1. Canon PIXMA Pro-100S
Specialising in big glossy prints, it goes large in ink range as well as size
Max Print Size: A3+ | Print resolution: 4800 x 2400 dpi | Print speed (6x4; std quality): 33 seconds | Interfaces: USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, BT | Scanner: No | Dimensions: 689 x 385 x 215 mm | Weight: 19.7kg
The Pro-100S uses dye rather than pigment inks, aiming for exceptionally smooth output on glossy paper. The Pro-100S is well suited to creating black & white photo prints as well as colour output, with the inclusion of grey and light grey cartridges. These are in addition to the usual six inks of conventional photo printers, bringing the total count to eight inks. Build quality feels ‘professional’, with a very sturdy chassis and high-grade components. Connectivity is good, with built-in USB 2.0, Ethernet and Wi-Fi. Colour accuracy is similarly impressive and print speeds are super-quick. Overall, the Pro-100S is a great performer.
2. Canon PIXMA Pro-10S
The same but different, the Pro-10S printer has pigment inks aplenty
Max Print Size: A3+ | Print resolution: 4800 x 2400 dpi | Print speed (6x4; std quality): 1 minute 13 seconds | Interfaces: USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, BT | Scanner: No | Dimensions: 689 x 385 x 215 mm | Weight: 20kg
The PIXMA Pro-10S uses ten pigment inks rather than dye-based ink. One of the cartridges is a ‘Chroma Optimizer’, which provides a smooth finish on glossy paper. Of the other nine, you get the standard six colours for photo printing, plus red and grey inks, and both ‘photo’ black and matte black, for printing on glossy and matte media respectively. There are individual channels in the print head for both photo and matte black inks saving time and ink when swapping between media types. Excellent output quality combines superb accuracy for colour prints and fabulous definition for black & white photo prints, without any unwanted colour casts.
3. Epson Expression Photo XP-960
It’s not quite the full nine yards, but it comes pretty close
Print resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi | Print speed (6x4; std quality): 26 seconds | Interfaces: USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, BT | Scanner: Yes | Dimensions: 479 x 356 x 148 mm | Weight: 8.7kg
Compared with the other large-format printers on test, the XP-960 is much more compact and lightweight. The catch is that it has a maximum print size of A3 (11.69x16.54 inches) rather than A3+ (13x19 inches). On the plus side, the XP-760 packs a lot into its small frame, including an A4 flatbed scanner, memory card slots, a 4.3-inch colour touchscreen, dual internal paper cassettes, a rear paper feeder and direct printing for CDs/DVDs. It’s much more like an upscale A4 multi-function printer than the other large-format models on test. It can’t compete with the A3+ printers on test for black-and-white photo fidelity, but colour print speeds are rapid.
4. Epson SureColor P600
Roll your own photo prints with Epson’s range-topping A3+ printer
Max Print Size: A3+ (plus panoramic) | Print resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi | Print speed (6x4; std quality): 1minute 04 seconds | Interfaces: USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, BT | Scanner: No | Dimensions: 616 x 369 x 228 mm | Weight: 15kg
A plus point of the P600 is that it comes complete with a roll feeder, something that’s not even available as an optional extra with the Canon A3+ printers. It enables you to buy photo paper in rolls and create prints with aspect ratios that exactly match your requirements, even stretching to panoramic prints. The printer incorporates a 2.7-inch touchscreen, again absent in the Canon A3+ printers. High-capacity cartridges are a good match for large-format printing, containing nearly three times as much ink as for the XP-960, and about twice as much as for the Canon A3+ printers. Colour accuracy is excellent and black & white prints on matte media look magnificent.