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Getting hands on with DNP's DS40 Dye Sub Printer

This past February, at WPPI, I interviewed some key marketing executives at photo imaging giant DNP about their DS40 dye-sub printer. The DS40 is DNP’s “work horse” printer and favorite among pros for printing images onsite at events, weddings, and other functions that demand quality fast drying prints on site.

I have worked with a wide range of printers over my career, more then I care to mention. The DS40 is one of the most well built dye-subs I seen thus far. Don't worry, I am not going to go all techie on you about specs and technology, you can read and compare that stuff yourself, but I am going to talk about the little pro's and con's that influence my opinion about a dye-sub printer.

A great printer solves problems right out the box. When you are printing images on site, the last thing you want to do is worry about the little things. Like a roller jam caused by a paper trim. Or sitting at the printer during your print cycle catching every image that comes off the printer because your flimsy paper tray doesn't work and your images are falling all over the table. Small issues compound into bigger issues that will ultimately slow you down and create more work for you. Why should you buy a product that is only 75 or 80% of what you paid for?

If you are going successfully compete in the print on site arena, you have to tune into the small details of your workflow to determine whether a printer is going to work for your client and your business. Here are a some pro's and con's out the box as setup my first DS40.

The Big and Small Pros:

1. The DNP DS40's construction was solid- the printer didn't feel fragile or cheaply built.

2. The DS40 dye-sub comes with a real paper tray. Most come with flimsy plastic one's.

3. The ribbon packaging came in a self-adhesive green bubble wrap that made it easier to unpack and repack ribbons.

4. The printer included a printer cleaning kit. Rare, I was shocked!

5. The scrap box is integrated into the DS40. On most other machines the scrap box is on the outside which makes it difficult to handle the printer when packing and unpacking.

6. There were color marking on the ribbon tray that made it easier to insert the ribbon. This can save you time on a ribbon change

7. The printer software was easy to install and quick!

8. The printer responded and printed fast every time I interfaced the unit from the computer. Some printers have to warm up and take longer to cycle before they print

9. The DNP DS40 didn't waste any paper when you turned it on. Some models will waste a sheet to align the ribbon and paper

10. The print quality was amazing especially on the 6x8 images I printed of low and high contrast images. (More on this in my next review)

The Cons:

1. The DNP DS40 is slightly heavier the than its closest competitor

2. I had to download the Mac drivers from DNP’s site, but it was easy to find.

Print quality:

Next week I am going discuss the print quality of the of the DS40 and talk about some of the images I printed on location and from my Project 2212.

Keith B Dixon is a Professional Freelance Photographer specializing in corporate event photography, executive portraits, and editorial assignment work in the health care, computer technology, biotech, and real estate. Keith’s work regularly published in various trade magazines, online ads, publications in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Nationally, and Internationally.