When choosing a printer to print out digital photographs at home, most of people take into account both the price of the printer itself and the ongoing cost of operation and media: ink cartridges, ink tanks, and photo papers. It's no secret that compatible materials from third-party suppliers are much cheaper than the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supplies. Due to the significantly lower cost of their supplies, third-party suppliers look like a very attractive alternative.
The safest way would be never to use any supplies except those recommended by the printer manufacturer. The recommendations of the printer manufacturers are usually limited to their own supplies. (Why should they recommend the other materials?) I dare to share my own experience with those of you who would venture to abandon the safest way and use third-party inkjet materials.
First of all, you should choose a single third-party supplier. Simultaneous use of inks, photo paper, and color profiles from different vendors will probably not yield acceptable results. Some vendors provide support for their materials. If so, you should be able to find all necessary information regarding the use of their products, as well as recommendations and comments.
To achieve the best results possible, it is absolutely necessary to install proper color profiles in your system. Photo paper and ink vendors usually put appropriate color profiles on their sites and make them available for download.
Select the profile that EXACTLY fits
your make of printer,
the photo paper that you have purchased, and
the inks installed into your printer.
It is worthwhile to first analyze all inkjet supplies that the market offers and pick the one that fits you best - both by cost and by quality of user support.
It's pretty easy to install a color profile into your system. As a rule, vendors tend to accompany the profiles with installation instructions and comments.
The program that prints the photographs is as important for the printing process as the inkjet supply and the printer itself. Every printer ships with such a program. Experience says that printer manufacturers tend to tune these applications EXCLUSIVELY to support their "native" inkjet materials. That problem is the easiest to resolve: You need a third-party photograph printing application that doesn't care whether the materials are native or not.
When using a printer with stationary printhead and separate ink cartridges, I have found that the printer must be given a short rest after replacement of any cartridge. Some air might have penetrated the inkjet mechanism during the replacement of a cartridge, and this could deteriorate photo-printing quality.
As you can see, it is possible to achieve excellent printing results. Just spend a little more time, effort, and money to choose a decent replacement for the OEM inkjet supply and software, and let the stunning quality of your photographs be your reward. Good luck!
Any questions? Suggestions or personal experience in the area of Home Photoprinting that you would like to share? We're waiting to hear from you on our forum!