Need a good photo printer with low ink replacement cost

Help please! I'm an amateur photographer, moving towards fine art photography and looking for a new printer. I don't want a high end designated photo printer - not there yet. I'm looking for a printer that prints reasonably good photos, prints documents (minimally - this is for basic home use), and scans; don't care about a fax. Willing to pay more than the cost for your basic all in one printers, @$400 or so, but not into the thousands of $$$. I've done a fair amount of research but keep hitting dead ends.

Here are my questions and dilemmas: The biggest issue is with the cost of replacement ink cartridges. The last printer I had was an HP and worked pretty well until I started printing photos, then the nightmare began. Very long story short, I was only able to print apx 20 photos and then had to replace the tri-color cartridge and because i had to leave the black cartridge in while printing photos even though the black ink was hardly being used, it had to be replaced if the tri-color had to be replaced. Only getting apx 20 photos and then having to replace all cartridges is not financially sustainable for me. However, I've looked at HP's most current printers that require a tri-color cartridge + a black cartridge and I think you can take the black cartridge out when only printing color (will need to find out for sure). HP also has printers with 4+ cartridges and you only have to replace the cartridge that goes out.
Here's my first question: my understanding is that when printing a color photo, the print will usually pull ink from ALL the cartridges in order to print a color photo, so it seems that even if I were to buy a printer with 4+ cartridges, they'd all be going out around the same time and having to replace all cartridges at same time would be more expensive than going w/a tri-color printer. Is this correct?

Next Q: HP has an Instant Ink program in which you pay a low monthly fee based on how many pages you print a month, 1 photo = 1 page. I spent a fair amount of time on the phone with them and apparently I can get as many replacement cartridges as I needed within a month as long as I don't go over my page allotment plan. WOW, I thought I hit the jackpot! However, HP's instant ink program is only for eligible HP printers, which don't include any of their Photo Smart printers - I have to wonder if this is a red flag??? I've researched a number of their eligible printers (Envy, Officejet, & Officejet Pro series) and although the reviews are all over the board, most are saying you get mediocre photos at best. Anyone using any of these HP series for fine art photo printing and getting good results?

Next Q: Another printer I was looking at that might resolve the high ink cost is the Epson Eco Tank printer (no cartridges; instead has ink tanks where you pour the ink in and supposedly it lasts a long time and replacement ink is very inexpensive!!!). Again, reviews are mixed in terms of quality photo printing, but mostly bad. Anyone using this printer and getting good photo print results? and if yes, how many photos are you able to print before having to replace the ink?

Next Q: Most brands tell you apx how many text pages you can print per cartridge but no mention of how many photos you can print per cartridge. Does anyone have any information on this?

Last Q: I'm not stuck on any one particular brand, have looked into Canon and a few others, but all seem to have similar reviews of the non-designated photo all-in-one printers - lots of problems and below quality photo prints. Any suggestions, recommendations, and/or advice for a printer that prints good quality photos with little or no problems and that has some type of low cost ink replacement program???? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
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Me too.

So I'm going to skip a lot of your questions and share I asked "Which printer?" a few years ago and the moderators gave a nod to the Canon MX870. It's 6 years old and doing fine. I like the one color per cart design and it works well. Is the ink cheap enough? I don't know but it doesn't seem to be worse than some stories I've read.

My neighbor asked what to buy recently so he picked the current Canon similar to the MX870 from Amazon's best sellers at

I see it's the same MX922 he got last year. He's happy with it and would buy again.

Now if you are looking to get into production printing you'll spend a lot more than 70USD.

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Photo Printer w/low ink replacement cost

Thanks so much for your reply.
Will check out the Canon.

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