Digital Photo Printers and Online Printers
At the beginning of the digital revolution, many people embraced the new technology and loved it. They used their new cameras to take pictures of the kids or the new puppy and e-mail them to friends and family far away. The average digital user almost never saw or made real-world prints of their digital photos. Why? Simply because there was no easy way to do it. The average home printer did not produce a print that in any way compared to the quality available from film cameras. That has all changed.
Printer manufacturers such as Epson, Canon, Samsung, and Hewlett-Packard stepped into the photo printer market, and Epson soon emerged as the photo printer of choice for photographers using digital technology. Epson printers were aimed specifically at digital photographers with archival inks and paper designed exclusively for use in their own brand of printers. They were the first to develop a product line that produced a print that was indistinguishable from one done in a commercial photo lab. The race was on to grab this ever-growing consumer market. Soon HP and Canon had developed photo printers of their own, and at prices consumers could afford.
With the help of image-processing software, digital photographers were soon printing their own work. Many enjoyed the process immensely, but others did not like learning how to use the software and dealing with the sometimes-finicky printers. But soon, enough consumers were printing their photos at home to impact commercial photo labs, who soon saw their sales dropping with no end in sight.
Photo printers popular with photographers can change rapidly in today's market, but the following all offer good prints, have color LCDs, slots for memory cards, USB-port connection, and the ability to adjust color, black-and-white, and sepia tones:
Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 500
Canon Selphy DS810
The following printers are smaller but are definitely worth investigating if you are looking for a photo printer for snapshot-sized prints:
Epson PictureMate Flash. Conveniently equipped with multiple media card slots for direct printing, this printer also has a built-in CD-RW drive. There is also a USB port to hook up external devices like hard drives or USB flash drives. Images can be viewed and edited on the printer's 2.5″ LCD screen. A convenient handle and optional rechargeable battery make it perfect for prints on the go.
Canon SELPHY CP740. Weighing in at only two pounds, the Selphy is quite portable, with lots of convenient features: multiple media card slots, a 2″ LCD, a built-in cable for camera connections, and a USB port for computer printing. Remote printing from a compatible camera is even possible via phone, infrared, or an optional Bluetooth adapter.
HP Photosmart A716. This printer has a 2.5″ color LCD, creative editing options and a 4 GB internal hard drive. It can be connected to a television to run slideshows or edit and print images. An optional rechargeable battery is available, so the printer is portable.
Savvy labs quickly assessed this market trend and added digital print making to their roster of services. At first this was a pricey concern, but as online sites operated by reputable photo processors such as Kodak and Fuji entered the market, competition began to force the price of digital prints down until they were comparable with film print prices. Photo kiosks for making digital prints popped up in drug stores and malls, a good option for those not interested in investing time and money in home photo printing.
The following photofinishers' websites have good reputations for digital image storage and printing:
These sites are a good option if you do not have a photo printer or do not have the time to master using one. You may want to try a few of these services to see which one best suits your needs.