What do you do after you have taken that stunning shot of a beautiful landscape? Or better yet, a goofy picture with your best friend? Make a print of course! But how exactly do you want to do that? If you are a professional photographer you may have access to a darkroom. But, like most of us, you probably do not. With the staggering pace of technological development there are many options available thanks to some of the best portable photo printers now available. For the travelling photographer there is also a subset of high quality portable photo printers available in a much more manageable size.
Things to Consider About Portable Photo Printers
- Size. For those looking for the best portable photo printers, size is a big consideration. What is the definition of portable? Backpack size? Purse sized? Pocket sized? Also to consider in this category is the size of the job to be done. Some printers are all-in-one printers and are capable of printing a letter size sheet. Others will print only 4 x 6 inch or 5 x 7 inch photos.
- Resolution. Carefully consider the job to be done. Different resolutions and media capabilities will affect the quality of the subsequent image. As with all of these concerns, the cost of the portable photo printer has a direct correlation with the final print quality of the work.
- Compatibility and Connectivity. From where will you be sending digital images to the printer? Many of the best portable photo printers are Bluetooth receiver compatible allowing for phone to printer work. Some even offer their own exclusive app. If you will be printing from your photo editing computer or laptop you may want to think about the availability of a reliable USB connection.
- Features. For consumers who really know what they want, preview screens, print speed, and dye sublimation or heat transfer printing are also factors to take into account.
- Price. How much are you willing to spend to print great quality photos on a printer that fits in your handbag or laptop backpack?
Best Portable Photo Printers Top 10 Comparison Guide
Reviews of the Top Rated Portable Photo Printers
Topping the charts for the best portable photo printers is the Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-1. Merely nine ounces and four inches by five inches, the Instax Share is an extraordinarily portable photo printer configured to link intuitively to your iOS or Android device via the Instax Share App and built-in hotspot capability.
It takes two CR2 Lithium batteries which will power the device for roughly 100 prints. It also requires readily available Instax Mini Instant Film (approx. 2’ x 3’ prints). If you are looking for a small size, photo only, portable photo printer this is a great choice for the photographer on the go.
Another solid choice in the lineup of best portable photo printers is the Canon SELPHY CP1200. Slightly larger than the Instax, the SELPHY offers a wider range of options as far as print size as well as preview options. Its light weight (under 2 lbs.) and small size (5.4 x 7.1 x 2.5 inches) make this a fantastic and versatile choice for a compact photo printer.
With optional battery power and an available carrying case it is easy to take this device anywhere. Also offering dedicated WiFi as well as AirPrint compatibility, the SELPHY connects seamlessly to all your computing gadgets for quick, high quality printing using dye-transfer technology.
The LG PD251 Pocket Photo Printer is another great choice that should be included in the best portable photo printers available today. Edit and print photos from your iPhone, Windows phone, or Android device using the exclusive LG Pocket Photo app. LG’s newest design in mobile photo printers is lightweight and compact yet affordable at the same time.
The PD251 requires no ink! ZINK – Zero Ink photo paper is all that you will need. Capable of printing wallet size photos at resolutions of up to 1280 x 2448 pixels, this gem from LG satisfies the amateur photographers’ requirements with unexpected quality from such a little device.
HP also offers a high quality ‘mobile’ photo printer that, while slightly larger in size (you probably need a table for this one), has all the wireless connectivity capabilities required to print from all your mobile devices. The HP Envy 4520 All-in-One Color Photo Printer supports AirPrint technology for your iDevices and Wireless Direct compatibility for printing without a network. As the name implies, the Envy 4520 is qualified to handle a variety of paper sizes and has the built-in ability to copy and scan.
Advertised as providing the capacity to produce print lab quality photos at home, and despite the fact that it is a bit bulky for easy transport, the Envy is a great addition to your photo production lineup.
As you would expect, Polaroid also makes the list with the ZIP Mobile Printer. This big name in photographic equipment finally offers their loyal customers a way to instantly print high quality photos without actually requiring the use of a bulky Polaroid camera. A built-in 500mAh rechargeable battery powers the ZIP printer and allows for up to twenty five prints between charges. No special and or expensive adapters are needed to turn out a rapid ninety minute recharge time.
Polaroid’s answer to the age of digital photography requires ZINK heat transfer paper which produces vibrant and smudge proof wallet size pictures. The ZIP Mobile Printer boasts a nice balance between extreme portability, quality, and affordability. A great choice for the shutterbug on the go!
There is nothing quite like the feel of the shutter click on a 35mm camera. However, if you have made the switch to digital DSLR camera technology but still keep a photo album instead of maintaining a ludicrously large photo library, then you will have already looked into the best portable photo printers. Hopefully this list has offered some insight into the developing (no pun intended) subset of high quality, portable photo printers. Happy snapping!
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