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Printers - too much choice - help!


sarahjacintha

Likes # 0

Hello,

I'm going to have to post a lot of questions on this forum soon, so please be patient with me. I'm about to buy a printer and I've no idea which to choose; I'm constantly being told to back up my files by my computer, but it doesn't tell me how; etc. It's not that I'm unwilling to put in the legwork (as it were) in order to learn about computers, but every time I take the time to read about teccy stuff, I forget it 5 minutes later. I would love to be a geek but I'm afraid it's just not gonna happen.

Anyway, I've done a lot of reading of 'Amazon' reviews of wireless all in one printers (which is what I'm after) and each time I come across one that looks genuinely well rated, some comment about 'ease of set up' etc puts me off.

I'd like one whose wireless capability really does work (I've heard some of them just don't), I need a printer that isn't prone to paper jam issues (had a few of those) and, lastly, I would like to scan some old black and white photos onto my computer, mess with them a bit, then print them out as a surprise for my sister. As I don't have 'Photoshop' (or whatever it's called), can anyone recommend a printer that will be helpful in this respect? Bearing in mind I'm not a millionaire!

Hope to hear from someone soon, thanks, Sarah.

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sarahjacintha

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Hello again,

I managed to print out a picture, which was a milestone for me. It was an old black and white 'Photo-Me' booth type picture - a passport sized one. It's of my sister and my brother. My sister loves the picture (it flattered her and captured her in her youth!), but the problem is my brother is making a stupid face beside her and she wants him cropped out of it. Incidentally, 'my sister' is not code for 'me', honest. It's just that she'd always wanted a larger copy, so I thought I'd surprise her.

I've cropped lots of pictures using 'Word', you know the 'picture tools' bit - but that was for 'Clait' type class assignments - could I use a 'Word' doc to print a picture?.

I'm not sure of the best way to proceed with this process. I tried using the control panel of the printer (which was surprisingly easy, in many ways, to grasp). However, it would only 'crop' to a certain extent. When I tried to zoom out, in order to enlarge the area I thought I had cropped. My brother's mush reared its ugly head again.

I used 4x6 inch photo paper. I think that's the largest size I can use without distorting the photo (after all, it was only a cheap passport pic). And I've also scanned the original (the passport size) to my PC. So I've tried 'scanning' and 'copy/restore' photos.

Ideally I'd like to use the PC to crop/re-size/fiddle with pictures and then send them to the printer.

Would really appreciate an 'idiot's guide' please!

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Nontek

Likes # 1

One way to do it, would be to make a spare print of the picture - then go mad with a pair of scissors, then re-scan what is left of the pic minus Bruv!

Then make a final good print.

Though of course, the Purists would say use the Snipping Tool in Win7, or Paint in XP Accessories.

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chub_tor

Likes # 1

Cropping and resizing pictures can be done using many different programmes but the one I have most experience with is Serif PhotoPlus which enables you to "lasso" around a picture and cut it out and then place it on a different background if you so wish. You can also crop to a circle or an oval etc. There is a free version of it Click Here but you will be prompted to upgrade to a paid version. Personally I wouldn't do that straight away, Serif change their software every two years or so and there are lots of bargains to be found if you don't go for the latest version (currently X5 I think). Look on eBay etc. just make sure that it is compatible with your Operating System.

If you are scanning something as small as a passport size photo then go up in resolution as high as you can so that when you enlarge the picture to 6x4 you don't get it blocky. A file size greater than 1.5Mb should be OK for a 6x4 enlargement.

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sarahjacintha

Likes # 0

Hiya again.

Just read over chub_tor's post again and though I was pleased with the 'blown up' version of the passport pic of my sister, I now know what I did wrong. It did end up (a little) blocky because I didn't 'up' the resolution. I didn't really want to start messing around in case I got myself into trouble. I've investigated 'Windows Live Photo Gallery' but didn't find it too user friendly. Also, when I tried the option to re-size a pic, I was offered a selection of 'resolutions' (I think, or do I mean ppi?). To wit: 1024,640 or 800 (Small, medium, custom etc). I didn't think my choice would be so limited. I wanted options in common units of length (eg inches/centimetres).

I also thought the process would be much simpler! Something like this: Windows Live Gallery> 5x5 (my sister wants a couple of perfectly square pictures, rather than the usual rectangular types)> Black and White> Print!

Another thing that perplexed me is the fact that working soley with my printer's interface (the Epson Stylus SX445W) I had to use the 'Copying Documents' function in order to make a black and white print from a colour original, because the 'Copy/Restore Photos' function doesn't give me an option (which seems strange - it lets you crop, and the word 'restore' does imply that you can fiddle about with your photo quite a bit). When you use 'Copying Documents' it takes twice as long as the 'Copy/Restore Photos' function does. So I'm wondering whether using 'Copying Documents' to print a photograph is a no-no.

I sense that I'd have more control over manipulating images (via the printer's interface itself - as opposed to scanning first to the PC) if I used a Memory Card. The guide does seem to give prominence to the things, and I know that memory cards are where it's at these days. But I happen to be wanting to manipulate and copy old original family photos, so it's not so useful to me.

I'm guessing the way to go is to scan pictures to a PC first. I get the feeling I'm not getting the most out of the Windows 7 features automatically installed on my PC - and I'd really like to do this, as (and I don't know if this is an irrational fear) I'm wary of using up 'space' on my PC. Given my requirements, can anyone suggest a Windows program I should get to grips with first? Someone mentioned 'Win Snipping Tool' but I'm not even sure what that is!

Thanks again, Sarah.

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sarahjacintha

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p.s. - I have re-sized pictures on websites before - avatars and that. In that I have gone to 'Properties', right clicked on a photo to make it bigger, just by choosing one of those numbers available - eg 1064, 800 etc - in a kind of 'suck it and see' way. However, I thought that was just something you did for re-sizing pictures found on the web. I know 'Lock aspect ratio' keeps things from skewing.

However, if you have scanned a rectangular picture to your PC - but you want a square version of it printed - will 'Lock aspect ratio' still work?

The paper sizes acceptable to my printer are: A4, A5, A6, and B5. None of these dimensions is square. I'm OK with taking scissors to the finished print to create a square from a rectangular piece of paper - but won't the result be somewhat skewed?

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frybluff

Likes # 1

Always use the maximum resolution available, for editing and printing. You can't increase the resolution, and the only advantage to REDUCING resolution is to reduce the file size, for easier transmission over the internet, or to reduce the storage space required for the photos, in memory. Resolution is only the DENSITY of "dots", it has nothing to do with physical size.

You can use Photo Gallery, to crop photos, by eye, to aproximately square. However, unless your printer supports square photo paper (I'm not even sure you can buy it like that any more), you are stuck with trimming, using a guillotine. I don't know what software you got with your printer. Sometimes that can be the easiest way to do basic editing, like cropping.

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sarahjacintha

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Me again. Bad news. The front 'control panel' bit of the printer has dropped off. It seemed to have been merely glued on anyway. I stuck it back on and it stayed put for another few days until it fell off again. I had read of this type of occurrence in one online review - but the others were mostly very positive and for the price, I thought 'sod it - maybe that punter was unlucky.'

It appears not. Will take it back to ASDA next week. Shame, I was fond of it.

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Nontek

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sarahjacintha

Hmm, very sorry to note your printer problem with the control panel, I have exactly the same model and am very pleased with it indeed.

You should be able to get a replacement from ASDA - but do not accept a repair or refurnished item!

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Nontek

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Ooops - refurbished item .............

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rickf

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I have the Epson PX720WD and I think it's a fantastic printer. Very good prints and reliable to date. Very easy to set up. Just follow instructions from the installation CD.

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