My review of the Epson SureColor P800 at Computer ShopperFor some folks, the only printing they do is photographs, especially professional photographers, while others print only business documents, especially small offices and workgroups. Many consumers, though, reside somewhere in the middle, and require a printer that can churn out both documents and photos. Over the years I’ve looked at many photo printers that fit that description, ranging in price from well under $100 to well over $300, with several price points in between. Many of them print unbelievably good photos, often better than drugstore developer quality.

If you aren’t familiar with photo printers at all, you can get a crash course from this “Near-Dedicated Photo Printers” article. Otherwise, for a look at some today’s better photo printers, read on.

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When we talk about photograph printers, it’s good to start out with the understanding that there are several different kinds—from amateur, to hobbyist, to professional. That said, then, you’d think that photo printers would come in three basic types, and, well, sort of, they do. But often the lines between the different categories of photo printers are difficult to discern. It’s a good idea to have a good idea what your needs are before setting off on your mission to find a photo printer.

Near-dedicated photo printers differ from dedicated photo printers in that, of course, the latter prints only photographs, as opposed to near-dedicated models that can also print documents, such as, say, presentations, business letters, reports, and spreadsheets. Dedicated photo printers, on the other hand, are typically limited to a maximum paper size of 2 by 3, 4 by 6, or 5 by 7 inches (or panoramic variations on these sizes), and the printers themselves are small and portable, with an emphasis on ease-of-use and, in most cases, printing directly from the camera or its media, instead of printing from a PC.

Then, too, there are the higher-end, more-costly professional photograph printers, such as Epson’s $1,095 Stylus Pro 3880, or even HP’s $2,449.99 DesignJet T120 ePrinter. Here, though, we’re talking about consumer-grade photo printers, most of which can also double as document printers. However, as you’ll see in a moment, using them as such can be, compared to using their business-centric counterparts, an expensive proposition, in terms of cost per page.