What’s the best professional printer to use with a commercial photobooth?

There are many professional printers that one can use with a commercial photobooth.  They can be broken down into 3 main considerations

1. Price. Can you afford $300 or $2000 for a printer?
2. Capacity and size. Do you want to change the paper every 150 prints or every 600 prints and how big do your printouts need to be?
3.  Speed and technology used. How fast can it produce prints? Is it a dyesub or inkjet printer?

There are two main suppliers that I usually buy my printers from:

www.imagingspectrum.com
www.fotoclubinc.com

Both offer free shipping on orders over $100 and great customer service. Fotoclub tends to be very slightly cheaper, but imaging spectrum usually matches their prices if asked.

In a previous blog entry I already discussed inkjet printers so this article will discuss only dyesub printers. Dyesub printers are often referred to as professional printers (this is not to say that inkjet printers are not professional). This is because 7 or 8 years ago they were much faster at printing out photos and there were only one or two inkjet printers that made prints that lasted a long time and were portable.

Almost all of my printers are sony dye sub printers. This is because Sony usually has an amazing rebate about once or twice a year where you can buy a $1000 printer and get $800 in free paper.  The two sony printers I recommend the most are the Sony UPDR150 and the new smaller and cheaper Sony UPCX1, which is $950, but comes with $800 worth of free paper, which makes it a great deal. You could buy an older refurbished dye sub printer for $400 or $500 dollars or get one off ebay, but with new ones like the Sony UPCX1 coming with so much free paper it really doesnt’ make sense to buy used. The coolest thing about the sony upcxi is that it can print out 4×8″ photos. That means you can have your standard 4 photo strip and then at the end have your event date or company logo, etc. It really personalized the gift a lot! That deal is good till the end of 2007 so if you are interested now would be the time to take advantage of it.  Mitsibushi, Kodak and Shinko also make great printers and you can see a comparison of them at this great link:

Comparison of Photo booth printers

All of these printers are plenty fast. If you are looking to do 8×10 prints there is even a comparison chart for these printers as well, which are very expensive.

One thing many people don’t know about dye sub printers is that almost all of them use paper on a roll which means you don’t have to reload the paper as much. It also unfortunately means that you are stuck with that paper size unless you want to load a whole new roll of paper in. So don’t expect to print out 4×6″s and then 6×8″s a few seconds latter. You basically stick to one size of paper.

I hope that helps everyone out a little bit! Peace, Rolland

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