While digital photography is undoubtedly more convenient to film photography, there are a couple of areas where film photography has a real advantage. The main reason I am thinking of (and is probably obvious from the title of this post) is the fact that when shooting digital, the vast majority of photos are never printed. While we would probably never consider printing every photo we take, it is nice to have something tangible and to be able to hold that special image in your hand.
About a year ago I bought a Canon Pixma iX6550, which set me back about £150. This isn’t at all bad, considering it prints borderless A3 and other printers with this feature cost significantly more. It doesn’t do scanning/copying/faxing or have wireless connectivity but none of this was a deal breaker as I wanted it simply for printing. I soon realised however that printing A3 photos uses up a significant amount (to put it mildly) of ink.
A set of ink cartridges would cost about £40 and to be honest didn’t last long. Some research later, I decided it would be much cheaper to buy a continuous ink system. This cost me about £90 because I went for the one with slightly more expensive pigment ink and took about half an hour to fit to the printer. I am however amazed at how much more efficient this method is, I have printed hundreds of documents and hundreds of photos (mostly 4×6 inches but a few A3) and I haven’t come close to using up the ink in the system (plus refills are cheap). I would recommend continuous ink flow systems to anyone who prints (or is interested in printing) their own photos. It saves a huge amount of money, is easy to refill and I think the photos printed with this ink look significantly better than those printed with the branded Canon ink. The whole set-up was pretty straightforward and cost under £250, which is about the same price as a cheap-ish lens so it might be worth considering if you are in the position I was in!