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Are You Using The Best Photo Printer For Home Printing?
Many photo printers available to us now produce images of a quality that, not so long ago, would only have been attainable through professional printing companies.
But how do you sweep away the jargon and work out which is the best home photo printer for your needs? These basic facts and key pointers will provide some clarity and help you make sense of what's required for creating amazing prints.
Basic Printer Types
- Solid Ink Printers
These are often used in office environments for printing colour images. Sticks of ink are melted before being applied to the paper, leaving a waxy finish.
- Toner Based Printers
Again frequently used in offices, with very fast print speed.
- Dye Sublimation Printers
These are expensive pieces of kit, which produce good results for colour photography using a dye that is transferred on to paper.
These printers represent the best balance of quality and price for the general consumer.
Thousands of drops of ink are squirted on to the paper, giving great results for colour photography.
Price of the best digital photo printers
You don't need to break the bank! There's no need to spend more than a few hundred dollars these days for a top notch photo printer. (You can even calculate quite accurately how much it will cost you to run a printer, since ink is often sold with reference to the number of possible prints)
Spending more would only be necessary if you have a special requirement, such as to produce a large photo print on A3 paper, produce professional standard work or travel with a more portable piece of equipment.
Selling Your Prints...?
(The Canon Pixma Pro 9000)
If you are, in fact, on the lookout for the best digital photo printers for producing A3, professional quality images, I would recommend checking out the Canon PIXMA Pro9000.
It has 8 cartridges providing unbelievable picture detail and supports heavy fine art, archival papers. Printing large A3 posters is aided by a mechanism to prevent the paper from curling. This is a really great piece of kit for anyone who sells prints!
In a similar category is the Epson Stylus Photo R2880. It's a fantastic printer, supporting 8 ink cartridges, holding 120 sheets of paper, capable of printing at A3 and with 5760dpi x 1440dpi. Not bad and definitely worth considering!
Print quality of the best digital photo printers
The number of ink cartridges used by an inkjet photo printer is really crucial to the quality of images it can produce.
Inks usually come in their own individual cartridge; don't buy a printer where they aren't - you'll pay a fortune replacing the single cartridge as soon as the first colour runs out, wasting what remains of the others!
There are normally between 4 and 6 cartridges in home photo printers.
Printers work on a colour model known as CMYK - cyan, magenta, yellow and ('key') black.
These basic starting colours are sufficient to produce an impressive colour range when mixed together, and enable smooth graduation between different colours.
So, less than four cartridges will not provide the basic components for a satisfactory printing process. The very best quality photo printers use more than six - but there you're getting into seriously high quality reproductions, which of course comes at a price.
(Canon Pixma MG5250)
A brilliant photo printer with 6 ink cartridges (superb quality!) for a bargain price is the Canon PIXMA MG6150.
It turns out amazingly accurate images thanks to the colour range afforded by 6 cartridges. It's really intuitive to use, with a simple touch system. It is also WI-FI and enables photo prints from movies stored on your digital camera. So well worth a snoop if you're searching for a good printer.
Another feature of photo printers to look out for is the resolution, or dpi (dots per inch). Dpi means, literally, the number of little dots of ink a printer can make on a piece of paper, within 1 inch. Clearly, the more dots the more vivid and detailed an image.
The dpi of a printer will usually be more than the resolution of the image being printed (ppi - pixels per inch).
Inkjet printers generally offer 300 - 600 dpi, so bear this in mind when choosing yours. It's often difficult to notice the increase in quality once the dpi of a printer goes beyond 600, so it's rarely worth splashing out for more.
The Epson Stylus Photo RX640 is well worth looking at for anyone interested in producing highly detailed prints from a home photo printer. The quality is top notch and there's a scanner and photo copying machine thrown in for the bargain!
The simplicity factor
Everyone has their own preferences in this regard. The best photo printers are not necessarily those with the most bewildering array of functions and technical add-ons.
Personally, I like printers to be as simple as possible, whilst allowing me to attach them to a computer and use Photoshop or other software to edit my images before printing them out.
For those who like digital camera photo printing to be as unfussy as possible, there are many printers offerng the route 1 option of plugging in your camera and printing straight off, by-passing any processing through computer software completely.
(Polaroid Pogo Digital Printer)
Just attach your camera or phone and print pictures straight off - with a sticky back for slipping into scrapbooks and albums!
Definitely one of the best digital photo printers for simplicity.
Manufacturers of the Best Digital Photo Printers
There are four leading companies that dominate the world of inkjet printers for home printing:
I thoroughly recommend choosing a printer from one of these manufacturers.
Not only do they produce the best quality equipment, but finding replacement ink cartridges and photo paper will be a great deal easier. With each company's printers being designed for use with their own make of paper and ink, this is fairly important.
To get the most out of the best digital photo printers you need to choose the right printer paper to use.
Quick and easy, professional and high quality. Take a look at my reviews of the best online photo printing companies I've tried out so far!