Die, Epson, die!

I hate Epson printers. They work great for a month or two, then go to pot without reason. I bought an Epson photo printer years ago and was initially pleased with it. I was trying to get into digital photography more and I had my first decent digital camera (a 2 mp Finepix).

At first I was astounded by the quality and went on a printing rampage that lasted a few weeks. Then, as such things go there was a dry spell where I didn’t really have need to print much out. Then, maybe a month or two later when I finally did start things up again, something had changed. The images that came out of the printer were recognizable but the colors were other-worldly. People had purple or yellow faces, trees could come out in red or blue. You could make the colors a bit better by really screwing around with settings, but it might take 4 or 5 prints to get one that was passably realistic.

No amount of reinstalling drivers, trying to print from different computers, buying new ink, cleaning print heads or sacrificing old toner cartridges to the angry ink jet gods would help. Finally, after repeated calls and emails to Epson I gave up and bought a really cheap Canon just to get printing again. At the time it was the cheapest of the cheap (about $40 if I recall) and the output wasn’t quite as good as the Epson when the Epson actually worked, but for 90% of the quality I had 0% of the frustration.

So about a year ago I bought my current laptop (Macbook Pro) and if you’ve bought an Apple you know they basically offer you a printer for free after a rebate. Thinking it would be nice to replace my scanner and now a few year old Canon with a new Epson all-in-one (CX4600). I had forgiven Epson their sins and welcomed them back home.

But now guess what. A few months later I have yet another printer that it unsuitable for printing out anything but the most abstract of photographs. Even when printing 6-10 mp photos on 4×6 media from the likes of my Nikon D70 and our new Finepix F30 the photos are dark and grainy. Recognizable, to be sure but they look absolutely like crap.

So now I raise my middle finger in your general direction, Epson. A second printer, after changing ink, trying different paper, reinstalling drivers ad nauseum, and trying on both OS X and WinXP, is totally worthless. Please proceed to perish in a conflagration.

I am pleased to report that my replacement, a Canon PIXMA iP4300, does really great work out of the box. Easily the best photo printer I’ve owned, it’s fast, quiet, works great hooked to an Airport Express. It was also only $80 and is, I believe, the cheapest printer on the market that can duplex – great for you tree-huggers.

Here’s my final list:


  • Canon – great Photo and general use color ink jets.
  • Samsung – my ML-2010 laser is rock solid and cheap.

Don’t buy, you idiot!

  • Epson – don’t. ever. buy. Total pieces of crap that go bad after a few months and worthless tech support.
  • Lexmark – don’t get me started on these guys. They advertised Linux support, then when you get the unit home and you try to download the drivers they say, so sorry, we were just kidding. Maybe the printers are OK, but I won’t take companies lying to me.