Friday, May 4, 2007
Toolbox: 10 Awesome Photo Printers
From big display prints to fast proofs and everything in between, there’s a photo printer that’s made for the job
Dye-Sublimation Printers. Many mini-printers are of this type, rather than inkjet. With dye-sub printers, a completely different technology is used. Instead of ink cartridges and a print head with thousands of tiny nozzles, a dye-sub printer uses heat to transfer cyan, magenta and yellow dye onto a piece of photo paper. The print head has thousands of heating elements; the hotter the element, the more dye is transferred to the paper.
Dye-sub printers use a three-color process. Each of the three colors is embedded in a separate panel on a roll of transparent film. The color panels are the same size as the photo paper and are pulled over it, one at a time, to make a print. Many printers include a fourth panel of clear protective coating, which is applied in the last step to protect prints from UV light and moisture.
HP Photosmart Pro B8350. The six-color HP Photosmart B8350 (on previous page) is a versatile wide-format printer, great for a home office where you need to print both photos and text documents. It can make photo prints up to 13x19 inches in less than two minutes and serve up text documents at 31 ppm. Integrated HP Real Life technology lets you sharpen photos, remove red-eye and improve color in the printer. HP also has an optional gray cartridge (sold separately) for making black-and-white prints. Maximum resolution is 4800 dpi. List Price: $349.
Canon Selphy ES1. This portable photo printer (upper right) delivers outstanding prints courtesy of Canon’s proprietary DIGIC II processor, providing superb speed, picture quality and color reproduction. Navigate through the menu systems with the adjustable 2.5-inch LCD. Correcting red-eye and exposure can be done automatically in the editing menu. Memory card slots accept most current flash memory cards. Resolution is 300 x 600 dpi thermal dye transfer. A 4x6 print takes around one minute. List Price: $350.
Epson Stylus Photo R380. The six-color ink set of the Epson Stylus Photo R380 uses new Claria Hi-Definition inks for improved photo quality and longevity. Archival rating for this ink when used on Epson’s professional-quality photo papers is more than 200 years. With 90 nozzles per color, the DX5 print head is fast and can deliver droplet sizes that range from 5 picoliters to 1.5 picoliters for rendering sharper images with smooth transitions between light and dark areas. There’s a 3.5-inch LCD to view, rotate, crop and select photos for printing. Maximum resolution is 5760 x 1440 dpi. A 4x6 print (highest quality) takes around 32 seconds; up to 30 ppm black and color text. List Price: $129.
Canon PIXMA iP6700D. The six-color Canon PIXMA iP6700D makes excellent color and monochrome prints from 4x6 inches to 8x11.5 inches. It has an LCD monitor for preprint viewing and fine-tuning of your images. A memory card slot lets you print directly from a compatible card or Memory Stick. The printer drivers can use the exposure information for automatic color management. There are 3,072 nozzles in the print head, and the ink droplet size is 1 picoliter. Maximum resolution is 9600 x 2400 dpi. An 8x10-inch print takes a little over a minute. List Price: $179.
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