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Photo Printer Reviews

Epson 3800 1Which Photo Printer Should You Buy?

OK you’ve bought a digital SLR. Now you want better photo prints.

 So what should you buy?

There are a bewildering array of “photo” printers to choose from: Epson, Canon, HP and others.

Which produce the best prints,
and which are cheapest to run?

Ink changePhoto Printer Basics 

Ink Types: Most inkjet printers use dye based inks. These give bright colours and are cheaper to buy, but can fade quite quickly. Professional photo printers use pigment inks, which resist fading but are more expensive and some don’t work as well on glossy paper, although lustre is usually fine.  Pigment ink printers - the art establishment call them giclee printers - are becoming more common.

Number of Inks:  For photo printing, more is better. Extra inks give smoother tones and more accurate colours. Many 4 ink printers are fine for holiday snaps, but serious photo printers can use up to 10 inks, which will give superb colour or black and white results, but are very expensive to run. If you buy one of these you’ll need another cheaper printer for day to day documents etc. Canon produce some excellent 5 ink printers which are cheaper to run and a good compromise if you only want one printer, and Epson and HP produce mid range 6 ink photo printers.


 

Photo Paper Basics

Getting the very best quality prints of your photographs depends not only on your printer and ink, it depends a great deal on the quality of the paper you use. Many cheap photo papers are terrible, but there are many great independent photo papers out there. Most work fine with Epson printers, some work well with Canon photo printers, but hardly any independent photo papers seem to work with hp printers. So which paper should you use with your photo printer?

 

After choosing the photo paper that works best for you, should you stick with the manufacturer’s own  inks? Many independent inks are much much cheaper. Does it make a difference?

Epson 3800 1Epson Stylus Pro 3800 

After a lengthy demonstration at a trade show I decided to buy an Epson stylus Pro 3800 A2 photo printer. The main selling point was actually ink costs, rather than the increase in maximum print size, which considering pretty well all A3 photo printers do up to A3+ or Super A3, isn’t as big a jump as you might think. However the ink tank capacity of 80ml, compared to about 10ml in most inkjet cartridges, is a huge benefit.  Yes the cartridges are more expensive at about £ 35 each, but that’s roughly 3.5 times the cost per cartridge for 8 times as much ink. 

Epson Stylus Pro 3800 Review

Epson 1400 1

Epson Stylus Photo 1400

Epson’s replacement for the much loved 1280 / 1290 / 1290S is an excellent printer if you want a smallish quantity of high quality photo prints.

The downside is the cost and availability of ink cartridges for it.

Epson Stylus Photo 1400 Review

Canon Photo Printers Pixma iX4000 and iP5200

Canon Pixma iX4000 Review

How does Canon’s A3+ photo printer bargain the Canon Pixma iX4000 inkjet printer compare?  

Does having only four inks really make a difference?

© David Gold
All text and images copyright David Gold 2006 - 2011
and must not be reproduced in any way without permission.
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