Once you have clicked photos through your digital camera, then the next step is to turn these 'virtual' images into real photos. One way is to send the memory card to a digital photo laboratory and get the images developed there. But if you click digital photos on a regular basis, then it is better that you buy yourself a digital camera printer, or more commonly known as a digital photo printer.
There are lots and lots of choices available in the market today. The top three companies are HP, Canon and Epson. So, before you go and spend your money, here are some tips on what you must keep in mind while deciding on a digital photo printer.
Firstly, digital photo printers are available in two basic types. There are 4-color printers and 6-color printers. Nowadays, there are even 8-color printers available. So, the higher the number of colors the better will be the photo quality once you have hit the print file button. Using good quality photo paper and one of the 8 color printers will give you results that rival your photo lab.
Secondly, the printing method used by the printer is also very important. There are 2 main printing methods: inkjet and thermal. Inkjet is commonly used for taking photo prints but the quality of the printout is not excellent. You need to have at least a 6-color printer to get decent print quality. Also, the ink cartridges are quite expensive and the biggest disadvantage is that inkjet printing does not provide a waterproof coating to the images. Hence, the color fades after some time.
Thermal printing, on the other hand, is much better since it not only applies a waterproof coating but is also better quality-wise. It is also more cost effective as the paper and ink cartridges used are cheaper.
Most of these printers can be purchased under $500. However, there are few key characteristics that are different in all these printers which determine their price. These are :
? The printing width differs amongst printers. Normally the width is either 8.5" or 13". The highest quality printers will allow you to go larger but at a much higher per print cost.
? If you want to print really great looking black-and-white images, then the printer needs to have grey inks as well. So, an 8-color printer would be best suited for this purpose.
? Whether your printer has separate ink tanks for each color or does it have multiple inks in each cartridge. If you have multiple inks, then you have to replace the entire cartridge even if one color finishes. Hence, it is more expensive to replace such cartridges and you waste a lot of ink as well.
? The ability of the printer to print directly from your camera or a memory card through a link.
? The printing speed per minute. This can go up to 10 minutes for a colored snap, so you must properly check this out depending upon our usage.
Multi use printers are great for a busy office or household but if you want to make fine prints out of your digital images you should invest in a dedicated digital camera printer or digital photo printer. Look for models that will take the most popular memory cards straight into the printer without having to load the images into your computer.
Kevin Rockwell worked as a network TV cameraman for 20 years shooting news and sports. Now a devoted fan of digital photography and video he works to gather information, tips and news for digital camera users. Oh and he loves to shoot pictures of his kids playing sports with his digital camera. He has some nice prints hanging on the wall.