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Dye-Sub vs. Ink-Jet Printers

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  #1  
Old 05-01-2005, 04:53 PM
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akj akj is offline
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Dye-Sub vs. Ink-Jet Printers

Wondering if there are any thoughts out there on the differences between dye-sub and ink-jet printers. It seems that there it isn't a lot of talk about dye-subs on this forum and was wondering the reasons why.

I recently saw a demo of a Kodak dye-sub printer and was quite impressed with the quality of the print. Is there only the one type of paper that can be used with dye-sub printers? For instance, printing photo-art on different paper mediums is not an option?
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Old 05-05-2005, 03:51 PM
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Unhappy

Anybody . . . ??
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Old 05-05-2005, 05:49 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Dye subs can make excellent prints, but as you suspect they are severely limited in media. And printers that can do large prints are very expensive.
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Old 05-05-2005, 07:33 PM
Mike Mike is online now
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I have several dye-sub printers. For all of them you can only use the ribbon and paper that the manufactuer says to use. My machines are all Kodak, and they have a glossy and a matte ribbon. I do not like the matte at all. But they are fast, kind of expensive, but the ones I have (8650) are built like tanks (85 lbs) and will work all nite long!

A google search will quickly get you for info than you ever wanted......

Mike
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:31 PM
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Thanks for the info fellas. It sounds like dye-subs may be nice for printing out standard 4x6 photos. I have noticed that the printers for larger sizers are pricey. I just can't get rid of the pre-conceived notion that quality photos can't be made from ink. I guess I'm just old-school in that regard. Isn't it great that we live in a technologic age where there are so many options to choose from?
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Old 05-06-2005, 12:30 PM
yuppicide yuppicide is offline
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How fast does your dye sub printer print out a 4x6 roughly?! How quickly does that dry?!
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Old 05-06-2005, 03:09 PM
Mike Mike is online now
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The dye-sub process is a heat/preassure kind of thing (think melting crayons onto paper), no liquid involved, so the prints are dry when they come out.

Most of the printers I have seen take from something like 40 seconds to maybe 90 seconds PLUS THE TIME IT TAKES YOUR COMPUTER TO SEND THE DATA TO THE PRINTER. Many folks do not think of this.

Try looking up Desktop Darkroom, they used to have a pretty good website of the same name, that listed many of the printers and their specs.

Hope this helps

Mike
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Old 05-06-2005, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
The dye-sub process is a heat/preassure kind of thing (think melting crayons onto paper), no liquid involved, so the prints are dry when they come out.
That's what I like best about them. No smudgies.

Thanks for the link Mike. http://www.desktopdarkroom.com. The Kodak 1400 looks like a good value dye-sub printer.
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Old 05-11-2005, 12:30 PM
Wesley Wesley is offline
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Hello there.

I just stumbled across this site while doing a Google search, and saw my company name. I'm technical support for Desktop Darkroom in Jacksonville, Florida. Hope you don't mind if I join the conversation.

Dye Sub printing is considered a true continuous tone photographic print due to the way that it melts it's ribbon (or donor) onto the media, like Mike said. The typical dye sub printer in MUCH faster than a typical inkjet, although Epson inkjets are becoming faster with their new product line of Stylus printers, (Stylus Pro 4800, Stylus Pro 7800 and Stylus Pro 9800).

The dye thermal process is quite mature for photographic printing and has gone through many generations of technical improvements and upgrades. The first one that I used in production was in 1993, I believe. It was also a Kodak. The typical 8X10 from one of these Kodak units that have been mentioned already (Kodak 8650, 8660, 1400) is usually around $1.85 - $2.10 per print. An ML-500's media cost is about $.85 per when used correctly. As far as event printing, where these printers are invaluable due to their portability and speed, the cost return on it is quite good. If this type of printing is to be used for proofing or something similar where the return won't be on that particular print, I don't know how cost effective it would be versus inkjet, or one of the higher grade lasers for that matter.

Media selection is very limited, as Doug mentioned. Most all manufacturers only offer glossy as an option. The technical reason behind this is that the finish is added as an overcoat using the same thermal method as the image application. Matte being an irregular surface in terms of height off the paper and placement, is difficult if not impossible to reproduce in this method. Most of the Kodak printers offer a matte option, but as Mike expressed, many people dislike it as it is not a true matte like an E-Surface, rather a sort of mechanical raising and lowering of the laminate through manipulation of the amount of heat produced by the print head as it applicated. In short, to a lot of people it just doesn't 'look right'.

That being said, there are other Dye Sub printers on the market besides the Kodak if you are interested in other printers then Kodak or in only printing small images like 4X6's which have significantly lower print costs.

The Shinko S1245 is an 8X10 roll printer with significantly faster print time than a 4 pass sheet printer with a much lower media cost. A print will cost about $1.24 per unit and print out in about 30 seconds. Like Mike mentioned, the 86XX series of Kodak printers is rated at a print time of about 70 seconds, plus the transfer time of the first image before the buffer will store information.

The Sony UP-DR150 is a small format roll printer that will do sizes of 3X5, 4X6, 5X7 and 6X8, dependent on the media used. A 4X6 is printer in about 15 seconds and a 6X8 in about 20 seconds. Last I checked the media price for a 4X6 was about $.33 per print, but the price has recently been lowered again so I would imagine that it is lower than that still.

Thank you for letting me into your conversation, I'm not trying to push product on you all. I do enjoy discussing technical issues and passing along useful information, especially regarding printing and color.

Wesley
Desktop Darkroom Technical Specialist

Links:

Thermal Dye Sub Printers:

Shinko S1245: http://www.desktopdarkroom.com/shinko.html
Sony UP-DR150: http://www.desktopdarkroom.com/updr150.html
Current Kodak Line: http://www.desktopdarkroom.com/kodak_printers.html

New Epson Inkjet Line:

The information on the pages that these Epson links go to are very, very shy of technical information at this time (5/11/05) due to the fact that these printers were announced yesterday. The information will be updated as it becomes available.

Epson Stylus Pro 4800: http://www.desktopdarkroom.com/stylus_pro_4800.html
Epson Stylus Pro 7800: http://www.desktopdarkroom.com/stylus_pro_7800.html
Epson Stylus Pro 9800: http://www.desktopdarkroom.com/stylus_pro_9800.html
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Old 05-11-2005, 06:42 PM
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Thanks Wesley

Thanks so much for your response. I appreciate your input and advice. I think eventually what I will need to do is invest in both an ink-jet and dye-sub. I like them both for different reasons. Main drawback of the dye-sub is the limited media selection as you mentioned.

Thanks again. Feel free to jump into as many threads as you like
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