Wishful Inking: Whatever your preference, there’s a printer for you
HP OfficeJET Pro K8600: Super Size Prints:- You’ll have to be serious about printing your own enlargements, or else running your own design studio or publishing company to justify the desktop space demanded by this remarkably affordable A3 printer.
The K8600 doesn’t have the richness of a dedicated photo printer and images are on the grainy side, but it’s as crisp and colourful as its smaller counterparts. Finding A3 photo paper isn’t as hard or as costly as you might think – try wholesale paper shops for a good deal.
Not the best print quality, but it would suit a semi-pro studio set-up.
Specs:- Print speed- 15ppm, Ink tanks- 4, Connections- USB, Resolution- 1200×1200dpi, Size- 610×420x223mm, 1.2Kg
Canon iP4600: The Desktop Darkroom:- The larger of the two Canons on test here hooks up to a PC, Mac or camera via USB, and has two ink types, dye and pigment, for photos or text. You can also use it to print designs onto CDs and DVDs.
Although the photo ink engines is a simple four colour CMYK affair, the results are on a par with lab 6×4s. The ultra-fine print head produces an incredible amount of detail, although the Epson just edges it on colour balance and black depth.
Techplore Says:- No Wi-Fi or card reader, just top-quality image processing.
Specs:- Print speed- 22ppm, Ink tanks- 5, Connections- USB, Resolution- 9600×2400dpi, Size- 431×296x153mm, 570g,
Canon Selphy ES3: Convenient:- This little bag of tricks has its own carry handle, a 3.5 inch preview screen, can take special silver and gold inks, has 1 GB of internal memory for storing photos to be reprinted later, and connects up via USB, an array of card readers or Wi-Fi.
The slow print process starts by shooting paper out of the bottom, turning it 90 degrees and feeding it up and down the body three times. It’s a shame the prints aren’t eye-catching, lacking sharpness and colour accuracy.
Techplore says:- Highly portable, very well featured but not quick.
Specs:- Print speed- 0.75ppm, Ink tanks- 1, Connections- USB, multiple card readers, Resolution- 300×600dpi, Size- 225×226x138mm, 2.1Kg
Epson PX800FW: The Home Office:- This standalone all-in-one mini office has it all: printer, scanner, fax (remember them?) and paper trays for A4 words and 6×4 pics. And it all happens over Wi-Fi or Ethernet for every computer in the house, with Bluetooth an optional extra.
We’d buy this printer for geeky pleasure its touchscreen brings as it swings noiselessly into place on dampened hinges. But there’s a better reason: everything it does, it does well. Print quality is awesome, the scanner is great and even networking is easy.
Tecplore says:- Not just a jack-of-all-trades, but a master too.
Specs:- Print speed- 40ppm, Ink tanks- 6, Connections- USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth (optional), multiple card readers, Resolution- 5760×1440dpi, Size- 550×250x501mm, 1.3Kg
HP Officejet H470: Travelling Reps:- Battery power frees the H470 to work wherever you go. Optional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adaptors are available to supplement the USB and card readers. A separately available in-car power adaptor makes it ideal for knocking out last-minute meeting handouts in the motorway services.
Text and PowerPoint-style presentation graphics come out well, but photo prints have noticeable grain and occasional paper feed issues lead to banding. The small ink tanks are quickly drained by photos.
Techplore says:- Portable, but more business than pleasure.
Specs:- Print speed- 18ppm, Ink tanks- 2, Connections- USB, Wi-Fi (optional), Bluetooth (optional), Resolution- 1200×1200dpi, Size- 340×164x81mm, 209g
CMYK- CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (yes, we know Black stands witha B). These are the inks used in standard four-colour printing, such as in magazines.
PPM- Pages Per Minute- the numbers of sheets the printer can output in 60 seconds, here based on colour text.
DPI- Dots Per Inch – the number of detail points in each linear inch.
1. Calibrate your screen- Depending on how your screen is set-up, your prints can come out looking very different on paper. Try the tools at lagom.nl to match your screen to your printer.
2.Wait! Even with printers that claim instant drying, laying one photo on top of another before thay’ve aired almost always leads to them sticking together.
3. Try the high street- It’s usually cheaper to get your photos processed on the high street than at home. When printing yourself, use the print preview feature to avoid wasting expensive paper.