Digital Photo Printers

It's great to be able to make a slideshow with your pictures, and there are so many really neat storage and viewing devices out there - including key chains that display digital pictures.

But sometimes, you want an actual print to hold in your hand, to mail to someone, or to make a scrapbook. Sure, we have plenty of options when it comes to viewing pictures, but sometimes old-school is the only way to go.

This article will discuss three different digital photo printers in three size/capability ranges, one small just-for-photos digital photo printer; a medium multifunction printer; and a large printer made for printing out large photos.

Small just-for-photos printer

You may not print anything other than photos, and the typical 4 x 6 inch to 4 x 8 inch prints are what you want most. Maybe you make scrapbooks, or maybe to you there's no substitute for a photo you hold in your hand that doesn't rely on batteries or software to view.

If this is you, a Canon Selphy CP760, at around $90, is a nice little digital photo printer. Weighing in at 2 pounds, the Selphy CP 760 runs independently of a computer on AC power.

Instead of inkjets, this digital photo printer uses dye sublimation technology. It makes prints that have no "pixelation" so they look great. The dye sublimation technology basically assigns a certain number of prints to the dye sublimation ribbon cartridge. Once you calculate paper and ink for this digital photo printer, you'll be paying about 29 cents per print. The Selphy CP760 has a touchscreen display and is easy to use.

Mid-range multifunction printer

There may be times when you want to print 8 x 10 photos, and there may be times you want to print out a page of wallet sized or mini-wallet sized photos. Then again, there may be times you want to print out a recipe, or a PDF form to mail somewhere.

Sometimes the best digital photo printer happens to be a mid-range all-in-one inkjet printer. The HP Photosmart C6380 All-in-One Printer prints, scans, and copies (no fax), and is designed to do a good job with photos, printing at up to 9600x2400 dpi.

The Photosmart C6380 uses HP Vivera Inks and a five-color process that gives you quality to match a professional photo printing service. Though it's not exactly portable at 16 lbs., you can use it independently of a computer.

It supports all the major memory cards, and uses a color LCD screen to guide you through the print process. PictBridge cameras can plug right into the printer, for yet another option. These cost around $150, which is a great price, but you should be aware that this printer has been called "ink thirsty" by more than one reviewer.

Large printer for printing out large photos

OK, maybe you are thinking about batting in the big leagues, but you're still not ready to fork over $1,200 for a professional printer. Then the Epson Stylus Photo R1900 might be right for you. These cost around $550, and will make prints of up to 13 x 19 inches at maximum print resolution of 5,760 x 1,440 dots per inch.

The Stylus Photo R1900 uses pigment-based UltraChrome Hi-Gloss ink, and this model includes an orange cartridge. This may not seem significant, but it means that skin tones come out better. In fact, this printer excels in printing colors like dark purples and blues, colors which give some digital photo printers trouble.

It will also print on DVDs or CDs. If you want to do this, you have to buy discs with a special white coating that takes ink. One nice little extra is that the R1900 has both Matte Black and Photo Black ink cartridges and uses the best one depending on what kind of paper you choose in the driver. This printer is noted for its smooth color transitions and the fact that it allows you to set the color management options.

The Canon Selphy CP760, the HP Photosmart C6380, and the Epson Stylus Photo 1900 are good small, medium, and large printer choices. It should be noted that the Canon is only for printing photos, and while the Epson certainly can print text, it was designed to excel at printing photos rather than documents. These three range in price from under $100 to over $500, but all three have been reviewed as being good value for the money.

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