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Some newbie questions about printers, paper, etc.


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So having gotten tired of the old paperweight on my desk which refused to recognize ink cartridges any more, we got a Canon Pixma MG7720 printer for photos.


We set it up yesterday.


I used some old Office Depot "Premium Photo Paper" that had been hanging around to test it. 


The photos look ... kind of raggedy.  Low res and grainy.  And there are little horizontal lines through the images, about 1/4 inch apart (I looked up and tried the fix alignment routine, and they are still there).  And a wet Q-tip took the ink right off. ::(:


I am informed that with photos it's the paper that makes the difference, but the Internet turns out to be a terribly unreliable source of information about that, certainly about papers.  Is this true?  Is there some reasonable quality photo print paper I can use that will turn out reasonable prints that don't smear?


Because right now I am looking at these and thinking uh-oh.  And I'd prefer not to have to spend $$$$ testing papers (which tend not to come in small affordable sampler packs).

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Pingo,   did you try printing the same image on basic printer paper?   Does it still have the striations in it?  Sometimes this is the printers issue and not the paper and with photo paper you have to let it dry as well,  just like paints, or it can smear easily.  


When printing make sure you have a high DPI selected if your are trying to reproduce quality pictures as well.  Most printer drivers tend to default to low res/draft, quick printing mode and thus low DPI's.


I personally use Kodak photo paper but I got lucky and scored about 30 packs of it when a stationary store closed its' doors.  

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For photo paper, you can look for inkjet paper sample packs at Amazon or B&H (among others). It looks like Hahnemühle and Ilford have packs and they're both very well-respected brands. 


I wish I could be more helpful, but the photo printing I've done hasn't been recent. Today I use either Sam's Club or Costco, which have quite good printers. For really high-end stuff I use dedicated photo printers like Mpix.


When I had a color inkjet printer, I would have looked for a clogged print jet for the streaking problem you're having. For grain problems, make sure that the file is clean and set to a high-enough resolution. Depending on the camera and lighting, you can get moderately nasty digital noise, especially in dark areas. This can be largely fixed with post processing. Also, make sure you have the printer set appropriately for the kind of paper you're using.


I'll note that it's exactly the kind of problems you're having that have gotten me away from printing my own stuff. When inkjets work well, they work brilliantly, but they're fiddly and very expensive to run. And if you don't use them very regularly, they get much worse.

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Unsurprisingly, Doug hits the major points on the subject, with Robinh supplying a key troubleshooting step.


When I was hired at the library, they had an inkjet at every public and staff workstation! Second thing I did (after fixing the network) was ditch all those and install two networked laser printers.


As Doug says, inkjets can provide some of the best images, particularly dye sublimation printer. But they're the worst printers to maintain (and I've had them all back to early dot matrix) and $$$ if you're not using them regularly as the ink is expensive and begins drying out as soon as you open the package.


I'm lucky enough to get low cost prints at work on a solid ink printer (high tech crayons), but for 'real' printouts I use a photo studio in town. I've tried to convince my mom to give up her quest for an inkjet, she lives two blocks from a library! Bonus: if there's a quality issue, it's on the library to fix it, and they should refund any printing costs for the bad prints (at least that's how we do things here...customer service!)

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