Review Date : Mon, 4 Jun 2007
Author : WDC Team
Thermal Dye Sublimation Printer Straying somewhat from familiar territory for What Digital Camera readers, as this is essentially a commercial printer. However, to some it may also prove to be a godsend....
|Pros:||Excellent print quality, easy to use, good commercial opportunities|
|Cons:||It is more a professional than a consumer purchase|
This is a straying somewhat from familiar territory for What Digital Camera readers, as this is essentially a commercial printer. However, to some it may also prove to be a godsend. For other readers, you may well come across one of these in your local chemists soon. Sony’s SnapLab is intended for small retail premises, that maybe doesn’t have the space or budget to add a minilab or kiosk; but it is also aimed at events and social photographers, who want an on-the-spot printing facility. In fact for the banquet, party or wedding photographer, something like this could very quickly pay for itself.
Imagine a room of people, and within minutes of shooting their picture, it is on display and ready to buy. They’ve got a few pounds in their pocket and a few beers in their belly, and bingo! Multiple £5 notes are now in your cigar box. The unit is small enough to easily place in a car boot, and would easily fit on a venues corner table. This is an attractive size for the small retailer too, as it could easily fit on a chemists, or high street photographer’s counter, providing an additional source of income.
It’s easy to use too. A large 8inch touch screen LCD walks you, or the customer, through the printing process. This could be as simple as printing an index print or scrolling and selecting images to print. The unit is also DPOF compatible too, allowing preselected pictures to be printed automatically. There are also limited options to edit photos, including features such as red eye removal, cropping and adding border effects. In fact you could create your own border, with logos for adding to event photographs.
The ease of use is continued with the maintenance too. The roll paper and ribbon cartridge are placed into a pull-out drawer inside the unit, keeping the whole operation simple and clean. Print quality is pretty good, and generally better than those from home desktop units, with good punchy colour and contrast and no signs of banding. Print times of around 30 seconds per print is good too, so even a customer ordering 30 prints could be done in about a quarter of an hour.
Okay, so this printer is not going to find its way onto your home desk, but the SnapLab could provide a good source of revenue for local and high street shops. So even if you’re only ever going to be using it at the corner shop, you know the kiosk you’re using has the WDC seal of approval.