Finding the right photo printer is not as easy as it sounds. There are so many models with so many different features. It makes the choice extremely difficult. Since printers come in all shapes and sizes, from weeny little travel printers to giant-sized graphic printers, with multi-function models thrown in to make the process of choosing even more fun, the final decision must be based on the particular needs of the buyer. Most individual printers that produce quality prints are now ink-jet models, while laser printers produce fast results but are not as good in the image quality category.
For the digital photographer who wants to print color photographs, all the features must be considered. There is ink selection, which can be a daunting process in itself. Then there is the selection of printing paper, which varies from one printer to the next. There is also the option of choosing a thermal dye printer which produces images that are more stable for handling and moisture damage.
If you are a photographer who also does other tasks with the printer, you may want to select a multi-purpose printer that can handle office and photography needs.
Dedicated Photo Printers
Dedicated photo printers are great for those who want a printer that can print 4 x 6 snapshots easily and quickly. Most can handle printing directly from the camera or the camera's storage card. In addition, you can do some cropping and color or contrast adjustments. Prices for these small printers are quite economical, and they put the ease back into photo printing that was once handled by dropping off a roll of film at the local print shop. Cost for printing is $0.20 to $0.27, which is more than some of your local print shops, but the convenience may be worth the price.
Ink-Jet Photo Printers
Most buyers will purchase a multi purpose printers that can handle their photos with excellent quality. Printers in this category can print both photos and office documents. They can also have other functionality such as scanning and faxing. Technology has improved these types of machines tremendously over the past few years so that the quality is greatly improved in the area of photographs.
Finding the right fit is really a combination of budget and quality considerations. Many of the really good printers have a down side in the cost of ink, which drives up the cost per photograph. However, the excellent quality and convenience of having on-the-spot prints may be enough to off-set the costs.
Printing good photos requires a good photo printer as well as good ink. Every manufacturer recommends using their own ink. Of course, you can save lots of money buying off-brand ink. The question is, does the quality of the prints suffer when using these third-party inks? The answer is usually, yes.
Paying the premium price will give you much better results. Another consideration when selecting a photo printer is the way the ink is packaged.
There are photo printers that have more than one color in the print cartridge, and when one color is depleted, the whole cartridge has to be replaced, thus wasting the ink that is left.
Typically, a printer with 6 individual cartridges will give better quality and economy than one with less cartridges. Also, if you plan to do lots of printing, you can purchase a printer that allows external tanks to supply the ink. With external tanks, you can simply add to the ink supply rather than buying new cartridges. This can be a significant savings.
The Best Printers
Scanning your Sunday newspaper is not the best way to find your next printer. You will get a much better feel for the right choice by going to the online stores where you can read user reviews. Buyers are not shy about expressing their opinions of products they had either good or bad experience with.
As you do your research, it may become apparent that more people end up with three brands of photo printers. Canon is the first choice. Epson is the second leading choice. And HP is the third choice as far as popularity. Within these three manufacturers, you will discover that there are many satisfied buyers. However, not every product produced by these three is a 5-star printer. Make sure you study the reviews to find the photo printer that will do the job for you.