Dye sublimation printing has been around for quite a while but in recent years inkjet printers have become more evident. Kodak, in all its wisdom, sees a future in dye sublimation, the approach bringing with it attractive tonal graduations and no sign of a dot structure. And it is a dead simple way to get your pictures to print. Simply load the ribbon cartridge and a pack of paper and you’re away. No messy cartridges, no fiddly paper loading.
The Kodak EasyShare PP500 is a compact, mains-powered, dye sublimation printer, able to output 10 x 15 cm prints in about one minute and 25 seconds for the first, and 60 seconds for each subsequent print from the same image. Each print can carry a single image, or be set up to provide two, four or nine images on a sheet of paper.
Its main attractions are a large LCD screen, and a wide range of image inputs that allow use of the printer with digital cameras and computers.
The PP500 is simple to get running: connect to mains, load the paper pack and the colour ribbon cartridge, then connect the computer, camera or even load a memory card. Select print numbers, touch ups, and then go!
Before using, make sure there is adequate space behind the printer to allow print material to jockey back and forth, as the four ribbon layers (cyan, magenta, yellow and the final protective overcoat) are applied. The printer is small in overall dimensions but, in printing mode, needs room to stretch its legs!
Image input is via USB from camera or computer and from a camera or camera/phone via Bluetooth or WiFi. There are front-mounted memory card slots for CF Type I, SD/MMC/reduced MMC, xD-Picture Card, Memory Stickand MS Duo/Pro/Magic Gate. Windows and Macintosh computer connection is provided and the printer conforms to PictBridge and DPOF protocols.
Menu options are accessed via the large, tilt-up 8.9 cm LCD screen and these allow changes to the image’s look, with Natural, Enhanced, Sepia and B&W presets provided. External controls allow image rotation, cropping and red eye removal, plus slide show.
Our tests confirmed dye sublimation as a valid technology, with Kodak?s Easyshare PP500 producing excellent quality prints.
The PP500 would make an excellent printer for the home, thanks to its fuss-free operation. Be advised, however, that compared to 10 x15 cm inkjet printers there is a price disadvantage with dye sublimation. A pack of 40 10 x 15 cm sheets of paper plus the ribbon cartridge costs $40.
Reviewer: Byer Gair