There are tons of features that come with today’s photo printers and when shopping for a printer, many of these features need to be taken into account. In general, the more set up (more full-featured) a printer is, the more you’ll pay for it. You’ll need to decide what type of printing you’ll be doing to ensure that you’ll have everything you’ll need when the time comes. Conversely, you may only need basic functions, so you’d be better off purchasing a less expensive printer that doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles of the more expensive models. You’ll save money that way.
In this post, I’d like to discuss a few of the less obvious features that a photographer may be interested in when purchasing a printer. We all know about print quality, type of ink and the price of ink – and how important those things are, but there are a few specs that many folks fail to consider when they’re ready to buy. Nine times out of ten, a purchaser will spend days reading online reviews about print quality rather than learning if the printer they admire will even print the size paper they’ll require. Everything needs to be taken into account, so I hope to help out below.
Paper size – How large can this printer print? Is it limited to 8.5″x11″, 11″x17″, 13″x19″ or does it allow a roll of wide paper to be attached to the back of the printer? You’d surely want to avoid purchasing a printer that’s limited to a small piece of paper when you may like to print larger photos in the future. If you’re interested in printing wider panoramic shots, you’ll need to look at those printers that allow a roll feeder to attach to the back and one with a wider carriage. Oftentimes, these rolls of paper can be purchased 13″ wide and 100′ long. That’s a lot of printing.
Paper feed – Do you think you’ll need to print on heavier card stock paper that won’t bend easily? We all know that printers can handle regular paper, but can the one you’re interested in handle card stock? If you think you may be interested in various type of printing on various weights of paper, be sure that the printer offers rear and front doors that open to allow heavy paper to slide right through without bending.
Connection – Finally, you’ll need to think about how you’d like to connect to your photo printer. I’ll warn you that some of these printers are rather large, so you may not want it sitting out and exposed all the time. Or, you may love it so much and use it so frequently that you’ll want it right next to your desk. If you plan on having multiple people use the printer from multiple computers, you will want one with wireless capabilities. If it’s just you and you’ll set the machine up next to your desk (or on your desk), one that connects with a wire is fine. Personally, since I have my color printer in another room, I bought one that has wireless capabilities. I couldn’t possibly run a wire that far away.
I hope this helps. I know there’s a lot to look at when searching for the perfect photo printer, but hopefully what I shared above will get you thinking of some of the more esoteric features that printers offer.