Friday, August 27, 2010

The Great Printer Hunt

Went to the big city of Rutland (pop. 63,000, second-largest city in Vermont) to buy a printer/scanner/copier.

This was no spur-of-the-moment decision, but was preceded by several days of online research, phone calls to printer-owning friends, and marital discussions on just what this machine would be expected to do better than our present serviceable but elderly printer/scanner/copier.

What I wanted--for this was going to be my own printer--was a machine that would make my drawings, whether scanned or copied, bear more than a passing resemblance to the originals.  One that would show the pale, unsaturated colors--light grays, off-whites, barely-there blues--that balance the stronger hues.  One that would reproduce flesh tones so my little people looked alive, without having to sacrifice all the other colors in the painting.  One, in short, that wouldn't make me weep every time the scanned image appeared on the screen.

So it was crucial to choose the right printer.

But how is one supposed to know which is the right printer?  After eliminating the obviously unsuitable ones, you're still left with too many imponderable choices--it's kind of like choosing the right liberal arts college for your kid. 

Looking at the dozens of printers on the internet, I reminded myself of the Third World immigrant I once read about, who became stressed to the point of panic in front of the supermarket bread section, reeling from 100% wheat bread to whole wheat, high fiber, multi-grain, plain white, oatmeal, potato or raisin--all of it fortified, enriched, supplemented and wrapped in variously-decorated plastic bags listing dozens of ingredients and nutritional values and bearing warnings about dangers of suffocation.

At some point, that immigrant must have just grabbed a loaf and gone home, and that is what we did today--we grabbed a printer and brought it home.  We did, while at the store, make copies of one of my originals on a couple of machines, and we compared them to the copies we had made on our printer at home. 

I'm pretty sure that the new printer--a Canon Pixma 560--will be better than the old one, though the technology still has a long way to go before it approximates the human eye.  Still, I must not, as we say in Spanish, ask the elm tree for a pear.  As long as the sight of my scanned or copied images doesn't make me weep, I'll be content.  And when I sigh, I'll do it quietly. 

Now comes the hard part:  reading the instructions, which come enclosed in a plastic bag with--who'd have thought it--a warning in eight languages in four different alphabets.  Here's the one in Italian: 

AVVERTENZA!  I sacchetti di plastica pottrebero essere pericolosi.  Tenere lontano dalla portata dei bambini per evitare pericolo di soffocamento.

Bambini...soffocamento...did you know you could read Italian?

8 comments :

  1. Good choice, Lali. I have a pixima and love it.

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  2. Due espresso!

    I hope you love it. I panic under these (and many shopping) situations.

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  3. So are you going to scan one of your paintings, like the one on the masthead, and give us a side by side comparison? What if your adoring fans all like the earlier "washed" versions?

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  4. Indigo, you'll be reading Dante in the original next!

    mrb, there is always that danger....

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  5. canon pixma is an excellent choice.

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  6. Anonymous, glad to hear it! Can't wait to try it.

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