At DOI Camera, passport photos are taken using an ID photo system from Mitsubishi. The manufacturer’s DIS 900 Digital Instant Studio produces passport and photo IDs in under a minute. This system features a digital camera specifically configured for passport photo IDs. A USB connection to the CP900DW printer makes the system easy to set up and use, while a color LCD screen on the camera previews the photograph, which can be shown on a TV or video monitor. The camera has a variety of flash options, and it can also be used with studio lighting for professional photo shoots.
Ishiyama says he is “quite satisfied” with the Mitsubishi ID photo system, adding, “We liked the first one so much, now we bought a second set.” He appreciates the durability and accuracy of Mitsubishi’s printer, which was originally designed for medical use, and the camera’s tough structure. “We dropped the camera on the hard floor twice,” he recalls, “and each time, the top flash broke apart but the camera was still alive and kicking.” He also praises the camera’s relatively inexpensive media cost and large monitor, which allows fine size adjustment.
According to Ishiyama, photo and ID passport photos represent a rapidly growing market. With more people traveling then ever before, he says, there is an ever greater need for passport photos and visas—plus, people are required to show ID photos in their daily lives far more often than in the past. Delivery people, for instance, often need to show IDs just to get into a building, while senior citizen need IDs to get their discounts.
With so pressing a need for this service, it’s no wonder so many camera manufacturers offer products designed to help provide it. In addition to the above examples, for instance, Sony has released the UPX-C200 Digital Printing System, featuring direct printing from the camera without a need for cable connections or a camera docking station. The UPX-C200 can transmit images from the camera to up to three printers wirelessly, using Bluetooth technology.
“With our UPX-C200 Digital Printing System,” says Jay Dellostretto, vice president of digital photography marketing for Sony Electronics, “it’s a snap to capture an image, transmit, and print it all without wires or any other transferring media.” The UPX-C200 consists of a 4-megapixel digital still camera that allows users to perform all functions through the camera, including image capture, preview, print layout, and printing.
The UPX-C200 conforms to all major standards for identification photos. A digital photo printer with the camera creates photo-like prints at a resolution of 403 dpi, and can produce up to 22 different layouts on 4 x 6-inch media, including one full-bleed mini portrait and two 2 x 2-inch passport ID photos. The camera itself features a 1.8 inch swivel-LCD display that can be adjusted 90 degrees and can store up to 200 images.
Hi-Touch Imaging Technologies, meanwhile, headquartered in Ontario and Taiwan, offers the HiTi 640ID Digital ID/Passport Specialty Photo Printer. Hi-Touch’s 640ID ID/Passport printer uses continuous-tone dye-sublimation technology to deliver 403 dpi true-color photo printing at 16.7 million colors.
Built into the 640ID are 23 different formats and sizes of ID photo layouts. By using the color LCD Wizard Window, operators can print and adjust photos without a computer. The 640ID enables users to edit image quality through tools such as brightness, contrast, color, resizing, and sharpness. The HiTi 640ID features continuous-tone printing, producing images that are free of the dot patterns typically found on inkjet prints. This advantage is especially noticeable in skin tone, one of the most critical factors for all passport and ID photos. A special overcoat technology reportedly makes ID prints durable enough to last decades, protecting them from UV light fading and moisture.
The HiTi Photo Printer 640ID is also packaged with a dedicated ID/passport photo editing program called ID Desiree. With simple manipulation, show owners can design and create ID formats and sizes for their 4x6” prints, providing a flexible and cost-efficient way to customize ID photo output. With added functions on ID Desiree such as red-eye reduction, dot removal, and wrinkle reduction, vanity becomes less of an issue. In addition, the compact size of the HiTi 640ID makes it suitable to fit in small photo studios, one-hour photo stores, or other small businesses that print ID and passport photos.
As more and more shop owners are considering adding passport photos to their menu services, DOI Camera’s Ishiyama offers this advice: “When you offer ID photos, you should keep yourself updated as to the current regulations, such as U.S. immigration and passport requirements. Be familiar with many foreign countries’ different passport sizes and their requirements—it’s just a couple of clicks away on the Internet.”
Nanor Printa’ Seraderian concurs. “It’s a growing market,” he says. “Maybe it’s growing because of digital, which is much easier to deal with. There’s definitely a savings there. It’s a much more practical way to do it. You make fewer mistakes, so basically there’s no waste at all. Definitely, it’s much more practical, easier, and less frustrating—especially if it’s in a retail business with 20 people coming and going and you have, basically, a minute or two to do the photograph. That makes it much easier for us and the customer.”