On the Horizon
Just because many of the features photographers have been clamoring for are present in today's printers doesn't mean bigger and better features aren't already heading our way.
"The dye-sublimation technology is currently the best and will remain the printing technology of choice for onsite printing in the foreseeable future because it offers the highest quality, most consistent printing costs, and the fastest printing speed," says Hi-Touch's Lin. "The most important technology advancements that would significantly affect or improve onsite printing will be the introduction of easy-to-set-up and user-friendly wireless photo printing and printer-sharing technologies that would streamline the workflow of an onsite photographer in a high-volume event."
Kanematsu's Miskelly weighs in with a similar take on the wireless front.
"There are new wireless technologies that are working very well with onsite printing," he says. "Ranging from hundreds of feet away, a photographer can continue to shoot while the printer produces spec prints."
And more user-friendly software may play a greater role, as well. "We are seeing novel and seemingly useful software in the marketplace that we think goes a long way to improve workflow, system operations, and even business management for professional photographers," says Kodak's Van Zandt.
"Those various software offerings can be installed on laptops to help speed up the work and refine business methods."
Sony's Alesso is optimistic about the overall state of the onsite printing industry. "I believe print speeds, quality, and flexibility will continue to be improved as time goes on in today's busy market," she says.
For insights and testimonials from photographers who are using some of the printers mentioned in this article, as well as additional comments and product information from the manufacturers featured here, visit www.imaginginfo.com.
The SELPHY ES1 is one of Canon's truly portable printers, yielding a borderless 4x6 inch print in under a minute. The printer has dye-sub technology for lab-quality prints, a handle for easy portability, as well as card slots to fit a variety of media. It's also the first printer to feature Canon's DiGIC imaging processor for accurate color. Users can preview their images on the LCD screen and connect to a laptop via the built-in USB cord. An optional battery pack is available.
Don't let the large footprint of the PIXMA Pro9000 discourage you from bringing it on location. The Pro9000 has built-in wheels and offers the ability to do larger-format printing. With a maximum print size of 13x19, photographers can present large prints to clients on the spot. The printer uses the ChromaLife 100 ink system for long-lasting photos, with eight ink colors.
The iP6700D is a desktop-sized printer that quickly produces borderless prints on paper sizes up to 8.5 x 11. The printer uses six ChromaLife 100 ink tanks for a wide range of colors and lets users preview their images on an LCD screen or print from media cards. It can print double-sided for albums, or wirelessly from some iRDA cell phones.
Building on the success of its PictureMate personal photo lab line, Epson America announced three new models in the 4x6 arena: the PictureMate Pal, PictureMate Snap, and PictureMate Flash. The line uses Epson's exclusive MicroPiezo archival printing technology to produce beautiful, affordable prints that resist fading far longer than film-processed prints. In addition, PictureMate prints are smudge-, scratch-, and water-resistant. All three models produce photos that have greater clarity and detail than the previous generation and resist fading up to 96 years, under glass and framed, and about 200 years in a photo album.
Fujifilm U.S.A., Inc. has unveiled two high-speed digital photo printers: the ASK-2000 and ASK-4000. The digital printers allow studio, wedding, and event photographers to quickly and easily provide customers with 4x6-inch prints in eight seconds, and 8x10-inch prints in 40 seconds. By connecting the printers to a laptop via a high-speed USB 2.0 interface, you can leverage the ASK-2000 and ASK-4000 dye-sublimation thermal transfer technology to produce beautiful, natural-looking prints onsite at client events. Both printers feature color-correction software incorporating Fujifilm's Image Intelligence technology, for lab-quality prints, regardless of your location.
The HP Photosmart Pro B9180 photo printer offers exceptional quality with HP Vivera pigment ink technology, and accurate, consistent color reproduction. You can print 4x6 photos in as fast as 10 seconds, 13x19s in as fast as 1.5 minutes.The HP Photosmart D7360 produces lab-quality photos that last for generations, and features an innovative 3.4-inch touch screen. It prints 4x6s in 12 seconds. The HP Photosmart A716 compact photo printer features a 2.5-inch color display and prints passport, wallet, 4x6-inch, 5x7-inch, and panorama photos and stores up to 4,000 photos with 4GB internal memory. The ultra-light and portable HP Photosmart A616 compact photo printer includes a carrying handle and lets users print passport, wallet size, 4x6-inch, 5x7-inch, and panorama prints. It also ets you add borders and frames, edit, and print photos that are instant-dry, water-resistant, and resist fading for generations. At under three pounds, the HP Photosmart A516 compact photo printer lets you easily print true-to-life 4x6-inch, passport, and panoramic photos and features a 1.5-inch image display so you can view and print photos without a PC.
Hi-Touch Imaging Technologies
HiTi's 730GALA is a flexible, standalone event photo printer. The 13-pound, versatile HiTi 730GALA prints 4x6-, 5x7-, and 6x8-inch photos, plus photo stickers and unique CD label stickers. The standard e-Frame function lets you print event photographs with fully customizable electronic photo templates without a PC.