There is a new version of this article, please see The Top 9 Printers for Your Photo Booth 2017.
What is the best printer for my photo booth?
This question is a popular topic that is always up for heated discussion in photo booth forums and chat boards. Depending on your booth design and many other factors, the opinions and responses can be quite different. For some, choosing a photo booth printer can be a bit overwhelming. The purpose of this blog article is to help you find the right printer for your needs, and hopefully take some of the guess work and stress out of the process.
Each day we get many calls asking “what are the best photo booth printers?” If you have been following my previous blog posts about printer choice you know that quality is very subjective. For some it’s about reliability and for others the decision is based solely on price. We also get into detailed discussions about support from the dealer and the manufacturer, as well as how well a printer “travels.” Most experts agree that dye sub technology is extremely reliable, very consistent and easy to manage. With that said, the question becomes “which dye sub printer is right for my photo booth build?”
When educating booth owners on event printers and photo booth technology, it seems to be helpful if I describe printers in terms of “performance” and/or “economy.” Why? Let me explain. The printers in the performance category as I have listed below are very different from the printers in the economy category. Performance printers share some similar characteristics with each other like speed, build and a higher price point. Economy printers tend to be slower and have a lower price point. Some of the economy printers also tend to not take as much abuse as the higher priced performance models. As you read about the different printers in the different classes, think of which ones might be a better fit for your build and workflow or, what I like to call your photo booth “personality.”
The Economy Class
With the introduction of the Brava 21 earlier this year we had to create a new class and we came up with Dual Media. Dual media printers can print high quality photo prints just like the other printers in this article, however, they can also print photo quality stickers. That’s right, with a change of the paper you can print photos with a peel away sticker backing. Great for the bride’s memory book – no glue needed. Some companies are providing their customers with “memory boards” – photo booth attendees peel the back off one of the strips and stick it on a decorated board. Stickers are also a great marketing tool for branding and promotions.
The world’s smallest and lightest professional photo printer! You have heard me say before that what I like about this model is the fact that Sinfonia did not sacrifice quality with the build. The outer shell of the printer is very durable considering the weight of the printer. This is the perfect fit for photo booth designs that require a small footprint. The CS2 photo printer is currently one of the best value buys in the economy class given its robust design.
The DSRX1 remains unique relative to weight and size in its class. This unique personality makes this printer a popular choice with photo booth builders. Its print capacity is impressive, considering it can output 700 4×6 prints on a single roll before it needs to be reloaded. Usually printers with this kind of capacity are bulky and heavy; however, the DSRX1 is only 30 pounds!
The HiTi 510L photo printer also has a very unique profile in the economy class, but for very different reasons. For booth builders that like to have a ‘portal’ for picking up prints, this printer fits the profile. When the prints eject from the printer, unlike the other printers shown here, prints from the 510L land on top of the printer body, (see picture at right.) Some builders also prefer the ribbon load with this printer as the ribbon is housed in a single cartridge, which conveniently snaps into place with little effort.
The Performance Class
If you are willing to spend the extra money for a best of class product, the DNP DS40 photo printer is an excellent choice. Photo booth workflows typically do not demand the kind of speed (or components) that this printer provides, however, that doesn’t stop it from being high on the “quality build” part of the performance class. To this day, one of the most compelling testimonials about the DS40 quality can be found here. That blog post says it all.
We recently highlighted the CPD70DW photo printer as the “printer of the month” in our photo booth newsletter. What I like is the printer’s ability to be used inside and outside of the photo booth. For event photographers using Darkroom Core or Darkroom Professional Software in a traditional event workflow, the speed and processing power keep the lines from getting too long. If you are working with Darkroom Booth software in your photo booth, the CPD70DW’s small footprint and stability make it an excellent choice.
Ask for Sample Prints
Lastly, if you have read this article and are having trouble deciding on a printer; please contact us for sample prints! This is a service Imaging Spectrum has been providing to our customers for years – sample prints are a great way to let you experience the quality of each of the printers first hand. Click here to request sample prints. Feel free to give our photo booth team a call if you would like to learn more about these printers or Darkroom Booth Software. 800-342-9294 If it is more convenient you can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would also suggest watching videos of the printers in action.
Thanks for reading!