Does it make economic sense any more to print your own photos?

Started Feb 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Julian Regular Member • Posts: 483
Does it make economic sense any more to print your own photos?
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I read in this mornings Guardian an interesting article entitled:

"Printer ink cartridges: why you're paying more but getting a lot less"

here they show that whilst the price of the average printer cartridge over the last 5 years has stayed about the same, the volume of ink for that average cartridge has reduced by around 1/5th of what it was 5 years ago... Yet the cost to the printer manufacturer of the inks has not increased by anything like that margin.

This is something that I guess we photographers are more than a little familiar with. My own printer, the HP photosmart 7960, which I bought I guess about 5 years ago, prints out good quality inkjet prints, especially in black and white, but the catch is in the cost of the cartridges. It is so high now that to my calculation it is far more economical for me to use a professional printing lab, the only downside being I have to wait a day to see the results - which are almost always of a higher quality than my hp printer.

I just added up the cost at today's prices (I live in Sweden) for me to purchase a replacement cartridge for all of my printer's cartridges; and the total comes to $172.34. That is for 17ml of ink in each of the 4 cartridges! For the 2 color cartridges and the greyscale - these carry 3 inks each - and if any one of those inks runs dry the cartridge is useless - so thats effectively 5 ml of ink for each of those.

I don't print that frequently - so a continuous flow system always seems more trouble than its worth, i just print the shots I really like - or want to send to people.

So I reached the conclusion about a year ago to stop printing at home, and to be honest I'm much happier with the output from my lab, as well as their cost.

How is it for you?

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