What Is The Best Printer For Photos?

“What is the best printer for photos ?” That was the question I was often asked in my former computer salesperson life.

My answer was that Canon and Epson both offer the best products in the photo segment.

This is still true today. 

In this post, I chose to review Canon Professional Pixma Pro printers for its ease of use and incomparable printer built-in ruggedness.

This is why Canon is renowned for its reliability for both professional works and personal projects.

Products:

(Click on the links for prices and availability)

Canon Pixma Pro-1,

Canon Pixma Pro-10,

Canon Pixma Pro-100,

Canon Pixma PRO9000,

Canon Pixma Pro9500

My rating: 8 out of 10

This review will help you determine what is the best printer for photos to suit your needs and budget.

The reviewed products are Canon professional Pixma printers.

The Pixma series is specially made to provide the best performance in photo printing.




The specifications

All 5 professional printers share the following characteristics:

Paper size: up to 13×19

Resolution: 4800 x 2400 dpi for both color and black\white.

This chart highlights the main characteristics of printers and their average cost.

                                        Pro-1             Pro-10           Pro-100             Pro9000           Pro9500


Ink type                       Pigment        Pigment              Dye                    Dye                 Pigment

Ink tanks                         12                   10                       8                         8                         10    

PictBridge                       Yes                Yes                     Yes                     Yes                     Yes    

Ethernet                          Yes                Yes                     Yes                        –                           –      

Wi-Fi                                  –                   Yes                     Yes                        –                          –       

AirPrint                              –                   Yes                     Yes                        –                          –       


The main differences between them are:

  • the type of ink they use,
  • the number of independent cartridges (ink tanks),
  • the connectivity options.

Canon Professional Printers Offer the Best Value for the Price

Canon Pixma Pro-100 followed by Canon Pixma Pro-10 has the best value for the price in the professional series. Here are the pros and cons for each of them to help you determine what is the best printer for photos according to your needs.

Pros:

  • Supports many connectivity options (ethernet network, wi-fi, etc.) PictBridge allows you to print directly from a compatible camera, phone, camcorder device while AirPrint allows you to print from any iPhone, iPad, etc.

  • Pixma Pro-100 uses dye-based ink that provides pictures with vivid, lifelike colors. On the other hand, Pixma Pro-10 uses a pigment-based ink resulting in sharp and intense colors that will stand the test of time.

  • Better quality prints than those you get from a big chain store by adjusting printing options to optimize the colors. You can also use high-quality paper to get the best results.

  • Individual cartridges. Canon Pixma Pro-10 individual tanks (PGI-72) are somewhat less expensive ($2 less) than Canon Pixma Pro-100 (CLI-42) at the time of writing this article.

  • Can print on canvas, photographic, fine art, and roll paper (banner/panoramic)

Cons

  • Pixma Pro-10 uses 2 more ink tanks than the Pixma Pro-100. This provides better color precision but also means higher printing cost using the highest quality.

  • It’s not a portable format if you need to carry it around to events or your customer’s office. Both Pro-10 and Pro-100 have the same dimensions (27 x 8.5 x 15.2″) and weight 43 lbs. 

  • Depending on how often you print, how many and the size of your prints it may turn out to be expensive to print with.

Printing 4×6 formats is not as economical as printing them from your local store (Costco, Walmart, etc.) even when using only the default setup.

In Conclusion

Canon Pixma Pro-100 and Canon Pixma Pro-10 are perfect for people that want to control the color intensity, contrast, and size and quality of papers used.

It’s made to provide professional results that you won’t get from a Target or Walmart photo service.

Investing in a Hobby

It’s also a good investment for photo enthusiasts who still get emotional over traditional paper photos, like me. I love taking pictures, editing them to bring out their beauty.

Therefore, a printer that can reflect the smallest details of a baby’s skin, sun rays shining through a tree’s highest branches or a perfect sunset on the beach is a must.

Printers like Canon Pixma Pro-100 and Canon Pixma Pro-10 are used by professionals (photographers, graphic artist…) that make a living out of the quality of photos and fine arts paper products.

Major Savings when Used Regularly

On the other hand, people wanting to cut on their wedding budget by printing their own high-quality pictures can take advantage of owning one of those top quality printers

If this is your case, keep in mind that the more you use your printer wisely the better your return on investment will be.

It can be a good purchase if you know you’ll be using your printer for many other occasions. Otherwise, it’s a waste of money.

Protect your Investment

Though it may be tempting to save on printer ink, I suggest to only use Canon original ink set instead of generic brands.

Avoid at all cost remanufactured cartridge inks. Not only because you won’t get the same printing quality but because of the risk of damaging your printer ink heads.

A Professional Camera Can Make all the Difference

At the risk of stating the obvious, you need equally professional image quality and camera to get the best out of your printer.

If your camera design or the photo has a poor resolution you will still have a blurry photo with faded colors no matter how good your printer is.

Finally, as an answer to “what is the best printer for photos”, it depends on what is most important to you. Make sure you know what you’ll be using your printer for.

In this regard, the next section will be helpful.

What is the Best Printer for Photos for Your Needs?

Here’s a list of questions you should answer prior to purchasing your printer. It’s a bit of a recap on the specifications I’ve mentioned earlier. It might come in handy:

  • How often will you use it? (daily, weekly monthly…)

Some people using specialized photo printers complain about clogging ink heads when used only a few times a year.

It seems that professional photo printers offer great performance when used on a regular basis.

They are professional photographer’s favorite, conversely, not the best choice for occasional users.

  • How much do you want to pay for a replacement ink tank:

Professional photo printers can sometimes have more than ten separate ink cartridges to make the most accurate and sharp color prints. This quality comes at a high price.




  • What dimension will you need to print:

Professional printers offer large size prints. It’s not the case in regular All-In-One printers.

  • Does it support Wi-Fi, AirPrint, or any other connectivity technology you will use? 

As you can see from the chart I provided not all printers support the latest communication mediums.

  • Pigment ink or dye ink?

Historically, pigment ink was renowned for its great color stability over time while dye ink offered bright and life-like colors.

However, this difference seems to be less and less remarkable for newer versions of Pro-10 and Pro-100 from what I read from Amazon customer’s review.

I hope you’ve found this article useful. In your opinion what is the best printer for photos? If you have any questions or want to share your thoughts, feel free to leave a comment.


Also Read

21 Responses to “What Is The Best Printer For Photos?

  • Thanks for this useful review! I’m actually in the process of planning my own wedding so I’ll certainly keep this in mind!

    • Carolyn
      2 years ago

      Glad to be of any help, Sharon! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

  • This is a great looking printer. From looking at the images, it handles the pastels perfectly. When I did wedding photographer many years ago this would have saved me lots of money printing- this is worth every penny.

    • Carolyn
      2 years ago

      Hi Fred, it’s photographers and other graphic artists most reliable printer brand! Pixma Pro series has everything you can dream of when it comes to printing high-quality images.
      Cheers,

  • Linda Watson
    2 years ago

    I’m in the market for a new printer and one of my non-negotiables is for a high quality photo printer. My old printer just didn’t have the type of quality results I was looking for. I’m definitely going to seek out one that is compatible with apps per your suggestion. Great article.

    • Carolyn
      2 years ago

      Hi Linda, The best way to determine what type of printer you need is to make a list of all you need it to do. Hope this review helped 🙂

  • What is the best photo paper to use with this printer? Can it print high quality images on thicker glossy paper?

    • Carolyn
      2 years ago

      Hi Dan, after a quick search, it can print on 11 millimeters thick photo paper with many different paper finishes (luster, glossy, semi-glossy, matte, etc..)

      You will find the different types of paper (size, finish, thickness, etc.) here:
      Genuine Canon Photo Paper Pro

  • Tove Løken
    2 years ago

    Yeah, I did find your post useful.
    We have a printer at home but it’s not good. The photos are really bad. It was a cheap printer but with expensive ink cartridges. It works well when I want to print out an article but I would have liked if the printer had a much better image quality.
    I find the printer you talk about here to expensive for me.
    But maybe I will be able to buy a Canon Printer in the future.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Tove

    • Carolyn
      2 years ago

      Hi Tove, Canon is definitely a good brand in terms of reliability and printing quality. Use the list I provided to determine your needs.

      Also, there are many deals you can take advantage of around Christmas, Boxing Day and at the end of November on Cyber Monday weekend.

      Cheers!

  • Wedding pictures have become so expensive and I’m glad you highlighted something we all could use over and over again. I look forward to owning one of these. Thanks, Carolyn

    • Carolyn
      2 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Koko! I hope you’ve found useful information in this post. Let me know if you have any question, I’ll be glad to answer 🙂

  • I have a camera Canon and it’s a professional one, called the 700D. It’s excellent. Canon is excellent in the photos department, I haven’t checked any of their printers yet but they already have a monstrous brand for the photos.

    The Prixma pro 10 seems like a complete all around printer both for the amateur and the professional and with that amazing price I can see it being an excellent choice for a wide range of customers.

    Awesome review you’ve covered almost every possible question one can have. Thanks

    • Carolyn
      2 years ago

      Hi Elias, thanks for your comment. I have a Canon camera too and have nothing but good things to say about it.
      Thanks for dropping by!

  • sophie64
    2 years ago

    Very interesting information to know when purchase a printer to print photos. Thank so much is good to know that. My is a photographer I will refer to him your website. Keep up your good work, very nice.

    sophie64

  • Hi Carolyn. I should really show my husband this. He’s an artist and can’t seem to find him a reliable printer. We have an Epson that’s ‘okay’. The annoying thing is that ours won’t print anything even if one single cartridge is low on ink. Does the Canon do that? Thanks.

    • Carolyn
      2 years ago

      Hi Sarah, like any inkjet printer it won’t print if one ink tank is empty. This prevents ink head from clogging due to dry ink and avoids having it clean or repaired.
      Browsing on the Internet, you ‘ll find there are workarounds to make it print with empty cartridges but it’s at your own risk.

      I suggest reading Amazon’s customer question and answer section for more information:
      “Will it still print if one of the cartridges is empty?”

  • do you think Canon Pixma Pro-10 can be used for my brother’s term projects? he will have very detailed 16 projects per year do you think we should buy this printer?

    • Carolyn
      2 years ago

      Furkan, I can’t help you if you don’t give me more information.

      If your brother wants to buy a printer, I suggest he first determines a budget and start from there. Like I mention in my review, if you’re only using it once you better go to a professional photo lab.
      Hope this helps!

  • I haven’t had any photos printed recently but would print more pictures if I had a nice printer that did a nice job. Considering the price of the printer options the Cannon pro 10 looks like a good choice for me. I would probably print holidays pictures through out the year. Is it easy to install the wi-fi on this printer? I always have problems with connectivity with my current printer.

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