Phogenix to Ship First Production Units In July
Reasonably Priced Inkjet Minilab Finally Becoming a Reality
by Jerry LanskyOriginal photo taken with a Kodak DC4800, 3.1 megapixel digital camera and printed on a Phogenix DFX digital minilab.
The first production units of the Phogenix DFX digital minilab
will begin shipping in July, according to John Ward, Phogenix's
vice president and chief marketing officer.
Discussed as a concept at PMA 2000 and shown in prototype on the floor at PMA 2002, the DFX has two especially distinct features that has kept the interest in the system at a high level: it introduces the use of inkjet printing into the minilab environment; it sports a selling price of $39,900, well below the digital offerings of every other producer of digital minilabs.
Prior to the July production, Ward said it is planned to install five pre-production DFX systems into "a few key sites" during May to evaluate the real-world operation of the equipment. He would not say where these units would be plugged in other than they would be at both mass merchant and photo specialty locations. Presumably, a few would be placed not too far from the Phogenix Southern California headquarters to give staff people quick and easy access during the initial feedback phase.
The July production at the firm's factory in Singapore, according to Ward, "of less than 100 pieces," will be placed at selected customers of both Kodak and HP, the two firms that created the Phogenix joint venture. He expects to have units available for shipment to the general trade by August or September and estimates that by the end of the year as many as 1,000 may be installed.
So far Phogenix has not taken any formal orders for DFX, according to Ward, but they will begin doing so in July. "Our goal this year is to get enough DFX systems out there to build a strong customer base."
Ward has indicated that the photo specialty market will be an important segment for DFX anticipating that lab owners will purchase the system as a companion to their already existing optical equipment to provide in-lab digital capability. The first DFX design has a capacity of only 250 prints an hour while a 500 per/hr. version is expected next year.
The $39,900 price buys the system data manager that will accept all digital media input and provide a full menu of digital offerings (package prints, borders, text, etc.) and an inkjet printer employing a system of six different color inks. The cutting of the 13-inch wide paper, from rolls, will be both vertical and horizontal, depending on the layout of the print. The DFX system is fairly small by minilab standards, occupying about 15.6 sq. ft. of floor space.
A full roll scanner that would allow the DFX to accept film as well as digital input is an option for an additional $10,000.
Ward said that a companion Phogenix film processor will be available in August or September. Phogenix has not yet established the price for the film processor.