I bought two new I-macs last month and they didn't like the Elements 2 or 3 programs used on my Epson 3200 or 960. So using this as a reason I thinking about the Epsons V500 and 1900 for my Christmas present but for my wife and son I'm thinking about an all-in-one unit. I've been looking at the upper end of Canon MP620 and MP980, HP 6380, Epson Artisen 700 and 800, and Kodak ESPs. These are new units and don't seem to be in the stores yet. Have you or someone you know out there been playing around with a unit? I know they don't have the horsepower of the individual units but still for school and home projects they seem to hit the mark. I'm just trying to make up my mind. Any information or insights would be appreciated. Thank you.
When it comes to reproducing photographic images all-in-one scanner/printers can and usually are quite limited, like not providing a facility to scan film, or to print photographs with quality comparable to a dedicated photo printer. Their purpose and market is home/office functions and convenience. Like making a copy of a letter or document like a bill or receipt, for instance.
The convenience comes at the price of photographic capabilities and performance usually.
I was of the same opinion as you but after looking at MP980, HP C8180, and Artisan 800. I began to rethink my position. They are using photographic inks and their resolution specs are respectable. Kodak uses their pigment colors on their ESP models. Canon even states that their MP980 can scan film. These are a couple of reasons that got me interested in the all-in-one photo printer/scanner/copier. Yes they are intended for the home user but they might just replace the lower to mid level individual printer and scanners.
I doubt that an all-in-one will replace a dedicated photo/film scanner or a photo printer. I get the information on all these new products myself and although they are getting better, they are not competitive with the stand alones yet by a ways. Plus, I think the convenience has a risk, if either the scanner or the printer part of the all-in-one goes south, you have to replace the whole thing.
Today you can do all the things a all-in-one does with separates almost as easily with the software currently available, so that convenience factor is really minimal.
Plus, you can often get printers that are very good for next to nothing as a tag along incentive to some other purchase. I just got Canon's best letter-size photo printer free as an add on to another purchase - can't beat free.