Friday, 2 May 2008

I Hate Inkjet Printers

I can't understand why anyone bothers with inkjet photo printers. I've had three. My first was a cheap Lexmark. It didn't do black and white. It did weird shades of green and white. It did garish colours. It used lot's of ink and paper, and prints faded quickly. My second was an A3 sized Epson. I liked that one. It almost worked. Black and white turned green or brown over time, but colour prints looked quite good. Until they faded. Which they did a little slower than the Lexmark prints. Eventually it bit the dust and I bought another Epson A3, a Stylus 1290s to replace it. I hated it. Colours where always wrong, black and white was green. Which then turned brown and faded. After wasting much time, paper and ink trying to get it to work, I gave up when it started putting yellow stripes across every print.

Fortunately I was able to set up a proper wet darkroom and my very first print just blew away anything I'd ever managed with the inkjets. The exposure was wrong and the 10 year old paper had no contrast, but side by side with the best from the inkjet there was no comparison. Beautiful smooth tones, so little grain. A little practice and I was making really nice prints. I could never get small prints to look good from inkjet. The dithering patters were always far too obvious. From the darkroom however, small prints looked fabulous. So smooth and detailed. I could knock out 3 1/2 x 5 inch prints really quickly and loved them.

But my darkroom is no more, we needed the 'spare' bathroom back. So I'm looking for an alternative to yet another inkjet. They'll tell me the latest model does this or that and the technology has moved on so far in the last 2 years, but I've heard that before. They'll tell me I need to print on acid free rag paper with carbon pigment ink. But I don't care, I'm not going back to inkjet. My experience is that they're too expensive and unreliable. I hate 'em. I'm getting my scans printed at a Fuji Frontier lab. They have to be better than an inkjet. But I wonder how they'll compare to darkroom prints. I'm now busy coaxing the best scans possible from my aging scanners for a trial. I'll let you know how it turns out.

1 comment:

toddono said...

I've talked to a few people who've had good luck with the big stores over here printing their digital photos. My luck with the printer we have (hp photosmart 7760) has been spotty, too. I've been on the lookout for a good photo printer, but from what I can tell you have to look at the dye-sub printers.... I don't know that we've really figured this all out yet.