I imagine I’m like most people with a digital camera. I have hundreds of digital photos, but few of them are ever printed and added to an album. As nice as it is to watch a slide show of photos, it just isn’t as convenient or as satisfying as paging through a photo album.
I’ve ordered prints online and printed them on our home printer, but I haven’t been satisfied with the quality, even with “photo” paper. The only option I had left was to take them to our local photo lab, but I never got around to taking a disc in to be processed. That’s when I discovered the Epson PictureMate.
This has to be the most amazing photo printer I’ve ever seen. Incredibly small and compact, it is designed to be portable, although I can’t imagine actually taking it anywhere. What is amazing about it though, is the fact that it can produce lab quality 4×6 prints for $0.29, the same cost as the local photo lab. On top of that, the prints have a life of up to 200 years in photo album conditions and resist fading 2 to 4 times longer than lab prints.
Of course, vendor claims are just that, but I was impressed enough to order one. (The $50 Visa gift card offer by Epson was an added incentive to order before the end of the year.) The printer arrived today and the FedEx person raved about the printer, saying she bought one recently and loves it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often get product reviews from the delivery people, so I took it as a good sign.
I just finished setting it up and printed a couple of the photos Kristin asked me to print (from Christmas 2001!), and the results are incredible. The pictures come out dry, no smudging, no drying needed. If I hadn’t printed them myself, I’d swear these came from a photo lab.
Of course, the $0.29 price is based on the paper and ink packs Epson sells and doesn’t include the cost of the printer itself. Plus it takes time to print the photos. Being able to do it at home, however, makes it more likely that I’ll actually make prints for myself and others.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a photo printer, you can’t go wrong with the Epson PictureMate. Just a few things to keep in mind:
- It only prints 4×6 photos.
- Even though prints are dry to the touch, they recommend letting them dry for 8-24 hours before putting them in an album or under glass for the longest fade resistance.
- You cannot preview photos on the printer display. If you use the printer standalone with media such as CompactFlash or SD cards, you need to print an index sheet to select which images to print.