Magazine Article


Photokina 2002 Offers a Host of New Digital Output Solutions

Photokina 2002 Offers a Host of New Digital Output Solutions

by Bill Schiffner

November 2002

This year at Photokina, photo suppliers were out in full force unveiling newer, more affordable digital output solutions to help meet the expected demand at retail next year. Several new and upgraded digital photo kiosk products targeted specifically for the digital camera user were on display, and more compact digital minilabs were also featured at many booths at the Messe. Let's take a look at some of these new output options. Many will no doubt make their U. S. debut at PMA 2003.

Phogenix DFX Makes European Debut

Phogenix Imaging displayed their DFX digital ink jet system at the Kodak and HP booths. Phogenix DFX systems are designed to give retailers an affordable, flexible gateway to the digital retail photofinishing market. Taking both film and digital inputs, the DFX can be used as a stand-alone minilab, as a complementary lab alongside an existing system, or as a dry digital-only fulfillment system. With a DFX system, retailers can offer their customers a highly differentiated customized photo package within a one-hour service time. A variety of high-value products, including CD-ROMs, enlargements up to 12 x 18-inches, greeting cards, calendars, and more, can build retail traffic and profits. DFX is a highly affordable system that allows retailers to capitalize on current consumer demand for quick and convenient digital services with a scaleable system that can grow in line with expanding consumer demand.

"The DFX system brings digital choice to the entire photofinishing market," said Chris Tombs, European GM for Phogenix Imaging. "The affordable, dry system allows more retailers to participate in the exploding digital arena, benefiting both traditional film and digital camera users who want cost-competitive, convenient digitization and printing options."

The Phogenix Imaging 1-Touch Film Processor/Scanner also debuted at the show. The 1-Touch provides 35mm and APS film users with the opportunity to select and enhance their images, ordering only the photos they want in the exact size and format they choose. With the new 1-Touch processor/scanner included in a DFX configuration, retailers can automatically process film and scan images digitally in a single operation with minimal operator involvement. From an environmental perspective, the ink jet writing system enables "dry" processing of film and print images while eliminating up to 80% of the chemicals used to process film today.

Noritsu's Minilab Line-Up

Noritsu's Photokina portfolio included a variety of fully digital minilabs to meet the diverse needs of today's customers. In addition to the conventional D&P services, digital QSS minilabs enable an array of additional value services, such as template prints and media outputs.

Noritsu now offers the QSS-31 PRO Digital Printer, employing the same 320 dpi printer/processor combination as the QSS-3101 Digital for output sizes up to 12 x 18-inches. Operation requires a Printer Control Unit, which enables scalable network operation and the QSS Printer Driver software system that can be installed in any networked computer.

Noritsu also announced a strategic alliance with Epson. The companies first product of this alliance, the dDP-411 digital dry printer, was on display. Under the alliance, Seiko Epson will provide state-of-the-art Micro Piezo ink jet technology, and supply print heads and ink. Noritsu will develop, manufacture and market compact, inexpensive and reliable dry minilab system equipment. It will also provide worldwide sales and after-sales service for this dry system, marketing to new customers who were previously unable to offer print and imaging services because of space, other facility-related limitations, or environmental considerations of silver halide chemicals.

Beginning in spring 2003, the dDP-411 will be sold in Japan and North America. Afterwards, sales will be expanded to Europe and other countries throughout the world.

The compact design of the dPD-411 consists of two modules. The OM-1 Operation Manager accepts digital images remotely from CT-1 digital input terminals, via drives for CD, MO, Zip, and memory cards for digital cameras, and comes with an optional film and flatbed scanner.

Gretag's Booth Offers Host of Solutions

Gretag demonstrated a host of digital products aimed at fulfilling consumer demand for convenient, quality, photo printing at retail locations. Featured products at their booth will include: the performae.motion408 Digital Minilab and the new Polaroid FastLane Digital Printing Kiosk.

According to Gretag CEO, Dr. Patrick Jung, "With the addition of the performae.motion408 Digital Minilab and the new Polaroid FastLane Digital Printing Kiosk, Gretag has now positioned itself as the prominent supplier of digital, on-site retail photo processing equipment. We can now offer most any retailer, high-traffic destination or venue the opportunity to share in the opportunities the digital revolution has unveiled to the photo processing industry."

The e.motion408 includes a film processor, high-resolution film scanner, digital printer, touch-screen monitor, and paper processor. The film processor develops all types of film including 110, 135, 120/220, and IX-240, at a processing capacity of 21 films/hour. Based on Low Volume Thin Tank (LVTT) technology, this minilab's film processor helps to contribute to lower chemical and energy costs. With the smallest footprint of any minilab, occupying only 1-m2 (11-sq. ft.) of floor space, the e.motion408 is capable of producing 400 4 x 6-inch prints per hour.

The Polaroid FastLane Digital Printing Kiosk is the fastest printing digital kiosk available today. Based on Polaroid Corporation's Opal technology, the Kiosk can print 30 4 x 6-inch high-quality photo prints from digital camera media in one minute. The first print is delivered after a few seconds.

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