless printing with select cameras- ($179 at
Best Buy) will work very well with minimum expense.
The the i9900
prints as nicely as the 960, but is much more expensive, and
requires two additional colors (red and green) that you don't really need.
It does allow for bigger prints if you really need that. The i9100 is a
better deal, big tray, and 6 color, though microscopically not as
absolutely fine as the 960- naked eye, might not be able to tell the
difference. A very very very minor difference in printing between the 9100 and
the 960 This printer is/has been phased out. Figures!
again is much more expensive than the
older i960, requires the two additional inks, and is for all
purposes the same speed as the 960.
All of the other
PIXMA printers are only 4 color with
an additional black, equivalent to the i560 models. These are good printers and
suitable for most consumers, but not as good as the 6 or 8 color printers for
really semi-pro or pro use.
AND 8 color printers
(9900 and 8500) will require two more color cartridges for not a big difference
in results. More money, less bang for the buck.
SO- get one of the i-series
while you still can-- ink will be available for years and years to come, and
you'll get more for your printer money, absolutely. When the time
comes and you can't get an i series printer-- the new PIXMA printers are
still going to give you better results and reliability than ANY other
I do NOT work for
Avoid any printer under $100 unless you are a broke student or just need something cheap for very
use, or you really are not picky about the quality you
You can refill your laser printers with toner yourself, recycling the cartridge,
for 1/5th the cost of just replacing the whole cartridge. This is fairly easy in
most cases. Details at the bottom of this page.
A Continuous Flow System (end of replacing ink cartridges, and superior ink
1/20th the cost of OEM) is now available for Canon printers using the BCI-6
carts (i960, s900, s9100, s800, etc- see below for details.) I'm using it now.
It appeared to work very well initially, but is beginning to fail after about 6
weeks. It can be fixed, but I hesitate to recommend at this time until further
bugs are worked out. Details below.
DO NOT expect your paper inkjet prints to look EXACTLY like the preview on your
monitor. Both flat LCD
monitors and regular more common tube CRT monitors PROJECT light to your eyes.
Paper inkjet prints REFLECT light to your eyes-- color transmission is very
different between a monitor and a paper print. Even with the best calibration-
and most people don't even approach this- a print and you monitor will differ
significantly in worst cases, and somewhat in best cases. Adjust your printer
color settings from what you see on actual prints. You can calibrate your
monitor to get close, but chances are, for the best color rendition, look at the
print and adjust accordingly.
Why is this a BRAIN
review? Because often reviews are written
(even by third parties) which are done poorly, and with motives that may
reflect conflict of interests. This is an honest evaluation done by yours
truly, seeking the best quality and results for reasonable cost.
AND I USE ALL OF
THIS STUFF- extensively all of the time, printing hundreds of photos every
month and THOUSANDS of documents and photos every year.
OFTEN, magazine and web
reviews are inaccurate- why? The people writing the reviews are COLUMNISTS, and
rarely use this stuff at a full time level. They make their conclusions based on
short term use, limited use, and frequently don't have the eye of a pro. They
may have a slanted bias for or against a printer for unexplained reasons. THEY
ACCEPT PAID ADVERTISING, duh- what do you think this does to accurate
opinions, eh? I've
seen all kinds of BAD reviews regarding printers, as well as cameras. Take any review in a
commercial site or magazine with a grain of salt. I use my printers ALL the
time, and have for years.
I recently looked at the CNET reviews of
inkjet printers-- TOTAL CRAP. This is really bad information to be giving people
per their ratings, and I genuinely feel sorry for anyone buying a printer based
on these kinds of reviews. Irrelevant and inconsistent, and things CNET editors
judged relevant----OOOOO@! it actually makes me disgusted. The editors at CNET
are morons to publish these ratings- but then, they accept commercial
advertising. BEWARE!! of reviews on commercial sites!
The main players
in the regular inkjet and inkjet photo printer consumer market are Epson,
HP, Canon, and Lexmark. What I looked at was detail, correct color, speed,
price, reputation, reliability and ease of use. I spoke with representatives
from the companies, dealers, and used the equipment. I did this on my own
then compared some reliable
reviews, and found that my results were
in keeping with other reviews
Any of today's inkjet
printers do a good job for
general non-too-picky use, and if you only use
your printer occasionally, most printers will suffice.
But, if you've got a real eye
for quality and reliability-- WATCH
OUT. For the same money you
will spend on a greatly lesser printer, you can get a printer way ahead of the
Given all things
equal, SIX color (5 colors plus black) printers are superior for
lifelike and accurate color over the FOUR color (three colors plus black)
printers. This difference may not be noticeable or important however to
many people. For snapshots where
color imagery accuracy is not that important, it is a small difference.
You will pay more for six color systems than four color systems, as well
as for the ink. Look at the sample photos at the store- if you can't
tell the difference, and absolute color accuracy is not important to you-
factor this into your printer purchase/use decision. If you've got a decent eye,
and you do care and want the best- go 6 color.
are now 7 and 8 color printers out there-- in my opinion, forget it. This is pure
overkill. 6 color printers will now deliver the same quality as a regular color
photo lab. Add 2 more colors- what... do you drive a Humvee to get to 7-11 and
get your groceries also- when a Honda will get 3 times the gas mileage, easier
to park, a fraction of the cost? Two more colors add more problems to deal with,
that you really don't need. The payoff is minimal, if it exists at all.
As far as ink goes,
we have now found outlets on the web that sell
printer model specific
outstanding quality ink
at a truly reasonable cost-- 1/6th the price of OEM ink or manufacturers
ink elsewhere. It's ink at the price IT SHOULD BE. See details below.
If you are replacing inkjet cartridges more than once every year (ha ha)
you should not be wasting money supporting greedy printing companies by
shelling out $50 for an ounce of ink. !!! How Canon, and Epson, and all
the rest rationalize charging outrageous prices for pennies worth of ink
is a story in corporate greed in itself. Okay, they make good printers--
charge fair prices for ink already.
INK AND PRINT LIFE
this discussion comes up immediately when dealing with THIRD PARTY INK
SUPPLIERS. Don't make the assumption that anything other than name brand ink
will last a fraction of the life span predicted by $12 -$50 name brand ink
are ENORMOUS variables in what constitutes print life. Conditions, ink itself,
brand, paper, and how all of these interact. There is NO ONE ANSWER, and it is a
bad assumption to make that if you use the printer's ink and paper, you will get
the best results. Of course, that is what Canon, Epson, and HP would want you to
believe. God bless them, they've made great at-home photo printing possible- but
that's no excuse to gouge us for ink.
been using cheap Epson Glossy Photo paper ($20 for 120 8.5 X 11" sheets at
COSTCO) for years. I use third party CUSTOM FORMULA INK (not the generic off the
shelf one-ink-fits-all from Office Depot), which costs about 1/6 - 1/20 the
price of name brand ink depending on the packaging (4 oz bulk bottles cheaper,
obviously). I keep my prints hung on the wall with scotch tape in a brightly
sunlit room. I have yet to see and print fading or discoloration in 2 years of
any of my s900 or i960 prints. Maybe in ten years. The Canon FORMULA is
expected to last 25-27 years before ink degeneration- I would say this is very
If you need
DETAILED information on print life, then you need to do serious homework. Don't
take mainstream media propaganda (PC magazine for example) as God's word. Think
about WHO buys advertising in their magazine....Their own article on this
subject was VERY limited in it's sensationalist testing. Start here instead: http://www.wilhelm-research.com/index.html
read this: The MYTH of non-permanence of inkjet
you are printing PROFESSIONALLY and selling your prints-- DO YOUR HOMEWORK. In
summary, Epson's with archival pigmented ink is the way to go to guarantee the
longest life. Canon printers won't take pigmented inks (with one exception).
the typical self-home user, however, Epson's have distinct DISADVANTAGES over
Canon printers. See below.
you are a home consumer use- use regular dyebase inks. They'll look better,
printer cheaper, and last plenty long enough provided you don't put your prints
in direct sunlight- even REAL color lab photos won't last in the sun- duh.
are four companies whom I have bought ink for my Canon printer at fair prices,
and I've had excellent results with each. Each company offers some unique
advantage for your situation, so look at them all, and see my detailed notes
about INK below.
with the actual manufacturer who supplies these distributors with their inks-
very honest, well informed people. I have no doubts- none- about the integrity
of their products and their equivalent quality to name brand inks.
ARCHIVAL INKS: All consumer inkjet printers start off using DYE based inks.
Archival PIGMENT inks are made, and offer better life-- at higher price. I
personally don't use them.
be aware, that feedback I've received from people using archival inks, is that
in general they do not yet quite equal regular dye based inks in brilliance and
accuracy- so that's the trade off. Do lots of homework if pigment inks interest
INK TEST UPDATE,
Sept. 21, 2004
gotten a few (actually very few) emails regarding the safety and color accuracy
of using the cheap $2 per color inkjet cartridges mentioned on this page. Out of
the thousands of page visitors, and many who have successfully used this ink,
I've received only two emails from people unhappy with this ink. I suspect it
was actually something other than the ink that they were having problems with--
either that, or their complaints were simple fictional set-ups from unhappy
competitors who charge far more for ink cart replacements-- don't scoff, this
I have absolutely no
business or personal relationship with Inkgrabber, MSI, Colorbat, or Computer
Friends companies. I have bought (not been given) all of their products with the
exception of the Colorbat CFS for which I was a tester. My interest in this
review and use of their product is strictly to promote quality alternatives to
what I consider vastly overpriced ink prices for inkjet printers. I have
used, and continue to use all of the products I have reviewed here. I have had
no problems with quality or lightfastness or printer clogging from the use of
ANY of these products, including MIS, Computer Friends, or Colorbat. Close
friends who use the same inks for their businesses as well, have not reported
any problems either.
Sept.23, 2004 I retested the color quality from Inkgrabber.com cartridges by
re-photographing my test print and comparing the original objects, the digital
image as seen on my calibrated Sony SDM-X72 17" digital input LCD monitor
(very high quality) with the prints using the various inks. I
printed out the 8X10 with all Canon i960 settings on neutral using standard
Epson Glossy Photo paper. I am not posting any of these files or scans on this
page, because they don't come close enough to accurately reflect what I am
seeing in person with my eyes.
Inkgrabber impression: The result was an accurate
print, with pleasant color balance and a very reasonably accurate
reflection of the digital file and the original objects in person, in all of the
MIS ink impression: Again,
really great accurate results. Twice as expensive as Inkgrabber when you
buy cartridges, but then half as expensive as Inkgrabber carts when you buy 4oz
to refill your cartridges - this is the least expensive ink solution that gives
absolutely flawless results. See details on refilling carts down this page.
Canon impression: Hey, this is really
EXPENSIVE ink. It looks great. Better than any of the others? Nope.
unidentified prints on a table and compare-- none of the ink prints look
better than any of the others.
are VERY subtle differences in ink brand coloration-- when I say subtle, I mean
MICROSCOPICALLY subtle. The biggest difference I found in the magenta color from
one batch of Colorbat ink, which was a real anomaly in being just a hair too
intense for my liking. Otherwise, all other Colorbat ink colors were perfect,
and all other ink colors are interchangeable with one another.
The Inkgrabber Magenta was best for accuracy in reds,
hands down, even better than Canon. Note, this is on Epson Glossy Photo paper,
and other papers may give slightly different results.
my experience over the past two years is simply this- any differences in ink
brands can easily be adjusted through your photo software as well as your
printer settings, and you can get excellent results with any of the inks in this
The biggest question
I think most people face is that of COST.
Is the Canon color carts worth SIX TIMES the cost of Inkgrabber carts, or TWENTY
TIMES the cost of MSI bulk refill ink? GOOD GRIEF, NO, especially
considering I see better color from the third party companies in many instances!
the Inkgrabber carts, these are manufactured in China (says so on the box). You
can thank Richard Nixon for opening communication with the Chinese. I initially
found out about this brand from a friend, and a year ago we tested prints made
from this ink, and directly compared it with prints made on the same printer
with the same settings. We doubted that we could detect any differences
whatsoever at that time. The only thing we could possibly pick up is that the
skin color tones from the Inkgrabber ink looked slightly closer and more
pleasant to actual skin tone, this year my impression is reversed- is that Canon
and MSI give a more olive complexion (mine) and the Inkgrabber tends towards
pinker complexion. Other than that, all object colors were good if not better
with both MSI and Inkgrabber over Canon.
Think of it like you do
comparing Fuji film and Kodak film- slightly different personality, sometimes
extremely subtle, other times more noticeable.
INSTEAD, for those who possibly could detect the
difference (and most of you may not) this can be adjusted extremely easily to
one's preference in printer color settings or in your photo software. You
are going to be making adjustments anyway when printing your best work- so this is
really not a big deal at all. In the Canon
printers add or subtract a little tiny bit of INTENSITY in the printer color preferences to
adjust ink levels. Simple, easy, save $10 or more a color.
used MIS ink in bulk for well over a year, and I've always been totally
satisfied and haven't had to make any adjustments to my printer settings
whatsoever from Canon carts. Colorbat representatives inform me that they use
the same manufacturer as MIS. My limited experience with the Colorbat bulk ink
seems to bear this out with the exception of their Magenta, which seemed too
dark. More re-tests with this ink coming soon, but so far, no
complaints. And in bulk, this is again half the price of filled Inkgrabber
For those of
you to want to microscopically match Canon ink color (why why?)-- well then-- you'll have
to shell out $12 a cartridge (times 6 for a complete color set) to do this.
Considering the fact that if you are THAT sensitive to color, you are going to
be tweaking in Photoshop ANYWAY, so the idea of trying to duplicate Canon carts
when you're adjusting color in software to begin with seems like a moot point.
you don't believe me, run your own tests. Spend $70+ for a set of Canon carts.
Then get a set of Inkgrabber carts for $15, or refill a set of carts with MIS or
Colorbat bulk ink. Make sure and flush the ink
when you change carts by running a big purge test print (from this page) or just
run one light cleaning cycle. You should easily be able to tweak the Inkgrabber
test to more than satisfactory levels, you might not be tweaking the other inks
the print must dry for about 10 minutes before the color settles for accurate
you're not happy, okay, get out your wallet. Often.
the year this page has been up- I've only heard from two people who were not
happy with the inkgrabber ink. (Never from any MIS customers.) I suspect their may have been some other problems
involved that went far beyond the ink they were using. I, nor others I know
using this ink, have experienced any clogging of the printer head or any other
none of my prints have faded yet in the past year- I can't say anything about
permanence except- reprint in a few years if something fades. Don't put any
prints in the sunlight (this is true of color lab photos as well folks.)
are undoubtedly other companies that offer third party ink (why isn't it called
SECOND party anyway?...) which is of equal and good consistancy to the companies
I mention here. But since I haven't tried them, I won't recommend them
offhand- that wouldn't be responsible. I'll leave that to you to test others if
you are so inclined. If you find another good company- and you are NOT an
employee of that company- let us know in the INK
JET STUFF Group
EVER BUY A STORE DEMO PRINTER, even if they give it to you for pennies.
Why? because the chances of it NOT having clogged printer nozzles is extremely
remote. Demo printers sit on the shelf for weeks and months, unused. Ink
clogs the ink jets, and you will never get them to work right. Don't even
THINK about doing it.
I also do not recommend
the typical on-the-shelf cartridge ink re-fill kits, or re-manufactured
cartridges. This is not because I have anything against recycling, but
inkjet ink delivery systems is not as simple as you would think, and these
two ideas DO NOT work WAYYYYY more often than they DO work. There
are actual cart re-fill systems that DO WORK WELL, however. Remanufactured
TONER carts are another matter, since toner is solid color, and I've
used many remanufactured toner carts without problem. I would suspect you
may find some good remanufactured ink jet carts out there-- but that's your
SEE MORE ON INK BELOW on this page
YOUR PRINT HEADS CLEAN!
What am I talking
about? Every inkjet printer uses these microscopic ink jet openings
to lay ink down on the paper. The same ink that dries nicely on your paper
will also dry nicely in the orifice that the ink flows through to get the
paper. When this happens, it's like a clogged toilet. Sometimes you can
"clean" the print heads with some printer maintenance program-- but OFTEN
it is next to impossible. Many many times I had this problem with my otherwise
excellent Canon printer. I had plenty of ink in the cartridges, but it
would not flow through the print head completely.
The problem happens
most often because you JUST DON'T USE YOUR PRINTER EVERYDAY.
PRINT AT LEAST ONE
BIG COLOR PRINT A DAY TO KEEP THE HEAD CLEAN. If you can't do that, simply run a
cleaning cycle or two (or worst cast scenario three) when you get back from
vacation. Save the "Heavy Duty" cleaning cycles for real
problems as this uses a ton of ink. You can also run a test
"purge" print that prints simply a big block of each color.
[The one advantage
(and that's about it) of HP printers is that their ink cartridges contain
a brand new head and nozzles every time you replace the cartridge. However,
I don't think this justifies buying an HP printer. Just less chance of
a clogged head in the long run of you use an HP.]
Trust me, prevention
is worth a TON of cure when it comes to ink jet printers. Not only will
"cleaning" or "heavy cleaning" take time, but it is expensive, because
cleaning generally uses a LOT of ink in printers. Canon will clean the
head with air in the regular cleaning setting, but often this does not
work and you have to resort to heavy cleaning-- and ZIP!!! half the ink
in your cartridge has been used up to get your printer to work right.
$36 worth of ink down the drain, literally.
The cure is simple---
print one full color print every single day, whether you need it or not.
This will keep your print heads flowing and clean. You can download
and use either of the following JPG files to do your "cleaning" or "test"
print. Printing these images, especially the Standard Blocks should get
the ink flowing. Set your printer to fill
the image to page size of Neil's Test Print , or print at half a page
size of the Standard Test Block.
Please note: even standard
cleaning or heavy cleaning may not keep your printer working the best it can. If
you own a Canon printer, please read all of the Canon maintenance information
Note, you can also
check your printer accuracy by comparing the look of Neil's Test Print
on your monitor, and comparing with the actual print out of your printer.
Please note, although the text on the print is very sharp, the photo itself
is not REALLY sharp although it has excellent color value representation-
note the croquet balls in front. the Standard Blocks give you INK color,
and should not be used to judge primary color representation, unlike the
Neil's Print, and are simply used to make ink flow through your printers
ink jet head.
Test Print Standard
Test Block for FOUR COLOR Printers Standard
Test Block for SIX COLOR printer
MAKE SURE AND CHECK OUT OUR AIR-CLEANING
PROGRAM BELOW on this page WITH COMPRESSED AIR FOR CLEANING CLOGGED
PRINT HEADS-- air is almost free, and is a sure fire
cure for clogged nozzles.
6 COLOR VERSUS 4 and 5 COLOR PRINTERS
AND NOW 7 and 8 Colors!
Yes, having six colors
ink systems in a printer produces better images than four and five color systems,
no doubt about it. You can produce color photographic prints that are INDISTINGUISHABLE
from standard chemical processed color photographs on your $150-$200 ink
jet printer on your desk at home now. The four and five color printers are
indeed a little cheaper, and you will make very nice prints, including
photos. But if you want prints that are perfect, spend the extra dollars
and get a six color system. No baloney here. PS, the five color printers add a "photo black" which helps the printer print grays in photos without using up the regular primary colors to blend a gray.
For your information,
a six color printer adds two lighter shades of magenta and cyan (printer
red and printer blue) which are used in intermediate areas of color. This
provides more accuracy and finer control of color and smoother rendering
of images. As it turns out, in a six color printer, these are the two colors
you end up using most. So unless you have a system where you are refilling
your ink cartridges or using a Continuous Flow System below, seriously
consider a printer with INDEPENDENT COLOR INK CARTRIDGES, as in CANON.
REGARDING TEXT: If
you are printing a lot (we are talking thousands
of pages) of text only, black and white documents-- for god's sake,
get a Brother laser printer for that and save your inkjet printer for color
prints. Anyone judging/using an ink jet printer primarily for printing large
amounts of black and
white text documents is out of their mind. Laser jets print this kind of thing
five times faster, 100 times cheaper, and with equivalent or better
quality. Don't buy an inkjet
printer based on how quickly it cranks out text documents. This is another shortsighted
error I've seen in commercial reviews of ink jet printers-- you
don't expect a sedan to do the job of a pickup truck either.
HOWEVER- if you are printing a small
or moderate number of text only documents, almost every single inkjet printer
over $70 (and a few even cheaper) out there will do an adequate if not excellent
job for you, Canon, Epson, HP, Lexmark included.
As for 7 and 8 color printers--- OH COME ON, ALREADY. Will
printer manufacturers stop at NOTHING to sell new printers?!? I'm getting
kick ass color lab perfect prints on my 6 color Canon i960. Anything over 6
colors is pure overkill. Remember, every book and magazine picture on the planet
is only FOUR COLORS. Enough is enough.
Some professionals might
enjoy the advantage of 8 color printing- but it comes at a steep
price- more colors means more ink to buy, more nozzles
to clog which means more printer cleaning, which
means more wasting ink- you can't just clean ONE COLOR - you have to waste ink
cleaning all the colors.
Further, one 8
color printer, the Epson R800, the cartridges cost $14 each
retail-- times eight colors-- and if the printer goes ONE DAY without printing,
it WILL clog. See http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/printtest.html
CANON VERSUS EPSON and all other brands INFO:
Again: If you are a professional
and SELLING prints- you are introducing all kinds of problems to the equation.
Print life is of EXTREME IMPORTANCE. Dye based prints MAY be problematic. Inkjet
dye based prints will fade under the right conditions. And HOW DO YOU KNOW where
your customers will put prints you SOLD for MONEY to them? You don't. So you
need absolutely the best life. In these cases- real color lab photo prints may
look pretty good. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
MOST HOME CONSUMERS printing their own photos, hobbyists who enjoy their own
prints- its a different story.
Okay, for a lot of people, any
current inkjet printer works fine. However, if you are a discriminating user, a
hobbyist, semi-pro, or pro, you'll want to look closer.
For moderate use,
the Canon printers win over all the others, without question.
I have owned both the Canon S900 printer and recently purchased the 2 Epson
P900s. I have spoken to store managers who sell all brands of printers. I
have spoken with Epson owners. I have compared prints from ALL printers.
The Canons beat all
in reliability, color accuracy, and speed. Hands down.
Most everyone who
REALLY knows how all these printers compare agree. And this does not include the
vast number of amateur printer reviewers on the web and magazines who pose as
I had hope for the comparably
priced Epson, but alas, after a month of
use I am not very enthusiastic after comparing the two side by side. My
apologies to Epson users.
The Epson offered the addition of adding
a continuous ink flow system, which meant never again replacing a cartridge,
and instead using ink from bottles affixed to the side of the printer.
After struggling for a couple of hours to get this system to work- it worked fine. But after
a month, the printer started producing inferior and noticeably
And it wasn't the ink-- I put the factory ink cartridge back in, and the
prints remained less sharp than they were when the printer was new. Cleaning
the heads and aligning the heads helped nothing. My guess is that the
Epson inkjet heads are prone
to some sort of wear or clogging, of which the Canon is impervious. This is well
I first noticed this
with a previous Epson printer that I exchanged, thinking this was a problem
printer. Alas, my brand new one turned out perfectly sharp prints at the
beginning-- and now after 30 days, the blur is showing up on this one as
well. It's been returned for a refund.
my local Comp USA posted comparative pictures from the newest Epson,
Canon, and HP printers.
prints SUCKED next to the other two brands. They were dull and lifeless.
HP prints looked good, but were darker than the others.
Canon prints were VIVID and VIBRANT.
add to the fact that Canon printers are extremely reliable over the
long run, print twice as fast as any other printer, and maintain
printed image quality irregardless of how long you use the printer and how
many prints you print- what conclusion do you make?
The Canon NEVER produced
blurry prints, after THOUSANDS of prints. My main objection to using
the Canon for a very large output was that refilling the carts with syringes
was getting to be annoying. The ink at inkgrabber.com made this a moot
point- its easy to throw in another cart at $2.50, rather than the $12 retail. If
the decision between the Canon and Epson is based on the availability of a
continuous flow system, Canon STILL WINS, because the prints are that much
better. I've gotten used to refilling with syringes because of my high volume of
We also compared
the Epson prints with the Canon prints in terms of accurate photographic
color-- the Canon i960 and the older S900 seemed to edge out the Epson
P900 in accuracy of the original object, although the Epson matched the
monitor view a bit better-- but this is not to be preferred, as what you
want is realistic color prints-- not necessarily what an LCD monitor shows
as electronic color. IN generally, for graphics, the
Canon prints were VIVID, where as the
Epson graphic prints were "pedestrian". This holds true for the latest
generation of Epson and Canon printers.
Further, the Canon software that comes with the printer is SIGNIFICANTLY better than the Epson software on several accounts.
Canon gives you photo stitching software than is incredibly good, allowing you to create a single PANORAMIC
photos from several individual regular photos, providing you take two of more photos with your camera pivoting
as you go. No panorama setting is necessary on your camera. I was AMAZED when I first used this program and saw how intelligently and well it worked- it is a really cool Canon offering. Canon also gives you an "Easy Photo" program that makes printing amazingly easy, and allows you to print
a number of different prints on the same sheet of paper. The Epson program that comes with their printers to accomplish this is quite inferior.
Why the difference between Canon and Epson photo printers at the mid-price range? Well, Canon is a HUGE company that has specialized in photo supplies and hardware for decades, and they are industry leaders in this regard. Epson is a smaller company that really began as an office supply hardware outfit, and they just don't have the resources of Canon, and apparently the expertise either.
Canon wins, it's really no
contest after all. Apparently many magazines are in total agreement with me in
their printer reviews, including Mac World.
CANON CFS UPDATE: IMPORTANT********
First let me say that the
people at Colorbat are REALLY determined to work out ALL the bugs in the Canon
CFS system- and modifications are already being made from a lot of information
we have about CFS systems that do work long term. I will keep you up to date as
the long term problems that have recently surfaced are solved.
The Canon CFS system made
by Colorbat worked perfectly initially. After about 6 weeks however, the system
was prone to get air into the carts apparently from the bottom ink outlet hole
on the bottom of the carts OR simple long term failure of the material inside
the cart-- WHICH WE ALREADY KNOW has a limited lifespan when refilling carts
with a syringe. You can only refill a cart a limited number of times before it
eventually fails, and you have to replace the cart and then start refilling
This is not a failure of the Colorbat system itself,
but inherent in the design of the Canon carts- which use a flexible porous sponge
inside and on
the the bottom of the Canon cart design to seal the outlet ink holes from the
carts. When you simply use a new cart, this seal is replaced with each cart. If
you leave the same cart in place over a long period of time, the seal
compression is reduced apparently, or the trasfer of ink through the sponge is
then ink delivery is compromised. It may also be a fault of the sponge
material in the main chamber of the Canon carts, that is prone to stop working
after a certain number of refills.
Photo Cyan is
always the first to go-- as it is the most used color. The engineers at Colorbat
IMMEDIATELY went to work on this problem, as it wasn't known until my own
extreme volume of printing using their system.
at present- hold off on the CFS for Canon until I've given it a longer term test
period with the new modifications.
in mind, this is only for the CFS system-- I still recommend Canon
printers above all others, and for moderate to large volume printing, the
syringe refill method has proved to be effective, relatively easy, and
completely reliable after years of use. If you don't want to refill, the
inkgrabber.com replacement cartridges, and other low cost carts by the companies
listed on this page for Canon BCI-6 carts (and others) have
proven extremely reliable, perfect quality, and although more expensive than
re-using carts and refilling, are a bargain versus $12 a
color for the "official" Canon carts.<<<
CFS POST Below here:
is now a Canon CFS system available for Canon printers using the 6BCI type
cartridges, such as the s900, i860, i960 and many others. It works perfectly and
is EXCELLENT!! This is a major breakthrough. http://www.colorbat.com
He seems to have worked out previous bugs in making a CFS for Canon. His bulk
ink also looks comparably priced to MSI as well. You can buy this system
preassembled (easiest solution and recommended) and install it in under a half
hour or make one yourself from scratch, DIY instructions here:
IF you print moderate to
large numbers of prints and go through a lot of ink, this Canon CFS is the ONLY
way to go. I only wish this had been available earlier than this. It makes
printing large quantities of the highest quality materials SO MUCH more
pleasant. Imagine, never having to refill or replace another inkjet cartridge
again, as well as paying 1/20th the cost for ink that is as good or better than
the name brand overpriced ripoff at Office Depot cartridges. This is a must for
people who print a lot.
Nirvana finally. These systems have been available for years for
Epsons- but if you own a new Canon- this is extremely welcome- as us Canon users
know how much better our printers are, and wouldn't give them up- even if we
couldn't get a CFS. NOW WE CAN.)
LIFE OF INKJET PRINTS
I've been doing photography
and developing and printing my own photos for almost 35 years, and I am
VERY excited that I can take, edit, and print better photographs easier
and less expensively, without messing with pouring film chemicals by the
gallon down the drain and breathing in all that stuff. I can do so much
more efficiently, and at less environmental cost by digital manipulation
and image improvement on the computer first, and printing much fewer trial
pictures. I am no longer at the mercy of the photo lab, and have 1000%
more control over my photographs. Hurray!!
See the related (unfortunately
needs a recent update-- soon!) page
on Brain Photo
current claims of inkjet printer manufacturers claiming that you can crank
out inkjet photos that will outlast regular film process photos- this needs
to be taken with a couple of brain-grains of salt. An inkjet print or inkjet
photo simply tacked onto your wall unprotected or taped to your refrigerator
might not even make it to your next birthday much less 25 years as commercially
If you are printing
inkjet photos or prints with PERMANENCE in mind, the combination of printer
and PAPER is very important. Certain papers have a much better record at
keeping stable colors. Plain cheap Epson Glossy Photo Paper (not the premium
stuff, we are talking about the $20 for 100 sheets at COSTCO) or more expensive
Ilford Heavy Weight Glossy Paper (goes by different names) is at the present
time, the best among a few other excellent choices. These
days, most new
inkjet photo printer inks are reasonably long lasting- advertised for 25
years or more if protected and printed on decent paper. Well, probably not THAT
long, but long enough for most of us. I've now heard of a Costco selling their
own brand of photo paper, heavier than the Epson Glossy Photo paper- and for
most uses, it's probably going to work just fine. There is no testing of the
lighfastness of this paper however.
See the section on
papers below and the web link for complete information. Another definite
help with any paper is to place wall hanging inkjet prints in a sealed
frame (like any other photo) under glass where air circulation or strong
sunlight won't get at it. Use of a photo album keeping the prints out of
continual air and light will keep your prints looking good for an exceptionally
The only real cure
for true "archival" prints (needed for art prints or permanent exhibit)
is to use a pigment ink system, only available on printers like the Epson
2200, which run about $700. Practically speaking however, if a print will
last several years or more, that should be convenient enough-- if a new
print is needed-- just print one up off the computer hard drive or CD-R.
This year's newer printers that use the newer photo inks should produce
prints that should last long enough for most of us. Put your print behind
glass, in a photo book, or out of direct light- it'll probably be around
a long time before you need to reprint, if ever.
Also See Canon
Versus The Universe
The Canon printers
are great. Period.
THEY ARE UNBEATABLE.
They are lightning fast. For most everyone, including full fledge professional photographers who
print small, moderate, or even large numbers of prints, they are the printer of choice. I have printed THOUSANDS of 8X10 photos on my
S900 and my i960. Now that I have figured out the few points of smooth running, I have no qualms. I just gave my s900 to a friend and replaced it (though this was not necessary) with a brand new i960. (Essentially the same printer, although the new one has larger paper capacity and a front USB port for direct printing from a digital camera.
I now own the i960, and it prints better and slightly faster photos than any
previous model. This is the FERRARI of currently available inkjet printers, and
the price of a Honda. If you want the best printer for color graphics and
photos, THIS IS IT. For those interested, it actually prints better than the
earlier i9100 (a larger format printer). See http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/canon_i960_pg4.html
Steve is a professional photographer who reviews EVERYTHING photo. He knows of
what he speaks (as do I :-)
For one thing- in
many of the better Canon printers, each ink color has its own individual
replaceable tank. So, if you run out of one color more than others-- and
you'll find that in SIX COLOR SYSTEMS the "photo cyan and photo magenta"
go much faster than others- you don't have to throw out the WHOLE CARTRIDGE
and you replace just the one empty cart. This is not applicable if you
are refilling your carts, but if you are like most people and simply replace
an empty ink cartridge-- this makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE in your ink cost.
A couple of seasons
ago one professional reviewer (Steve) can be quoted comparing the Canon
S900 and S9000 (same exact printer with a bigger paper carriage) with other
inkjet printers (and I only read this after my own discoveries): "Up until
about two months ago I was a die-hard Epson user. For the last four years
there has always been a Stylus Photo printer (usually the latest model)
sitting on my desk. After reviewing the Canon S9000 I was no longer satisfied
with the printing speed of my Epsons or any other inkjet for that matter."
He goes on to say that he in fact has passed on purchasing the admittedly
incredible $700 Epson 2200 because he already owns the Canon- and the quality
of the two printers are indistinguishable- only the Canon works faster and
is half as much money.
I had the software
installed and the Canon printers up and running in minutes, unlike the
HP units. They are a breeze to use and control, and offer the excellent
flexibility in terms of settings, and REMEMBERING custom settings. Set
up a paper/image combination and recall it in one click.
The prints from six color Canon printers was AMAZING. What else can I say. The $200 (retail)
printers turn out prints that are indistinguishable
from chemical high quality
lab photos except perhaps under an electron microscope. The four color Canon printers
are excellent, but not quite as good. Most people would not be able to
tell the difference unless they really looked hard. If you don't need photographic
reproduction quality, and just need an excellent color inkjet, the less
expensive Canons are great. If you want professional results and need that
extra edge-- go for the six color printers. The main difference between
the i960 and the i869 is speed, the higher priced spread goes faster. The
model i9100 is identical
to the i960 but allows for larger format prints.
Here's a repeat of the NEW CANON MODELS INFO at the top of
the page in case you missed it:
REGARDING the new line of Canon printers:
Okay, Canon printers BEAT ALL, no question. But the new season of printers, the
PIXMA printers are a de-evolution of last years superlative i-series printers-
which were PERFECT. Alas, most companies are guilty of planned obsolescence, and
often make changes for changes-sake to sell new printers. I
recommend the Canon i960 above EVERY printer made-- but they are being
phased out, so get one while you can, found for about $135 online these days. www.Provantage.com
is a reliable source.
The i960 offers the fastest, most
vivid, most highest detailed, sharpest imaging of ANYTHING,
including all other Canon models. It is the LOTUS ELAN, the Ferrari, the Acura
NSX of inkjet printers.
The new $179 PIXMA IP6000 is 6 color, but
twice as slow a printer, with additional gimmicky features nobody needs.
The the i9900 prints as nicely as the 960, but is much
more expensive, and requires two additional colors (red and green) that
you don't need. It does allow for bigger prints if you really need that.
The i9100 is a better deal, big tray, and 6 color, though microscopically
not as absolutely fine as the 960- naked eye, might not be able to tell
the difference. A very very very minor difference in printing between the 9100
and the 960 This printer is/has been phased out. Figures!
The IP8500 again is much more
expensive than the 960, requires the two additional inks, and is for
all purposes the same speed as the 960. All of the
other PIXMA printers are only 4 color with an additional black, equivalent to
the i560 models. These are good printers and suitable for most consumers, but
not as good as the 6 or 8 color printers for really semi-pro or pro use.
AND any CHROMO INK 8 color printers (9900
and 8500) will require the more expensive Chroma ink- what a drag! No cheap ink
for these printers yet....
SO- get one of the i-series while you
still can-- ink will be available for years and years to come, and you'll get
more for your printer money, absolutely. When the time comes and you
can't get an i series printer-- the new PIXMA printers are still going to give
you better results and reliability than ANY other companies machines.
I do NOT work for Canon.
PLEASE READ ALL OF THE CANON
MAINTENANCE INFO BELOW if you have a newer Canon printer.
ONE IMPORTANT NOTE:
Canon does not tell you to regularly use the "clean" or "deep cleaning"
functions of their printers in the instruction manual unless there is
a problem. Think PREVENTATIVE
MAINTENANCE. After printing THOUSANDS of
sheets myself on my Canon printer, I would STRONGLY recommend you do this
after large batches of prints to extend indefinitely the life of your printer
head. Otherwise it will clog, just like any other printer head.
are okay, if you don't know any better. As of September 2004, the HP
printers are turning out better looking prints- although HP ink refills are
ridiculously priced. Epson prints look weak and lifeless if you
actually compare them right next to identical prints printed on Canons or
printer heads CLOG. Just ask the guy selling them at Comp USA. I had
exactly the same experience with the Epson printer I owned for a while.
The EPSON brand printers
have a better reputation for quality printing and reliability now than a few
Last year I
tested the relatively inexpensive C80 Epson printer--- just dreadful colors,
only good for unimportant work. Avoid the cheapest printers
in any brand anyway unless you are a dirt poor student who will only be
printing out psychology essays.
are are slower than comparable
Canon printers at the very highest resolution
settings- not really an issue unless you are always printing a lot of microscopically
fine prints-- and I am not refereeing
to the typical average snapshot photo.
See some details of the
new R800 printer here http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/printtest.html
For the same amount
of money, get a Canon.
CONTINUOUS FLOW SYSTEMS
FOR EPSON (and maybe Canon)
UPDATE Sptember 21 2004
see the news in BOLD print up the page regarding the Colorbat CFS for Canon.
EPSON CFS notes:
The biggest advantage
of the Epson (and now BCI-6 cartridge Canon) printers is this-- you can outfit them to take "Continuous
Flow Systems". A company named MIS
Inkjet Supplies as well as www.colorbat.com
manufactures a retrofit
ink system for many Epson printers. For the P900 this runs about $150,
which is not cheap-- unless you are printing thousands of prints every
year like me. Then, THEORETICALLY
it pays for itself. Theoretically mind you. Another company, Niagra, sells
a similar (if not identical) system for $260. Another company $190. They all
look the same.
But I had a relatively
difficult time getting it to work properly-- and I am NOT all thumbs. It
took several hours, most of an entire day to get it to work as promised.
Eventually after much cursing it did. All the companies say "easy to
install". Maybe with lots of practice the people selling these can get them
to work quickly. I could not. The Colorbat vaccum pump system uses a slightly
different method to get ink flowing initially, and looks like a better method
than the MIS, and may be the better choice of the two.
then, after spending
$150 on this MIS version system, I only find that the Epson P900 heads wear out and
produce inferior prints to the Canon. A waste of time and money. The 1280
model printers may produce better prints than the P900- but funny thing, I have
not received ONE EMAIL from an Epson owner telling me otherwise, AND news is
that the 1280 is being phased out.
Previously I was
using a Canon S900 to do all of my commercial color photo printing. This
required often refills using a syringe and unplugging the Canon Ink cartridge.
If you do this A LOT-- you learn to hate this process. You get ink on your
hands, and nothing but nothing but Clorox will remove the color. Not even
the strongest solvents or paint remover. You have to bleach the ink off
your hands. You can wear gloves, but if you refill the carts frequently,
its hard not to make a little bit of a mess once in a while. But mostly,
the routine of cleaning the syringes, wiping the counter, cleaning the
carts-- if you have to do this three times a day-- bleeeeccch.
Once a week or less, okay, I could live with that. But given that
we've now found a source of pre-filled Canon compatible ink carts at $2
a shot, its a real toss up whether or not its worth it to refill carts
at all. For most people, its not worth refilling- I've learned to accept
refilling with the syringe.
There is NO WAY I'm going to settle
for the inferior quality of Epson prints.
The CFS replaces
the printer cartridge with a MIS cartridge with permanently installed ink
tubes that run to bottles of ink affixed to the outside of the printer.
You never replace the cartridge any more. You will have to replace the
ink in the bottles, but they will last for thousands of prints, and refilling
the bottles is a total
snap compared to using syringes to refill ink cartridges.
Admittedly, it will
take you a half hour or more to install the system. The directions of what
ink bottle goes to what tube was BACKWARDS in the directions-- be careful
(Maybe they've fixed this by now.) On my P900 YELLOW INK goes towards the
front of the printer NOT BLACK as in the directions.
It will take a lot
of test prints before the ink tubes fill properly with ink from the bottles.
It may be messy-- wear gloves and put newspaper down. Again, if you
have any clogged ink jet nozzles to start with, you will be a madman trying
to get your CFS system to work right. Makes sure your printer is new, or
works PERFECTLY first.
I found that I could
use the "bottom fill" syringe supplied with the kit to quickly draw ink
fully into the tubes by sucking ink from the bottom of the permanent cart
after connecting it all up. (If you get this system you'll understand).
ALSO NOTE- To install
the permanent cartridge (and by the way, you can also revert back to the
replaceable cartridges at any time, but why you would want to is beyond
me....) YOU HAVE TO REMOVE THE PIVOTED HOLD-DOWN CLIPS THAT HOLD
THE PERMANENT MIS CARTRIDGES IN PLACE. The MIS instructions did not
illustrate this, and poorly explained it. Watch this when installing the
MIS carts in the beginning.
Ask around, if you
know someone using one of the pro Epson
printers at $400 or more, compare
the results with some of the Canons. At the under $300 range, I'm not convinced
Epson is so hot.
My advice- skip the
Epson printers entirely, even with the Continuous Flow System, unless you really
really REALLY must have pigmented ink. Think about this VERY carefully.
LEXMARK brand printers seem to suffer the similar reputation for lack of
reliability as Epson. I (and many others) was least impressed with the
test prints, even on the highest priced and highest resolution
Skip Lexmark unless you are the gambling type who is not concerned with
anything except saving a few bucks. They may have improved things lately,
but by gossip I've heard and read, not by much.
Packard printers have served me well in the past, even their entry level
printers. They are built like tanks. However, this newest round of HP inkjet
printers uses cartridges that cost (per volume of ink) nearly THREE TIMES
as much as comparable
Canon inks. (HP Cartridges #56, 57, 58). Ouch.
The very newest
line of HP prints look quite good, and more vivid colors than Epson,
although generally darker in tone than either Canon or Epson. Last time I check,
HP OEM ink carts were TINY and relatively very expensive.
A new series of HP
printers is due out at the end of 2004- and these printers claim to use
half the ink, and print faster. We will keep our eyes open when these are
available for testing.
you haven't yet, look at the PRINTER Quiz where you can get a good look at how
the recent top of the line HP printer stacks up http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/printtest.html
main disadvantage to HP printers is the combined color carts, which also include
a new printer nozzle head. About $80 to replace all the inks in an HP printer-
and these are small cartridges to boot. Not very cost effective at all. And the
HP printers - the fastest one- is more than three times slower than the fastest
but I just can't get very enthusiastic considering these major drawbacks.
The new HP photo
printers using the new "longer lasting prints" (cartridges 56, 57, 58)
literally stink when you print. Not a lot, but I noticed a distinctly bad
odor coming from the printer and the prints that reminded me of dirty dog
poop. This was not true of my older HP printer (model 932C). Unfortunately
the older HP printers (and most other brands) turn out prints that fade
very quickly left up on the wall in regular indoor room light, unlike regular
chemical processed photos. Maybe they've changed this as of summer 2004.
Finally, the HP prints
of humans as of early models in 2004- that is to say faces and flesh tones- took on a distinctive
WAXY look on 8X10 photos that I did not care for at all , and which I did
not notice from the older printers. This was surprising
since the newer
resolution of 2400 X 1200 dots per inch should crank out very detailed
and natural prints. Upon inspection of graphic designs, like the Zow-X
poster, fine details were lost in printing, and there was an uncorrectable
high contrast in the print. This may have been avoided in the highest print
setting at 4800 dots per inch- but this used unacceptable HUGE amounts
of ink and took forever to print out.
I don't know if
this waxy quality of flesh carries through in the top of the line models,
but considering the rest- its a moot point anyway. I cannot recommend HP
printers to anyone, except millionaire turtles.
Finally, did you
every try to install or re-install an HP printer? Welcome to computer hell.
I am a computer
NERD, and it took even me about a half hour to even get the thing running.
(New model 5550.) And even this is huge improvement over installing the
older models, and I would never wish THAT on my worst enemies.
Inkjet printer manufacturers
make all of their money selling replacement ink. And they do so at SUBSTANTIAL
mark-up to the consumer. I.e., rip-off to people who use fair amounts of
Not only is this
bad for the environment- throwing out all those cartridges, but it SUCKS
your green energy (money) out of you, which could be more efficiently spent.
Efficient use of money translates into personal BRAIN HAPPINESS. You want
THAT, don't you?
I've used ink from
, www.inkgrabber.com , "Computer
Friends", Inkjet Ink and Other Related
Inkjet Supplies PLEASE FIRST READ MY DETAILS- each company offers a
As far as ink goes, all of these
companies sell outstanding quality ink
at a truly reasonable cost-- 1/6th the price of OEM ink or manufacturers
ink elsewhere. It's ink at the price IT SHOULD BE. See details below.
This is NOT a paid endorsement in any way, just a BRAIN ADVANTAGE of visiting
The Brain Adventure Site.
UPDATE Sept. 21, 2004
For simple replacement of cartridges (not refilling or CFS)
recommendation is NOT a paid endorsement in any way, just a BRAIN ADVANTAGE
of visiting The Brain Adventure Site. See: www.inkgrabber.com
We tested and RECENTLY
RE-TESTED this ink against Canon factory ink cartridges found that there was
detectable differences in color accuracy when used in an i960 printer- Canon's
best inkjet printer, and likely the best quality ink jet made by anybody, September 22, 2004.
For ordinary use, the
ink seems to be very good and more than sufficient. Very slight changes in color
Not all inkjet papers
are created the same. In fact, contrary to claims, some inkjet papers hardly
work at all on some printers.
For example, I put
Kodak PREMIUM Photo paper in my Canon S900 printer and was entirely unable
to get satisfactory prints from it in regard to accurate color and details,
no matter how I adjusted the printer. It was, in a word, HORRIBLE. (I've
heard its horrible in both Epson printers as well. I then put the cheapest
Epson Photo Paper (about 20 cents for an entire 8 1/2 X 11 sheet, COSTCO,
100 pack costs $19.95) in the same printer with the same settings, and
the print came out MAGNIFICENT.
And to make makes
more confusing, Kodak ULTIMA Photo Paper has been seen to be one of the
BEST quality and fade resistant papers for Epson and presumably similar
Canon inks. Go figure.
In general, matte
(non-shiny finish) photo papers will keep their color the longest, up to
four times longer than glossy paper. Epson Heavyweight Matte Photo paper
is outstanding, and regarded by many as the best deal in matte paper. Put
a matte print or photo under glass or plastic and it will last forever
and look fantastic.
HERE IS THE BEST
DEAL ON PHOTO PAPER ON THE PLANET:
Plain old cheap
Epson Photo Paper (Glossy) gives absolutely gorgeous excellent results,
its good and heavy weight, (some reviewers give it the highest rating among
glossy paper), it won't fade like many others, though it's surface is not
as perfectly flat smooth as some of the other papers. Hey, who cares, unless
you're concentrating on the shiny part and not the image. It also reproduces
nice accurate colors. It can be found at COSTCO for $19.95 for 120 sheets.
If your local Costco doesn't carry this-- NAG THEM UNTIL THEY DO, cause
the stores in Denver Colorado DO!
people have reported EXCELLENT results with COSTCO Kirkland brand
paper that surpass even the Epson Glossy Photo paper, at essentially
the same cost.
AM NOW USING KIRKLAND PAPER-- yep its great, and a great bargain. Thicker,
glossier, and smoother than Epson Photo Paper.
Here's the report:
Neil, I bought a Canon I960 at your suggestion, set it up today
with the enclosed OEM inks, and tested various papers. I thought
you would like to know my results. I used a picture of my
15 month old granddaughter who has very fair skin and light brown hair
with reddish overtones.
printer came with samples of the Canon Photo Paper Pro. I
used the "photo paper pro" and "automatic"
settings and produced an excellent print. I used this print
to compare the other papers.
RESPONDS: Unfortunately, this is a fundamental mistake- which you then
pointed out you addressed below.
also don't use the automatic settings-- this tends to leave more room
for errors by the printer. The manual paper and type settings work
better-- using manual settings, you'll find that the Epson glossy
Photo paper gives you perfectly saturated results as well as accurate
note that INK makes a big difference as well- especially when you are
using paper other than Canon. The MIS and inkgraber inks produce
somewhat different results than the Canon inks-- and often better
color results than the Canon inks with non- Canon papers. MIS yellow,
for exacmple, as well as magenta, produce far more accurate colors on
the Epson paper than the Canon ink.
the third party inks are such a more affordable alternative to the
Canon inks, as well as use of papers other than Canon, I don't
generalize as to what is "BEST", this is a very relative
term than must take into account, cost, and availability, as well as
will be happy to reprint your results on my page with credit to you if
you like-- let me know, and thanks for your research, it is very
Glossy Photo paper (the Costco special at `120 sheets for
$20) produced prints with skin tones that were over-saturated and too
contrasty when printed at the same settings as Canon Photo Paper Pro.
At a setting of "Photo Paper plus glossy", oversaturation
was less. At a setting of "glossy photo paper" and
"automatic", the oversaturation was nearly reduced to
normal. I then used a manual setting of -5 intensity and got a
result nearly the same as the Canon Photo Paper Pro.
Premium Glossy Photo Paper gave slightly less saturated and
less contrasty results at comparable settings when compared to the
inexpensive Epson Glossy Photo paper. At a setting of
Glossy Photo Paper the skin tones were not quite as
subtle as with the Canon paper. I did not experiment with
manual settings, but I expect that the result would have been similar
to the Epson Glossy Photo paper and the Canon Photo Paper Pro.
Glossy Photo Paper was the surprise of
the day! As I reported to you, the San Francisco Bay Area Costco
stores have discontinued carying the Epson paper in favor of their own
brand. I had told you that, on my Epson Stylus Color 900, there
was a noticeable greenish color shift with this paper as
well as with the Epson Premium Glossy Paper. The
best skin tones (with subtle shading) with the
Kirkland paper (Costco) came with the settings at "Glossy Photo
Paper" , "Manual", and intensity set at -5 or -6.
It was then quite close to the Canon Photo Paper Pro. It
actually had slightly brighter light skin tones leaning to the
red instead of toward orange/yellow that I saw with the Canon paper.
The weight was similar to the Canon and Epson Premium papers and the
surface was much smoother than the less expensive Epson paper.
Because of the additional weight there was less initial paper curl
than was produced with the cheaper paper as well.
Line - With the Canon I960 and EOM inks all of the prints had
very acceptable skin tones and overall color balance. The whites
were clean and bright and it was very hard to discern an appreciable
color difference from one paper to the next. The only real
issue was the level of saturation compared to the Canon Photo Paper
Pro. I will purchase the Kirkland paper, make some
final small adjustments as necessary, and enjoy my new printer.
the way, I never did get a final answer from Bob at MIS regarding the
problem with the MIS ink refills for my Epson printer.
He very graciously sent me a set of carts and inks for the new printer
to compensate for the problems I had in trying to use the MIS inks
with the Epson printer. What finally caused the best improvement
with the Epson was making and using cleaning cartridges with the
cleaning solution suggested by Arthur Entlich. After following
his instructions I was able to print excellent pics with OEM inks
at 720 DPI without banding. None the less, I decided to treat
myself to the I960 and do MIS refills or buy inkgrabber carts.
The ability to use cheaper ink and produce borderless prints without
needing to trim after printing is well worth the purchase.
hope that my report on these papers will be helpful to you and the
people who read about printers on your web site.
The newest version
of Epson PREMIUM Glossy Photo Paper, on the other hand, had the worst reputation,
then better after they changed the formula, then Epson recalled it again,
now its coming out again-- but still not as good as the cheap stuff. Okey
glossy Photo paper is a champ in terms of long lasting color and nice
finish, and can be found with some searching on the net (try Calumet Photo
or others) for less than 40 cents a sheet in quantity. More money than
Epson, but apparently good for really permanent items, and even mounting
unframed or unprotected on walls without problems. See the paper review
web page below for details.
REPORTS FINDING ILFORD Gallery Glossy PAPER at Sams Club for $23 for 100 sheets-
this is EXCELLENT, Ilford paper is OUTSTANDING.
You can also use
plain smooth brilliant white card stock for printing graphics (and okay
photos), which is the least expensive option at about 250 sheets for around
$10 (Office Depot). It will give you good color and decent detail, but
will lack the total vivid reproduction and saturation (especially in large
dark areas) that you will see from good matte or glossy stock. No news
on how long it goes before fading in any situation. Give it a try and see.
Don't be fooled into
thinking the most expensive papers are the best. The Canon Photo Pro costing
a zillion dollars a sheet (well, almost-compared to Epson Photo Paper)
gives really amazing EXACTLY LOOKING LIKE A PHOTO results- at first- but
is prone to fading after time. And, the color is not even as accurate as
the cheapo Epson paper.
For an almost
complete review of all inkjet papers please see this site- you will be
amazed at the difference. Each paper has its own detailed test, plus a
long term fade test (click on the little colored test squares at the top
of each review. A really excellent
And remember, even
after all of this--- its your BRAIN that will make you happy. Not stuff.
The AMAZING BRAIN ADVENTURE
CDS and CD Labels
A few printers brag about
printing direct on CDs.
This sounds good, but in
actuality is a BAD idea for home inkjet printing setups.
You will NOT get the same
results as factory professional direct CD printing, no way.
are three big drawbacks to at-home direct CD printing--
ink dry time is NOT instant as it is with printing on regular peel off labels.
You have to set the CDs aside for quite a while, otherwise the ink will smear.
CDs with white printable labels are significantly more expensive than plain
Label printing LOOKS BETTER!
Printing labels on peel off paper, then applying them is WAY
FASTER then attaching the special CD tray onto your
printer and printing, and waiting for it to dry.
although it sounds nice, direct CD printing on your home inkjet its
really a big pain in the butt!
I use ONLY Fellowes brand Matte Photo
quality CD lables and the NEATO brand label creation and application software
and disc plastic applicator. Very very easy to use-- although I prefer the
earliest Neato version 1.1 to the newer versions. SO what else is new, eh? The
brilliance and sharpness and intensity on this brand labels is the BEST I've
seen, and is far superior to inkjet direct to CD quality.
I now get my labels at Provantage.com http://www.provantage.com/pr_70893.htm (store
bought much more expensive) for the cheapest price, about 10 cents per label
at the 300 or 500 label quantity. A little more for the smaller quantities. .
If you goof, you can always apply a second label over the first- something you
can't do with CD printing0 though you can apply a label over a bad CD print.
FROM STEVE'S DIGITAL CAMERA
and PRINTER REVIEWS:
recommends allowing the CD to dry for at least 24 hours to prevent any
smearing of the ink. Not all printable discs are the same, I much prefer the
white-sided ones to the silver ones, they have better color reproduction. You
can only print on those discs that are specifically manufactured as "ink
jet printable" discs, regular CD discs cannot be used. Even when fully
dried, the ink can be smeared if handled with wet fingers. The R800's pigment
ink is more resistant to smearing than the Stylus 960 with its dye inks but it
still isn't permanent. When printing on the silver-surface discs the color
saturation is only about 50% maximum even with the driver set to darkest
printed colors possible."
NEW CANON INKJET MAINTENANCE
If your situation
calls for refilling cartridges, here is some additional information regarding
Canon Ink Refill procedures, as well as a
free solution to the "Waste Tank
This was inspired by one fellow who was having a bit of
a problem with refilling his Canon cartridges for his i950 inkjet printer.
It applies to many others including the Canon S750, S800, S900. i960 printers
The information below may
seem to be a lot- don't be overwhelmed or discouraged by this info. Having tried
all available printers, this is a fraction of the trouble other brands will
cause you- and the Canon's just plain work the best AND problems CAN be fixed
when/if they occur.
the GENIUS features of the Canon printers is the CLEAR SEE-THROUGH ink jet
cartridges. This allows you to actually see the condition of the internal parts
of the cartridge and address them. Other brand printers don't even allow this-
and you can't even diagnose a cartridge problem except to replace it- often not
FIRST OPTION: DON'T
REFILL AT ALL- go to www.inkgrabber.com and get ink for $2 a color
as opposed to spending $12 a color at your local Office Depot. We
tested this ink and it actually looked BETTER than the official factory
Canon Ink- gave what
looked like more accurate flesh tones-- maybe we were hallucinating- maybe not. There ya go! Easy and cheap.
I have found that
the PHOTO CYAN and PHOTO MAGENTA colors are used up two to four times faster
than any other color.
On top of this, if the cartridge goes completely
empty before refilling-- nine times out of 10 you are screwed and you will
never be able to get that cartridge to work properly again. Why? Air inside
the sponge ink filler inside the cart will block the flow of ink, and there
is NOTHING you can do to remedy this once it happens except replace the
I have noted
that after thousands of Canon prints and many many refills, the print head
will invariably clog up requiring cleaning maintenance using the
Canon program to do this. AND, on
(we are talking MANYYYYYYYYYY
cleaning will still not unclog the heads.
MIRACLE AIR CLEANING CURE
CLOGGED PRINT HEADS.
is how I do it on my Canon. You might be able to pull this off on an Epson. You
can't on an HP.
you've put in a new cartridge and cleaned the nozzles several times, and the
nozzle check STILL shows a clogged nozzle-
I have found that after THOUSANDS
(okay, maybe HUNDREDS) of prints, it may be necessary to spray
compressed air through the WHITE flow-through delivery sponge. This is the
little circular inlet that sits directly under the bottom ink cartridge hole in
the print head. I.e.: Take out the ink cartridges and remove the print head.
see 6 1/4" holes into which the ink is delivered from the cartridge. Get a
can of compressed air and spray from the cartridge side a few short bursts. HOLD
A KLEENEX or toilet
paper on the outside of the print head where the copper nozzles are-
otherwise, you will get ink all over everything as the air cleans out the sponge
the outside copper nozzles, because ink will have poured out. No need to use any
solvent, just a dry lint free paper. I've used 100% denatured alcohol at times-
I don't suggest any other solvent for printer cleaning. Clorox, however, is the
only thing that will remove totally inkjet ink stains from plastic housing,
counter tops, your fingers- but don't use on important printer parts.
cartridges back in, run a clean cycle to get the ink running again, realign the
nozzles, and VOILA- your printer will magically work again.
two years of printing THOUSANDS of prints with my Canon printers, I have
never ever ever replaced a printer head, or had to soak the cartridges or the
print head as described below. Air does wonders.
But I pass on
the info below just as a matter of options....
SOLUTION FOR STUBBORN CARTS AND CLOGGED PRINTER HEAD
Okay- I do
not personally recommend using any solution to clean your Canon nozzle head-- if
you have paid attention to all the info on this page, it just should be
necessary. However, once in a while if you leave your printer sitting for a long
time, a cart may dry out, and will no longer work. One visitor sent
me this email and swears by it-- so, if you want to give it a shot if it ever
comes up- it's possibly an option. Save it till last however in my opinion:
have found that I can revive a "dead" Canon cartridge by
capping the output orifice with the orange cap and placing the
cartridge in a glass of very hot water (just under boiling) for about
20 minutes. When the cartridge cools off, the ink seems to
re-enter the sponge material.
I have found that I have been able to clear a clogged print head on
S-900 and I-9900 printers by soaking the printhead in very hot water
coming out of my kitchen sink for about 20 minutes until all of the
water coming out of the print head is clean.
WASTE TANK ALMOST FULL
ERROR MESSAGE PROBLEM
This is true with many
Canon Ink Jet Printers: Eventually, you'll
get an error message "Waste Ink Tank Almost Full, Contact Your Canon Repair
Center". Canon is totally sly about this, and is actually a pretty ridiculous
design flaw that
they should be ashamed of- planned
obsolescence. Anyway, don't let this
problem discourage buying an otherwise fantastic Canon printer. Here's
he waste ink
take is actually just a felt pad that sits under the printer mechanism
inside the case and absorbs the ink from your cleanings. From what I gather,
its both a time consuming and expensive proposition to take to Canon to
fix. And they won't tell people how to do it themselves. Well, I WILL.
And this works.
course, you've got to cycle the cleaning process a huge amount of times
to get this to occur.
But when it
does, there is a fix-it-yourself solution that is both safe and effective
for the printer, and free. You have to be slightly mechanical to do this.
If you get this message and you've never used a screwdriver and are all
thumbs, well, Canon gotcha. But give it a shot even then, or give it to
someone halfway coordinated to do this for you.
Its all pressure clipped in
place, no screws (at least on the S900 and similar models, probably still
the same on this years models.) Look for slots and triangles on the 960.
2) No need
to remove the ink cartridges in this process- so don't. The mechanism is
held down in place in the case by two screws at the very bottom on the
outside bottom of the metal chassis inside. Remove these screws then lift
up the mechanism. It should lift out fairly easily, but remain attached
by wires-- just place it on the top edge of the case.
3) You'll see
the blackened (from waste ink) felt
pads on the bottom. WEAR GLOVES-- this
is skin indelible ink, the only thing that will get it off your hands is
CLOROX. Period. There are two skinny pads that sit on top of a larger pad.
Note how they fit together.
4) Lift the
pads out and rinse out thorough in a sink until very little or no ink comes
out. There's no need to use chemical or soap cleaners, just use plain water
from the tap and the spray nozzle. Keep rinsing and squeezing the pads,
but don't twist them like a towel, squeeze and fold in half however to
really get the ink out.
Lay flat in
the sun for a few hours to dry. Use a hairdryer to get the last bit of
moisture out then replace in the printer, and put everything back together.
5) RESET the
printer electronics, so you won't get the stupid "waste ink tank full"
message any more. Do an online web search if this doesn't work for your
model, although this works (or slight variations0 for many, including the
8200, the S800, and S900 series. Two main buttons on the top of the printer-
Power and the Resume:
1) Power off
2) Hold RESUME button
then press and hold POWER. (The beeper MAY sound once, or may not depending
on your model.)
3) Hold POWER and
both POWER and RESUME buttons.
5) When the indicator
lights steady, press RESUME 4 times (for the S900, 3 times for the 8200
6) Press power to
7) Print away!
ON Laser Jet TONER REFILLING
After initial non-success with refilling a toner cartridge myself-- I've finally had some good results.
and other companies like
Toner Refills sell toner to refill your cartridge yourself.
However, the toner generally doesn't automatically come with instructions, so you'll have to do a little hunting on the internet to find specific instructions for refilling your own brand of cartridge. Try searching Google using some key words like "toner refill instructions 'your brand of printer'". I eventually found the instructions for my Brother cartridge refill and overhaul- but it took a bit of hunting.
I have a Brother 1240 laser printer-- same as their newer 1440-- and previous troubles I had seemed to be fixed by using a can of compressed air and thoroughly spraying every bit of
in the drum assembly I could access. This cleared out debris
and gunk that was preventing the new toner in the cartridge from applying properly. Simply following the toner refill instructions was not enough. And this was quite a fair amount of work taking the cartridge apart and refilling it. Also know that I have
cleaned the drum itself when prints showed excess toner spotting my prints. (The drum is the very shiny green or blue colored electrostatic roller on the inside of the cart,
by a little poking around or by removing the toner cartridge portion if it is separate from the drum.) On both the Brother and a previous HP laser jet, I carefully and gently wiped excess toner off with a paper towel and denatured alcohol. This is a fragile part of the cartridge, so don't rub hard or use anything that would cause abrasion to this roller.
On the first and some subsequent refills, one might try simply opening the toner refill hole
plug and putting in toner rather than taking the whole unit apart. This can be
messy (although toner is dry stuff, it can go everywhere), so do it in the sink
or outside first time.
Factory toner carts
work perfectly, but alas, they are WAY overpriced. A total bogus rip-off.
If you can find a reconditioned cart for your LaserJet, try it and see. I
had good luck with HP Laser jet reconditioned carts. But if you are willing to try to actually replace the toner yourself, like ink jet refills- you will save a substantial amount. Again, this seems like a relatively simple operation that is just scares off people who think machines are too complicated to fix themselves. Click your amygdala forward, get a little toner on your fingers, and save hundreds of dollars.
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Inkjet Printers, Ink, and Paper Review
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Library From Another Dimension
CFS PRINTER SET
THE CANON CFS IS ON HOLD TILL THE LONG TERM BUGS GET WORKED OUT- TILL THEN HERE
IS LAST MONTHS INSTALLATION TIPS ON THE COLORBAT CFS
Before I outfitted my
l960 with the Colorbat CFS system, I removed part of the inner case with a hot
flat bladed soldiering iron . THIS IS OPTIONAL, and only necessary if you
are a paranoid schizophrenic about the tubes having contact with the inner case.
This minimized (actually eliminated entirely) the
contact of the CFS ink supply tubes with the printer plastic case. I would
expect this would maximize the life of this system- which I would expect to be
many years anyway without this modification. This is probably not absolutely necessary, per Colorbat's
instructions, but personally I think its a good idea. If you are using such a
system, you already fall into the category of TWEAKER. So, tweak the best you
Don't use a saw blade
to remove this bit of plastic, because you'll just get plastic saw dust inside
your printer. The soldering iron method creates no particles. Watch out, a hot
iron can be hot enough to cause a plastic flame- but if you're paying attention,
this won't happen.
the safety lid button in, I simply used a 1/4" bolt, and screwed it in the
square hole. (not shown here)
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to lift the printer slightly above the level of
the ink in a Canon CFS system. The Canon carts do NOT have a valve at their
cartridge ink outlet holes. If your cartridge level is at or below the ink
bottle level DISASTER will occur, and ink will POUR out of the carts, even
when their mounted in the printer. Look carefully at my photo below, and keep
your printer at this level. You can use a cheesy small phone book, as shown
here, or something classier. In any case, the level of the bottom of the carts
should be at the same level as the top of the bottle lids for OPTIMUM and safe
If you remove the carts at any time for cleaning the printer head, PLACE THEM
ABOVE THE BOTTLES,
the top of the printer INVERTED is a good place.
you place them below ink level, you'll get ink pouring out. Simple, just pay
attention. PLEASE NOTE-- if you do remove your carts, ink will drain out of
the tubes back into the bottles and you'll want to
print some purge test prints to get the tubes full again- just use my test
print to do this.
Any further questions you may contact me at neil @ neilslade.com or contact
Many thanks to Colorbat for inventing this CFS system! It's a Godsend for