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Event Printers

Introduction

Event photography is becoming a popular social photography concept. Here we are specifically looking at the printers used by Event photographers, where their main purpose is to get out good quality photos - fast and at a price that can be sold on the spot.

Event photographers have a need to be able to take a picture, edit, and print within minutes while the customer is still around to purchase. It also needs to be a product that is quality but at an affordable price for the customer to want to buy on the spot. They capitalise on the fact that the people are only together for that short period of time and while in a party mood will want to capture the moment and take something away with them to be their memory of that event. For this reason the photographer needs a printer that is:

  • Portable

  • easy to operate

  • gives good quality results at least to image lab quality

  • produces the print fast

  • cost effective - giving an end product at a price the customer will buy there and then

The printers aimed at this marketplace generally do that.

Types available

Generally the printers used in this marketplace a Dye-Sub printers rather than inkjet. They work in a different way by using a heat process to pull the colours out of the transparent film which sits on top of the paper. The colours are fused on with each pass and then a final fourth pass places a laminate top cover to produce a print which is completely dry to the touch. In most cases these printers only produce glossy prints, however Sony do produce a printer which will now also give prints with a matt finish.

The main players in this field are Mitsubishi, HiTi, Kodak, Sony, Fuji and Olympus.

 

 

 

 

 

Mitsubishi ClickLite

Some of the models available are just straight printers so you also need a computer/laptop to be able to receive and do any minor editing prior to printing, whilst others like those used in the kiosk ranges are not able to be connected to a computer, like the Mitsubishi Click Lite which has a a terminal with built in touch screens and card slots so that images can be taken direct, edited/modified and then printed.

Because they are intended to be portable they are generally not too heavy ranging from around 4-18kg, and they are compact in size, with all openings being on the front.

These printers print at resolutions of either 300dpi, 400dpi or 600dpi, which because of their printing method gives high quality prints.

The speed a print will come off these type of printers depends on the model and manufacturer. The following gives an idea of the range of speed, which will vary depending on the model of printer, for a 6 x 4 print off:-

Sony Models run at between  7-15 seconds

Hitech Models range from 45-130 seconds

Mitsibushi Models are quoted as running at 17-88 seconds

Olympus models range from 33-75 seconds

FujiFilm ASK-2000 which prints a range of different sizes, produces a 6 x 4 print in 8 seconds.

Kodak models run at around 11 seconds.

Sizes

Generally the print sizes produced by these printers are 6"x4" up to 12"x8", in keeping with the standard size prints we are used to getting our photos in from processing labs. Some models are one size only, whilst others will do some or all the range of sizes.

Inks and Paper used

The method of printed used by these printers is Dye-Sublimation Photo Printing. It is a technique that uses a film ribbon for the printing process. The film ribbon contains 3 colours of cyan, magenta and yellow in panels and then a 4th panel which appears clear but in fact is a laminate which seals the colours onto the paper. The ink is diffused by heat onto the paper and the colour is generated by varying the temperatures of the heat to give different shades. The laminate layer seals the dye onto the paper but also protects the image against UV light, fingerprints and even water. There is no smudging, running, or blotching because your prints are dry and ready to touch as soon as they leave the printer.

Sony UP-DR150 Digital Photo Printer

 

 

 

 

 

 Sony UP-DR150

Because of the method of printing used to produce the prints and the need to have standard sizes of print that can be produced quickly, on these printers, the ink and paper comes in a combined pack. This combination allows for excellent quality and colour consistency from print to print even if it's been left in the printer for months. The majority of the printers in this range print on glossy paper, however Sony have introduced a Professional Matte Finish called Pro Matte, designed specifically for the portrait market, using the same media print pack as for the glossy prints so you can offer either glossy or matte finish to your clients with no change of media.

They have been designed to give good accurate colours straight from the box but some models like the Mitsibushi and Kodak ranges can be profiled. See our article on Printer Profiling for more details on why you might way to do this.

The consumables are available from most manufacturers in fixed pack sizes and contain everything you need, although some do allow you to purchase them separately. Depending on the media size and manufacturer, you can purchase a 30, 50 or 60 sheet media pack, or with some manufacturers and models of printer like the Mitsubishi CP9500DW you can buy rolls which give larger numbers of prints on a roll from 270-600 depending on the size of print produced.

Cost effectiveness

Prices of the printers range from 100 up to 4,000 depending on the manufacturer and model. The 100 price generally relates to a printer in this range that would be suitable for home printing use, but would not probably have the stamina to stand up to high levels of use. For something that the Event photographer might use you are looking at the models where prices start at around 900.

One of the main advantages of Dye Sub printer is the ability to be able to calculate the exact cost per print in advance, because the ink and paper generally comes together. Quite simply the cost of the print is the total cost of the media pack divided by the number of images it will print. This enables you  to calculate the exact cost and therefore your profit on each photo printed. Some examples of this are:

Olympus Print Packs of 40 6 x 4 sheets costs 19.99 giving prints at 50p each, or 100 sheets at 29.99 at 30p per print.

Mitsubishi CP9500DW rolls cost:

600 glossy 6 x 4 prints for 66.95 works out at 11p per print

350 glossy 5 x 7 prints for 109.95 works out at 31p per print

270 glossy 6 x 9 prints for 92.95 works out at 34p per print.

Sony SnapLab (UPCR10L)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sony SnapLab - UPCR10L

In conclusion this type of printer produces really good quality prints suitable for the event photography market place, they are lightweight to carry, easy to operate and there is no messy ink, paper to handle when on site. In fact with the large rolls you can purchase for some events you may not even need to do a media change out on site.

For a more detailed look at the ranges of printers available for Event Photography see the System Insight website, and for a closer look at the Mitsubishi range see the Mitsubishi website.

 


See Also:

Taking a Look at Printers for the Photographer

Economy/Small Printers

Print On Demand Desktop Printers

Ink in Printers

Printer Profiling

Printing on a Budget

No Cost Low Cost Media

 

 

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