The idea to print my own pictures has been haunting me for over 1 year. I was very interested and did a lot of reading and research. Ideally I wanted to print larger sized images up to A2 these printer are in the 1,000$ up range not cheap and ink and paper need to be added to this.
For that reason I have put of the printing at home. I did get a few prints for home both on metal and classic photo posters. Lately I have not ordered any Canvas. The flexibility is size and support are great when working with a print lab, Still there was that interest to print at home a see how it did feel.
After a lot of research I decided to go with a Small sized photo printer able to print up to A4. Initially I had my eyes on a Epson printer. Their naming was just confusing, not easy to pick an entry level printer. Looking further I found a Canon printer promotion. The naming was even more confusing and this time printers are only available with Scanner and many other features I did not need.
Installing the Canon on Linux was way more complex that it has to be. I am spoiled by HP printers who make it really easy to print from Linux and the application works great. Once I found the Canon Linux software and did the install from the command line adding the printer was very easy (still you have to use ask and the command line to get there)
. The web interface of the Canon is a pure joke compared to the HP and it is pretty much useless. Scanning refused to work what ever I tried, I gave up on it this is a photo printer after all. I was frustrated enough that then printer almost ended up on eBay.
Setup on windows is very easy. and straight forward.The overall setup was OK. some things take for ever like 6 minutes for calibration, 10 minutes to update the firmware (that is after the DNS are configured manually)
Printing my first picture from a Windows machine using Capture one on Canon 10x14cm 4×6 the experience was really amazing and stunning.
Printing from Linux proved to be not as straight forward. The default driver has some very strange photo printing ideas and getting the format right is maddening. Once I opened the photo in Gimp the whole process was a lot easier. Define the size output, rotate to portrait ..
The same image was printed. The colors are slightly denser on Linux and look a lot better.
It was time to think big and take a picture of my daughter which I had just printed at the lab in A4 for my portfolio. Trying to fit the image on A4 proved a challenge. In the end it is not border less but with a small white frame. Not all too dramatic. the skin tone however is very red. Canon is known in the photo world for having too much red. In this case it was just strikingly too much. It may come from the HP glossy paper or the settings. I will buy very small packages of A4 paper to experiment further.
The small 10×15 Glossy paper from Canon is good and reasonably priced for me to get this to print pictures every now and then. I am curious to see how long the ink will last.
For most of my printing I will still rely on the Labs. Since ordering the printer I have had almost 500 13x18cm photos printed for different clients. Not something I plan to print anytime soon at home
The last test was to compare the A4 printing of my Coffee Makers in A4 printer on the Canon and my Laserjet all prints from Linux using Gimp. The results are actually not bad for the HP laser.
Bottom line printing my own images has something magical the setup and configuration is very important. I had already calibrated screens a good sens on how the pictures would look on actual photo paper. Printing was not that complex to add. From my current testing I think that I will depend on professionals for the large prints. Smaller prints it will be nice to provide images right away for people to keep.