A3 photo printers group test


Ever since the advent of the digital camera, we’ve been churning out snaps with wilful abandon, only to stow them away for occasional viewing on our Macs, iPods and iPads.

That’s a shame, because not only is producing lab-quality photo prints spectacularly easy, it’s also incredibly powerful. By showing or sharing a physical artefact made with paper and ink you create a relationship with the viewer that’s full of emotional resonance, akin to viewing a painting in an art gallery. And it goes without saying that the bigger you print it, the more visual impact it will have – which is why professional photographers and passionate amateurs alike use A3 photo printers to reproduce their work.

To help you get a piece of the action, we’ve tested four dedicated A3 photo printers – the Canon Pixma iX7000, the Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II, the Epson Stylus Photo 1400 and the Epson Stylus Photo R2880. Hook any one of them up your Mac and you’ll be able to glory in the results of your efforts – whether it’s a candid family snap from your holidays or a considered piece of photographic art.

Each one of the four printers we’ve chosen is a big step up from the all-in-one or dedicated photo printers you may find in your average high street electrical store. They usually hold a wider range of inks so you can get more accurate printing results, while also helping the ink you do buy to last longer.

These printers also offer a wider range of media input options – from single sheet feeders to roll feeders, paper cassettes to CD/DVD printing – and allow you to print on a wider range of papers including photo paper, fine art paper and even board. They’re also capable of churning out prints all day if they have to – handy for professionals who need to produce a lot of work in relatively short order.

Of course, all of these benefits are reflected in the printers’ prices – you won’t find anything here that costs less than £300 and at the top end you can expect to pay £500 or more.

The question is, then, which one of our four gives you the best overall value for money, with outright picture quality as our guiding principle? And since you can also expect to pay more for the ink and paper you use, we’ll be looking at page yields and print longevity too.

Find the best price