How do I choose a printer?


Joined
Sep 20, 2014
Messages
1
Hello everyone one,

I'm in a bit of trouble.
I'm moving away for college in about a week, and I realised, despite all my meticulous lists and planning, I've overlooked something fairly massive.
A printer.
I've done some looking around, and have found a couple of printers that look okay and are within my budget (around about £100), but the problem is that I really don't know what I need. I see some printers that print in colour, but beyond that, I'm not sure what differentiates them.
So I wonder if anyone can recommend any brand or specific make of printer to me?
Some information on what I need it for:
I'm doing a Games Art course, so I will be printing everything from greyscale thumbnails and roughs and WIPs to many (hopefully) colourful and lively final illustrations.
The course has a digital hand-in option at the end, but there will be a lot of traditional work, too. I personally find it easiest to observe my work in a sketchbook format, and as such I often print out digital work and stick it into my book alongside sketches and handwritten text and mix it all in together. That way it's easier to piece together a coherent narrative for an entire project VS jigsawing together pieces of traditional work in front of me with digital files on a computer. What I'm getting at here, is that the images will be printed on 70-90gsm printer paper, Pritt-sticked into a sketchbook and sometimes scribbled on. The printer doesn't need to be producing massively high-quality prints on any kind of regular basis. But, you know, they are still gonna be colour images mostly, as opposed to word docs. I want to get a decent range of values displaying nicely, as the images I'll be printing often have values going from almost-black to almost-white.

It needs to print as close to what I have on my screen as possible. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but so many printers I've used oversaturate colours, bugger up the contrast, lose detail in the blacks, etc... I need something with fairly customisable settings, I think. As it is, I have my monitor set up to display as close to true colour as I can get it without spending £100 on one of those spider-bots that you stick to your screen to calibrate it.

To be honest I don't know much about the topic, so if anyone can explain what I'm looking for, or link me to an article, or just generally give me some advice on how to get decent prints, that'd be equally as helpful. I understand that laser-jets are generally cheaper on ink?

Thanks a bunch guys.


I'd like to apologise in advance if this isn't the right place to post this.
 
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Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
15
A lot depends on your needs and usage.

I have an all-in-one. Printer, scanner, fax. Although I have never used the fax.
HP J4680 (discontinued).

For my use I seek a printer that only uses two ink cartridges. Black and color.

If you are going to print photos and such you might want a printer that uses more color cartridges.

Manufacturers are placing a lot of bloatware on the printer software - so be careful if printer comes with a software disk.
 
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Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
1
Since you mention color prints, an inkjet printer is your best option. Not only do they cost less than color lasers, but inkjets generally deliver better color prints than all but the very best color laser printers. (I have a Brother HL-5450DN monochrome laser that I use for most document printing, and I love it; but it isn't what you need.)

I recently replaced an older (and well-used) Canon PIXMA MP-620 with an Epson WorkForce WF-3530. Both printers use separate cartridges for each color and have scan/copy capability; the newer Epson also includes an automatic document feeder, a FAX capability, _much_ faster prints and a much larger paper capacity. Print quality was very good with both printers, but the Epson is certainly better -- it should be, considering how much the technology has improved since the Canon was introduced.

If you have space for a printer that is around 15 inches tall, I'd recommend the Epson or one of its close kin. If you need something a bit more compact and can live without the automatic document feeder, something similar to the Canon will serve you well.

I have also owned and used several HP printers over the past twenty-plus years, and have never been disappointed; but my requirements weren't the same as yours then, and really aren't now. HP printers are also the easiest (by far!) to install and use under Linux, if you use that operating system.
 

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