Despite the tendency to view images digitally, there’s nothing quite like the look and feel of a print. The quality and longevity of prints has reached a point where we can output stunning images on an almost limitless assortment of substrates. Traditional darkroom prints are emulated with Baryta papers while fine-art, glossy, metallic and other media are designed to more varied aesthetics than ever before. Whether you’re printing for clients or a fine-art exhibition, or simply to create a beautiful image that will be displayed on your wall, you’ll find a printer that meets your needs (and budget). Here are a few options that cover a range of possibilities.
CANON PIXMA PRO-1
A staple in Canon’s inkjet printer line, the PIXMA PRO-1 is a pigment printer that utilizes a Lucia 12-ink system for creating color and monochrome prints. Output sizes range from snapshot-sized 4×6 inches up to 13×10-inch prints. Cross-platform-compatible, this 60-pound printer is capable of printing on CDs/DVDs, as well as a wide range of substrates. Connectivity includes high-speed USB 2.0, Ethernet and PictBridge, which allows you to print directly from a camera via a USB cable. Capable of print resolution up to 4800×2400 dpi, the PRO-1 can achieve print speeds of up to 2 minutes, 10 seconds for an 8×10-inch color bordered photo. The printer comes with an assortment of software and has a footprint of 27.4×18.2×9.5 inches, so you’ll need to set aside some desk space for this solidly built machine. Estimated Street Price: $1,000.
DNP DS620A DYE-SUB PHOTO PRINTER
Capable of outputting up to 400 prints per hour, this dye-sub printer is perfect for the event photographer who needs to produce large quantities of prints on demand. It’s also great for photo booths at parties, weddings and other large-crowd events. Just set up a fun backdrop, shoot, print and present guests with their images. A 4×6-inch print takes less than 9 seconds, 14 seconds for a 5×7 and less than 17 seconds for a 6×8-inch print. For fun (and profit), the DNP DS620A can even output 2×6-inch strips like the vintage photo booths that populated stores and shopping centers in the 1950s and 1960s. The printer is Windows-only, measures a set-it-up-anywhere 10.8×14.4×6.7 inches and weighs 26.4 pounds. Price: $1,050.
EPSON SURECOLOR P400/P600/P800
Epson rebranded its Stylus Photo line of inkjet printers this year, bringing all of its models under the SureColor global branding umbrella, including the 13-inch P400, 13-inch P600 and 17-inch P800 desktop models. All three offer similar features, including WiFi and Ethernet connectivity, and versatile paper handling including borderless cut-sheet prints as small as 3.5×5 inches—up to 13×19 inches for the P400/P600 and 17×22 inches for the P800. The printers are cross-platform-compatible, and now both Mac and Windows can print panoramas up to 10 feet long! While the P400 and P600 come with a roll feed, it’s an optional accessory for the P800. While the P600 and P800 utilize Epson’s new UltraChrome HD inks, the P400 is compatible with the UltraChrome HG2 pigment inkset that includes red and orange inks for richer colors. This is also designed to save ink since the printer doesn’t have to mix red and yellow inks to produce orange. All three printers offer auto-switching between photo and matte black inks when using different paper types. Estimated Street Price: TBD (P400); $800 (P600); $1,295 (P800).