How to Shop for a Photo Printer

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Things to Consider Right Away

First of all, if you're buying this printer primarily for use with your digital camera, you may be wondering whether you have to buy a printer from the same company that made your camera. The short answer is, no, you don't. Any printer will print your photos. So the $99 Epson Stylus C84, for example, will print photos from a Canon Eos Rebel camera. See PC World's review of the Epson Stylus C84.

Second, consider how you'd like to get your pictures from your camera to the printer. The most common way of doing this--and the way most basic printers work--is to print the pictures from your PC after you've downloaded them from your camera or from a camera card reader, such as a Lexar Media reader, that is connected to your PC.

Remember, though, that many ink jet printers, including the $100 Canon I475D Desktop Photo Printer and sophisticated multifunction devices like the $350 HP PSC 2510 Photosmart All-in-One come with built-in card readers that can take the digital files from your camera's card and print them right away, without using a computer. See PC World's review of the Canon I475D Desktop Photo Printer.

Another option, which Canon's I475D also offers, is the ability to transfer the pictures from your camera to the printer by connecting them together with a USB cable. To use this method, both your camera and the printer must support PictBridge (for details, see More Specifications: PictBridge). For now, just think about whether you want to be able to print pictures without using your PC.

But simply getting your pictures to the printer isn't the entire battle. To get the best possible photo quality from your printer, you should try to have both your camera and your printer support additional standards. For more details on these issues, see Two Important Standards.

At a Glance
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