Printer ink for photo printers remains one of the most expensive components of home PC use. Back in 2004, it was estimated that the printing cost per 4×6 photo printed at home was approximately $0.70. Factoring in shipping, using an online printing service was cheaper if you ordered photos in quantities of 11 or more. I recommended using InkSaver to trim that cost, but printing at home remained expensive. Longtime film and paper company, Eastman Kodak (EK), has mastered the digital photo space to become the most cost effective solution for printing photos at home.
You can still save money on ink with better management tools like InkSaver, but the economics are much better than they used to be, thanks to the Kodak Easyshare printers. Kodak is currently pricing black ink at $9.99 per cartridge and color ink at $14.99 per cartridge, which is about half the price of ink cartridges for competitive photo printing solutions from Epson and HP. The printer I like best in the new Kodak line is the Kodak Easyshare 5300, which includes a built-in scanner and also handles plain old document printing as well. The color screen on the printer is large enough to easily see what you’re trying to print. The simplicity of sticking a memory card from any camera in the printer and having printed photos in minutes is refreshing – you don’t need to connect this printer to your computer if you don’t want to.
The per photo price of printing at home with a Kodak Easyshare 5300 is closer to $0.40 per picture, which is in the ballpark of sending out for photos to be printed remotely, plus you get the instant gratification of having a photo you can hold in your hand seconds later. Based on the amount of photo printing that takes place in my house, this will be a likely addition to the hardware in the house this holiday season.
Here’s a fairly creative look at the printer from someone who entered a contest on Kodak’s website: