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:
The printers aimed at this marketplace generally do that.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.