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May 30th 2012 2:38 pm

Is it time (for me) to give up on photo printers?

Let me preface this by saying, I like to print out the photos I take with my smartphone and stick them up on a corkboard or wall.

I have generally printed my own photos at home. My current printer of choice is the Kodak ESP 7, with its low ink cost and multitudes of connectivity (pictbridge, usb, wifi, ethernet). It prints great photos as long as you pick decent paper and have enough ink in the cartridges.

However recently, I feel like it is more expensive to run than printing out photos at Walmart or similar (I havent figured it out yet, but I intend to by the end of this post). I dislike how much room my own printer takes on the desk, but the convenience of being able to print from home is quite nice.

Lets do some math based on say 200 photos.

$0 - Kodak ESP 7 (owned already)
$15.53 - Kodak 10B/10C black and colour ink cartridges - claimed 425 "page" output for $33 cost
$27.10 - Kodak Picture Paper, Soft Gloss, 4" x 6", 100/Pack ($13.55 x 2)

= $42.63 for 200 photos

Walmart 200 photos with glossy finish, I forget what paper they use but I believe its also Kodak

= $40.00

Snapfish claims 9c per photo. I haven't used them before

= $18 + Shipping?

The unknowns:
-The actual ink output of the cartridges. Based on the pictures themselves
-How much photo paper I waste because of a bad print

So after this long post is the focus of this. Is anyone beating the retail prices? What setup do you use? Is it time for me to retire printing my own photos?

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I gave up printing my own pictures a long time ago. But the truth is that the cost effectiveness will vary from person to person. Stopping by my local Walgreen's is a regular occurrence for me so it makes sense to get the pictures there. I love the fact that I can order whatever size I want. I don't have to worry about my printer running out of any particular kind of ink. Most importantly, I can reject the output and demand a reprint without it costing me anything. For one-off pictures, I might just print it at home for convenience. Otherwise, having someone develop them for me is the way to go, IMO.
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