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Looking for a great Photo Printer? James Gapinski from Just Suppositions shares some tips on how to choose one.
Digital photo printers are not only convenient, but they can also save you money on reproduction costs in the long-run. In the short-run, however,you’ll need to spend a couple hundred dollars to get a decent printer, and it can take months for your photo reproduction savings to add up. In order to make sure this expensive purchase is well-worth it, you need to consider several factors when buying a new photo printer.
When comparing printers, you need to keep in mind that there are two basic types. The most common type is the ink jet photo printer; this type is useful if you plan on multi-purposing the printer for document usage. Ink jet photo printers can serve as holistic home printers, letting you print Web pages, text files, and other digital media alongside your photographs.
Dye sublimation printers, on the other hand, are designed only for photography reproduction, and these printers rarely work well when repurposed for printing text documents. Dye sublimation printers produce high-quality glossy prints, ideal for professional photographers. While these printers often create the best quality photos, they are much more expensive and therefore only recommended for people who plan on doing a lot of photo printing at home. For most photographers, lower cost ink jet printers will work just fine.
This is perhaps the most important consideration since a higher resolution will yield better-quality photographic prints. While virtually every printer branded as a “photo printer” will have good enough resolution for casual usage, professionals will want to look for a resolution of 4,800 x 1,200 dpi or even higher if you can afford it. The HP Photosmart D7560 Photo Printer (pictured above right) is a good option with an impressive 9,600 x 2,400 dpi resolution.
Few buyers keep size in mind when making photo printer comparisons; however, size is very important. Smaller, ultra-portable machines may cost more, but they are perfect for on-the-go photographers. The Canon Stelphy Compact Photo Printer is a great small-sized option, as is the ultra-portable Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer (pictured right).
However, if the convenience of a compact unit is not important for your purposes, then you’ll want to actively look for comparably priced bulkier machines offering higher-quality photo printing. For example, the bulky Epson Artisan Multifunction Photo Printer offers higher resolution prints and document printing options for the same price as the aforementioned lower-resolution, yet ultra-portable, models.
Make sure the printer you select is compatible with your digital storage devices. Some consumers mistakenly assume that all photo printers offer the same standard types of connectivity.
Some photo printers, like the extremely versatile Kodak ESP3 or the previously recommended HP Photosmart D7560, have built-in slots for SD cards, MMC cards, MiroDrives, and more. Others, like the previously mentioned Polaroid PoGo, will simply offer direct USB or connectivity. Lastly, some photo printers, like the Epson Artisan, do not feature any type of direct-from-camera printing; however, such models can still be useful if you already do a lot of photo editing on your computer and don’t mind spending a few minutes uploading your images before printing.
While there are several factors to consider when choosing the best photo printer, taking time to diligently consider your options will lead to a better long-term investment. Whether you’re looking for pro-quality, easy portability, or fast connectivity, there is a printer out there that will fit your needs. Now that you know what features to look for, go get that new printer and take your at-home photography reproduction to the next level.
About the Author: James Gapinski is a writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Many of James’ past and current projects involve photography and the arts, including recent grant research at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and guest writer contributions to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Art City blog. James’ blog, Just Suppositions, contains links to many of his past written and photographic works.