A3+/A2 printers

Having decided to get a new A3+/A2 photo printer, I don’t know whether to get one of the new Epsons (P700 or P900) or Canons (Prograf 300 or Prograf 1000).
Do you have any experience of these models?
The smaller ones (Epson P700 and Canon Prograf 300) take smallish cartridges (14ml for the Canon, which is ridiculous), the Prograf 1000 is enormous - 32kg…, so I’m somewhat puzzled… Can you help?

I have an Epson Surecolor P600, which has done excellent service. I got a set of re-fillable ink tanks (from Marrutt) which makes it much cheaper to run.

Professional photographers have advised me that unless you are printing very regularly (most days) you may find the maintenance to ensure optimal printing becomes a tiresome overhead. Of course YMMV


I think that is probably true.

Probably true, but printing is part of the fun - you’re in charge from beginning to end.

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Yes I have learned this the hard way. So I now proof at a4 locally - but main quality print i use a third party for a4, a3 or larger.


I find that getting Large Prints done ‘on line’ is remarkably inexpensive - with no maintenance or inks to worry about.

YMMV, etc… As always


It’s just far better to use a well priced lab than ink jets! I use simlab and an A3 print on Fuji crystal paper is £1.50
The delivery :truck: about £7 with dpd so you get several things done at the same time.
I find I need to darken an image a bit more than usual but it’s an online service and prints returned well packed very quickly.
Buying an expensive machine that takes up space and inking it up is a waste of time. Most photographers outsource like this!!

I have come to a similar decision. I don’t use my printer enough to justify even its initial cost, so I will not be replacing it when it dies.

I would agree the maintenance is a challenge - but big flip side I see printing as apart of the photographic process - at least for me

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Hi @samuel99 as you enjoy the challenge then home printing is absolutely the right choice for you. And there is much to be said for having full control of the whole chain
I just wanted to highlight the downside of larger format printers particularly if they are not used pretty regularly.

“simlab” as per explanation above. A far better solution to pay for high quality prints rather than inkjet. I had my own darkroom for decades but wouldn’t dream of inkjet printer especially with high cost of ink and paper. Needs to be frequently used as well…

The question is, do you always get exactly what you want? And how do you make sure the difference (if any) will be minimal?

I think the top photo printers from the likes of Canon and Epson are all excellent and I would love to have an A2 printer myself, aside from the size of them, but the pain of past experience of running one of the Epson A3+ models stops me. It was great while being used regularly but if it had not been used for a few weeks or even a month or two the multiple cleaning cycles and the then inevitable cartridge replacements that go with all the time and ink wastage on cleaning and priming drove me bonkers.
I would suggest asses your likely use carefully but if you can use it enough to keep the photo quality resolution in good working order they’re a great facility to have.
So in terms of getting what you want, you should have no problem with the likes of Simlab and others (they have Giclee/inkjet service too if you prefer that look/feel) if you have a reasonable monitor that is calibrated and a basic understanding of colour management. But all that is also true of making your own prints without a lot of wastage too.


Have you considered Epson EcoTank photo printers such as:

Suspect Canon now hsve a competing model.

The pro printers relying on small cartridges seem daft if you’ll be printing high volume but will potentislky have better inks/quality.

It will be interesting to see how many of my old printers which have sat idle can still be salvaged, from experience Canon printers at prosumer level were always more tolerant to infrequent use but thr non-pigmrnt inks faded quickly.

Thanks for your replies, all of you.


I don’t know the level of expertise you have in this field, so my intervention is perhaps pointless but before buying anything relative to printers, you need to take some elements under consideration :

1- You need to have and to master the entire ecosystem before buying : a proper mat calibrate monitor (you don’t need 4K monitor), a calibration device if your monitor hasn’t one, or if you need to make your own ICG files and don’t want to rely on manufacturers one.

2- Being aware that photography printing is an art, and like any art it requires some theoretical and practical knowledge : printing a photography and printing a document aren’t the same thing : choosing carefully your paper in fonction of the result you attente the achieve, willing to give lot of your time because you will probably need to adjust every image differently for internet, and for every paper you choose (that’s why I strongly recommend to stick with two paper references). It’s also a budget (quality paper have a cost and you will probably waste some at the beginning of you journey).

I really enjoy printing myself because I tend to consider that a piece of art is only achieved when it’s fixed in some materiality and when you control how people will see it, which is impossible with screen displays and when you let an external operator do it for you.

Best regards



It really depends on photographers and the type of photography they are in. In Art, when they rely on an external operator, they have a real connexion with the person in charge, they interact and they are very precise in their requirement, it’s not the same thing then uploading a photography and waiting the « discover » the result.
For a person that is not professional, or not in an strict artistic path, it’s a very valid thing to do.

Thanks a lot for your interesting contribution. In fact, I’ve had an A3+ printer for about 6-7 years (Canon Pro 1), and I can no longer use it, as it needs a service (ink absorber full). You can’t replace the ink absorber yourself, the printer has to be sent 200 miles away in my case - at my expense, and in its original box. Hence the question about Epson and Canon printers.
I do have a reasonable amount of experience, a calibrated screen, etc., and I share your view that it’s better to be able to control the whole process, choose the paper and so on, rather than send the files to Simlab or any other laboratory. Do you have any experience of the new Canon and Epson printers?

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There used to be ‘hacks’ to reset certain counters like this on older Canon printers so that you could print again and avoid the servicing, thoughts being the counters erred on the safe side - may be worth a web search especially if replacement/repair is not a viable option - little to lose even if it subseqently leaked some ink, just site printer on something suitable.

I used to like the fact that many photo/prosumer Canon printers allowed user replacement of printheads (if you could get them), but having to service as you suggest is not great if you don’t have a local authorised repair service.

Might be worth factoring in however if a proper service might be cost effective if you have a lot of unused ink cartridges which probably won’t be compatible with a newer printer.

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