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What printer to buy


I’m after a printer that can print to a width of A2 (17 inche’s) and can use roll paper, to a high standard (good enough to sell), or should I stick to using Professional Labs.

I have yet to print anything from my CFV back, as all work has been supplied digital to clients, so after a printer which will do it justice.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks.

I have used the Epson 4800, HP Deskjet130nr and now I am currently using the Canon IPF5000 (just replaced withe the IPF5100). It is fast, economical, prints to A2, has a roll feed and most importantly it produces extremely good prints on a variety of media.

Good colour management and in particular good profiles for each paper are very important. Most paper suppliers will supply free profiles if you use their paper.

Good luck
Thanks for info David,

I wasn't looking at cannon, I know little about there printers, but the IPF5100 sounds pretty good. What are the main differences between the 5000 and 5100, do you know of any independent reviews on line, would be very interested to hear of your opinion on it over the next few weeks, sounds like it could be better than the Epson 4800 and cheaper to run.
you are welcome Paul

I had a 4800 and swapped it for an IPF5000 because I got fed up with the need to swap black ink cartridges when changing from Glossy to Matt paper. This was slow and expensive in ink terms.

The 5100 is the same machine but with the addition of a calibration device. This is similar to the one on HP deskjet printers. It does not produce a profile but does ensure that the printer maintains a consistent set of parameters for ink and so on in line with the manufacturers specifications.

Michael Reichman discusses this printer in detail on his site and you can read his review here:

Best wishes


The Canon IPF5000 is shurely a very good printer .
The IPF5100 is not on the market yet (at least in Germany)

The IPF5000 weighs 45kg and is 100cm wide . You need to have a very massive table for that printer .

The EPSON STYLUS PRO 4800 weighs 30kg and is 85cm wide . A good table is recommended as well .

Please be aware that you need more space for any of the 2 printers than the given width of 100cm/80cm .

I work with the EPSON STYLUS PRO 4800 and am very satisfied with it . By the time I bought that printer , the IPF500 was not on the market and I would also not have the space for it .


The Canon IPF5000 is shurely a very good printer .
The IPF5100 is not on the market yet (at least in Germany)

The IPF5000 weighs 45kg and is 100cm wide . You need to have a very massive table for that printer .

The EPSON STYLUS PRO 4800 weighs 30kg and is 85cm wide . A good table is recommended as well .

Please be aware that you need more space for any of the 2 printers than the given width of 100cm/80cm .

I work with the EPSON STYLUS PRO 4800 and am very satisfied with it . By the time I bought that printer , the IPF500 was not on the market and I would also not have the space for it .

That's funny David, I've just been reading that review before receiving the above link; very informative as well as your comments. Lots to think about; with the release of the 5100, I'm thinking the 5000 might drop in price a fair bit? One more quick question, which one would you say has better ink quality, I haven't heard much about cannons ink, but lots about Epson's.

Thanks Again Paul
I'm using a 17X22 Epson 3800 PRO (with the Color Burst RIP). I believe the only thing it doesn't have is roll paper ability. I regularly print CFV images on it and the prints are vibrant and loaded with detail.

Awesome printer. No need to change blk cartridges to use matte blk. Ink use up rate is surprisingly meager. The RIP was a revelation that revolutionized my work flow. Yesterday night, I send 55 images to the RIP with one click of the mouse and went on to do other things. 55 perfect prints. A little bigger footprint than my Epson 2400. Using Crane's Mueso Silver Rag the B&Ws look like silverprints.

Paul, whatever printer you prefer, definitely get one. Nothing beats getting back from a shoot, opening those CFV files and sending the selects to the printer ... all in a matter of minutes. If you are shooting digital with it's immediacy, you don't want the printing to be the bottleneck : -)
Ink quality on Epson and canon

they are both very very good. Hard to pick which is better but I think that the ink consumption on the Canon is lower than that of the Epson (cf Michael Reichman).

The big (and it is a very big) problem wioth the 4800 is the waste of time and money in changing from the Photo Black to the Matt black cartridges.

I used an Imageprint RIP (colorbyte software) when printing from the 4800 and it is very very good. there isn't a comparable RIP for the canon (EFI Designer Edition is great for CYMK and design & print people but not much use for photographers). Image print say that a version for the Canon is going to be released soon but they have been saying that for a long time now.

Canon have a 16bit driver which bypasses the OS and the image editing software and provides a good alternative to a RIP but (unless things have changed very recently) only runs on CS2.

I print day to day stuff directly from Lightroom and the image quality is extremely good.

Having said that I use all of my own printer/paper profiles generated by my GretagMacBeth EyeOne gadget.

If I had the space and a bit more money I would buy an HP Z3100 with the profiling software built-in. It has the disadvantage of having no paper casette (manual and roll feed only) but includes an automatic calibration and profiling system built-in. The 24" roll feed is also a nice facility as well as being able to print on A1 sheets.

The other thing about the Canon is that it is very fast compared to for ex&le 9500Pro.

I have no experience with Canon, or HP.

I've had the Epson 2400 pretty much since it was first available. Trouble free, and a nice smallish footprint. Very nice prints (mainly Black and White for me), and I don't miss my darkroom anymore (although I notice my fingernails are not brown and I kinda got used to that =:-0 ).

Of course, the 13x19 may limit some users, but I rarely ever printed beyond 11x14 paper size beforehand - usually square, so the 13x19 actually increased my capability out to 12x12 or better. This is about all a 20x24 frame will take, in my view, once the print is double matted etc..

If I was starting digital right now, I'd buy the 3800, mainly for the extra ink cartridge, but the paper size would be a bonus. Bigger footprint, though, and no roll. I can't justify the $$ for RIP toggles etc. as the printers are not a source of income (just expense).

As it happens, I bought a second R2400 (refurbished with warranty)for just over $350 delivered. Today, as I write this, you can get 2400 "buy now" on EBay, with another printer thrown in, for $400. (Two footprints!! but I am working on a stacking printer stand.)

So, now I don't switch inks, I switch print path. A print using Hahnemuhle William Turner or similar, with a custom profile, ( or another)makes a "knockout" print.

Horses for Courses. End print size is key, I guess. In summary, I like Epson results, and I agree with Marc - get one, any one. Even die-hard darkroom specialists are impressed with this newest printing technology.

Cheers, Colin
I also have an Epson 3800, it is about 1/2 generation newer than the 4800. The final decision for me was that it was the only 17" that would fit in my work space. The two downsides are sheet only and ink use when switching blacks. The quality is amazing. (The opinion of a person with modest experience)

Thank you all for the information, one thing I didn't realize was how important colour management and rips are. I used to do all my own wet printing and then used labs for digi.

I thought you just had to calibrate printers and monitors, this doesn't sound the case, proves how little I knew. Yet another learning curve I guess.

Presently thinking about the cannon 5000, mainly due to the fact it allows roll paper as I'm looking at long panorama's for exhibition as well as updating portfolio and sounds cheaper on inks. For those interested, ex&les of my panoramas can be seen on my website in the advertising section, (it's in that section as only place left to show them)

Taken with CFV and stitched in CS3, some I think include 7 images, so rather large files, taken in New Zealand, original as tests, but was pleased with results.

Thanks again,
@ all of you , who post on this thread .

Thank you very much . For me , this thread is one of the most important threads at all .
We all have fantastic gear , but we have never really talked , or discussed about in detail , how to get our shots onto paper .
And even more important , to display and show our results to other people .(and/or our customers)

To summarize :
Color Management is one thing ( the more expensive thing ) and almost mandatory .
Raster Image Processor (RIP) is an other one . Still expensive , but I call it fine tuning .

I have googled for COLOR BURST RIP PHOTO , (695€ here in Germany) , IMAGE PRINT RIP (COLORBYTE) which is 895$ + TAX + VAT . Quite expensive .

X-RITE (GRETA MACBETH) colormangement inclusive color checker plate is about 2000,00€ here in Germany .

Getting personalized profiles from as Colin pointed out , seems to be nice , but I do believe that , whenever your ink is replaced , or you get a new charge of your preferred paper , your results might be different , and you would , to be very precise , have to create a new profile .

All this , on the steep learning curve , tells me , it is not easier to print digital , but it is also very complex and , I am convinced of that , it is also really much more expensive .
(producer might be happy about this) In comparison to analog.

My aquarell "painting" in the CFV USER REPORT THREAD , turns out nice on the
EPSON SPR 4800 print , but still it is different to what I see on APPLE screen .

So I am again back to X-RITE colormanagement , long before I will go for a RIP .

That's a reasonable summary but as someone who has used all of these printers over the last two years may I suggest that the priorities are as follows:

1. Get the printer (and don't forget to order the spare cartridges at the same time. my choice is the IPF5000.
2. Buy a profiling kit the Gretag Macbetth Eye Photo is all you need and it is available here for £825 exc VAT and shipping.
3. If you have loads of money think about a RIP but if you use Lightroom or Aperture and profile your printer to your papers you probably will not need it.

For those in the UK Fotospeed will provide free profiles for their very reasonably priced paper.
I am very new at this and have finally gotten the time, this week, to put my print system together. Mac Pro with LR & CS3, Cinema 30, Epson 3800 and Eye-one. After solving some problems resulting from my ignorance, the print out-put is a very close match to the monitor. The quality from the 3800 is amazing.
Here's a revelation that'll cause a whole series of flames I'm sure.

I get dead-on print matches to my monitor without all the rigamarole, exotic profiles, calibration devices, or any other expensive stuff like that.

Since this is a closed loop printing system when using a desktop printer, I simply use the Apple monitor calibration tool which I check against a master file I keep just for that purpose.

I then select that calibration as my monitor working space ... so my whole color suite system is in sync with what I see on screen as I work on an image.

Here's the trick ... when you go to print: don't let the printer determine color, select the option that says let PhotoShop determine colors ... and select the paper profile provided by the paper maker. I use that monitor calibrated profile and set the file size to 360 dpi ( for prints up to 22" wide).

Now this IS a closed loop approach for home printers ( in my case Epson) ... but strangely, when I've sent clients to labs with a DVD of their files they come out just as good.

P.S., here's other little related tricks I've learned: when upsizing an image use Bicubic Smoother and do the enlargement in one move. However, if downsizing use Bicubic Sharper.

Both the 360 dpi for Epson printers, and the enlargement advice, comes by way of a master printer.

As the "Fantastic Four" say ... Flame On !!!
Just like Jurgen said, this is an enormously informative thread.

I have kept away from home printing because of the complexities it involves not to mention potentially wasted paper and ink while I "learn". But, Marc's last post certainly simplifies it. For now I will stick to taking my image files to my lab for them to print - that way when I am less than 100% satisfied I can tear up the print and they will try smarter to print it perfectly.

If I get into printing at home, I will start exactly where I want to end up - perfect prints. So I'll keep this thread for when I do that.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge guys.
I recently picked up an old copy of BJP (late may 2007) and it mentioned a new print head for Epson which produced a dpi of 360, supposedly going to be put in there new printers and its meant to be a first, any body no more about this?
@ Marc

Thank you very much for your valueable tips .
I am sorry to say , but I am still fighting hard and not on the save side yet .
I will give an update when the colors are good and my nerves down .

G'Day Simon:

"... I have kept away from home printing because of the complexities it involves..."

It's not as bad as it reads.

I had a darkroom and printed my own work for 30+ years. I remember in the early 70's upgrading to a Durst enlarger with dial-up dichroic head and Leitz lens, and thinking I had reached the 'plateau' as far as home D&P colour prints, to go along with my black and white work (courtesy of a nice old Meopta.) I even kept it up when I got my first Macintosh (called then), because even when I got a Kodak CD, there was no real way to correctly print via Mac' and the first generation printers and papers.

Today, any decent PC or Mac with some memory, plus a scanner and a printer, and the latest of the papers (complete with free software profiles (ICC), outshines all but the most exacting work in the darkroom. It gives me what I always had, I suppose, without the delay. Instant Gratification, relatively.

I still process my film (my choice, for control, and I can't justify dropping big $$$ on the CFV). So I can walk out of my house Sunday at 6am or 7am, catch the morning light until about 11am, load 'in a bag' and develop - in room light - by 12 noon, dry the negs by about 3pm (while I do something else like mow the lawn), easily scan by 4pm, 4x4 'contacts' by 5pm, a glass of Shiraz and at least one or two really nice 13x19 or 12x12 prints by 7pm - if the Great Photographer is smiling down at me.

Like most things, you can make it complicated, or not. (Of course, a CFV with Tilt Sensor plug-in would be even less complicated.)

George DeWolfe, Digital Fine Print Workshop ISBN 0-07-226087-4 "says it all" in one book. Scanning, Photoshop and Printing. Find a copy at a library, or bookstore. There are lots of other great books; I just happen to think GDeW is great. (A former student with Ansel Adams and Minor White.)

You can be FREE of the vagaries of the labs, and their hours, and their prices. Paper is cheap, relatively, and not light sensitive. No chemicals to mix for the paper and I use one shot premixed for the negs. Ink doesn't go stale. No yellow fingernails.

Of course, on the other hand, you could do what you are doing now, and be very happy. I had an hour free to write this note. :)

In any case, your complexities and my complexities are probably different. What would I know anyway - I grew up in the bush, three stops past Buggery on the Moree railway line.

Whatever makes your cockatoo cool, Curl.

(I knew a shearer's girlfriend once who referred to her sunburnt face as having a "hard complexity".)

Cheers, mate.