Phil Parker (tigertoy) wrote,
Phil Parker

Printer Wars III: Revenge of the Ink

I've done some more research on printers, and now I don't know what to do.

The printer I thought I wanted to get is the Canon Pixma iP6600D.  It is a 6-color printer, a direct descendant of the i960 I've done all of my art photos on.  In my earlier, more cursory research, I thought I had found that it was compatible with the ink and refill kit I already have.  But in my more thorough research, I have learned otherwise.  This printer uses a new series of inks and cartridges, the "CLI-8" series.  The plus side of this is that Canon claims that these inks, when used with their photo papers, will last 100 years, which is at least roughly an equivalent claim to the Epson "archival quality" inkjets that it seems like artists who do their own printing are "supposed" to be using.  The minus side, though, is that the new inks come in new cartridges which have electronics built into the cartridge to detect the ink level, and (I am very upset to report) are a work of pure evil, just like most other company's ink cartridges -- they don't allow you to refill them, they recognize if you do refill them and log that you have and assert that this voids your warranty; and there is a patented chip in the damn things to keep anyone from cloning the cartridges or circumventing the anti-refill technology.  In short, Canon has thrown away everything that made them more honorable than the other printer makers and is playing the same game as everyone else.

I really wanted to get the new printer, so that I could actually have a printer *now* as opposed to at some indefinable future time.  I would really like to be able to claim to be using archival quality printing for my sale prints.  But I really hate this wasteful, greedy, evil technology in principle, and I'm also concerned that my effective ink cost if I only use factory cartridges goes from under $2 per salable picture to over $5.  I am tempted to tell the guy in the repair shop I've changed my mind and I want him to replace the print head in my old printer, but (a) I don't know how long it will take before I have a printer again (I'm 99% sure he doesn't have the print head in stock but would have to order it), and (b) I don't know how long the repaired printer will last; if I knew the replacement print head would last as long as a new printer, I would be more comfortable with getting it.  Maybe this is a sign that I should change brands, but I don't know anything about anyone else's photo printers.

Does anyone have any helpful thoughts?  Does anyone really care?
Tags: questions, tech
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