Desktop Photo Printers For 2016

New models from Canon and Epson for enthusiast and professional on-demand printing

If you’ve been waiting to upgrade your photo printer, both Canon and Epson have recently introduced major updates. From Canon, we have the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000, a step up from their PIXMA PRO line. Epson’s offerings include three models in their new SureColor P-Series: the P400, P600 and P800.

All of these printers allow you to take advantage of the high-resolution image files from modern digital cameras to make large borderless prints, with the Epson P400 and P600 producing cut-sheet sizes up to 13x19 inches, and the Epson P800 and Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printing up to 17x22 inches. The Epson SureColor models also offer the ability to print on roll paper for panoramic photos.

We had the opportunity to work with the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 and Epson SureColor P600. Both printers are capable of making stunning color and black-and-white images on a wide range of fine-art and traditional photo papers.

KEY SPECS
Inkset: LUCIA PRO 11-color, plus Chroma Optimizer
Ink Type: Pigment
Ink Colors: Matte Black, Photo Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Photo Cyan, Photo Magenta, Gray, Photo Gray, Red, Blue, Chroma Optimizer
Minimum Ink Droplet Size: 4 picoliters
Maximum Print Resolution: 2400x1200 dpi
Ink Tank Size: 80 ml
Maximum Cut Sheet Size: 17x22 inches
Maximum Roll Size (W): N/A
Borderless Printing: Yes
WiFi Connectivity: Yes
Dimensions (WxHxD): 27.4x9.5x18.2 inches
List Price: $1,299
Inkset List Price (Full Set): $714.88

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000
One of the best features of the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is the dedicated channels for Matte Black and Photo Black inks, meaning there’s no need for the printer to switch between the two depending on your paper selection. This not only is a time-saver, but also eliminates the ink consumption that comes with purging the system when switching inks.

In our tests, we produced borderless 17x22-inch, full-color prints at best print quality in about 15 minutes. We were particularly impressed with the depth and detail in the shadow areas of the prints.

In addition to the 11 ink colors, the LUCIA PRO inkset includes a Chroma Optimizer, which is essentially a clear coat to improve the print’s surface quality and perceived color gamut. The printer features an innovative Air Feeding System, a vacuum that helps ensure the paper is flat and correctly aligned as it passes through the printer.

For pros and enthusiasts who print frequently and want the ability to make wide-format prints on demand, the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 delivers brilliant color and dynamic range.

KEY SPECS
Inkset: UltraChrome HD 9-color
Ink Type: Pigment
Ink Colors: Photo Black, Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Vivid Light Magenta, Light Black, Matte Black, Light Light Black
Minimum Ink Droplet Size: 2 picoliters (variable)
Maximum Print Resolution: 5760x1440 dpi
Ink Tank Size: 25.9 ml
Maximum Cut Sheet Size: 13x19 inches
Maximum Roll Size (W): 13 inches
Borderless Printing: Yes
WiFi Connectivity: Yes
Dimensions (WxHxD): 24.2x9.0x14.5 inches
List Price: $799
Inkset List Price (Full Set): $287.91

Epson SureColor P600
The mid-range model in Epson’s new SureColor P-Series is a versatile photo printer with the advantage of allowing you to make both cut-sheet and roll-paper panoramic prints. It also includes an insert for printing directly on to printable DVDs and CDs.

The nine-color ink system incorporates fully automatic switching between Photo Black and Matte Black inks to suit the print media you’ve selected. In our tests, it took about three minutes to switch from Matte Black to Photo Black, and just under six minutes to switch from Photo Black to Matte Black.

Switching inks not only takes time, it also uses ink—according to Epson, about 1 ml to switch from Photo to Matte and up to 3 ml to switch from Matte to Photo—so the best practice is to print in batches and switch media types as infrequently as possible.

We were able to print a full-sized, 13x19-inch borderless print at best print quality, with excellent color reproduction and tonal range, in about 6 minutes. The SureColor P600 is ideal for enthusiast photographers who do a moderate amount of printing at sizes of 13 inches wide and smaller. For enthusiasts and pros who want to go larger to 17x22, consider the SureColor P800.

A Note On Print Speeds
It’s important to note that print speeds can vary significantly, depending on your print quality settings, as well as the content of the image itself. Simply boosting the sharpness of an image file can increase the time to print. Keep this in mind when comparing the print speeds from our tests, as well as the maximum speeds quoted by printer manufacturers in their specs.

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