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Consumer Reports Puts In Focus The Best Printers For Digital Photos

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Digital cameras are great, but some people think printing the photos is too much trouble.

"If I want to take pictures and leave them on the computer, it's great," digital camera owner John Vazquez said. "If I want to sit and print the picture, I don't know if this is the way I'd really go."

Inkjet printers can take a long time to make just one print, taking as long as 14 minutes. The quickest print took two to three minutes.

Depending on the printer, the cost of printing pictures varies as well. Special photo paper and color ink cartridges all figure into the cost. On top of that, printing takes a lot of steps.

"You have to wire to the computer, download the pictures and then at that point, you pick out the picture that you want off of another screen and print the picture," Vazquez said.

Consumer Reports

tested some printers that eliminate some steps. The printers that were tested allow you to stick the camera's memory card directly into the printer. You can then choose which photos to print. Your computer does not even have to be on.

The HP Photosmart printer costs about $300. Epson also makes a convenient photo printer -- the Stylus Photo for $200. It takes special paper that provides a roll of 4-by-6 photos at the push of a button.

Both printers that

Consumer Reports

tested print photos relatively inexpensively and are fast. However, before buying a printer with a memory slot, be sure to check the type of memory card your camera uses to make sure the two printers are compatible.

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