A new printer breed lets you produce photo-quality prints of your digital photos without going through a PC. You simply plug your camera's cable into the printer's port, press a button, and then wait briefly for your photos to emerge. It couldn't be any easier.
It also can't get much better. These printers provide a level of print quality that compares favorably with any other inkjet printer on the market. Print speeds are impressive, printer resolutions are high, and all are capable of providing photo-quality prints when you use the recommended type of paper and ink cartridges. Most have built-in card readers so you can print directly from your camera's memory card. Most also feature USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports for effortless connectivity to your PC so you can use them for your other printing needs.
The only drawback to these printers regarding their direct-print capabilities is that they're limited to a particular camera or cameras. If you want to use the Canon S530D Photo Printer (www.usa.canon.com
), for instance, you must have a compatible Canon PowerShot camera. If you want to use the HP Photosmart 7150 Photo Printer (www.hp.com
), you must have a Hewlett-Packard camera that supports direct printing. And only users of Panasonic's SV-AV10 digital camera (www.panasonic.com
) can use Panasonic's e-wear SD Printer SV-P10. The Epson Stylus Photo 925 (www.epson.com
) offers broader compatibility, working with a camera from any manufacturer as long as it supports DCC (Direct Connect Compatible) technology (only six manufacturers produce DCC cameras at this time).
Direct-print printers also have fair price tags, ranging from 0 to 0, with upkeep costs that are comparable to any other inkjet printer on the market. Nevertheless, purchasing a direct-print printer still requires you to commit to using a particular camera or specific type of camera, and that's something you may not feel comfortable doing at this time.