i do my best to listen to people who know more than me and try to be informed whenever i purchase something new. recently i had to do a little research because our canon printer pixma 4200 stopped working. it wasn’t a high end printer but not the bottom of the barrel and it lasted about 11 years. i went online and tried to unclog the head but it didn’t do much good, so, after looking around to try to find something that might print “stuff” decided to get an epson xp-640. it looks about the same size as the canon but it is higher. it has a scanner built in ( no transparency lid ) and works as a “copier” and scans to a file. i have never really been a fan of these all in one printers, i thought they were a good way to buy something with “extra stuff” that might not even be useful, and i was wrong. first off, the scanner uses wifi so i don’t need to deal with cables, which is great because i don’t really want all these cables. the ink is pretty affordable. no, i’m not being paid by anyone to say that. with the canon, i was buying all the inks about once every 6 months. it cost me about $70-80 to buy the ink, canon ink, not off-brand that might clog my printer head ( i know, it clogged the head anyways .. ) the epson printer cost less than the inks i would have bought for the canon, and the replacement tanks cost a fraction of what the canon was costing me. when i asked the sales guy, and a friend at a camera store, what sort of lifespan i should get out of the printer and scanner i was told a few years, so i bought the extended warranty too, for a few dollars extra so if something does go wrong, it isn’t pro rated and i get a replacement/$$. i used to have an epson printer, before the canon, and i kind of liked it, so i was looking forward to setting it up and using it. i had a little trouble with the wifi, so i called and someone at epson helped me set it up, and it was painless.
before i bought the printer i talked to a friend i trusted at a camera store and asked him about the scanner. i have been using a 4870 for about as long as i had been using the canon, so i am used to it, and like how it has a transparency lid big enough to scan a 5×7 negative. i have never really had trouble with scans not looking OK, and it has treated me well over the years. i have had problems with it over the years and had to take it apart from time to time. i found information online that helped me when i needed it. i was able to wipe the schmutz out from under the glass and clean it, and i was able to lubricate the scanning bar when it was making a clunky noise. that all happened a few years ago, now i just dodge the little marks on the scan glass and i am used to “dust removal” as a necessity (with photoshop). anyhow i asked my friend what the scanner on the printer was like and he said that it was probably at least as good as the 4870, seeing it was old and the printer/scanner is new. i wasn’t really sure if i should believe him or not, after all sales people like to sell things.
i have a cyanotype i made a few weeks ago and i scanned it with the 2 different scanners, and 3 different drivers. the epson 640 / epson scan 2, ( the bundled software that came with it ) vuescan /640, and the 4870 / epsonscan ( the bundled software that came with it ). to be honest, i thought the scanner was going to be weak, after all it is an “all in one that cost something like 80$ ” so i set the bar low …
i have to admit it scans as good as the 4870, and vuescan is fantastic, i can’t say enough nice things about that product. i bought vuescan BEFORE i bought the 4870 when i had an acer scanner and no driver, so something like 12 years ago i bought vuescan and have updated it flawlessly, over the years.
i’ve made a collage of the 3 scans from the two scanners, and can not tell any of them apart. i originally scanned the envelope at 1200dpi and enlarged the bottom of the glass that says “anchor” and they all looked pretty much the same. i put the vuescan image as the base, the 4870 as the top of the glass ( bottom of the image ) and scan 2 as the bottom of the glass/top of the image.
i guess the moral of the story is that all in one scanner/printers can be pretty nice, even if they cost 80$, maybe have a 2-3 years lifespan and you are a skeptic.