Anyone use the Canon iP3000/iP4000 to print photos?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Patrick Sun, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I've pretty much eliminated the HP (expensive ink) and Epson (can't replace print head easily, cloggy) models for their various drawbacks.

    Got a decent deal on the Canon iP3000 (4 ink cartridges, 2-sided printing, dual trays, 4800x1200 color resolution, MSRP $120), but was wondering if I'd be better off looking upwards in the Canon line:

    iP4000 - seen one with built-in wifi (iP4000R), parallel port, and extra photo-black ink cartridge, the other black ink used for dedicated B/W 600x600 printing (5 total) MSRP $150.

    iP5000 - has 2 more photo ink cartridges (7 total, 1 for dedicated B/W 600x600 printing), better color resolution 9600x2400, and smaller 1 picoliter droplet size. MSRP $200. This one appears to be the dedicated photo printer from Canon

    iP6000D - has 2.5" LCD and card reader and controls to fix photo quality from the printer, color resolution is 4800x1200 (same as iP3000/iP4000), 6 inks. MSRP $180. Nice bells-n-whistles at the cost of less inks/color resolution over the iP5000.

    The price listed for each printer is just MSRP for comparison purposes, they can be had for less, of course.

    So feature creep has gotten my curiousity up. But I think the iP4000 is the highest model I think I might consider (trying to keep the expenditure around $100, but most of the time that's around $120-$135 after sales/discounts/coupons). I got the iP3000 for $70, so that's why I'm having a tough time justifying another $50-$65 to sniff around the iP4000.
     
  2. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    I have the previous generation, the Canon i550. It retailed orig. for about $139, I got it for about $100 from Dell with rebate.

    This is an incredible printer. Photos are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing when you use the glossy photo paper.

    My understanding is that among Canon printers with similar design (same # of color cartridges) the extra price only buys more features and better speed, not better print quality. This may be important if you print a lot of photos or want the plug-n-play with camera feature.

    I give Canon photo printers my highest recommendation.

    BTW, check PC World web site, they have newly released "satisfaction/reliability" data on printers, computers, cameras, etc.
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Thanks for the input.

    Well, the extra black ink cartridge of the iP4000 also piques my interest because I have read that the 4-ink iP3000 might produce black areas with less photo-fidelity than the iP4000 which has the extra photo-black cartridge, so I do have to factor that in the comparisons. But I think I will just keep the iP3000 and hope for the best.

    I was tempted by an i860 at my local Fry's yesterday for $90, though... Last week Fry's blew out their remaining inventory of i560's for $50 each. But I wanted the 2-sided printing, so I stuck with the iP3000 at that time.
     
  4. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    I see. Yes, I missed the gist of the original post. I haven't used anything beyond the 4-color system, which I have found to be excellent. I do believe adding colors can improve image quality ... in a side-by-side comparison.

    Are they claiming darker blacks from the photo-black cartridge? or just longer life? I thought I read somewhere that the extra black was a pigment black not a dye black. I think the intent of that would be extended life of the print.

    I have found prints exposed to air fade. Prints I have framed have shown good life so far (no apparent fading after a year).

    Really all the ones you describe sound like great printers ... I tend to resist the ones with things like onboard LCDs, card readers, etc. ... they seem to add cost/functionality I don't need, but surely added colors yield benefits.
     
  5. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Canon is notorious for fading, and if you really want to print out pictures I wouldn't go with anything less than a 6 color system, the quality they produce is easily on-par of what you get out of a processing machine.

    Some thoughts from when I went through the process (I bought an HP);
    1. Ditch the LCD if you can get a lower comparable model without it. You are most likely going to do all your processing from your PC and not directly through your printer, for those .1% times that I need it I just live without, I'm very happy my wallet overcame my desire for "cool stuff".
    2. Consider all the costs when printing photos, including paper and print heads (you may have to move estimates out quite a ways), but that's the only way to do a fair comparison.
    3. Do a bit of research into the quality of your prints, not from a DPI standpoint, but from a longevity standpoint. Sure one printer may be cheaper per page to print, but if it only last's 1/50 as long as another printer, what have you saved.
    4. Take big jobs to the photo shop to be done, it's cheaper.

    The biggest reason I went HP was because over the past 15-20 years I've used almost exclusively HP printers, from the first laser's to the first ink jets and they have consistantly given me excellent performance with minimal hassles. That's not to say other brands don't do the same, they may and probably do, I just never spent any appreciable time with them. I also liked the fact that HP had a dedicated B&W cartridge at the time, they consistantly are at the top of the game by a considerable margin when it comes to picture fade. I like replacing the print heads each time I do a cartridge as I don't consistantly use the printer so I avoid issues. Ink costs are about even with others, however the amount of use out of an ink tank is less than others, which drives the prices up on a per page basis.

    Andrew
     
  6. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    Of course everyone's experience varies. I would never buy another HP printer because out of 2 owned, both had miserable paper-handling issues. Likewise with Lexmark.

    Canon is the first printer I have owned that has provided satisfactory quality.

    I don't think any off-the-shelf ink system is going to "last" if exposed to air/light.

    Do you have any data to substantiate longer print life for HP?
     
  7. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    A magazine over here has conducted a test of the top 20 selling inkjets in the UK. They tested for speed, features, print quality and logevity. Top of the pile was the Epson R800 with it's pigment inks.
     
  8. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    That I believe. There is much discussion at photo.net about pigment based inks for long lasting printing.
     
  9. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Yep, from here;
    http://www.wilhelm-research.com/articles_pcworld.html
    Their whole business is studying this kind of stuff, so I have to put a little credit on that. But on the other hand, HP may just be sending them the biggest check every month as well [​IMG]

    Most of my photos end up in albums right away or in frames, so a lot of the fading issues go away regardless of which printer you use.

    Andrew
     
  10. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Well, it seems I might be getting a Canon iP4000 after all. Best Buy is selling it for $119.99 online this week, and it also comes with a send-away $30 gift card, bringing the price down to $89.99 plus tax (I can pick up at the local store). I think I could live with spending an extra $20 over the iP3000 price I paid last week for the iP4000. Good plan?
     
  11. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    Let us know how you like it after you've used it a while [​IMG]
     
  12. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I did order the iP4000 this morning, and will pick it up from Best Buy tonight. There was some Office Max YMMV price-matching exercises that didn't quite go well for me (would have reduced the cost, after price-matching Best Buy, by another $25 to $30 via the catalog OM coupon codes), but I think $90 after gift card is a decent price for a printer with a MSRP of $150.

    I'll try to give a review once I get it up and running.
     
  13. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Well, it's up and running, and the photos are pretty nice. It took a while to get all the pieces installed, but not too bad. The software also took some time, but so far, smooth sailing.

    Too bad I was farting around, printing from IRView when I was going through some digital photos, because my photo's aspect ratio was 1.333:1, while the photo print's aspect ratio is 1.5:1, so I was either stretching to fill the 4x6 photo, or wound up with some white borders on the left/right edges of the prints.

    Then, I discovered the Canon Easy-print software that allows you to crop the photos to maintain the 1.5:1 AR, and gets rid of the white borders on the sides, but you lose a little on the top and bottom.

    I need more photo paper, blew through the 5-count sampler pretty quickly.

    I also hit the print button when the paper selection was defaulted to letter size when the 4x6 photo paper was being used, so there's lots of wasted ink in the ink trough now. Doh!

    So far, not regretting the purchase at all.
     
  14. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Found a nice deal on 100-pack of 4x6 Epson Preminum Glossy Photo Paper for $8.99 (limit 2) at Fry's today (sale goes on until 12/21/04. I tried it out and it works about the same as the Canon Photo Paper Pro sampler pack (easily twice the price if not more) that was included with the printer. After testing the paper last night, I went back this morning to Fry's and picked up another 4 packs (needed 2 trips through the checkout lines). I read to stay away from the Kodak and HP brands for the time being.

    Fry's also had a 20-pack of 8.5x11 glossy photo paper by "GQ" for $0.99/pack. Limit 1. Even if the paper stinks, I'm only out a buck. I managed to pick up 2 packs this morning as well.
     
  15. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Okay, I tried the 8.5x11 GQ photo paper, and would not recommend it for this particular printer. The paper's thin, and the glossy surface doesn't quite take the ink all that well. Also, the left/right edges don't seem to be cleanly printed in the larger borderless 8.5x11 printing (you can see some lines, and bits of black along the left and right sides if looking at the printout in landscape mode), but I don't know it the paper is at fault, or the printer. Also, since my camera is only a 3.2 megapixel camera, I don't have enough pixel info to make the 8.5x11 printouts look really nice, like the 4x6s look.

    I am pretty impressed with the ink consumption of this printer. Checked the ink level, and I have barely made a dent in the ink levels after printing 15 4x6s, and 3 8.5x11s and the misc. webpages. I will have to try out 5x7s one of these days, but as I'm now loaded up with the 4x6s, it'll have to be a special occasion to print anything larger.

    It's a good thing I picked up a 1GB CF card recently because I suspect I'll be shooting everything in the highest quality (megapixel) mode on my Canon S1 if I think I'll be printing the shots out on photo paper.
     
  16. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    Is the free $30 gift card still available? I don't see anything on the site.

    ~T
     
  17. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Unfortunately, I think the extra $30 gift card offer has expired (12/18/04).
     
  18. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    I have used only Konica paper and the Canon glossy photo plus paper. I like the Canon paper.

    Patrick, be sure to check the Canon web site every now and then for updated versions of the Easy Photo Print software. They update it regularly and often add great features to it.
     
  19. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I printed up 22 4x6 photos tonight, and the printer continues to impress me. I had to reprint one of them because on of my cats started licking the photo, causing some blotchiness. Crazy cat!

    I even printed some photos off the web (in the neighborhood of 1600x2200 resolution), and they looked pretty good too.
     
  20. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    One recommendation ... if you let it sit a while without printing (this is pretty common sense but sometimes I forget), print a test page of your photo on plain paper before putting the photo paper in. I have noticed some banding on the photo paper which I'm guessing is some of the nozzles drying out in this dang dry winter air.

    However, they pop back after printing a page.

    Glad to hear you're liking your results.

    My next mission is to get this whole system color matched. Screen images appear much redder and lighter than output from the Canon ... gotta fix this.
     

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