Professional photo printers come in two delicious flavors: high-performance, large-format inkjet models aimed at pros and serious enthusiasts; and high-volume dye-sub models for commercial use.
The latest inkjet printers offer pigment-based, multi-cartridge ink systems. In addition, they provide multiple monochrome inks for superior reproduction of blacks. Many turn out high-resolution color prints of stunning quality in sizes of 13×19 inches and up.
Dye-sublimation printers deliver sizzling speed. Moreover, they produce prints of impressive quality at slower printing speeds, albeit in smaller print sizes.
We’ve selected some of the best-performing, most popular units on the market. The motivational message for your customers: When in doubt, print it out!
A Sampling of Professional Photo Printers
Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000
This wide-format Canon pro photo inkjet printer turns out exceptional quality 4×6- to 17×22-inch bordered photo prints. It prints a 17×22 in 4 minutes, 10 seconds and a 13×19 bordered photo in 2 minutes, 30 sec. Moreover, it boasts a max resolution of 2,400×1,200 dpi. To achieve this impressive level of performance, the printer employs a FINE (Full-Photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) printhead with 18,432 nozzles as well as sensors. The printhead is also 50% larger than on previous models.
Its 12-color Lucia Pro pigment-based ink set includes four monochrome inks and also a chroma optimizer for color consistency. Other features include: a two-way vacuum feeder to keep media flat; grayscale photo printing; a 3-inch LCD; PictBridge, USB 2.0, Ethernet and Wi-Fi printing; support for Apple AirPrint; and Canon Pixma Cloud Link for access to cameras, mobile devices as well as cloud files. $1,299.99.
Fujifilm Frontier-S DX100
For photo retailers and also event photographers, the DX100 from Fujifilm offers flexibility. It combines the benefits of a dye-sub printer’s portability and ease of use with the vivid, accurate color reproduction and deep blacks of an inkjet printer. Moreover, the Frontier-S DX100 produces high-quality prints from 3.5×5 up to 8×39 inches in about 45 seconds. It allows for a wide color gamut, fine grain, smooth gradations and improved skin tones.
The printer uses six-color Vividia inks for beautiful reproduction. With a footprint of only 2.13 feet, it can run as a stand-alone event printer or with multiple printers for minilab or kiosk applications. Max resolution is 1,440×720 dpi and it has a single-roll paper capability. Its easy operator interface requires minimal involvement and training, with simple replacement of ink cartridges, an ink waste tank and waste paper disposal. $3,495.
This 8-inch dye-sub photo printer for commercial printing operations turns out large numbers of quality prints with maximum efficiency. It provides a resolution of 300×600 dpi and prints an 8×10 photo in as little as 29.3 seconds. It also provides a range of output, from 4×8-inch prints to 8×32-inch panoramic photos, with free downloadable Hot Folder software.
The DS820A has multiple print modes, including high speed and high resolution, at high or standard density. All prints are available in four improved finishes: matte, fine matte, glossy and luster. Additionally, a roll-fed design and simple dye-sub transfer method help ensure the DS820A operates for extended periods of time with minimal downtime. With a footprint of 12.7×14.4×6.7 inches, it’s portable enough for event photography. And USB 2.0 connectivity is integrated. $979.
Epson SureColor P800
Able to produce exhibition-quality prints up to 17×22 inches or borderless prints up to 17 inches wide, this Epson inkjet printer delivers a maximum resolution of 2,880×1,440 dpi. Its set of nine UltraChrome HD ink cartridges yields prints of exceptional color fidelity as well as excellent black and whites. An optional roll holder permits the use of paper rolls up to 17×129 inches. And a built-in auto-switching system a utomatically selects matte or photo black ink for ink-use efficiency.
Moreover, an advanced black & white mode offers superior monochrome printing. The P800 prints an 8×10 photo in 113 sec, which is said to be fade resistant for 200 years. Its Epson MicroPiezo AMC printhead delivers 3.5-picoliter droplets. Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi Direct and Ethernet connectivity are supported. $1,295.
Canon Pixma Pro-100
This high-performing pro inkjet photo printer delivers 4,800×2,400-dpi output with ink droplets as small as 3 picoliters. Its Canon ChromaLife 100+ dye-based eight-cartridge ink system includes three monochrome inks. It produces prints up to 13×19 inches with excellent quality and saturated colors, as well as rich blacks and grays. The Pro-100 works with various papers, including glossy, luster, matte, museum etching and fine art. A rear paper tray handles fine art and glossy photo papers, and there’s a manual slot for thicker media.
Furthermore, it prints onto CDs/DVDs/Blu-ray discs, enables computer-free printing via PictBridge and provides USB/Wi-Fi/Ethernet connectivity to allow multiple users to print remotely. Print speed for a full-color 8×10 is 51 sec, and an 11×14 is printed in 1 minute, 30 sec. Other features include: Print Studio Pro software compatible with Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom; and AirPrint support to directly print photos, e-mail, web pages as well as documents from an Apple device. $499.99.
HP DesignJet Z3200ps
This high-speed 24-inch pro PostScript printer produces a 2,400×1,200-dpi 22×34-inch print in as little as 2 minutes. It utilizes a combination of HP Thermal Inkjet technology, HP’s pigment-based 12-color photo ink set using Quad-Black Ink technology as well as a gloss enhancer.
It also provides Professional Pantone color emulation and Adobe PostScript and PDF support. Additionally, it features an imbedded spectrophotometer for creating ICC profiles. Media handling options include sheet feed, roll feed, media bin and also automatic cutting (except canvas). The Z3200ps also provides USB 2.0 and Ethernet connectivity. $3,899.99.