If you’re a photo enthusiast ready to make the leap to creating your own gallery-quality prints at home, the most flexible option is an inkjet printer. After spending a total of 76 hours of research and side-by-side testing during various iterations of this guide, the best inkjet printer for making long-lasting, high-quality photographic prints up to 13 inches wide is the Epson SureColor P600. It delivers professional-quality color prints, black-and-white photographs that are as close to traditional darkroom prints as any comparable digital method you’ll find, and uses pigment inks that produce photographs more fade-resistant than anything you’d typically get from an online print service.
Who should buy this
Getting a photo inkjet printer is not about saving money. But home printing is a great option for photographers who print at least a few times a month, want the flexibility of printing at any time that’s convenient, enjoy selecting from an incredibly wide range of papers on which to print, and revel in the ability to make finely-tuned adjustments to an image after evaluating an initial print. If these possibilities excite you, owning a photo printer can be a very rewarding experience. If you need something to print and copy documents a few times a month, try an all-in-one printer.
How we tested
We looked at ease of use, performance, cartridge size and price, and, of course, print quality. We set up each printer on a home Wi-Fi network and compared speed over cable connections and wireless (the latter were a lot slower). For all other tests, we used a USB connection between the printer and computer.
We printed on both glossy and matte papers up to 13 inches wide using paper stock and (for color images) ICC profilesprovided by the printer vendor. For black-and-white prints, we used the monochrome-only modes in the printer drivers at their default settings, disabling color management options in Photoshop and Lightroom. This delivered the most neutral and color-consistent output from each printer. We printed images at the printers’ default resolutions and viewed prints using professional color-corrected viewing booths. While using the absolute highest settings did, in some cases, produce more detailed results (at the cost of much longer print times), the differences were slight enough that we recommend the default settings for most users.
Our pick: Epson SureColor P600
The Epson SureColor P600 consistently delivers outstanding color and black-and-white photos that provide greater image detail and more accurate colors on prints that will last longer than anything you can get from a typical online photo service. These are truly gallery-quality prints that can provide many years of viewing pleasure whether you’re hanging them on your own wall or selling them to others. The printer accepts a wide range of inkjet-compatible media up to 13 inches wide, from photo lab-quality glossy paper and fine-art oriented sheets that mimic classic darkroom prints to CDs/DVDs and even sheets of metal up to 1.3 mm thick.
A 13-inch pigment-ink photo printer like the Epson SureColor P600 lets you make gallery-quality color and black-and-white prints on a wide variety of paper surfaces.
The P600’s nine-color inkset can print dots as small as two picoliters (two trillionths of a liter). In addition to the standard CMY (Cyan, Magenta and Yellow) inks, the printer uses Light Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Vivid Light Magenta, Photo Black (for glossy media), Matte Black (for matte papers), Light Black, and Light Light Black.
The P600 has a front-feeding slot with a straight paper path for loading thick fine art papers.
You can connect the P600 to your computer via USB or wired Ethernet. The printer also has built-in Wi-Fi (helpful if you need to share the printer among multiple computers in separate rooms), and comes with a mobile app for direct printing from iOS and Android devices. These wireless options are much slower than wired printing, however, nearly doubling your print times. And if your print workflow includes using third-party papers with custom profiles, you’ll find color management options in the mobile apps much more limited than those in the desktop print driver.
Shop Now: P600 ($699)
If you’d rather not spend $700 or more and print longevity isn’t your top priority, the Canon Pixma Pro-100 is a great lower-priced alternative, offering great-looking color prints and faster print speeds than any of the photo printers we tested. The Pro-100 uses dye inks, which deliver very rich, vibrant colors on glossy paper surfaces, but the resulting prints are more susceptible to fading than those from a pigment ink printer.
Shop Now: Pro-100 ($364.95)
The Canon Pixma Pro-10 is a great alternative to our top pick for those who’ll be printing primarily on glossy papers. It’s solidly built, has a lower ink cost than our top pick and delivers great print quality, falling just slightly short of our top pick in highlight and shadow details when printing in black-and-white mode (since it has fewer black ink dilutions). Disappointing, though, is that the Pro-10, like all recent Pixma Pro models, requires a wide image border —1.2 inches on all sides—when printing on thick fine art matte papers. On the same media, the P600 can print all the way to the edge of the paper.
Shop Now: Pro-10 ($397.35)
This guide may have been updated. To see the current recommendations or availability updates, please go here.
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This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work.
JAN 29, 2018 @ 05:34 AM 42,851 2 Free Issues of Forbes
Buying a dedicated photo printer is a great solution if you make prints on a regular basis and want precise control over how they look.