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The Good, Bad, and Best things to Know about Printer Docks

Many digital cameras today come with printer docks, or small printers that take the computer out of the equation. The concept is to make printing photographs a very quick and simple undertaking, with no need to download photos to the desktop or laptop, but rather an individual simply attaches the camera directly to the printer. This printer, much smaller than the average inkjet, prints on 4x6" photo quality paper in either a glossy or matte finish. Many manufactures now offer a camera with accompanying printer, but there are some that are better than others, and all come with both benefits and disadvantages as compared to the traditional photo printer.

Three of the examples available to the masses today are the HP Photosmart A445, the Kodak EasyShare C613, and the Olympus Imagelink D-555. They range in price from one hundred to three hundred dollars and while similar, vary slightly in what they have to offer. The cameras are equipped with digital viewing screens and span from 5.1 to 6.2 megapixel output capabilities depending on the one that you choose. There are more expensive models on the market, which have greater zooming capabilities and brag better color output, but overall, these are fine examples of what the market has to offer.

The great part about any of these packages is that they offer true ease of use. There is no need to teach grandma how to "boot up" the computer. She only needs to point, click, plug and print. Plus, there are some adjustments that can be made right there on the camera or printer screen-such as red-eye reduction, which makes for better pictures every time. In other words, these make wonderful gifts for those who do not have computer access or would not be referred to as "computer savvy."Even for those with slightly better technological know-how, there are perks to cameras with printer docks that cannot be denied. For instance, as an added benefit, for those who like to take photos on the go, these printers are small and very light weight compared to traditional models, which means they travel well. It is almost like the Polaroid of today's generation. There is no need to wait until you get home from your vacation to enjoy the beauty you captured.

However, with all great conveniences there comes some form of sacrifice. Plugging and printing will never allow for the same image editing control that can be had when images are downloaded to the computer. Additionally, the printable size of the images is severely limited, unless you opt to load the images on the computer or take them to a print shop. Even then, printer docks are not necessarily sold with the best cameras available on the market, which means that the images are not going to be as good as someone's who paid the same price but opted for no printer, but instead for a better camera.

Despite a few drawbacks, these systems have been hot selling items for several years now and for good reason. They are a great addition to the lives of those who wish for the everyday snapshot without the hassle.

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