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Is it Worth Buying a Large Format Printer?

For many photographers there comes a time when investments in equipment (other than buying cameras, lenses, and lighting) becomes necessary for the growth and profitability of their business. Depending on the nature and volume of their work purchasing equipment such as large format printers, laminators and trimmers can make economic sense. As the following photos indicate, printers are mechanical beasts and when buying one we need to plan ahead for the inevitable repairs. We don’t usually think of this type of issue up front when buying camera bodies or lenses, but it is an important one for large format printers.

Partially Disassembled Z3200

NIKON 1 V2 @ 12.1mm, ISO 3200, 10/600, f/4.8

While the above image of my HP Z3200 DesignJet 24” photographic printer looks rather ominous, the news regarding the required repair was actually good – all it needs after more than 5 years of faithful service is a carriage belt. This is a typical wear item…and the first time that my unit has needed one.