Yeh printing pics still costs the earth, and therefore I very rarely do it even though I have the excellent Canon S900 printer. I also think there is less reason to have the prints as I just keep copies of all my photos on my PC that is almost permanently switched on and can display them quicker than I could go and find the album tucked in the back of a cupboard.
I have the Canon i9100 (an A3+ printer), and this is stunning and fast. Same deal with inks as last post. Available for £320 ish at Pixmainia.
In combination with my Nikon 5700 (using Nikon NEF format files) it beats 35mm / local processing lab in my view.
I suspect it is probably better than using a lab for my digital photos because I can mess with the image if the print / colours need improving once I see it "in the flesh".
I have several framed A3 prints now. The printer will knock them out on highest quality in about 3 minutes. It has image optimising options in the software that make worthwhile improvements. Good paper is important. Cartridges have a reasonable life for what you get, and as they run out at different rates it doesn't seem to hurt too much paying £7 each time.
(I used to have a crazy lexmark printer with just black & colour cartridges, and just one cost £2.00 more than a new printer! I have 3 for the dustbin now - hardly environmentally friendly).
I understand Epson's new top of the range printer uses pigment based inks that will last for yonks, I think it goes for around the £500 mark.
I love my Canon S900 and agree with alfablue that it's better than using a lab as you have far greater control over what you print.
As far as the comment that Tik made about printing services prints lasting longer, Canon say that, if you use their ink and their paper, then the prints will last 25 years. I really can't believe that professional lab prints will last longer than this.
If you get a printer with separate colour cartridges, then the cost will be lower than one with a single multi colour cartridge.
I worked out a comparison once and too be quite honest there wasn't much in it between doing it myself and using an online service. I personally do my 'everyday' 6x4 prints on A4 (4 to a page). This gives me prints that are virtually 6x4, will fit in an album perfectly and is cheaper than printing on proper 6x4 paper.
When printing one-off prints, unless there's an online printer who don't charge postage, then doing it yourself must be cheaper.
Finally, what cost do you put on the convenience of being able to print what you want, how you want, when you want?
well it turned up today and i must say im well pleased, it was found by xp and win 98 ,prints are fab & ive found the carts for 8 quid each .
a plus side is the memory card reader is ms pro compatable & although it reads about 6 diffrent types of card it only shows as one drive (unlike my dedicated one that mounts a diffrent drive for each card type).
i hav'nt tried it in non pc mode but im going to order another two for work tomorrow
The R300 has the LCD screen and card reader for printing direct from memory cards without needing to boot the PC.
I've just got the R200 to replace my S900 as I need to be able to print directly onto CD/DVD's. Although the R200 is a great printer and even quieter than the Canon, it just isn't quite as good on photos, and is a LOT slower!
To test I've got a print on Canon pro photo paper and the equivelent Epson (basically the test paper that comes in the box with both the printers) and although both are very good, when you put them together the Epson is a little darker. The photo is of a bright sunny day but the R200's pic just isn't as well defined.
Oh well I'll just have to think a bit before I decide to sell the S900.
captain chunk, where did you find the carts for £8? Are they Epson or compatables?