Updated 02/14/2019: Brava 21 photo and sticker printer has been discontinued.
With a number of new event and photo booth printers introduced this year, there are more options than ever when it comes to choosing the perfect printer for your business. Whether you are upgrading, searching for features to up-sell to your clients, or even buying your first printer, we do our best to test the products and help you make the right decision. Here are our top-rated printers grouped by class.
The Economy Class
Mitsubishi designed the CP-K60DW-S to be used as a photo booth printer. It’s not the fastest printer out there but it is fast enough and it has some very cool features. The K60 is compact so it’s great for smaller photo booth builds. Much like its big brother the CP70, the K60 is solid with a metal body. Front loading makes changing the media out a very simple operation. One of our favorite features of this printer is that it can make a square 6×6 inch print. This feature has been popular with event photographers and now it is starting to catch on with some photo booth companies allowing users to offer Instagram style prints.
The CP-K80DW is definitely a “step up” in terms of print quality when compared to the K60. It has a higher quality image processor and a thicker paper for a more “robust print”. Another benefit is more prints on the roll (430 count 4×6 per roll). This is a great value buy at its price point. As a bonus it has the “roll back” feature so you can do multiple sizes on one roll of paper.
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. It is also one of the lightest weight printers on the market.
The original DSRX1 was recently updated to the RSX1HS (HS=high speed), boosting print speed by as much as 20%! Improved print speeds allow you to produce 290 4×6 prints per hour. With its faster print time it remains unique relative to weight and size in its class. This unique personality makes this printer a popular choice with photo booth builders. If you are into high capacity printers then this is a solid choice. 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 DS-RX1HS is only 30 pounds.
We love the fact that Hiti has put a LCD to the front panel of the printer to allow the user to check print counts on the fly. The printer is super easy to load (front loading) and is a reasonable size for its 500 count 4×6 print yield per roll. You can print via USB or use the WiFi dongle for wireless print options. We like the fact that the wireless functionality is easy to set up (emphasis on easy) and allows you to print wirelessly from your computer or phone camera using the HiTi printing app (available free for iPhone or Android). The printer also has the option to connect a card reader allowing you to print from your camera’s storage card which can be a huge benefit for event companies that also shoot outside of the booth. If wireless is your thing, then this is the printer to have. This model was formerly known as the P520L.
Fuji has a long history in the dye sub marketplace. After some recent price adjustments they finally have a home in the event industry. I have been a fan of the Fuji brand for a long time and it is nice to seem them addressing the needs of the booth industry. If there are two things that stand out on this model it is print quality for the discerning photo booth that appreciates details. it does a solid job at its price point. The High Quality Mode is a feature that produced extraordinary clarity, superior clear-cut text (with borders/templates) and sharp facial outlines. The printer also boasts “Enhanced whiteness, gloss and gradation.” We also noticed the feel of the paper thickness is in line with other quality brands.
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. (note: as of this blog posting the DS40 is officially discontinued, however, there are many new units still in stock and a lot of refurbished units too). This printer has proven to be a champion in terms it ability to take a beating on the road, as well as having exceptional print head life. To this day, one of the most compelling testimonials about the DS40 quality can be found in this blog post. With the DS40 you can also print to social media sized perforated paper opening opportunities to create new products for your customers. Read more about the new DS40 perforated media. The printer has definitely earned its top position in the marketplace as nothing short of iconic.
We’re lucky to be one of the first here in the U.S. market to test this printer. The first thing we noticed is it has a slightly smaller footprint than the DS40. So if you are trying to save on space this may be the printer for you. DNP has improved its printer driver on this model, which will allow users to check remaining media, media format, printer status, printer life counter, color control data, firmware version and serial number. This driver change is a dramatic improvement over other DNP printer drivers.
What I like about the CPD70DW photo printer is its ability to be used in fast paced event markets and for slower booth workflows. 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.
According to Mitsubishi, this printer was designed for the booth market. There are a lot of really neat features in this printer we like. They moved the ventilation system to the bottom of the printer to save on space and help with hot environments. The unique “roll back” feature is another one we are really fond of. Not only can it print 3 2×6 strips at a time (no other printer does this), it can also do single unique 3.5 x 5 without wasting media. Another unique bonus is an additional USB connection for powering other devices. As if that isn’t enough, the print quality on the printer is outstanding. The built in print optimization feature analyzes every print from highlight to shadow and tunes the print speed to make the best print possible. If they had an innovation award for a printer, this one would win.
The Portable “Dry Lab” Class
If you are in need of a printer that produces a true high quality professional lab print, this is your printer. There is no dye sub printer that comes close to this printer in terms of versatility, print quality and format options. Dry lab technology rocks! It is classified as a portable printer and is all the rage in the high end event market. We love the printer!!!
From a market segment perspective, the versatility is unrivaled. The Frontier-S DX100 meets the diverse needs and challenges of the retail minilab, retail kiosk, high-volume portrait studio, Sports, Event and photo booth photography. The output is the same quality you would expect from a professional grade lab print. Skin tones are outstanding!
Get Sample Prints
If you 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 different printers first hand. Email us at email@example.com or call us at 214-342-9290 to request a sample print or to learn more about these printers and Darkroom Booth Software.