How to Shop for a Photo Printer

Page 6 of 10

The Ink Itself, Part 2

You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a printer that uses individual ink cartridges. The $99 Epson Stylus C84 and the $99 Canon I560 both use separate ink tanks, for instance.

Another specification you'll see touted is estimated page yields. Page yield is supposed to tell you how many pages of text, graphics, or photos an ink cartridge will produce before it runs dry. But how many prints you get out of your printer's ink cartridges will likely vary, depending in part on what you print and on what quality settings you use. You may save money buying high-capacity ink cartridges, if they're available.

For the nitty-gritty on ink costs and page yields, see "The Cheapskate's Guide to Printing."

Every manufacturer will tell you that its proprietary ink is the best ink imaginable. The truth is, with the advent of digital photography, most ink jet manufacturers have gone back to the drawing boards and refined their inks for printing photos on photo-quality paper. For example, Canon's $480 I9900 Photo Printer and the $400 Epson Stylus Photo R800 both include new ink colors designed to produce a better array of colors.

Oh, and if you're tempted to save money by buying third-party inks in refilled cartridges, think twice about that. Check out "Bogus Ink Stink" and "Cheap Ink Probed."

At a Glance
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