There comes a time when printing your work at A3+ (13″ x 19″) on a desktop printer seems a little small. Maybe you’re tempted by a 17″ width printer, such as the deservedly popular Epson 3880 [review] or maybe you feel it’s time to move ‘Large Format’, which for the purposes of this article I’ll take to be 24″ width or larger.
There is undoubtedly an attraction to seeing giant prints of your work on walls, and when you look at some of the deals available for large format printers, they look very attractive, compared to a high end DSLR and a few good lenses. I love having the ability to make my huge prints here, but you do need to think through some of the practicalities.
I’ve had a large format printer here at Northlight, since 2004. We started with an Epson 9600 (44″ width), adding a 24″ Epson 7880 [review] in 2007, and replacing both with a Canon iPF8300 [review] in November 2010. I’ve also had numerous other printers here on loan for a month or so in order to do testing and write all the reviews on this site.
With this experience I’m often asked about buying large printers. I’m not going to recommend any make or model in particular here, but I do have a number of questions that I feel should be asked, and a number of tips for ensuring that you get the best from such printers.