Magazine Article


photokina 2008
There was much product on display at photokina 2008 for the lab owner, taking advantage of the biggest trends in the industry: bookmaking products and services, dry photofinishing systems, and the software to tie everything in the lab together.

Frontline Systems

Kodak showed its new Kodak Express Experiential store design. The program for specialty dealers, known as KEX for short (Kodak Express Digital Solutions program), allows retailers the ability to offer their customers a photo-centric shopping experience. Similar to the Complete Picture Center concept shown at PMA a few years ago, it designates areas of a store where customers can find options for display, printing, sharing, and more.

According to John Culverhouse, worldwide marketing director, retail printing solutions, Eastman Kodak Company, the experiential store leverages the best practices learned by some of the 26,000 KEX locations worldwide, so they don't have to "reinvent the wheel," so to speak. The participating dealers have access to the website, where much of this information is housed for easy dissemination.

Kodak also introduced its Creative Production software, which allows the lab to import images from a wide range of sources and output to a variety of printing devices.

Noritsu announced its D502 dry lab printer. This duplex printer can be set up as a sole printer in a new photofinishing environment, or incorporated into an existing wet lab.

Along with the D502, Noritsu introduced its Perfect Binding System, which includes a binder, creaser, and cutter for in-house photobook production. Noritsu also introduced the QSS-37HD series of high-definition digital printers. The QSS-37HD uses a new 640dpi laser exposure engine, in addition to all of the features of the QSS-37 series of minilabs.

Fujifilm launched a Frontier dry minilab, the DL410, which can process 650 4R/hour, and print sizes from 3.5x5 up to 10x26 using five different types of roll paper and two types of cut sheet papers. This inkjet lab is run by Fujifilm's Frontier workflow management software. Fuji added the DPC7 print-order terminal to its line. The company also launched its TS Order Terminal Plug-in software for photobooks.

Other Fujifilm announcements included a new silver-halide paper ideal for calendars and other creative items, as you can easily write on it.

ODM showcased its line of bookmaking machinery, as well as its new product guide, to help businesses select the right equipment for their needs. The ODM Product Selector simplifies purchase decision-making. announced it has been granted trademark approval for the name OmniShop. OmniShop is the company's multifunction kiosk platform. The company also launched its photo site.

ZBE showcased its Chromira5x Pro Lab, which gives labs the ability to print small- and larger-format prints, conveniently in one unit.

DNP introduced the European market to its Fotolusio brand, which U.S. dealers were familiarized with at PMA earlier this year. Fotolusio is DNP's global concept of photofinishing solutions.

Imetto released the Tera32C, a new version of its 30-inch laser printer, as well as its Zetta50 laser printer that also outputs prints for photobooks. Both printers are for silver-halide use.

MGI launched My Photobook Shop, a complete bookmaking solution incorporating a 4-in-1 digital press that can print, laminate, crease, and cut in one pass. It uses most of the shelf papers up to 12x18 inches.

Hewlett-Packard launched the Designjet Z3200 photo printer. This inkjet printer comes in 24- and 44-inch models and uses 12 HP Vivera pigment inks. It is the successor to the Z3100 printer, which has been discontinued. The Z3200 was designed specifically with fine-art photo in mind.

HP also showed its Photo Center PS3500. This scaleable inkjet system can be incorporated into an existing lab or replace a wet lab.

HiTi showed the new 9510K, a 6-inch integrated roll-type mini photo kiosk for in-store printing. The unit features a 10.2-inch touchscreen for ease of use, multiple media card slots, and a printer.

Sony expanded its Snaplab line with the introduction of the UP-CR20L. This dye-sub printer is designed to offer the rapid printing of a kiosk without a kiosk's price tag. The company also showed a version of its PictureStation kiosk designed specifically for the European market.

Mitsubishi premiered a printer tower with the name MPU, which stands for Mass Production Unit; however, the name may change by the time the unit is ready to ship. The MPU is said to produce more than 600 4R dye-sub prints/hour.

Durst showcased its Jota photobook system at photokina. The Jota is an inkjet system that uses eight inks to create photobooks that lie perfectly flat when open.

ExpressDigital released Darkroom v8.9, with native support for a range of new printers from Sony, Fujifilm, and ZBE.

Photo-Me International showed its new Photobook Maker, which will complement the company's Photobook Pro V2, which is scheduled to ship in Q2 of 2009. It is said to be an automatic system for creating photobooks.

FrontLine Systems launched its FrontWeb.Canvas, a flash-based system for labs that want to offer canvas wrap printing to their customers from uploaded images. The powerful software shows customers a 3-D preview of how their image will look when printed and wrapped, including which parts of the image will end up on the sides. This drag-and-drop solution is very user friendly.

Frontline's web solutions are designed as open-architecture modules, so you only need to install what you need, yet scaleable so you can easily add to them as your lab grows.

Imaging Solutions showed its fastCCF and fastBook Imaging Solutions that make it almost an automatic process for creating photobooks from silver-halide paper. fastCCF automatically processes the exposed paper roll to folded photobook pages, and fastBook delivers the finished book blocks. Custom photo covers for photobooks can also be cut and creased with fastCCF.