8 Best Photo Printers | June 2017

8 Best Photo Printers
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. The old wisecrack, "Take a picture; it'll last longer," seems less and less meaningful in today's ephemeral photography landscape, in which an excellent photo is posted to the internet and quickly forgotten. With a high-quality photo printer in your home, however, you can create tangible evidence that those moments existed, and hang that evidence elegantly on your walls. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best photo printer on Amazon.
8
The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2 allows you to add templates and different effects to your photos and print them directly from your smartphone or tablet. Its new laser exposure system cuts creation time down to approximately 10 seconds.
  • comes with a rechargeable battery
  • uses 256 levels per color
  • print size is limited
Brand Fujifilm
Model INSTAX SHARE SP-2 SILVE
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0
7
With features like pre-print image optimization and correction, the Canon Selphy CP1200 will help take your images from okay to impressive before they hit the page. It boasts a slew of formatting options, including ID orientation to make your own passport photos.
  • optional battery pack
  • connects with your smartphone
  • paper tends to outlast ink
Brand Canon
Model 0599C001
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
6
Three of the eight dye-based ink cartridges in the Canon PIXMA Pro-100 are dedicated to grayscale for one of the better black and white printing experiences available. Its resolution reaches 4,800 x 2,400 dpi on a 13 x 19-inch piece of paper.
  • uniform ink cartridge height
  • built-in wi-fi connectivity
  • limited bleed options
Brand Canon
Model PRO-100
Weight 53.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
5
The optimum image generating system on the Canon PIXMA Pro-10 helps to more accurately match the image printed to the picture you see on your computer screen by logically selecting the optimum ink combination and placement from within the file.
  • 10 lucia cartridges
  • borderless printing
  • long production times
Brand Canon
Model PRO-10
Weight 55.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
4
The Epson SureColor P600 is a 13-inch-wide format option for creating prints up to 10 feet in length, making it ideal for panoramic compositions. It has a built in CD/DVD tray and it can print directly from your discs, as well as a variety of online services via Wi-Fi.
  • three-level black technology
  • large color lcd
  • no sd card slot
Brand Epson
Model C11CE21201
Weight 43.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
3
The Epson SureColor P400 includes red and orange inks among its eight cartridge set to bring you exceptionally vibrant prints. It has dedicated channels for matte and photo black, so you always get the most accurate representation of the image you've captured.
  • wireless network ready
  • 13-inch-wide format
  • highly smudge-resistant
Brand Epson
Model SureColor P400
Weight 35.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
2
With its maximum resolution of 2880x1440 dpi, the Epson SureColor P800 creates images with exceptional detail and smooth color gradations. Its nine ink cartridge set combines with a MicroPiezo AMC head to produce prints quickly and accurately.
  • makes an 8x10 in under 2 minutes
  • very intuitive interface
  • optional roll feeder
Brand Epson
Model SCP800SE
Weight 57.6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
1
The air feeding system on the Canon ImagePrograf PRO-1000 uses a series of openings on the top of the platen to vacuum-grip your paper, ensuring accurate ink placement by preventing pages from skewing. Its cartridge array utilizes 11 colors and a chroma optimizer.
  • 17-inch-wide format
  • anti-clogging technology
  • exceptionally deep blacks
Brand Canon
Model PRO-1000
Weight 92 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Why Pay To Print?

Even at inexpensive photo processors, paying to have a professional print your images is a costly proposition. If you want significant quality, you're liable to pay out the nose for it, and if you decide to take the discount path, you can't be sure that the processors will effectively recreate the colors and dynamic range of the image you captured.

For these reasons, owning your own high-quality photo printer makes all the difference in the presentation of your work. Never again will you pick up $50 worth of prints from a shop only to find that they've been underexposed or cast with a strange red tint.

The method is simple, but it's important to understand the differences between a good photo printer and the normal inkjet number you use to print your lost cat flyers. In fact, inkjet is one of two ways to get quality photos printed at home. The other method is something called dye-sublimation printing.

Inkjet printing hits your photo paper with a certain number of ink dots in a given square inch. 300 Dots Per Inch (DPI) is a standard baseline for quality, and the best among these printers reaches close to 10,000 DPI.

Dye-sublimation printing works a little differently, as the printer head in one of these puppies gets incredibly hot. Instead of shooting ink onto a page in dots, the hot printer head interacts with thin, filmic sheets of dye in magenta, cyan, yellow, and black. The head literally melts the film and dyes the photo paper itself, one color at a time.

The result of a sublimation process is a dot-free image that is clearer and crisper at any viewing distance. The big downside to dye-sub printing, however, is cost. The printers themselves are much more expensive, and the film dye cartridges carry that costliness on through the years of use.

Printing to The Finish Line

It isn't easy to make a name for yourself in the world of fine arts. Painters, sculptors, photographers, poets, and their ilk usually wind up working as teachers or advertisers before they ever find success as artists. A lot of very talented photographers resort to wedding work because it's such a lucrative business.

For painters and sculptors, I imagine it's especially difficult, as it's more of a challenge to share your work and allow it to have the necessary impact. Photographers, in that sense, have it easy. As long as you have a good quality print you can hand or hang in front of someone, you can get their attention.

How you go about creating those prints is up to you, but choosing the right photo printer can make the difference between impressing the people you need to impress and booking another Saturday with Bridezilla.

For the list we've drawn up, the only dye-sublimation printers we've included are on the smaller side. The technology is still so expensive that we wouldn't recommend it to anyone but an established (read: well-paid) professional. If you want to get your hands on the technology for prints that are 4x6 or smaller, the options on our list are fantastic.

For the rest of us, inkjet is the necessity, and the main thing you want to establish is maximum DPI. The more dots per inch you can cram onto the page, the more crystalline that image will appear. Of course, DPI is irrelevant if you're trying to make an 8x10 print from a picture you took on your flip phone, but most modern smartphone cameras can produce incredibly well-resolved images through any of these printers.

Jet-Powered Printer Races

While the history of the photo printer is closely tied to the history of digital photography, developments in the printing process seem to predate a lot of the advances in the actual image capture. For example, Nikon's first digital camera, the D1, came out in 1999. That's eleven years after the first large-format inkjet photo printer showed its face.

That inkjet printer was the Iris Graphics 3047, and it cost a measly $126,000. A few years later, Epson put forth the first inkjet printer for the average consumer, a model that could render images at 720 DPI. Hewlett-Packard brought their models to market in 1997, and Canon followed them up with their own desktop inkjet printer in 2004. The race has been on ever since.

From those points forward, even to today, inkjet is king. While dye-sublimation printing poses a challenge to it in terms of quality, inkjet has found ways to increase the density of its dots without increasing the cost to consumers to anywhere near the price of a good dye-sub printer.

The irony is that one of the great drivers of inkjet's paper printing technology is a threat to its own existence. I'm speaking, of course, about 3-D printing, which allows companies like Canon and Epson to experiment with endless variations of designs for new printing heads that can deliver tighter, more densely packed inches of ink delivery.



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Last updated on June 16, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


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