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Author Topic: Print Cost  (Read 2529 times)
Henrik Paul
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« on: September 19, 2006, 05:22:33 PM »
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I hope this isn't already a discussed topic, but with a quick search, I didn't find a corresponding thread. Also, I am very aware of that the answer to my question is dependant on at least three variables, so I'm just asking for personal and empirical experience.

As I've starting to realize that I really need to start printing more photos, rather than having them dusting on my HD, so I have been considering of buying a decent photo printer. As a student, I obviously have some economics to consider. How much does a roughly A4-sized (8x12") print cost you, and what kind of 'configuration' are you using for these yields?

I finding this kind of information a bit hard to find on the net.

Just to give some info, I'm considering a A3-capable printer in the higher end, because my mentality is that a poor man can't afford cheap things. What I'm mostly pondering is that is the advantage of having the printer next to me greater than the cheaper prices of shops doing prints for you and delivering them at home after a few days' wait, with god-knows-what calibration/profile.
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adiallo
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2006, 09:59:01 PM »
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Of course one of the main reasons it is impossible to predict print cost is that ink usage is so image dependent. Printing high key b/w portraits will use different dilutions and amounts of ink than saturated color landscapes. You also have to factor in ink lost to nozzle checks and cleaning cycles.
Given that, larger printers are generally cheaper per print than smaller ones because of the size of ink carts. To compare printers take cost of an ink cart and divide it by its capacity (ml). Cost per ml can at least give you a comparison between different printer models.
Rest assured you're going to pay many times over the cost of the printer in consumables.
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inkwelleditions
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2006, 10:57:45 PM »
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Yes it's really tricky to nail down costs...but lets forget ink coverage for a second, lets say you print a lot of different images coverage will average out in the long run, on a 9800 running image print I'll highball the ink costs at around $.80 a sq ft.

What is a real pain is a waste, and you can't ignore that factor. If all you ever print are 8X10 on 8.5X11 paper this will be less of an issue. I you start printing od sized images on roll paper that costs a bundle (silver rag, somerset velvet...) it will be hard to figure print costs.

HOWEVER... to actually answer your question. here's a couple rough figures.

8X12 on 11X17 epson pgpp will run around 1.80 ish
that same print on somerset velevet will be around 4.00

plan on making two prints for every on master print and that working with a perfectly color profiled system. Stupid mistakes not considered in this equation....and trust me when you send through a 30X40 in print only to realize you have cropped marks enabled it stings a bit.

Over all doing it yourself is a big commitment that when fully embraced can be very rewarding..after you get through the hurdles.

Let me know if I can be of any more help

Julian
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Henrik Paul
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2006, 01:46:25 AM »
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Thanks Julian for your estimations!

Yes, I was aware that the printing costs vary very much, depending on several things. That's why I was asking for just personal experiences to give myself just a ballpark image of the costs.

I'm currently leaning on the HP9180. This would enable me to have 30x20cm prints as a starting point, but giving me the freedom to printing even bigger ones, for the those photos that simply scream "huge print".

I probably will hold on to this thought of buying myself a printer for a while, until I see that other people want to have my photos on their walls. That way, I can get my money back for the printer, and not only count it as one more expense in this expensive hobby of mine. But this is a whole other story.

Thanks for the replies
« Last Edit: September 23, 2006, 01:47:02 AM by Henrik Paul » Logged

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jschone
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2006, 04:07:13 PM »
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Hi,

I use the Epson 9800 everyday, running a fine art print shop. Waste is an important factor to consider. We usually use rolls of 44". The paper that is left over is used to make proofs. For bigger prints we make a small crop of the image on final output size, for proofing on left-over paper. You can make a lot of proofs on relative small pieces of paper.

By "collecting" your print jobs and print them all at once, you can be more efficient on roll paper. A RIP could be of great help in this. If you print more or less fixed sizes, it might be better to use sheets of paper.

Concerining "real life"costs, Epson Premium Luster is by far the most efficient for us. We get very predictable output with that paper (using 30 meter, 44 inch rolls).
Recently, we started using the hahnemuhle fine art pearl and altough we sell these prints at a much higher price respect EPS luster we also have a much higher waste: quality issues with the paper, carton like curling, ink spreads.

Waste is an important factor to consider. Good profiles, soft-proofing, actual proofing crop will help you to cut-down on costs.

Everything else is just a matter of how much you have paid for you ink, paper and the period of machine depreciation (I remember that Michael wrote an article on this for Epson 4800, just have a look on articles on lum-landscape homepage).

Regards, Jochem


Quote
Thanks Julian for your estimations!

Yes, I was aware that the printing costs vary very much, depending on several things. That's why I was asking for just personal experiences to give myself just a ballpark image of the costs.

I'm currently leaning on the HP9180. This would enable me to have 30x20cm prints as a starting point, but giving me the freedom to printing even bigger ones, for the those photos that simply scream "huge print".

I probably will hold on to this thought of buying myself a printer for a while, until I see that other people want to have my photos on their walls. That way, I can get my money back for the printer, and not only count it as one more expense in this expensive hobby of mine. But this is a whole other story.

Thanks for the replies
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