3rd party ink?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Mike_Craft, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. Mike_Craft

    Mike_Craft Stunt Coordinator

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    should I go buy a $19.99 magenta ink cartridge MADE by Canon or should I pay $3.99 for one not made by Canon but works in my printer?

    Like does any1 know if there will be a big quality difference in my printing or will it be the same?

    If the price difference wasent so huge I would just get the Canon.
     
  2. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    In my experience, the $3.99 cartridges (like you often find at computer shows) are very substandard. They frequently won't work at all, are not as colorfast as quality ink, and not as true in color, either.

    I don't have a problem with third party ink, but you get what you pay for. I would question anything in that price range.

    -Scott
     
  3. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Well, if it's that cheap, what can it hurt to just give it a try and see? If you're happy w/ the results, that's what matters.

    My main concern w/ trying 3rd party ink is whether it will somehow damage my printer or cause more problems than otherwise. I'm not sure, but does your Canon inkjet have a fixed printhead vs having the printhead on the cartridge (and thus, replaced w/ each new cartridge)? If it's fixed and not easily or cheaply replaceable, then this issue would be a concern.

    On my old Lexmark inkjet, I used to use 3rd party refills, and the results seem just fine, so I saved some $$$. But if it had a fixed printhead, I would certainly be far more reluctant to bother w/ refills.

    And yes, very many people do use 3rd party inks, which are usually much cheaper, and are happy w/ the results, but that does not necessarily mean they are exactly equal to the "real thing" as Scott points out.

    _Man_
     
  4. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Well... depending on the vendor, you CAN lose your $3.99.

    I have tried some cheap off-brands. I've bought cheap ink at computer shows. I've had maybe 1 in 3 of these ultra cheap tanks just plain not work, and I've had ultra-cheap black inks look brown.

    If you don't mind the risk, you can surely try the really cheap inks. I did. Now I buy Epson ink direct from the Epson store.

    If you're printing documents, it's one thing... but if you're trying to make quality photographic prints, it's buyer beware. I'm sure there's decent stuff out there... but I've had the best luck with branded ink. The color profiles in your printer driver are calibrated to this ink. Of course, you could pay for a new profile, based on off-brand ink...

    Your mileage may vary.

    -Scott
     
  5. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Mike,

    I would recommend you visit www.dpreview.com and check out their "printers and printing" forum. The site is frequented by pro digital photographers, who generally have higher standards than HT people like you and me. [​IMG] I went there to find info on 3rd party inks for my office's Canon i960 and heard many favorable things about MIS Inks and inkjetgoodies.com. I will know more once I've actually used the other ink, but I get the impression that finding a bargain does not necessarily mean sacrificing quality.
     
  6. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Rob (and Mike),

    I haven't spent that much time at that particular DPR forum, but I suspect extremely few regulars there are actually pros. Most are probably just amateurs of all levels of experience, including some who do try to make a little $$$ w/ their hobby. My impression is that real pros would not bother w/ 3rd party inks at all. The savings are generally not worth the risk of sub-par quality -- and remember, sub-par quality may not reveal itself right away since ink durability is an issue.

    Also, I'm not even so sure all that many real pros would use inkjet anyway [​IMG] -- well, except maybe the very best, large format ones. Indeed, even some of the serious amateurs over there use expensive dye-sub printers instead -- and not just for 4x6 prints like I do. And many others just use pro-quality photolabs w/ available printer profiles.

    Still, it's a good idea to check that forum out. I would've suggested it myself if nobody else could offer better help soon over here.

    _Man_
     
  7. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Maybe I should have said "dedicated hobbyists" rather than "professionals". Everything else I said above still stands, however. Go to www.dpreview.com, read what the knowledgable folks have to say, and decide for yourself. Yes, they do take longevity into account. Yes, they take color gamut into account. They are as picky about photography as WE are about home theater.
     
  8. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hi, Rob.

    I have no doubt about their helpfulness myself. What I meant was that I was not too keen on directing people to go to a different forum too quickly is all. [​IMG] And yes, I'm sure they can be very picky too although I do question many people's choice to use LCD displays, instead of CRT. In a way, it's good to have a strong home theater background since one would know that CRT is still better than LCD. Also, one would more likely be aware of issues w/ display calibration and such. But I suppose the CRT vs LCD issue might get lost a bit on the final printed output anyway given the limitations.

    Anyhoo...

    _Man_
     
  9. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Man,

    Usually I wouldn't be so quick to send folks to another forum. The reason I did so in this case was because I asked the very same question in another thread and got no answer. I then went to dpreview and discovered that the question of 3rd party inks comes up there so often, people who post a new thread are asked to search among the dozens of already-active threads on the subject. [​IMG]

    In any case, my boss recently stocked up on Canon replacement cartridges for our i960, but once those run out, we will probably try one or more of the other, less-expensive but nevertheless highly-regarded, 3rd party brands. I'll keep everyone posted on the results.
     

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