Panoramic Capable Printers: the Good, the Bad, and the Best
Panoramic photographs have always been beautiful, but they are also becoming far more accessible to the general public. Photo editing software applications like Adobe PhotoShop now possess photo merging capabilities, while higher end digital cameras actually allow you to record panoramic shots. But once the image is on your computer, how do you get it to your wall? There are options. Among the most obvious is to purchase a large format printer capable of printing panoramic images.
The HP Designjet 130 Printer series is the most basic of your wide format printers, capable of panoramic printing. This model series handles 24" width paper, 70 sheets at a time. The paper slot can hold sheets up to 24 x 64", and for larger printing, up to 24 in x 50 ft, a roll is supported. The price is surprisingly under $1500.00 versus the much higher priced alternatives offered by competing manufacturers. It also has fairly affordable options for hp ink cartridges.
The Epson Stylus Pro 7880 also handles rolls or cut sheets up to 24" and up to 1.5mm in thickness (the average piece of paper is measured in micrometers and is much thinner than one millimeter). The Epson, however, will cost you significantly more. Depending on the retailer it can range from about $2900.00 to over $4000.00.
If you are willing to pay more for an even larger image, you might consider the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF8100. This runs around $6000.00, but can handle a photo width of 44".
The options do not stop there. If you really want to drop some change, printer manufactures offer large format printers costing $10,000.00 or more. What are you paying for? Well, these beautiful pieces of technology, print faster, bigger (up to 60" widths), and better (more ink colors means better print quality). They handle multiple paper rolls, have larger hard drives, and in some instances even come equipped with scanner capabilities. However, remember the buck does not stop here. Paper and ink for large format printers can be quite costly. One panoramic picture sucks a lot of ink out of your cartridges, so be prepared for an ongoing investment, albeit worth the beauty for photography lovers.
If you cannot, or are not willing to afford even the least expensive of these options, but still would like to consider printing a panoramic, fear not. There are a multitude of printing companies willing to accept your business. Although not cheap, this is a far less cumbersome upfront cost than that associated with large format printers. To locate printing companies, check your yellow pages, visit local photo shops, or perform a search online. There are a vast number of companies that now do large scale printing via the internet. All you have to do is upload the image (or images for those who would rather let the professionals create the panoramic), provide credit card or PayPal information, and they do the rest. In a few days (or a couple weeks, depending on the location and vendor), you will have your very own panoramic photo to enjoy.