Want to make big, gorgeous, color and black-and-white prints? We put three
pro-level printers to the test.
Small prints don't do justice to your beautiful photos?
Do your creative juices start to flow when you see a 11x14- or 13x19-inch enlargement on premium glossy paper, watercolor paper, or canvas? Then it's time to take your photography to the next level with the latest generation of super printers.
To help you choose the right one for your needs and budget, we tested three of the newest models to show what to expect at different price levels. At $700 (street), Hewlett-Packard's eight-color B9180 is the most affordable and makes up to 13x19-inch borderless prints. Epson's nine-color Stylus Pro 3800 ($1,300, street) ups the performance ante and pops out up to 17x22-inch borderless prints. And Canon's 12-color ImagePROGRAF iPF5000 ($1,900, street) produces bordered 17x22-inchers -- and, using a roll feeder ($225, street), panoramic prints up to 17 inches by 59 feet.
These three represent the very best that Canon, Epson, and HP have ever offered in terms of image quality, control, and reliability. They make long-lasting, pigmented-ink prints that are dry to the touch and durable, handle a wide variety of specialty media and paper surfaces, automatically calibrate their print heads, and have automatic cleaning cycles that prevent clogged heads. And all three can be connected to computers via Hi-Speed USB 2.0, or added to a home or studio network via a fast 10/100 Base-T network connection.
So if you're ready to make lots of big prints worthy of hanging in a gallery or museum, take a closer look at the features in this extreme threesome on the pages that follow.