Monday, February 2, 2009

Your Best Prints Ever

Damian Greene Published in Printing
Your Best Prints Ever

This Article Features Photo Zoom
best printsNothing gives a photograph more impact than a high-quality print. Printing today is easier than ever, with a number of options available for lab-quality prints on a wide variety of media types, but selecting the right printer, paper and ink type for your needs is more complicated. The good news is that it’s hard to go wrong with any of the major printers as long as you choose the one that’s most suited for your type of work.

Printer Considerations
Your first task is to select the right printer for you. The most popular printers today are the 13x19-inch models (see the sidebar for some of the best choices). Small enough to fit on most desks, but large enough to print an 11x14 or larger print, these can be considered the “sweet spot” in inkjet printing.

Photo inkjet printers offer two kinds of ink systems: dye-based and pigment-based. Dye inks tend to print more vibrant and saturated colors, better than a pigment printer (although this gap is closing with the latest pigment inks), and lend themselves well to traditional RC (resin-coated) photo papers like gloss and satin. Pigment ink printers can print to almost anything you can feed through the printer, including fine-art papers like watercolor, canvas, backlit film and even cloth.

your best prints ever
HP Photosmart Pro B9180.
your best prints ever
Epson R1900.
Create stunning 13x19-inch display prints on demand in your digital darkroom with the latest wide-format printers. Sophisticated ink sets deliver rich colors and dramatic black-and-whites with life spans of 100 years and more!
Your ink and paper choices also affect the archival life of your prints. The numbers you’ll see listed indicate how long you can expect your print to last before it begins to show noticeable fading. Dye inks have a typical life of 40 to 100 years, depending on the paper used and how the print is displayed. You’ll get the longest life by storing in a dark location, but that sort of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

Pigment inks typically last longer, with most offering a life of well over 100 years and often more than 200 years. Given the much longer archival life and wider range of compatible media, why wouldn’t everyone choose a pigment printer? Dye ink still wins the contest for the most saturated colors. The bottom line is that before you buy a printer, ask your retailer for print samples and compare them to see which you prefer. There’s no substitute for making a firsthand comparison.

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2 comments

  • Comment Link Bill M Friday, February 27, 2009 posted by Bill M

    I must say that I am somewhat annoyed. Neither the article in the magazine nor this online version included the sidebar that is referenced in paragraph two of the article. A little substandard from a magazine that I have come to respect.

  • Comment Link Richard Kennon Friday, February 20, 2009 posted by Richard Kennon

    I purchased an HP B8850 printer and discovered that Application Managed Colors print out as mud. An HP rep told me they don't have a plug-in for Photoshop Elements.

    Is there a solution to this problem?

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