Photography / Buying Guide

Professional Printers for Photographers: A B&H Buying Guide

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As a professional photographer, you have many options for printing the photos you shoot. The kind of printer you choose is based not only on the type of photos you make and who your clients are, but on how you want to present your work and what style of personal promotion interests you. As a wedding photographer, you might want to present acceptable work prints to your clients and have a lab handle the final prints, or you might want to invest in your own high-end printer and print your images.

Possibly, you’d like to bring a portable dye-sublimation printer with you to the reception and make sure all guests go home with a photo of themselves with the bride (with your website stamped on the back, of course). With the availability of affordable professional-quality printers, many with increasingly portable features, it is now easier than ever to print your own work, whether it be work prints, exhibition prints or high volume on-location printing. At B&H, there is a printer available to fit every need.

The Canon imagePROGRAF iPF8400S 44" Large Format Printer is a high-quality printer with an array of professional features that is able to print on paper rolls and cut-sheet media as wide as 44". It is an eight-color inkjet printer with a maximum resolution of 2400 x 1200 dpi. Printing is possible on media as thick as 0.8mm. A new multi-sensor with built-in densitometer calibrates the printer, and the Color Calibration Management System can link the calibration targets for every printer in a system. The iPF8400 utilizes the LUCIA EX ink set, which offers pigment-based ink of vibrant, stable colors with smooth gradations, superb blacks and fine details.

It is also scratch resistant. Ink droplets have a minimum size of 4.0 pl, there are 2,560 nozzles per color and in highest print mode, the order of ink application and layering is optimized for high quality with fewer passes—meaning that overall printing time is reduced significantly. A Sub Ink Tank System keeps ink in reserve, so printing need not stop to change ink cartridges. With Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, 384MB of internal memory and a hard-disk capacity of 250GB, the iPF8400s can accommodate high-volume printing, and for further versatility, plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office and Digital Photo Professional are bundled with the printer.

Also designed to print up to 44” wide, the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 Printer offers a high level of performance and nuance for fine art applications. With a MicroPiezo TFP print head and an ink droplet size of 3.5 picoliters, fine art photos are produced with rich, detailed and accurate colors by Epson’s High Dynamic range pigment ink. The maximum resolution is 2880 x 1440 dpi. Ideal for black-and-white printing, the 9900 simultaneously utilizes Black, Light Black and Light Light Black inks to produce prints with smooth tonal gradations and contrast. Eleven ink cartridges are available in capacities of 150, 350 and 700 ml, and sizes can be mixed as well, to save money and minimize waste. Color prints on Epson Professional Media are rated stable for up to 200 years (black-and-white prints last even longer). Two- or three-inch core rolls of paper can be switched easily because no spindle is used. This increases flexibility and, again, eliminates waste.

For the professional photographer who needs a tabletop printer that can provide the sharpest details and most accurate colors and often on large pieces of paper, we have numerous options. For example, the Epson SureColor P800 Inkjet Printer offers a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1440 dpi, and with its advanced MicroPiezo AMC print head, produces gallery-quality color and black-and-white prints up to 17 x 22". The printer’s nine-ink set delivers a bold range of colors, and its print head will automatically switch between photo and matte black ink to improve black ink density for various media types. An Advanced Black & White Mode is also available for neutral and custom toning of your monochrome imagery. The minimum ink droplet size is 3.5 picoliters.

The Epson P800 accepts cut-sheet media up to 17" wide and features three ways to load paper as well as an optional roll media adapter for canvas and paper rolls from 13 to 17". In addition to USB 2.0 and Ethernet, the printer offers Wi-Fi connectivity for wireless printing from mobile devices. 

The Canon PIXMA PRO-1 Color Inkjet Photo Printer features a maximum resolution of 4800 x 2400 dpi and accepts media from 4 x 6" to 13 x 19". It's specially designed for professional photographers who need high-quality output. A rear paper input tray accepts up to 20 sheets of photo paper, and thicker papers can be manually fed. The print head on the PIXMA PRO-1 has 12,288 nozzles which improves color gamut and overall print speed. And because the inks are housed on the side of the print head, their tanks are larger and hold more ink. The 12 pigment-based ink system from the LUCIA family includes five monochrome inks for expanding the dynamic range in dark areas: Matte Black, Photo Black, Dark Gray, Gray and Light Gray. In addition to these monochromes, the printer utilizes Cyan, Photo Cyan, Magenta, Photo Magenta, Yellow, Red, and the special Chroma Optimizer, which provides a clear coat, enhancing the uniform glossiness of the paper and maintaining true color fidelity. It is also capable of printing directly to CDs or DVDs and via an Ethernet connection, USB 2.0 port, or PictBridge port, the PIXMA PRO-1 is compatible with a wide variety of devices.

The Canon PIXMA PRO-100 Color Inkjet Wireless Photo Printer offers Wi-Fi, Ethernet and PictBridge connectivity and 4800 x 2400 dpi resolution for its max output of 13 x 19" media. Of its eight ink cartridges, three are monochrome (black, gray and light gray) for professional-quality prints. An 8 x 10" print can be completed in approximately 51 seconds and, utilizing the Optimum Image Generating (OIG) system from the PIXMA PRO-1 model, the printer analyzes various image attributes—including color reproduction, tonal gradations, black density, low graininess, glossiness, anti-bronzing and anti-metamerism—to produce the best results for each print mode and paper type.

The Epson PM225 PictureMate Charm Compact Photo Printer offers computer-free printing of 4 x 6” borderless photos. It can print a photo with a maximum resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi in 37 seconds. Slots for most types of memory cards are available and PictBridge interface allows you to print directly from compatible digital cameras. Onboard photo editing allows you to edit your images in the printer as well as crop, enhance and remove red-eye. A 2.5” LCD displays the photos as they will be printed. Various templates, including proof sheet and wallet prints, offer versatility, and a built-in handle and optional battery pack make the PictureMate Charm the ideal printer for event photographers.

Dye-Sublimation Printers

Dye-sublimation printers are the kind we are familiar with from most standard photo labs that print up our pack of 4 x 6" prints. They work by applying a ribbon of colored dye to a medium, usually a roll of photo paper. By heating a panel of color on the ribbon, the dye is vaporized and diffuses on the paper. Varying the temperature of the heating process will allow more or less dye to transfer to the paper, thus creating your image. This process is repeated for three colors and then a lamination is heated on the top to stabilize the colors and protect the final print. Even though we are used to seeing giant printers in photo labs do this, dye-sublimation printers can be portable as well.

The DNP DS-RX1 Dye-Sub Color Photo Printer is a portable event-photography printer that can produce 700 4 x 6" photos in a single run at just 14.9 seconds per print. It’s able to print either matte or glossy photos from 2 x 6" up to 6 x 8" at a maximum of 300 dpi. An efficient, fast machine, it is ideal for photo booths as well as events.

For those looking to print a bit larger, DNP's DS80 Digital Photo Printer can output prints up to 8 x 12" in just 35 seconds, as well as smaller print sizes down to 4 x 8". While not quite as portable as the DS-RX1, this bigger brother weighs about 30 lb and measures 14.4" on its longest side, so it would not be unheard of to use as a printing station at the wedding reception.

For more information, stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, speak with a sales professional on the telephone, at 1-800-606-6969 or contact us online via Live Chat.

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Hello, I am running two high volume quality portrait studios inside malls. We have used Epson 3880 with refillable inks before and got great results. Unfortunately that model is discontinued and US model P800 doesn't accept refillable cartridges. P600 has accepted CIS inks but has been clogging a lot. We have just bought a pro 1000 from canon. But the ink costs are yet to be seen. We mostly print on 8.5 x 11 luster pro Epson paper and sometime 17x22. Which printer for  at least 17 inch do you recommend with lowest cost of ink without compromising quality? Thank you kindly. 

Epson’s SureColor P5000 is the P800 taken up a notch. It’s robust engine is designed for high volume studio printing. And it uses larger ink tanks: (200 ml x11 vs 80 ml x9) which lowers the cost per ml, for larger volume outputs. Yes the P5000 has 2 additional colors, green and orange, which expand the printable sRGB and Adobe RGB, especially in the green areas that many imaging output sources are unable to reproduce. Another advantage is the SureColor P5000 uses the advanced PrecisionCore® TFP® printhead. This next-generation 10-color extended-gamut ink set includes higher-density Blacks and delivers up to twice the print permanence than the previous generation. Plus, get versatile media handling with automatic switching between the high-capacity front paper cassette and the roll media feeder. Canon does not have an equivalent 22 inch model. Their only option for 17 inch wide printer is the Pro 1. It’s ink cost are almost identical to the P-800. 

I want to start a photobooth business. Which printer would be the quickest and cost effective out of these considering I'm printing only 4x6? Thanks

Hi Rich - 

Using an enhanced thermal print head and print engine system the DS620A Professional Photo Printer from DNP is designed for high quality prints with excellent speed and 300 dpi resolution. The printer will produce prints from 2 x 6" photo strips to 6 x 8" images and in high-speed mode will create a 4 x 6" photo (about 13 cents s per print) in just 8.3 seconds. It can produce up to 400 of these prints in an hour with the roll feed and the same media can be used for either glossy or matte finishes.

During operation the DS620A has both high-speed and high-quality modes, depending on your personal needs. Also, it offers a watermark on the back of the photos and has USB 2.0 connectivity to a computer. This connection works with a print driver to provide users with detailed information about current status and print jobs.

My HP Designjet 130 is dying.  I would like to replace it with a 24" roll fed or sheet fed (2x3' max) printer that prints high quality graphics.  This would be for photographs, illustration and graphic design.  It must be able to lay down precise flat colors as well as gradient blends and photographs with great detail.  A printer that would be good for a graphic designer and photographer.  Any insight would be appreciated.  Thanks.

The Epson SureColor P6000 Designer Edition would be your best option for both high quality fine art and photo printing and to also meet the demands of a professional graphic designer. It can handle both cut-sheet and roll media up to 24" wide and can produce large, panoramic prints up to 529" in length. It uses Epson’s latest print head technology, as does all of the new SureColor P-series wide format printers (P5000 and up), the PrecisionCore TFP which broadens the dynamic range with deeper blacks and uses the 9 ultrachrome HD Ink set . On the Designer Edition series, Epson takes things a step further for photographers and graphic designers by incorporating EFI Fiery eXpress RIP software, which is built on Adobe PostScript 3 for a smooth workflow and excellent quality. The RIP creates high quality validation prints and proofs by using the latest industry media wedges and standards, along with optimization and verification tools. Built-in PANTONE, HKS, TOYO and DIC spot color libraries automatically ensure perfect brand and logo color matching. Fiery eXpress is built on industry standards, supports all common file formats and is constantly updated. It includes more than 2,500 individually created printer linearizations and ICC profiles.

Hello Steven,

I am about to purchase a wide format printer for my art.  I am currently stuck between the Epson P8000 and the Epson T7520.  I originally had the P6000 on my list but I want to print larger....I would like at least a 36" capability, that is why I am considering the T7520.  Pretty much all of my artwork will be digital...I usually work in Illustratior so that I have the freedom to print at any size.  I also create paper sculptures and would like to be able to make giclee prints of the original sculpture and sell those in various sizes.  What I like about the T series printer is that it is more compact and offers higher resolution and does 36" wide prints.  It is also almost $2000 less than the P8000.  This is pretty much going to be a once in a lifetime purchase for me so I am wondering if I should step up to the 44" wide P8000, which comes standard with a print server and the capability to store jobs, something the T offers as an upgrade...however the P series doesn't offer the option of an add on scanner and the T series does.  Can you give me your reccomendation?

Karyn wrote:

Hello Steven,

I am about to purchase a wide format printer for my art.  I am currently stuck between the Epson P8000 and the Epson T7520.  I originally had the P6000 on my list but I want to print larger....I would like at least a 36" capability, that is why I am considering the T7520.  Pretty much all of my artwork will be digital...I usually work in Illustratior so that I have the freedom to print at any size.  I also create paper sculptures and would like to be able to make giclee prints of the original sculpture and sell those in various sizes.  What I like about the T series printer is that it is more compact and offers higher resolution and does 36" wide prints.  It is also almost $2000 less than the P8000.  This is pretty much going to be a once in a lifetime purchase for me so I am wondering if I should step up to the 44" wide P8000, which comes standard with a print server and the capability to store jobs, something the T offers as an upgrade...however the P series doesn't offer the option of an add on scanner and the T series does.  Can you give me your reccomendation?

  I meant to say the T5270 not the 5720.

General rule with large format inkjet printers are that the 36” wide printers are designed for graphics, scientific renderings, signage and technical-oriented printing. They have less ink cartridges, so they produce a smaller printable color gamut. They will include additional PostScript printer languages and RIP that are required for outputting vector and similar files correctly.  Print speeds are usually  faster than the photo printers due to having less inks, less channels, larger picoliter droplets and being primarily used for higher volume output. The Epson SureColor T-series printers are the latest of Epson’s pro line of large format printers specifically designed for applications such as CAD drawings and GIS Maps, corporate graphics, retail posters. signage, etc. It has a 5-ink system, (CMY PK, MK) and print quality is excellent for these types of printing. It's high resolution of 2880x1440 gives it the ability to produce extreme line accuracy that are so important for these types of prints. The optional scanner for the T-series is specifically to scan and copy these types of prints. The scanner's image processing software and optics are not able to handle the much higher d-max, color bit-depth and detail that a true photo scanner can scan. For photo and fine art printing,the SureColor T-series does not compete with the photo quality of the P-8000. It has a much wider color printable gamut and a greater bit depth for better detail in subtle color shifts. The extra grays prints a wider d-max and you will see a difference with the 9-color inks and wider dynamic range. There are many more available ICC profiles for photo and fine art paper with the P-8000 compared to profiles for banner-type print substrates such as vinyl and polypropolene. The print server and hard drive are useful for production high volume lab printing, so I am not sure if that would benefit you.

Hi Steven,

I'm an enthusiast photographer and would like to print my own pictures, I will mainly be printing 4x6, 5x7, 8x10 and the occasional A3 size photos. I'm currently looking at either the Canon Pro 100 or the Epson P400, I would like to factor in printing costs as well. Which printer would you recommend?

Hi Steven,

Have been reluctant to invest in a digital ink jet printer based upon my experience with the earliest models - and my continued interest in silver gelatin prints which can now be developed directly from the digital file.

But I now have developed a serious intersest in alternative photography (primarily platinum prints) and production of digital negatives to simplify and control final print quality.

Can you recommend best printer options for production of digital negatives (using Pictorico or similar inkjet media) and the purest of black and white prints (using silver gelatin as the standard)?  Would prefer a large format table top printer.

And, would you recommend QuadTone RIP or similar method to control quality output for the black and white prints (and digital negatives)?

Thank you.

Black and white printing presents unique challenges. Some of these are the ability to produce a neutral color without any color casting, the ability to maintain that neutral appearance under different light sources (reduced metamerism), the ability to attain gray balance (consistent color throughout the entire tonal scale); the ability to achieve a very dark black (high dmax) without sacrificing shadow detail (low dot gain), and longevity. In turn, these are heavily dependent on the media, the profile and the custom black-and-white ink, as is the printer. The printers that have the multi gray cartridges (light black and light light black, for example) and both Photo Back and Matte black cartridges will yield the best quality black and white imagery with the least color casting. The Epson SureColor-series printers that have the Photo and Matte Black inks and the multi grays include the proprietary Epson screening and color management technology designed specifically to produce professional-level black and white prints. This unique screen technology takes advantage of the three-level black technology—along with Yellow, Light Cyan, and Light Magenta—to produce professional black and white prints from either color or grayscale files. You get more control over tonal separation, and more tonal control overall, you are also guaranteed a linear response – completely neutral gray, if that is what you want. Epson’s 17 inch wide SureColor P800 is a great option for small to medium output, and the SureColor P5000 is it’s 17 inch cousin with a more robust engine and larger ink tanks (200 ml each vs 80 ml) which lowers the cost per ml, for larger volume outputs.For the print media you will want a transparency film. There are 2 types:Transparency film has a milky surface and the usage of it is for screen printing and digital negatives-applications where the high DMAX and heavy ink load is needed but it does not  require a 100% clarity.Clear film a 100% clear surface and it is  used for overhead transparencies and color separations- applications where 100% clarity is needed but it does need high DMAX and heavy ink load. The best one for digital negatives on an Epson pigment ink printer is the Pro Ultra Premium OHP Transparency film. It is designed specifically for then Epson pigment printers, like the P800 and 5000.I have heard wonderful reviews on the Quad Tone RIP. They just released acompstibility with the P800. There is still no compatibility version for the P5000. Silver FX Pro is a good black & white application. OnOne has Perfect Black and White which I have used a few times.

Hello, im a new photographer. I will be doing Event Photography and Family photographyand woking with a small amount of models. Im willing to buy two printers one for on site printing during event and another for high end prints. But im not sure where to start being that I dont have a huge budget. I also want to offer the images i take on garments like tee shirts(i have a 16x20 heat press) and im looking to get a photobooth set up,  So my qustion is what would you recomend thats the best lost cost portable printers that good for photo booth that print 2x6 (multiple prints) to about 6x8 and for my office i would like one that prints up to 13x19 and is good with heat transfer, thats not going to kill me in production cost. 

There is no doubt that high-end inkjet output quality has reached a level where many see little difference from silver halide. But there are multiple reasons why inkjet technology isn’t the best choice for printing on location, especially when you need to print a high volume in a short amount of time. Inkjet printers can take minutes to print, the prints frequently need to dry before they are touched, ink costs can be steep, and the printers are simply not designed to stand up to the rigors of high volume, on-location events printing. The dye sublimation printers are the best option for these types of jobs. They work by "melting" off a layer of dye from a ribbon (basically a roll of plastic) onto the paper as it passes by a heater. Unlike inkjet or laser, dye-sub printers produce photos quickly and reliably that are dry to the touch and ready to handle right out of the printer. Additionally, the ribbon/paper print media can be stored for a few years without any issues-as long as stored properly.  Dye-sub photos have a predictable cost per print and come in common photo sizes including 4x6, 5x7, 6x8, 8x10, 8x12. Many dye-sub printer models will produce specialty sizes such as 2x6 and 2x8 for photo booths and 4x8 for greeting cards. Dye-sub printers are easy to transport and a breeze to maintain. Their quick speed, reliability and predictable cost per print make dye-sub the printers of choice for location, event, passport, photo booth and retail portrait studios.

Here are some event printers that are also great photo booths with their 2x6 print options:

HiTi P525L Photo Printer 

Perfect for Photo Booths & Event Photography the P525L is portable and can be setup almost anywhere. Front loading makes reloading the printer with paper a breeze for you or your photo booth operators. While the compact size makes the printer easy to transport the 525L still has a large print capacity. The LCD panel on the front of the printer allows users to monitor the printer status and the remaining number of prints. The HiTi P525L is the first dye-sub printer to offer an integrated wireless solution in addition to a standard USB connection. Add the WiFi dongle and print wirelessly from your phone, camera, computer or photo booth, no internet connection necessary. The WiFi dongle is easy to set up and enables wireless printing from your computer using the printer's windows driver or from your phone or phone camera using the HiTi Prinbiz App (available for free for iPhone or Android). A WiFi dongle also offers the option of connecting a card reader allowing you to print from your camera's storage card. A real game changer, this wireless solution opens new possibilities for photo booths and event photography and has the potential of setting your business apart from your competition. There is currently a great price for the HiTi with a $200 instant savings. The compatible print media is   4x6” print media: , 5x7” print media  6x8” print media.

DNP DS620a

The DNP DS620A is a dye-sublimation photo printer that can output 4 x 6, 3.5x5, 5x5, 5 x 7, 6 x 8, or 2 x 6 “photo booth strip” prints. It takes as little as 8.3 seconds to print a 4 x 6, can crank out up to 400 prints an hour, 14.1 sec/print (5" x 7"), 15.7 sec/print (6" x 8") and it offers both matte and glossy finish options. This makes DNP's new flagship printer one of the fastest professional photo printers in the market. The DS620A offers a watermark on the back and high gloss and crisp colors on the front of your photos. Multiple formats provides flexibility offering anything from a 2"x6" photobooth fun strip up to 6"x8" enlargements. The same media can be utilized for glossy or matte output based on your needs. While not light at 26.4 pounds, it is one of the most compact printers in its class at just 10.8 x 14.4 x 6.7 inches. When images are printed, the DS620A cuts them to the proper size and they are dropped into the print tray ready to be handled immediately—this includes the 2 x 6 “photo booth strip” prints. Keep in mind that in order to print true multi-image photo booth prints, you will need some sort of app or program that will lay them out for you. This is easily done in Photoshop, but doing it on location will require a more automated solution. Included in the box are: Plastic 4x6 paper tray, Printer cleaning kit, USB cord, Power cord, Paper quick reference guide, 2 paper spindles, Scrap catcher bin, 2 5x7 spacers, Paper manual, CD that includes printer info, operations manual and driver for windows 8/8.1/10 and MAC

Mitsubishi CP-D70DW Color Dye-Sub Photo Printer

The CP-D70DW is Mitsubishi's premium, high-speed printer for both on-site event photography, and photo booth integration. This full-featured, lightweight event printer features 300 DPI, a heavier media stock, a multi-cut function, high resolution, and matte-finish print modes, and it's lightning quick! Printing a brilliant 4x6 in only 8.4 seconds! With the New Mitsubishi firmware and driver update it will print and cut 2-up 2"×6" from a 4x6 sheet. It features a 300 dpi images and can output a 4.0 x 6.0" photo in 8.4 seconds. It incorporates newly developed image processing methods, making it possible to reproduce smooth edges and natural images. High resolution prints are generated that are very clear and sharper with little or no color blurring. The printer is compatible with media Supports multiple print sizes: 2x6", 3.5 x 5", 4 x 6", 5 x 7", 6 x 6" and 6 x 8" from 3.5 x 5.0" up to 6.0 x 8.0". It comes with 1-Ink Cassette, 1-CD-ROM, 1 Set-Paper Flange, 2- Spacers, Quick Set Up Guide, Paper Strip Bin, Paper Tray, 2-Cable Tie, 1-Securing Band-& 2-Screw for securing band, power cable. For event photographers using Darkroom Core or Darkroom Professional Software in a traditional event workflow, the speed and processing power keep the lines from getting too long. If you are working with Darkroom Booth software in your photo booth, the CPD70DW’s small footprint and stability make it an excellent choice. Please go to the printer’s link (above) Then Accessories>Ink & Paper for the print media pricing.

For the larger professional prints in a printing environment like yours, the 17 inch wide printers froim Canon and Epson iswa logical choice. Both the Canon Pro 1000 and Epson SureColor P-800 use 80 ml ink tanks. These are about 30% cheaper per ml over their 13” printer versions. Both will give you museum archival quality professional printing. The P-800 has an optional roll media adapter that allows you to print up to 17”x129’. The Pro 1000 is limited to 17”x23.4”.

Will the Epson Surecolor P-800 also do good with heat transfer?

Any heat transfer media that is compatible with aqueous inks will print beautifully with the Epson SureColor P800 printer.

This is an amazing response Steven thank you for being so thorough. Helped me a great deal as I was looking for this exact information to help start my photobooth services! All the best. - RG

I currently use the Epson R2400, and it works just fine for my current needs.  However, although I can print beautiful 13" x 19" prints, I would like to prints double that size, or somewhere very close to double.  Could you recommend a printer for me that produces the same quality as the R2400, but on a larger canvas?

The Epson SureColor P-800 is a 17 inch wide version of the R2400 with the 9 ink cartridge system. It has been updated with a newer print head design that expands the d-max. With the roll media adapter (purchased separately) you will b e able to print up to 17 x 129 inches. A another advantage is the larger ink cartridge size, which holds 80 ml  at $58 per cartridgbe. Ths seems a lot more than the inks you are use to purchasing for the R2400. Except your printer’s ink is around $1 per ml, while the P-800 is around $.70 per ml. That’s about 30% less. If you want to go bigger, the next size up is the SureColor P-6000This 24 inch printer has a lot of improvements over its previous model (Pro 7890) including significantly better black density levels and possessing longer permanence ratings. In addition, Epson has made technology advancements in imaging with a new UltraChrome HD pigment ink set for outstanding color and an improved Precision Core TFP print head that contains an ink repellant surface coating to help protect from head clogs. The Epson UltraChrome HD 8-Color pigment inks also promise a better resin encapsulation for higher scratch resistance and deeper black formulation by 1.5 times the prior ink set. The light light gray helps diffuse bronzing and to help prints become more continuous tone. There have also been advances to the coating used on the print heads to make them easier to clean, along with ink encapsulation that has a lesser clogging rate than the previous generation. The tank size options are 150 ml, 350 ml and 700 ml.  150 ml tanks cost $84.95 each. The 350 ml inks cost $139.95 each. Compare these to 80 ml at $58, you can start to see a pattern here: the larger the ink cartridge capacity, the cheaper the cost per ml.

I had a Canon Pixma Pro9000. I had invested in a set of refillable cartridges and 2 sets of bottles of Lyson archival inks from Marrutt, then, a new printhead, after which the thing finally died. 

I was pretty happy with the print quality and size and media that it would print on, and am looking to replace it. Both Canon and Epson have printers with ink tanks, but none seem geared to the art community. 

What's your best suggestion for where to go next? I've exchanged emails with a Canon sales rep, telling them exactly what I want. I was basically told: Don't hold your breath.  

Thanks!

First, the use of CIS (Continuous Ink Systems) is not recommended. Especially on the higher end  prosumer/pro printers (8-Color to 12-Color pigment ink-jet printers). Using CIS also will void any warranty on the printer. And if not used very frequently (as in multiple times per week), you will experience serious clogging issues. You will have a hard time finding ICC profiles (better off creating your own custom profiles). And finally, CIS often affects the printer’s lifespan negatively. Canon’s Pixma Pro9000 Mark II printer had been a popular choice for photographers that wanted to print with dye inks (rather than pigments) with rich color and good print life. As part of the line of updates to their desktop printer line up, Canon replaced this printer with the Pixma Pro-100. Based on the top of the line Pixma Pro-1, this is a 13x19 printer that uses Canon’s ChromaLife 100+ inks. In a change from the original model, the Pro 100 uses three blacks - black, gray, and light gray, for better black and white printing. Other new features include the same image optimization technology found in the Pro-1 printer, a new Print Studio Pro plug-in for better printing directly from Photoshop and Digital Image Pro, support for printing on CD/DVD printable discs, and AirPrint for wireless printing from iOS devices as well as WiFi. As for other options, on the Canon line you have the Pro 10 and the Pro 1. The PIXMA Pro-10 sits in the middle of the  three 13 inch wide Canon’s that were released at the same time as the Pro 100. Designed primarily for photo enthusiasts, it uses the same Lucia inks as the higher-specified Pixma Pro 1, but with one grey tank instead of the Pro-1's three grey inks. Lucia inks are pigment, as oppose to the ChromaLife dye inks (dye-based ink sets exhibit excellent color gamut, pigment inks excel in permanence. The particulate nature of pigment inks ensures their archival superiority. A particle of pigment is less susceptible to destructive environmental elements than a dye molecule). The ink tank capacity is similar to the Pro 100’s at around 14 ml. There is support for ICC profiles not only for Canon papers but also third party papers from Ilford, Hahnemuhle, Canson and Moab. The Pixma Pro 1 is the most “sophisticated of the 3 models. With a capacity of approximately 35 ml, each ink tank in the Pro-1 holds 2.5x more ink than the Pro 10 and Pro 1 models. A total of 12 ink cartridges: Yellow, Photo Cyan, Cyan, Photo Magenta, Magenta, Red, Light Grey, Grey, Dark Grey, Matte Black and Photo Black plus a new 'Chroma Optimiser'.for correcting matamerism ( the phenomenon wherein two colored samples will appear to be of the same shade under one light source but will appear to be different shades under a second source.) Chroma optimizer reduces metamerism on coated papers and reduces the difference in ink droplet height to ensure a smooth ink layer, evenly reflected light, deep blacks, and saturated colors. The Pro-1 provides plenty of advance warning when ink tanks are running low. You should be able to produce at least 20 A3 prints before a tank is depleted. It will also keep running until there isn't enough ink left to make a print of the specified size before requiring you to replace a tank. The PIXMA Pro-10 is a competent performer that can produce very nice-looking prints in both color and monochrome. It’s Epson equivalent is the SureColor P400. The P-400 uses 8 UltraChrome HG2 pigment inks. This updated inkset incorporates new red and orange inks as well as a Gloss Optimizer to reduce metamerism. The complement of pigments comprises cyan, magenta, yellow, red, orange, photo black, and matte black ink in addition to the Gloss Optimizer. It is a shift towards warmer colors and away from a broader array of monochromatic inks. Major difference is droplet size is 1.5 picoliter vs 4 picos on the Pro 10 (Note: more inks/colors do not equate to better quality color. That is the job of the driver , the program you are using to print and some paper specific parameter file - an icc-profile - to put the right mix of inks onto the paper). The Pro 1’s closest competitor on the Epson SureColor series is the P600.  The P600 offers a nine-color pigment-ink formulation (UltraChrome HD), high-capacity ink cartridges, roll paper printing, a paper feed designed for thick fine art media, and a dedicated black and white (B&W) printing mode alongside conveniences like a tilting touchscreen control panel and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity to go along with its wired Ethernet and USB ports. If you’re after the convenience and high degree of control that printing at home offers, you’ll appreciate the outstanding quality, print longevity, and nearly limitless paper choices that the P600 offers. Both the P-400 and P-600 come with a roll adapter that allows you to print up to 13 inches x 129 inches. The Canons do not have this option.

Hi,

I am an Oil Painter.  I go on photo shoots with my Nikon D3 camera that are organized for Western artists, and print images on my Canon Pro9000 Mark 11 printer for my Realist paintings.   The difference of what I see on my monitor and the printed image is frustrating.  The colors are garish and the detail is greatly lacking.  I use my printed images for my references as I paint.  I might even like to make smaller prints of my paintings for sale, although I do have large Giclees made at a printshop.  I have $1000. plus to spend on a good printer.  I have made a list of some printers that have high ratings such as: PROGRAF PRO 1000, PIXMA PRO 1, EPSON SURE COLOR P-800, STYLUS PRO 3880, and the DESIGN JET T120 eprinter- Perhaps you like something other than these for my needs.  Can you advise me on the best choice for my needs please?  

If you do not calibrate your monitor, you will not get a good monitor/print match no matter what printer you buy.  There are a number of calibration devices availabe.

To ensure glicee-quality printing with the best color accuracy is a 2-step process. First you need a printer capable of glicee quality prints. Images are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art, and photo-base paper. The gliclee printing process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction.

 Gliclee prints are created typically using professional 8-Color to 12-Color pigment ink-jet printers. Among the manufacturers of these printers are vanguards such as Epson, Canon & Hewlett-Packard. These modern technology printers are capable of producing incredibly detailed prints for both the fine art and photographic markets. These are printed on archival paper which, by definition, are acid-free, lignin-free, buffered with calcium carbonate, and have a pH between 7.5 and 9.0.  And they now come in different textures, weight, thickness and surfaces.

Out of your list of printers, the Stylus Pro 3880 has been replaced by the SureColor P-800. The DesignJet T120 is designed for scientific renderings, autoCAD, blueprints and similarly type prints. It is also restricted in print media compatibility. For instance, you are limited to media no thicker than 11.5 mil thick. The 2 best options are the SureColor P-800 and the Canon Pro 1. Major differences are the roll paper adapter option ion the P-800, allowing you to print up to 129 inches in length, Canon’s firmware won’t allow you to print anything longer than 23+ inches. You can check out reviews and opinions right here in the Q?A ofr this article. I have written extensively on these two models and their similarities and differences. One common remark I have seen with online reviews and various print forums is the Epson prints more accurately color renderings based from the excellent paper ICC profiles that they provide, and from third party paper ICC profiles that the manufacturer provides for the P-800.

For achieving the best color accuracy and  reducing your image editing time and at the same time improving quality in your Raw or JPEG workflow, start with the ColorChecker Passport Photo. You can easily capture accurate color, instantly enhance portraits and landscapes, and maintain color control and consistency from capture to edit. It’s also an ideal visual reference.   ColorChecker Passport Photo was developed with the DNG workflow in mind. Quickly and easily create custom camera profiles with the included Adobe Lightroom plug-in  for generating customized DNG profiles quickly and easily for Adobe Imaging solutions, such as Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Camera Raw (ACR) and Adobe Bridge.Or you can use the X-Rite standalone software. Using advanced profiling technology, the ColorChecker camera calibration software delivers excellent results even in the most unusual lighting conditions. For creating a custom monitor profile, the i1Display Pro incorporates technologically advanced filter and optical systems, amazingly fast measurement speed, and unrivaled color accuracy on all modern display technologies.  It’s also spectrally calibrated, which makes it field upgradeable to support future display technologies, The ergonomic design incorporates three functions – ambient light measurement, monitor profiling, and projector profiling. The included i1Profiler software for calibrating and profiling all modern display and projector technologies including LED & Wide Gamut LCDs. Advanced user-defined controls support more sophisticated workflows. We are currently bundling the 2 together.

hi im looking for printer that i can use for printing on canvas 

True canvas is a thicker and heavier media than typical inkjet paper. They start at around 18mil and 350gsm, therefor a regular consumer-grade printer is unable to handle this without causing permanent damage.

You will need a printer that supports the heavier media. These are the printers that have a straight paper feed that is located on the back of the printer. The ones that have this option are the 13 inch wide and larger Epson and Canon printers. The least expensive model is the Canon Pro 100. It is the only dye ink printer with this option. The other 13 inch wide printers use pigment ink, which is considered archival. are the Canon Pro 10 and Pro 1, and the Epson SureColor P400 and P600 printers. All of the 17 inch wide Canon and Epson printers ( Canon Pro 1000, Epson SureColor P800 and the newly released SureColor P5000) and larger formats will print on canvas. Out of the listed printers here, only the Epsons will print on roll paper.

Having the ability to print on roll paper will increase your canvas choices significantly since the majority of canvas come in a roll format.

Hi I would like to take pictures of people coming off of cruise ship and be able to print right away. Also want quality pictures and be able to use wi -fi Or cordless printers.Any suggestion.

You could look at the HiTi P310W ID Photo Printer.  It would be an inexpensive, yet solid option to fit your stated needs.  AskPhoto@bhphoto.com

which printer wiuld you recommend for the best  13x19 fine art photography prints.

i print irregulaiarly and there may a month when i do not print Which model from epsom or canon can work under these conditions without the nossels becoming clogged  

michael

You might look at the Canon Pro 1000.  It prints slightly larger than you are looking for, but is built that it can sit for months on end without printing without the nozzles getting clogged or the ink drying out.

Hi I'm a keen photographer part of a club looking to print my own images to a decent quality for competitions. Could you suggest a decent printer with a not so high price tag please? 

There are a few options available. In order to recommend the best printer that is specific for your needs, please send an email to: printersandscanners@bhphoto.com so that I or another staff member can ask you more specific questions.

Hi, 

I am working on my family tree and I am looking for a scanner and printer that can give me good quality prints from old pictures. I would like to be able to make copies for family members.

  • For home use, the Epson V600 is our most popular flatbed , and the one I recommend for  scanning family photos. It includes Digital ICE for prints. Digital ICE Technology removes the appearance of dust and scratches from film, plus tears and creases from damaged photos. It also includes One Touch Photo Restoration, which restores faded and yellowed photos. And also includes ArcSoft PhotoStudio which is a photo editing software.
  • For printing, I would recommend the Epson SureColor P400 printer. It is 13” wide aqueous pigment ink printer. This is important if you want these prints to be passed down from generation to generation. Use acid-free inkjet paper and you will have a museum quality archival print. The 13" wide-format SureColor P400 photo printer features UltraChrome® HG2 Ink for unprecedented print quality. This remarkable 8-color pigment ink set includes Red and Orange inks for vibrant, true-to-life color. Dedicated channels for both Matte and Photo Black inks provide deep blacks on matte, fine art and photo papers. Unique Gloss Optimizer chemistry gives photographs a smooth, professional-lab look and feel. High-capacity, individual 14 mL ink cartridges offer the freedom to print 

Hi

I am getting into portrait photography and contemplating a good quality professional printer. Since I am in initial stages may not have much load to keep the printer busy . Would the printers discussed below both canon and epson require a daily usage of few minutes to keep them on the go or would behave the same say if there's a gap of 8-10 days between each print. Would there be smudging or a test print needs to be taken after such interval ?

Kindly advice 

Mohan

Hi

I am basically a wedding photographer, i need a professional advice on the Best kind of printer to use that can give me the quality of print of a GQ magazine because i want to print & make photo books. Also what type of paper can be best used for it. Thanks

Professional/Fine Art  photographers who show and/or sell their work, either to galleries, exhibitions or to clients expecting the prints to last and be pass down from generation to generation, have a responsibility of producing museum-quality archival prints, also known as glicee. Glicee Images are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art, and photo-base paper. The glicee printing process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction. Glicee prints are created typically using professional 8-Color to 12-Color ink-jet printers. For low to medium duty cycles, the larger 17 inch wide printers and up are the most cost-effective and due to their larger ink tank capacities, the price-per-ink droplet can be anywhere from 30-60% cheaper than the 13 inch archival printers. The 2 best in the 17 inch size are the Epson SureColor P-800 and the  Canon Image ProGraf Pro 1000. Both have 80 mil tanks and are priced at around $55 per tank.  Major difference is the ability to print on 2” and  3” core, 17 inch wide roll paper (P-800) with the Roll adapter (sold separately). So the largest print size is 17x129” (even more with an appropriate RIP). With the newly designed MicroPiezzo AMC print head technology and the latest Epson UltraChrome HD Inks, which include 4 monochrome the P-800 will deliver vivid color, superior black density and significantly improved print longevity. Canon Pro 1000 uses 11 pigment-based Lucia Pro ink tanks which like the P-800 include 4 monochrome inks and a chroma Optimizer. Largest print size is 17x23.39 inches (yes this is correct. It I not 23.4 or 23.5 inches. It is 23.39 inches). When run through extensive testing with a gamut torture test, both printers are about equal. For paper, you will want fine art archival inkjet paper. They come in a variety of types, sizes, textures and thickness. Both the Pro 1000 and P-800 are compatible with thicker media paper. We carry a wide variety of acid free papers to choose from. A good way to test some of these papers out is by the Sampler Packs we carry from some of the manufacturers. You can find them here.

Hahnemuhle has book-making accessories from uniform grain directional paper, also  they have album covers and paper for the albums to media kits.

Hi Steven,

I am looking for a printer to mainly print pretty basic images/fonts to be inserted into blank coasters keyrings etc. What would you suggest to be the best one?

Thank you for your time

Hi! I am looking to buy a printer mainly to print A3 sized images, both for personal and commercial usage. Dye or pigment both work for me, I am also not too concerned about the longevity. 20 years is more than enough. But what's very important is the cost/print. I liked the Canon Pixma Pro 100 but it's cost/print is very high, much more than online printers. I was wondering which printer would be perfect for my needs. Would love to hear your expert take on this.

You would need a printer capable of 13 X 19 for A3 sized images.  So, Dye Sub would not be an option, at least not from the printers B&H carries (or that I am aware of on the market).  Of the inkjet options, the Canon Pixma Pro 100 would likely have one of the lower costs per print.

thanks  you vercy much i am into teaching of photpgraphic sciene intend toopen a colured photo lab in theschool whereiam teaching kindly send your quotation based on each type of yourprinter and let me se what i can within few days to raise the money

For price quotes, you will need to contact our Sales Department directly. 

SALES

800.606.6969 or 212.444.6615

sales@bhphotovideo.com

If you prefer to email, you would want to include the full billing/shipping address.

I am opening up an online store to sell original art prints. What printer would you suggest for printing prints up to A3 size, good archival quality, on art papers and prints well both colour and in black and white. Reading through your article Epson Surecolour P800 seems like the one to go with?

The Epson SureColor P-800 is an excellent choice for printing museum quality archival fine art and photography. With the optional roll media adapter, which accepts 17 inch wide rolls up to 100 feet and both  2 or 3 inch cores, you can expand your print size options. The 80ml ink tanks are about 30% cheaper per droplet compared to the 13 inch wide fine art printers.

If you are expecting a decent amount of volume printing, the Epson 4900, which is also 17 inches wide,  has a more robust engine designed  to handle higher volume printing, accepts roll paper any width up to 17 inches, and uses 200ml ink tanks. So you would save even more on ink ($87 for 200ml cartridge vs $58 for 80ml). It also has two extra colors, green and orange. These 2 colors help expand the Adobe RGB color space for printing.

Great article, thanks.

I am more of an enthusiast/hobbiest photographer who would like to print my own work. On varying size papers. I like the idea of the 19" wide and optional roll format. I'm not sure that 13" wide is quite wide enough? The intent is to frame and hang. Also would like to print photobook style work. The Epson range appeals to me, however, open to suggestion. Just a little confused as to which way to go, especially as the P400 is so much cheaper then the P800. For me quality does matter, as these will be display pieces. Hope that's not too vague for you to gauge a response.

The Epson SureColor P-800 is a 17" wide printer with an optional roll adapter. You can print any size from 3.5x5 inches up to 17 inch wide banners. it's archival quality printing is perfect for framing, archiving and preserving. 

The SureColor P-400 is a 13 inch wide printer. The P800 has three black inks for better graduations in both black and white and also in color. It also uses some vivid inks for increased gamut. It has cartridges with nearly 5 times the capacity of the P400, which invariably means lower inks costs when using OEM ink.The P400 only uses six inks plus gloss optimizer. If you are primarily printing on RC and baryta papers, then this is an advantage - gloss differential will be minimized (the difference between the gloss of the inks and the gloss of the paper). Without the glop, the ink can be too glossy for some photomatte, semi-matte, lustre, silk, satin papers; or not glossy enough for high gloss papers. Ink gloss is generally formulated for somewhere in between photomatte and full gloss.Gloss differential is not a problem on fine art papers. Even if photo black was used on fine art papers, the result would still be matte. The matte black is used to increase the Dmax on true matte papers - make the blacks blacker than a photo black ink can achieve.

This discussion addresses print quality on the Epson 9900 Stylus Pro, which is excellent. Not so excellent is that Epson no longer services its printers but subcontracts to a 3rd party. My printer head failed one day and cannot be recovered. The 3rd party service contractor wants airfare, rental car, $100 for "shipping", $175/hour with a 1-hour minimum etc et al, plus parts that could run $3,000. "Don't worry, we'll bring the parts with us." Further research revealed epidemic nightmares in print head failure, no service support and several help lines that pick up in Asian countries. Some try to change the print head. None succeed. Most have many service calls. I loved my 9900 while it lasted. Now it's off to the dump. What a waste. Bad engineering. No service. No support. 

Hello,
My husband and I have a small business and want to invest in a printer that will print quality photos of every size: wallet, 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, poster, etc.. We also want the ability to print calendars, passports, postcards, canvasses, invitation, wall decor, collages, mugs, blankets, etc.

This is quite an ambitious list you have.  You will not be able to achieve all with 1 printer.  If the largest size prints would be poster-size, then that would be 24” wide format. If you want to offer  museum quality archival printing, then your 2 best options are the Epson SureColor P-7000 and the Canon imagePROGRAF Pro 2000. The P-7000 has a lot of improvements over the previous model which will mostly be seen in the output of the prints displaying significantly better black density levels and possessing longer permanence ratings.  In addition, Epson has once again made technology advancements in imaging with a new UltraChrome HDX pigment ink set for outstanding color and an improved Precision Core TFP print head that contains an ink repellant surface coating to help protect from head clogs. It is the perfect large format inkjet printer for about any printing application within the areas of photography, fine art, proofing and even some signage. Other attributes are a more powerful Controller Board for faster processing and networking performance , New Workflow Features with an optional internal 320 GB Print Server, maximum resolution of 2880 x 1440 dpi and variable-sized droplets, as small as 3.5 picoliters, for extreme print quality, Epson ePlaten media-loading technology ensures accurate and automatic media handling. It also has an accurate Roll Media Length Tracking to estimate remaining length of paper for the print job, auto Black Ink Type Switching with Photo to Matte Black , and new User Scheduled Print Head Maintenance Cycles

The new Canon Pro 2000 uses LUCIA PRO 11-color plus Chroma Optimizer ink that allows for increased color gamut, reduced bronzing, improved scratch resistance, greater image clarity, gloss uniformity and excellent shadow reproduction, as well as increased black optical density. Compared to previous models, the Series features a wider print head (1.28-inch wide) with anti-clogging technology, which improves efficiency as well as reduces cleaning cycles and prevents wasted ink. This newly developed print head allows for a more compact printer design as only one print head is installed in each PRO Series printers. The imagePROGRAF PRO Series model includes several enhancements for increased usability, including a redesigned 3.5-inch color LCD touch panel, direct USB drive print capabilities and mobile connectivity. Also new is the intuitive software solution of Print Studio Pro. With a focus on quality and ease of use, Print Studio Pro is a plugin for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and Canon Digital Photo Professional software, to easily exports files directly to the printer.1 The Quick Utility Toolbox feature provides users with a portal to launch and control software from one central interface, and Accounting Manager is included to help photographers keep track of consumable costs such as ink and media, helping users to determine their overall printing expenses. 

Another option would be the 8-color ink systems. Both Epson and Canon offer these. They have the same features as the 11 and 12 ink systems. Adobe RGB coverage would be slightly less, but still high quality archival printing. The Epson P6000  is the perfect large format inkjet printer for those thinking about expanding their print service to offer posters, POP, fine art and even some signage applications.  Canon’s iPF6400S 8-Color LUCIA EX pigment ink improved scratch resistance and smoother gradations. The multi-sensor provides improved color density detection and allows for a full calibration to be completed within 15 minutes. The Color Calibration Management System allows for color calibration targets to be created using the iPF6400S with optional spectrophotometer and shared across all iPFX400 12-color printers. The included software allows for all printers on the network to be monitored from one central location. Print times are slightly faster.

An advantage that the Epson has over the Canon is a larger ink tank capacity option. You can use the 150, 350 or 700 ml ink tanks. Canon’s options are 160 and 330 ml. The larger the ink capacity, the lower the per-print-page cost is.

For printing onto ceramics and mugs, you will need a dye sublimation printer. Dye-sublimation printers use heat to transfer dye onto the printing material, a process that transitions the dye directly from a solid state in the form of color panels on a cellophane ribbon to a gaseous state that is deposited on a special paper. This paper is overlaid with a clear, water-resistant overcoat to protect it from discoloration, oxidation and UV radiation. The printer makes up to 4 passes ohn to the print surface- red, green, blue and a final clear coat. Dye sub printers that have the option to bypass the clear coat are what you need to print on mugs and other surfaces. 

For ID and passports, I would recommend the HiTi P310W ID printer. As an ID printer, the P310W can output fifteen 1 x 1.2", six 1 x 1.2" & three 2 x 2", or two 2 x 2" headshots per 4 x 6" print. Other ID formats and configurations are possible with the included IDQuickDesiree Software. For convenience and ease-of-use the P310W has wireless connectivity and may also be used with micro-USB Type B. Add a customized photo frame with the downloadable Printbiz App, which is available from the App Store and Google Play. Small, lightweight, and fully-featured – the Hiti P310W fulfills its purpose with style and functionality.This fast dye sublimation printer has a 47 second, 4 x 6" print speed and offers a choice of glossy or matte surfaces. The print media of 60 4x6 prints is $19.00.

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