The best photo printer in 2024: top A4 and A3 desktop printers for photography

I’ve been testing and reviewing desktop printers for decades and have come to the conclusion that, nowadays, the title of best photo printer is essentially a dogfight between two names: Canon and Epson. While there are other printer manufacturers, Canon and Epson are the only contenders when it comes to desktop printers for high-quality photos. When I want to frame, mount, or display my photos, this is where I need to be.

Key factors to consider are the size of the photos you want to print, and the type of ink you want to use. For this guide, I’m starting off with the best regular Letter-size (A4) photo printers, then moving on to larger-format 13-inch (A3+) printers, and finishing off with 17-inch (A2) printers. Naturally, if you want to create photo prints to hang on the wall, bigger tends to be better. Scroll to the bottom of this page for my top tips on how to choose and use a photo printer.

When it comes to cost, there’s more to it than the price of a printer. Ink refills are infamous for being eye-wateringly expensive. Even so, it’s worth it in the long run if you plan on creating a lot of photo prints, compared with the cost of using the best photo printing services. Better still, I find that making my own prints takes just a few minutes and puts me in full control of the whole process.

I hate wasting ink, so all of the printers on my list use individually replaceable inks. That way, I only need to replace cartridges that have run dry. Alternatively, the more recent breed of Canon MegaTank and Epson EcoTank printers run on bottles rather than cartridges, which can be more efficient, less wasteful and much less expensive over the lifetime of the printer. However, models with refillable tanks rather than cartridges are still much less common when it comes to large-format photo printers.

Matthew Richards
Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal printer reviewer – and has tested all the printers on this list. His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers, and inks, and just about anything imaging-related.

The Quick List

Here's a quick rundown of all the photo printers in this guide. Scroll down for a more in-depth look at the individual products.

The best photo printers we recommend in 2024

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Best for Letter (A4) photos

Canon Pixma G620 / Canon Pixma G650

(Image credit: Matthew Richards/Digital Camera World)
It comes up trumps for photo quality

Specifications

Ink type: Dye
Cartridges/tanks: 6 tanks
Ink capacity: 60ml bottles
Max print / scan resolution: 4800 / 1200dpi
Maximum photo print speed: 47 seconds (4x6-inch)
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi
Dimensions (WxDxH): 445x340x167mm
Weight: 6.6kg

Reasons to buy

+
Cheap to run
+
Fabulous photo print quality
+
Inexpensive for a bottled ink printer

Reasons to avoid

-
Less ideal for document printing
-
No touchscreen interface
-
A bit slow for postcard sized photo prints
Buy it if:

You want premium photo quality in a Letter (A4) sized printer.

You don’t mind that mono text isn’t smudge-resistant on plain paper.

Don't buy it if:

Youd prefer a printer that’s equally adept at document printing.
You’d rather have a printer with a touchscreen interface.

I like that, as with other Canon MegaTank inkjet printers, the G650 (G620 in the US and G660 in Australia) is a cartridge-free machine that has relatively high-volume ink tanks, topped up by 60ml bottles of ink. With my money-saving head on, that works out to about an eighth of the cost of most cartridge-based printers. I also like that the printer itself is very affordable to buy, compared with many bottle-fed printers.

The photo-friendly line-up of six dye-based inks includes CMYK plus red and grey inks, aiming for a wide color space and enhanced mono photo quality. The individually keyed, squeeze-free bottles ensure simple, mess-free top-ups and make it impossible to pour any color of ink into the wrong tank.

There are no internal paper feed cassettes, just an upright input tray at the rear, which makes it easy to swap between different sizes of plain or photo paper. There’s also no color touchscreen but the small mono LCD enables an intuitive pushbutton interface. It makes short work of creating mono or color photocopies, courtesy of the built-in scanner. Connectivity is good too, with USB and Wi-Fi, the latter enabling PIXMA Cloud Link for smartphones and tablets, Apple AirPrint, Mopria for Android and Wireless Direct.

A set of ink bottles is sufficient for 3,800 6x4-inch photos, or around 3,700 mono documents, or 8,000 color documents. Despite lacking a pigment-based black ink, mono text is pretty crisp. I find that print speeds are a little pedestrian, taking around 47 seconds to create a 4x6-inch glossy photo, but a borderless A4 photo print only takes a couple of minutes in standard photo quality mode. Color rendition is impressively accurate, tonal range is very good and the printer makes a good stab at black & white photo printing. In the long run, it’s great value for a highly capable photo printer.

Read more: Canon PIXMA G620/G650/G660 review

Best multi-purpose Letter (A4)

(Image credit: Matthew Richards/Digital Camera World)

2. Epson EcoTank ET-8500

A good all-rounder for photo and document printing

Specifications

Ink type: Dye + Pigment black
Cartridges/tanks: 6 tanks
Ink capacity: 70ml bottles
Max print / scan resolution: 5760 / 4800dpi
Maximum photo print speed: 25 seconds (4x6-inch)
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, SD slot
Dimensions (WxDxH): 403‎x369x162mm
Weight: 8.4kg

Reasons to buy

+
Good for documents as well as photos
+
Fast for postcard sized photo prints
+
Color touchscreen interface

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive, even for an EcoTank printer
-
Quite weighty for a Letter (A4) printer
Buy it if

You want a single printer that works great for photos and documents.

You want a multi-function printer with an intuitive interface.

Don't buy it if:

You’re put off by the particularly steep initial purchase cost.

You only need to print photos occasionally.

I like that this Epson is rather like a photo printer with a business hat on. Like pretty much everyone, I don’t want to buy and run two printers, one for photos and the other for documents, so I’m happy that the Epson takes both in its stride. I also like the fact that running costs are inexpensive, as I’d expect from an EcoTank printer with supplies of bottled ink to top up the tanks. I’m not so keen that it’s comparatively expensive to buy, so it can take quite a while to claw the money back along the road to total cost of ownership.

As with the upscaled Epson EcoTank ET-8550, this Letter (A4) printer runs on the same mix of pigment-based black ink and dye-based cyan, magenta, yellow, black, grey inks. This enables solid, smudge-resistant black text on plain paper, along with a good tonal range and color space for photo printing, for both color and black & white images.

I’m pressed that the printer can output 4x6-inch borderless color photo prints in just 25 seconds, which is a bonus when I want to make a large set of prints. The printing process is streamlined for document printing as well, with automatic double-sided printing and easy copying or scanning via the built-in scanner, SD card slot and USB memory stick port. The printer is also well-connected, with USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi built-in. You can also print direct onto white-faced CD and DVD discs (remember those?). Everything’s brought together by an intuitive 4.3-inch touchscreen interface.

Read more: Read our review of the upsized Epson EcoTank ET-8550. Basically the same printer but bigger!

Best for 13-inch (A3+) photos

(Image credit: Future)
It’s simply the best large-format photo printer

Specifications

Ink type: Pigment
Cartridges/tanks: 10 cartridges
Ink capacity: 14ml cartridges
Max print / scan resolution: 4800dpi / no scanner
Maximum photo print speed: 4m 15s (A3)
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Dimensions (WxDxH): 639x379x200mm
Weight: 14.4kg

Reasons to buy

+
Unbeatable photo quality
+
Excellent build quality
+
Wide-ranging media support

Reasons to avoid

-
Not completely ideal for glossy prints
-
Slower than a dye-based printer
Buy it if

You want flexibility for glossy, matte and fine-art media.

You want unbeatable black & white performance as well as color.

Don't buy it if:

Speed is of the essence and you’d prefer a faster dye-based printer.

You only print on glossy, semi-gloss and luster photo papers.

I love that, as a pigment-based printer, the PRO-300 is particularly versatile. It delivers superb looking output on glossy as well as matte and fine-art media. Like the older PIXMA PRO-10 and larger, A2 format imagePROGRAF PRO-1000, it features a ‘Chroma Optimizer’ cartridge. This smooths out the finish when printing on glossy photo paper, so that there’s relatively little difference in the reflectivity of different colors and tones.

I’m impressed that the ink range itself is very comprehensive, with ten separate cartridges in total. They’re all from Canon’s latest LUCIA PRO line-up, giving the potential for a wide gamut (color space) with rich, vivid color rendition, as well as high-fidelity black & white photo printing. The 14ml cartridge capacity should prove sufficient for around 30 to 60 A3+ prints (depending on color) although quantities naturally vary depending on the prominent colors and density within images.

Media handling is very good. I like the inclusion of a rear-mounted upright paper feeder plus a horizontal manual feeder, the latter being more ideal for fine-art and thicker media. The manual feeder also enables oversized printing for panoramic and banner output, up to almost a meter in length. A 3-inch color LCD screen is another handling bonus, although it’s not a touchscreen. Unlike Canon’s previous pigment-based printers and as with the PRO-200, the PRO-300 enables borderless output on matte and fine-art media, instead of just on glossy, semi-gloss and luster photo papers. I find that gives me far more options for full-bleed printing.

Image quality is spectacular, for both color and mono photographic prints. A particular highlight (or perhaps the opposite) is that the printer delivers incredibly sumptuous and richly detailed blacks, which add a real depth to print quality. It’s pretty speedy for a pigment-based printer as well, even in its highest quality mode, although it can’t match dye-based printers for speed and, as usual for pigment-based inks, prints aren’t touch-dry as they leave the printer.

Read more: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 review

Best 13-inch (A3+) dye-based

(Image credit: Future)
A pro-grade photo printer for glossy and luster papers

Specifications

Ink type: Dye
Cartridges/tanks: 8 cartridges
Ink capacity: 12.6ml cartridges
Max print / scan resolution: 4800dpi / no scanner
Maximum photo print speed: 1m 30s (A3)
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Dimensions (WxDxH): 639x379x200mm
Weight: 14.1kg

Reasons to buy

+
The ultimate photo quality for glossy prints
+
Competitive purchase price
+
8 individual ink cartridges

Reasons to avoid

-
Dye inks are less ideal for matte and fine-art papers
-
Not the highest-capacity ink cartridges
Buy it if

You want the best quality for glossy color photos.

You don’t tend to use matte or fine-art media.

Don't buy it if:

You want a printer with a built-in scanner.

You only need Letter (A4) sized photo prints.

Canon’s PIXMA PRO-100 had long been my favorite A3+/13-inch pro-grade printer for creating photo prints on glossy and luster papers. Running on eight dye-based inks, including black, grey and light grey, it delivered sumptuously smooth glossy prints with immaculate color rendition and very good tonal expression for black & white photographic images. The replacement PRO-200 brings a number of improvements and enhancements, similar to those of the imagePROGRAF PRO-300 compared with the older PIXMA PRO-10 pigment-based model.

For me, a headline upgrade is that the PRO-200 has a new and improved range of inks that deliver a greater color space, superior vibrancy and deeper reds, blues and blacks. I find that paper handling is intuitive, as with the pigment-based PRO-300, with an upright rear feeder and a secondary manual feeder that enables custom print lengths of up to 39 inches (99.1cm). Other similarities with the PRO-300 are the addition of a 3-inch color LCD screen and compatibility with Canon’s excellent Professional Print & Layout software, which is available as a free download. The printers are also fully compatible with a large range of top-quality fine-art media from the likes of Canson and Hahnemühle.

As I’d expect, print speeds from this dye-based printer are faster than from the pigment-based PRO-300 model. As is often the case these days, the difference in print quality between standard and highest quality modes can look fairly negligible, unless you’re viewing photo prints with a high-magnification loupe. Even in standard mode, the PRO-200 delivers fabulous photo print quality and is simply the best in the group for glossy photo paper, although the PRO-300 is better for black & white images, especially on matte and fine-art media.

Read more: Canon PIXMA PRO-200 review

Best 13-inch (A3+) for panoramas

(Image credit: Australia Camera)
I really like this Epson for making panoramic prints

Specifications

Ink type: Pigment
Cartridges/tanks: 10 cartridges
Ink capacity: 25ml cartridges
Max print / scan resolution: 5760dpi / no scanner
Maximum photo print speed: Unspecified
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Dimensions (WxDxH): 515‎x368x185mm
Weight: 12.6kg

Reasons to buy

+
Comes complete with a roll feeder
+
Runs on 10 pigment-based inks
+
Great quality color and black & white

Reasons to avoid

-
Lackluster quality on glossy photo paper
-
Very short lifespan of ‘setup’ cartridges
Buy it if

You want an included roll feeder for panoramic prints.

You have an older Epson SureColor printer but want a worthy upgrade.

Don't buy it if:

Youd rather have the best quality for glossy photo prints.
You’d prefer the higher-capacity ink cartridges of the SC-P900.

I’m often frustrated by the short lifespan of ‘setup’ cartridges that are supplied with inkjet printers. This Epson is a key offender. I found that after setting up the printer, there was only enough ink left in the cartridges to create half a dozen or so 13-inch (A3+) photo prints, and a full set of 10 replacement cartridges certainly don’t come cheap. Even so, once that hurdle is out of the way, the SC-700 delivers fabulous photo quality for both color and black & white images on matte photo paper and fine-art media. It’s not ideal for making glossy prints though, as there’s noticeable ‘bronzing’, so different colors and densities of ink have varying reflectivity, giving an uneven appearance to prints.

I find the SC-P700 easy and intuitive to use, helped by the inclusion of a 4.3-inch color touchscreen. I also like that built-in connectivity options include USB 3.0, Ethernet and Wi-Fi. I hated the fact that previous versions of Epson’s 10-ink printers only had nine channels in the print heads. That required swapping between photo black and matte black cartridges every time I went from glossy to matte paper. It’s a time-consuming business and wastes a lot of ink, as existing ink has to be purged from the head. I’m thankful that the SC-P700 has dedicated channels for all of its ink cartridges, saving the pain.

Although it’s a really good 13-inch (A3+) printer, I feel that the upscaled 17-inch (A2) SC-P900 is a much better buy. Sure, it costs more up-front, but I get the option of even bigger prints and the ink cartridges have twice the capacity, reducing running costs.

Read more: Epson SureColor SC-P700 review

Best refillable 13-inch (A3+) printer

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)
A versatile large-format printer that’s cheap to run

Specifications

Ink type: Dye + Pigment black
Cartridges/tanks: 6 tanks
Ink capacity: 70ml bottles
Max print / scan resolution: 5760 / 4800dpi
Maximum photo print speed: 25 seconds (4x6-inch)
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, SD slot
Dimensions (WxDxH): 523‎x379x169mm
Weight: 11.1kg

Reasons to buy

+
Good for documents as well as photos
+
Bottle-fed for cheap running costs
+
Built-in scanner and touchscreen

Reasons to avoid

-
High initial purchase price
-
Can’t compete with ‘specialist’ photo printers for quality
Buy it if

You want a single large-format printer for photos and documents.

You like multi-function versatility with a built-in scanner and touchscreen interface.

Don't buy it if:

Youd rather have a specialist photo printer for the very best quality on glossy paper.
You print on matte or fine-art media, for which pigment inks are better.

If I only wanted to make 8.5-inch (A4) photo prints, Epson’s ET-8500 is cheaper to buy than this upscaled version. The initial outlay for the 13-inch (A3+) ET-8550 isn’t a great deal more (although it’s still expensive) and both printers are fed by the same set of 70ml ink bottles. These comprise a pigment-based black ink for delivering crisp mono text, and five dye-based inks for photo output, which include CMYK plus a grey ink to enhance the color space and provide better fidelity for black & white photo printing. A full set of bottles should be sufficient for printing 2,300 6x4-inch photos. Naturally, I find the relatively long-lasting EcoTank design really comes into its own for large-format printing. I think it’s great that I can make lots of big prints without constantly worrying about buying expensive new cartridges.

I find that the Epson is well suited to both document and photo printing. I like that it features multiple input cassettes for loading different types and sizes of paper, and supports auto duplex double-sided document printing. I’m also a fan of the built-in 8.5x14-inch scanner, and the intuitive 4.3-inch color touchscreen. For me, the printer works really well for standalone operation of remotely via a smartphone or tablet, using the ‘Epson Smart Panel’ app. Connectivity options include USB, Wi-Fi and Ethernet, and there’s also an SD card slot and USB port, so it really keeps all my options open.

I like that, for printing on larger-format paper up to A3+/13x17-inch, there’s an upright feeder which pulls up from the back of the printer, plus a horizontal feeder for printing banners and panoramic photos up to 2m in length, as well as allowing for specialist media up to 1.3mm thick.

Print speeds are fairly rapid in all but the highest-quality photo mode. Photo quality is pretty convincing but nowhere near a match for the more specialized Canon PIXMA PRO-200, which has a much greater range of inks (all of them dedicated to photo output). Even so, considering the lack of light cyan and light magenta inks, the Epson produces rich, bright and vibrant color rendition.

Read more: Epson EcoTank ET-8550 review

Best 17-inch (A2) Canon printer

(Image credit: Future)
An absolutely fabulous 17-inch photo printer

Specifications

Ink type: Pigment
Cartridges/tanks: 12 cartridges
Ink capacity: 80ml cartridges
Max print / scan resolution: 2400dpi / no scanner
Maximum photo print speed: 3m 35s (A2)
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Dimensions (WxDxH): 723x435x285mm
Weight: 32.3kg

Reasons to buy

+
Unsurpassed photo quality on matte and fine-art media
+
Very good on glossy photo paper
+
High-capacity ink cartridges

Reasons to avoid

-
Big and heavy
-
Expensive to buy
-
No built-in scanner or touchscreen
Buy it if

You want to max out on quality as well as size.

You want to create borderless prints on matte and fine-art media.

Don't buy it if:

You prefer printing on glossy photo paper.

You’d rather have a more compact, lightweight printer.

I can’t pretend that this pro-grade, large-format printer isn’t expensive to buy but it has rock-solid build quality. Indeed, it weighs in at 32.3kg, so it’s certainly not a printer to be taken lightly. It delivers unbeatable photo print quality on matte and fine-art media, with no less than 11 pigment-based inks to maximize color space and tonal range. There’s also a Chroma Optimizer tank which helps to deliver much better (and more even looking) output on glossy photo paper, compared with most pigment-based inkjet printers.

The versatility and sheer quality of this printer’s output for both color and black & white images, as well as its wide-ranging support for fine-art media from the world’s top paper manufacturers, make it a firm favorite, not just for me but also for many of the most demanding professional photographers who want to exhibit or sell their work, while maintaining full control over every aspect of the process, from shutter-release to the final print.

Pigment-based printers tend to be slower than their dye-based counterparts but the PRO-1000 is no slouch, outputting full A2 prints in as little as around three and a half minutes. As always with pigment-based inks though, I find it’s best not to touch the prints for a while after they’ve exited the printer, to give the ink time to fully dry. A full set of cartridges is expensive to buy but they have an unusually high capacity of 80ml each, which is more ink than is often sold in bottles for EcoTank or MegaTank refillable printers.

Read more: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 review

Best 17-inch (A2) Epson printer

(Image credit: Matthew Richards/Digital Camera World)
A surprisingly compact 17-inch (A2) photo printer

Specifications

Ink type: Pigment
Cartridges/tanks: 10 cartridges
Ink capacity: 50ml cartridges
Max print / scan resolution: 5760dpi / no scanner
Maximum photo print speed: Unspecified
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Dimensions (WxDxH): 615‎x368x199mm
Weight: 14.8kg

Reasons to buy

+
Relatively compact and lightweight
+
Great for color and black & white
+
Ideal for matte and fine-art media

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best for glossy photo paper
-
Expensive to buy
Buy it if

You want to go large on your photo prints but keep compact dimensions for the actual printer.

You specialize in matte and fine-art media printing, rather than using glossy photo paper.

Don't buy it if:

You ned egreat quality on glossy paper as well as matte and fine-art media.
You’d rather have the higher-capacity ink cartridges featured in the Canon PRO-1000.

I’ve already given the lowdown on the Epson SureColor SC-P700 13-inch (A3) printer, which is a direct competitor to the Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO-300. The SC-P900 17-inch (A2) is naturally more expensive to buy but I like that it gives relatively supersized output from a printer that’s only about the same size and weight as the Canon 13-inch (A3+) model. I also like that its 50ml cartridges have twice the capacity of the SC-P700’s cartridges, resulting in significant savings for ink costs. Even so, that’s less ink than the Canon PRO-1000’s 80ml cartridges.

In previous large-format Epson printers, the photo black and matte black inks shared a common channel in the print head. I’d therefore need to purge and refill the ink in the channel every time I swapped between glossy and matte media, wasting time and money. The SC-P700 and SC-P900 put that to rights, with dedicated channels for all ten inks.

I like the handling characteristics of this printer. It has an additional pull-out feeder at the front, ideal for fine-art media and relatively thick poster board. It also allows for extra-long cut-sheet media, while a roll paper feeder is available as an optional extra (whereas it’s included with the smaller SC-P700). I find the 4.3-inch color touchscreen useful and intuitive, and I like that the printer features a translucent top panel and interior LED lighting, so I can keep a check on your prints as they’re being made.

There are up to five quality settings available, depending on media type, but the highest settings are typically very slow and give a virtually imperceptible increase in print quality for most images and papers. Print quality itself is excellent, for both color and mono output, although the Canon PRO-300 just has the edge for really deep blacks and, without a ‘chroma optimizer’ cartridge, the Epson’s output on glossy paper looks less smooth.


Read more: Epson SureColor SC-P900 review

How to choose the best photo printer for you:

Dye or pigment? Pigment-based inks have larger molecules and are more robust. For document printing on plain paper, they’re more smudge-resistant so are less likely to be ruined by a ring of moisture from a water bottle, or from the use of highlighter pens. Pigment-base inks are also better for premium photo printing on matte photo paper and fine-art media. The flipside is that dye-based inks are better for photo printing on glossy paper, as the smaller molecules enable the ink to be fully absorbed beneath the protective glossy top layer of the paper.

How many inks? Traditionally, CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) inks are featured in printers, as this enables effective mono and color document printing. Dual photo/document printers sometimes feature both dye-based and pigment-based black inks. The dye-based black ink enables greater depth and contrast than relying on ‘composite black’, created from mixing cyan, magenta and yellow together. Up-market photo printers tend to feature additional colors of ink, often light cyan and light magenta, for an extended gamut (or color space), and top-notch ones usually feature additional gray cartridges to extend the tonal range and drama for black & white photo prints.

Do I need a scanner facility? Just as you need to print documents and images from your computer, you might also need to digitize or copy existing pages. The vast majority of inkjet printers these days come complete with a built-in scanner, which can add greatly to their all-round versatility. Many also feature an ADF (Auto Document Feeder) for automatic the scanning or copying of multi-page documents, saving you the chore of feeding pages in one by one. The best of breed sometimes include a scanner with ADF that can scan both sides of double-sided documents simultaneously, in one pass, effectively doubling the speed.

Cartridges or ink tanks? Ink tanks beat cartridges for running costs and convenience. Conventional cartridge-based inkjet printers are generally sold with ‘setup cartridges’ that last next to no time, and a full set of regular replacement cartridges often costs as much or even more than the printer itself, so it’s easy to see where manufacturers make their money. And as for the lack of convenience, you can almost count on cartridges running out just when you need them most, which can be a big problem if you don’t have spares to hand. All in all, cartridges can be a pain and a financial drain for anything other than occasional printing.

Are ink tank printers messy to refill? You might worry that refilling ink tanks with bottles might be a messy business. That often used to be the case but times have changed. Nowadays, ink bottles generally have individually keyed tops, so each one only fits in the correct tank. What’s more, they’re gravity fed so there’s no squeezing involved, and ink is only released via an internal valve once the bottle is safely positioned in the receptacle at the top of the tank. The valve will also shut off automatically once the tank is full. You can pretty much guarantee there’s no mess involved.

Do I need to use genuine cartridges? Independently manufactured ink cartridges often cost a small fraction of the price of the genuine articles. The same goes for photo paper. However, with very cheap cartridges, there’s a risk that the ink might have impurities that can block the ultra-small nozzles of the print head, which can be a major problem. For photo printing, you also risk poor color fidelity and a massive reduction in the longevity of the print. For the sake of print quality, reliability and long-lasting results, you’re best off sticking with genuine supplies or at least opting for independent alternatives that aren’t overly cheap and have a good reputation.

How we test photo printers

Our test procedure begins with installing the latest software drivers and running nozzle check and print head alignment routines. We then create test prints from mono documents, mixed text and graphics color documents, and a wide range of digital photos that include landscapes, portraits, and black & white images.

We use the various available quality modes, including optional image enhancement features. We also create prints from our own specially created test chart, to test the printer's accuracy in terms of color reproduction, tonal range, retention of detail in bright highlights and dark shadows, and the ability to deliver smooth gradations in subtle color variations. The printer manufacturer’s own-brand inks and papers are used throughout the entire testing procedure.

For output speed, we record the time taken to produce various sizes of prints at different quality settings. Ink costs are calculated on typical page yield against average prices for the manufacturer’s own-brand cartridges or bottles.