best photo printer

What would be the best photo printer/general purpose printer I could get for say under $300 bucks.  Quality over speed.
rspar1Asked:
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WakeupConnect With a Mentor Specialist 1Commented:
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
I have been very pleased with the 2 Epson printers I bought, first a Stylus Color 600 about 4 years ago, and recently a Stylus C80.  The C80 is ~$170 (less $30 rebate offer, check www.epson.com to see if that is still going on)  The prints are great, very difficult to tell the difference from original photos.  Epson really targets this printer as more of an Home Office product, but it truly is great for general usage.  The black/white prints are also very sharp, and really fly out (full page of text in ~5 seconds or so, via USB).

There of course will be many more comments on your question, but there are a few things to look for and remember:

* The right paper can make a huge difference!  Using the cheapo no-name "Xerox" paper to print photos will be a disaster; you need to use heavy-weight inkjet paper that is designed for printing high-resolution photos.  Generally, if your printer maker also sells branded paper (Epson and HP do, others may as well) that would be the paper to use.  This is especially true on Epson printers.  In general, the old adage is true, "You get what you pay for".

* Whatever printer you choose, do yourself a favor and get one that has separate ink tanks for each color.  This can save alot on ink costs, which get to be the main expense of printing with an inkjet printer.  On the majority of inkjets, all the colors are in one cartridge, with a separate black tank.  If for example the Red (Magenta) runs out, but you still have 50% of blue and 30% of yellow, too bad you have to pay $20-40 for a new ink cartridge. With separate tanks, you just replace the Red (Magenta) and you keep going.  The Epson C80 I mentioned has this, as do many of the other photo printers Epson sells.  The newer Canon inkjets also have separate ink tanks.  I'm not sure if HP's inkjets have this feature...The ink cartridges are where the company really makes its money on these printers.

I hope this helps you in making your decision!  I would really recommend the Epson C80, its nice, quiet and fast!

-dog*
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bgaskeyCommented:
As I understand it HP is generally about 6 months ahead of the curve on printer technology. However you are going to pay a premium price for any HP printer ( as well as the cartrages). I would suggest a high quality epson for bith small amd medium work. The new Epson inks are water-fast and do not fade in sunlight. Thier drivers also seem to be a little more standard than HP'sas far as installation.

 Lexmark's Z53 is also a very high quality printer for the price (around $150). The people in Digital Imaging Magazine rave about the exelent quality of the lexmark and wha a bargain it is.

Good luck to you...
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WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
Bqaskey, the general rule of thumb is to not post as an answer but as a comment so other people will be able to see the question and also pitch in there ideas.  If the user sees fit they will accept your comment as a good answer.
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