Thoughts on choosing a photo printer (updated)

Maybe it has been the pandemic, or just timing, but the idea of printing your photographs seems to have some new resonance with photographers. I receive more questions these days than ever before from people who are interested in the idea of printing, but who aren’t quite sure how to even start thinking about buying a photo printer. The questions are varied, many of them along these lines:

  • Which printer should I buy?
  • Doesn’t it cost a lot more to print with your own printer?
  • Don’t photo printers clog all the time?
  • Pigments vs. dyes — does it matter?
  • Epson vs. Canon — who really is the best?
  • Why shouldn’t I just use an online printing service?

This post is an outgrowth of an email that I’ve been sending out to those folks with questions (a variant of this was first published on our sister site, Complete Digital Photography). It includes a few thoughts regarding things to think about when choosing a photo printer — or whether you should just use an online print service for your prints. It’s not intended to be the final word on the matter, but more of a conduit to get people thinking about the idea of printing their work, and the things to consider about the process.

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Enhanced black printing on B9180 & B8850

At Macworld Expo last week in San Francisco, we got a little tip from the folks at Hewlett-Packard about the Photosmart Pro B9180 and B8850 printers, as well as the wide-format Designjet Z2100: when you’re printing on matte or fine-art media, the printer uses both the photo and matte black inks, in addition to the gray ink. The end result is that you get deeper blacks, and much better tonal range in the shadows, especially when working with black-and-white images.

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