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Top 8 Affordable Quality Printers for Photographers And Do You Need One?

In this digital age, a large number of photographers submit digital copies of their work to their clients via digital storage devices, email or web based file sharing services. However, there are still some photography niches where clients usually expect physical prints to be delivered to them.

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For instance, if you’re into wedding, event or portrait photography, you may often need to produce high quality prints for your clients.  Let’s look at 8 of the current photo printers for photographers focused on quality and affordability.  Read on to find out more.

Why a  Photographer May Need a Printer?

  • Save Money: Printing photos via local photo labs or online photo printing services although convenient can cost a lot; in the long run, these costs can add up to a huge sum.

  • Save Time: Instead of having to frequently visit a local photo lab or wait several days for the photo prints to arrive, you can use a good quality printer at home/office to produce impactful prints within minutes.

  • More Business: If your prospective clients expect physical prints of the work, they’d almost certainly want to look at a portfolio of printed photographs before signing on the dotted line. With a printer at your disposal, you’ve the flexibility of quickly printing custom portfolios for different types of clients.

Listed below are the top 8 printers (in no particular order) for  photographers:

Printer Options

1. Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000

Although a bit expensive, this Canon printer satisfies the needs of the most critical photographer. The inkjet with 11-ink system (high-longevity pigment ink) with Chroma Optimizer Ink offers a wider color gamut and enhanced gloss uniformity with denser drop placement. With high-yield 80ml ink tanks, you’d need the replacement inks less frequently.

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From high accuracy in color reproduction and details in darker regions to outstanding clarity in the image – the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 delivers all this and a whole more. It’s one of the best Canon printers for producing professional-grade photo prints with deep blacks and impactful colors.

Key Specs & Features:

  • Max print resolution (color): 2400 x 1200 dpi

  • Max paper size: Up to A2, 17″ x 22″ (Bordered Photo)

  • Navigation: 2.9” color touchscreen with intuitive menus

  • Connectivity options: Wireless, Ethernet, Cloud, and USB

  • Air Feeding System helps ensure precise ink placement; it prevents a page from skewing

Printer’s 1.28″ wide print head with tubular ink delivery system utilizes anti-clogging technology for producing prints at a faster speed while lowering the possibility of clogging.

2. Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000

This Epson inkjet produces ultra high definition photo prints with its six-color photo HD ink system. The ink set includes red and gray inks, thus offering a wider gamut, smoother gradations, and sharp black-and-white photo prints.

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A wide-format printer, Expression Photo HD XP-15000 delivers photo-lab quality, borderless photo prints in a variety of different sizes.

Key Specs & Features:

  • Max print resolution (color): 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi

  • Max print speed: Approximately 9 pages per minute

  • Max paper size: 13″ x 19″

  • Navigation: 2.4” color LCD

  • Connectivity options: Wireless, USB, Ethernet, and mobile printing

  • Automatic duplex printing with 200-sheet input tray

  • 50-sheet rear tray that can hold specialized media up to 13 x 44″ in size

  • Direct CD/DVD printing

Running costs for this printer are a bit high; it uses both standard and high-capacity replacement inks. If you print frequently, you may consider purchasing compatible high-yield inks that can help save up to 50% on ink costs.

3. Canon PIXMA PRO-100

Canon’s entry-level device in its professional inkjet photo printer lineup, PIXMA PRO-100 delivers stunning print quality with its eight-color ink (dye-based) system. The ink set includes three dedicated grayscale inks to produce sharp black-and-white prints.

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Key Specs & Features:

  • Max print resolution (color): 4800 x 2400 dpi

  • Max print speed: 0.75 photo-prints (4” x 6”) per minute

  • Max paper size: 13” x 19” (borderless)

  • Navigation: There’s no display; the inkjet has three buttons for power, paper-feed and instant wireless connection

  • Connectivity options: Wireless, USB, AirPrint, and mobile printing

  • Paper tray can hold one A3+ sheet, 10 letter-size sheets, 20 photo-paper sheets (4”x6”) and 150 sheets of plain paper

  • Optimum Image Generating (OIG) System for achieving best results for a specific combination of print mode and paper type

A serious printer meant for photographers, it captures detail in both light and dark regions. You may notice slight tint in monochrome images but only a perfectionist would notice that. The output quality is good overall for producing photos for exhibition, sale, or client presentations.

4. Epson Expression Premium XP-7100

A photo-centric all-in-one inkjet, Expression Premium XP-7100 with print, scan, copy, and fax functions, delivers exceptional output quality and versatility with its five-ink color ink system.

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The inkjet uses Claria Premium Ink that produces smudge, water and fade resistant photo prints. Designed for productivity in micro-offices of creative professionals, XP-7100 is an ideal choice for photographers who need to produce reasonably appealing photo prints on the go.

Key Specs & Features:

  • Max print resolution (color): 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi

  • Max print speed: 5 borderless photos (4″ x 6″) per minute

  • Max paper size: 8.5″ x 11″

  • Navigation: 4.3” touchscreen

  • Connectivity options: Wireless, Ethernet, USB, and mobile printing

  • Automatic duplex printing

  • 30-sheet Automatic Document Feeder; duplex print/copy and scan

  • Flatbed scanner with automatic duplex feeder

  • Supports direct printing from thumb drives and card slots

5. Epson SureColor P800

A relatively compact and light inkjet, Epson SureColor P800 with its advanced MicroPiezo AMC print head delivers photo-lab quality black-and-white and color prints in various sizes (including rolls). A bit pricey, this inkjet is known for producing breathtaking prints with fine detail, smooth gradations and amazing skin tones.

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Its nine-ink set delivers deeper blacks and saturated colors. Each ink tank in SureColor P800 holds about 64ml ink. Replacement inks hold up to 80ml ink.

For enhanced black ink density for different media types, the print head automatically switches between photo & matte black ink. Pigment based ink guarantees long print performance.

Key Specs & Features:

  • Max print resolution (color): 2880 x 1440 dpi

  • Max paper size: 17” x 22″or 17” wide roll media

  • Navigation: 2.7″ color touchscreen

  • Connectivity options: Wireless, Ethernet, USB, Cloud, and Mobile Printing

10 Pack – Epson 200XL Ink Cartridge Value Pack is recommended inkjet cartridge for Epson printers.

6. HP Envy Photo 7855

An all-in-one inkjet with print, copy, scan, and fax functions, HP Envy Photo 7855 is essentially a photo-centric printer that can meet everyday photo printing needs of a professional photographer. HP Thermal Inkjet technology delivers sharp and brilliantly-colored prints.

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The running cost for this printer is lesser in comparison to inkjet photo printers in the same price range; high-yield ink cartridges are optional. Make sure you choose the right ink cartridge when the initial set runs out of ink.

Key Specs & Features:

  • Max print resolution (color): 4800 x 1200 dpi.

  • Max print speed (color): 10 pages per minute

  • Max paper size: 5” x 14” and 8.5” x 11.7″ (borderless)

  • Navigation: 2.7” color touchscreen

  • Connectivity options: Wireless, Ethernet, USB, and mobile printing

  • Automatic duplex printing

  • 35-sheet automatic document feeder (print, copy or fax)

  • Eligible for HP Instant Ink Program

  • Supports print from and scan to thumb drives and SD memory card

7. Canon Selphy CP1200

A dedicated photo-printer, Canon Selphy CP1200 is highly portable. It’s an ideal choice for photographers who’re constantly on the go or those who need to print good quality images at different locations during an event.

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This photo-printer is most suitable for printing postcards, labels, stickers, and IDs.

Key Specs & Features:

  • Max paper size: 3.9″ x 5.8″ (Postcard)

  • Navigation: 2.7” LCD

  • Connectivity options: Wireless, USB, and Mobile Printing

  • Compatible with SD cards

  • Auto Image Optimize helps detect and rectify image imperfections

8. Epson EcoTank ET-7750

A wide-format inkjet printer with print, copy, and scan functions, EcoTank ET-7750 features a five-color ink system with a dedicated photo black pigmented ink; it delivers satisfactory text and image print quality.

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In terms of print quality and ink economy, Epson EcoTank ET-7750 is one of the best printers available at its current price range.

High-yield ink tanks ensure a lower cost-per-print; the ink cartridges can produce up to color 9,000 prints. Therefore, it is an ideal printer for photographers who need to produce hundreds of photos on a monthly basis.

Key Specs & Features:

  • Max print resolution (color): 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi

  • Max print speed: 10 pages per minute

  • Max paper size: 11″ x 17″

  • Navigation: 2.7″ color LCD (non-touch)

  • Connectivity options: Wireless, USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi Direct, and mobile printing

  • Automatic duplex printing

  • Separate input trays for plain paper and photo paper

Final Words:

In order to make an informed purchase decision, you need to consider various factors including the budget, desired print quality, availability of high-yield ink cartridges, maximum print resolution, portability, support for different media types & sizes, and the additional features such as copy, scan, and fax.

These will be determined by the type of photography you do, the space you have, and the features you will need.  Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all printer for  photographers.

Let me know what you think of these choices and what printer you would add to the list.

Click the link to learn about printers for HDR photography.

George Mendelson

George is the PR Media Manager at Inkjetsclub, a nationwide leading ink and toner retailer. One of his passions is educating and helping people through all the issues related to Printers, Ink Cartridges and Toners.
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