Dye sub printers (or alternative)

Nov 4, 2005
Down Yonder Florida
Hi all... I may need to start providing prints with digital files for my projects. It's not clear what minimum size will be acceptable, I have a feeling 8x10/8x12 format might be a necessity but 6x8 might be sufficient. The print jobs could range from 10-20 prints to several hundred - or even thousand (rare) - at a time.

To complicate things a little, each print will be from an individual file and will need to have annotations on them. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do that yet.

It's possible that lower quality color laser prints might work for some projects that aren't critical, but the idea is have photo-quality prints. While inkjet works pretty well, I really don't see using ink as a practical solution. And, while the projects may be large we certainly won't have a constant flow of them so setting up a digital minilab is overkill.

Dye sub seems like a good way to go but at first glance what I've found seems to be designed for event and photo kiosk setups. I want to be able to address the printer like any other printer and just use regular software or something we come up with on our own. My last experience with dye sub was running and maintaining Kodak printers in the 90s - so I'm a little out of touch.

I'd love to hear what experience people have had and any recommendations.

Nov 10, 2008
The #1 issue I had with dye sub was they are all made to print one size and one size only.

My Kodak 1400 is 8x10 so if I needed a 4x5, I had to do a 4 up one one page or waste a lot of print area and use scissors or paper cutter. Smaller dye sub are available for say 4x6.

The prints have a protective coating so an annotation needs to be in photoshop or a sticky note. Put a print number on the print in PS that a note can refer to.

I do not see an inkjet being harder or easier than dye sub to set up and move and operate.

I have given up on home printing in that it is a pain where I sit. I have a quality Eizo monitor, soft proof with my labs furnished profile, and then I send them the soft proof file via internet. Two days later they call and tell me to pick up. Since I control the whole color management work flow, what I send is what I get. I order the economy prints which means they do not intervene in the process except to print. They prints are among the best I have ever done, no off color, no over/under exposures, no remakes.
Jan 15, 2010
Have you considered something from the Fuji Pictography range? Purchased new they are quite expensive but often found used on ebay (assume owners have upgraded most of the time?)

No idea about running cost but image quality is first rate.

I am guessing that a Dye Sub printer that can accomodate 8x12 is going to cost the best part of $1800 therefore a used Pictography unit could be similar or lower priced. But you will probably need to take into account how much it costs for each to produce a print. Just a thought :smile:

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