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Whether you are a pro or just an amateur shutterbug, the choice of photo printers can seem a bit overwhelming. There are so many different options with various types of features. While they all perform the same core function, just picking any old one will not suffice. Your individual needs will greatly inform your choice, and here are some important considerations for buying a photo printer.
What are Your Exact Needs?
Printers that are designed to print pictures also often come with additional features that you may or may not need. For example, some may offer many editing choices beyond basic features, such as removing red-eye or cropping. It is like having your own in-home photo kiosk. Other photo printers may also perform similar functions as those of standard printers, such as printing documents. If you are really concerned about the quality of the photos, many experts recommend sticking with a printer that functions just to print pictures—the more features that are added, the more diluted the quality of each function may be. Of course, there may be multi-function printers capable of producing very high quality photos.
Size of Your Photos
The size of your photos will be a major deciding factor in your printer. If you just plan to print run-of-the-mill snapshots, a “snapshot printer” will do just fine. The other categories based on size are A3, A4 and large format printers. A4 printers for example, can produce pictures large enough to fit a typical frame.
Will You Be Printing Black and White Photos?
When buying a standard printer, you are usually more concerned with whether or not you need to use color all that often.With photo printers, whether fully or nearly dedicated to printing pictures, you need to think about whether you will be printing black and white photos. This can be trickier than color photos so you should carefully consider your choice if you take these kinds of pictures. When evaluating a printer, make sure you specifically examine the quality of these photos apart from color ones.
Level of Quality
A professional photographer certainly has different needs than the average person who is just taking pictures and wants to print them out on a computer. For printers that are strictly used for photos, any thermal or inkjet printer will produce quality at least on par with a drug store photo center. As for printers that are nearly dedicated to photos, the quality can vary more and you need to thoroughly vet the options. On a somewhat related note, the type of paper used can also impact photo quality, so it is important to know what types of paper you can use.
How much you print is also an important consideration. Standard printers typically list a duty cycle (how much it can print monthly) and a recommended duty cycle (how much you should print). Unfortunately, printers primarily designed to print pictures are not rated for this characteristic. Basically, if you print so many photos that you are concerned that you will be exceeding the duty cycle, you may want to look into a printer made especially for retail stores and professional photographers.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about various computer and technology topics; she recommends taking advantage of 4InkJet coupons for your printer cartridge needs.
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