This year at WPPI in Las Vegas DNP IMS America, a worldwide photo imaging company, exhibited its’ leading line of dye-sublimation (dye-sub) printers for professional wedding and event photographers who print on location.
As an event photographer the tools you use in your business not only affect your brand, profitability, and clients perceptions, but your economic survival. If you print your images on location, you know that having the most functional, reliable, cost effective equipment and support is key to your success as an event photographer.
Print onsite event photography is one of the most demanding areas of photography to work in because you are producing a high volume finished product on site. Based on a recent interview I believe that DNP’s DS40 is perfect for high volume print on site events, and I would recommend considering it if you are in the market for dye-sub printers.
I spoke with Belinda LoPresti, Director of Marketing for DNP at this year’s WPPI conference and expo in Las Vegas. LoPresti briefed me on the history of DNP, the DS40, and the company’s goal of augmenting printing options for photographers. Surprisingly, DNP has been around for a while and according their website they been making imaging technology since the late 1800’s! Their web site states:
“Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), was established in 1876 as the first full-scale printing company in Japan. Today, the DNP Group is one of the largest printing/coating technologies companies in the world. Expanding printing technology has been a fundamental DNP policy since the 1950s.”
After some brief history on DNP, LoPresti directed my attention over to DNP’s “work horse” printer and favorite among pros the DS40. At first glance the machine looked like a tank. The DS40 was:
· Well built and slightly bigger than the competitor dye-printers
· Comparable in print quality to other dye-sub printers on the market
· Slightly faster than most others dye-sub printer
LoPresti mentioned that designing a reliable dye-sub printer was simple a first step for DNP. She went on to say DNP has been designing dye-sub technology and printers for competitors for years. Their goal is to lead the industry in augmenting the way event photographers use the DS40 beyond the standard 5x7. They want to give photographers the ability to offer their client’s far more options and solutions for printing photos on location than any other company.
In a March 3 2014 press release DNP wrote:
“We are pleased to introduce a new perforated media variation of our popular 4”x 6” printer media for the DS40 printer,” commented Kazuhiro Kawabata, President, DNP IMS America Corporation. “Thanks to the high-quality perforation, wedding and event photographers can now offer their clients the ability to attach special messages, coupons, and wallet size images to any photo printed on the 4x6PM media.”
If you print on site at weddings, DNP’s perforated media offers the perfect keepsake or branding opportunity for guest and attendees. And adding a logo or a message to the final print seemed like a pretty straightforward task. Apparently, DNP is serious about supporting their customers and providing solutions, their 4x6 perforated media was well thought out and practical.
A printer break down is a nightmare!
A while back I was printing on-site with a competitor dye-sub printer and “in the heat of battle” the printer jammed! Long story short, I had to pull the printer out, which slowed our operation to a crawl, and plug in a backup. I found out later from another photographer that the excess cuts, he called them “slugs,” jammed the rollers and that it happens from time to time with those printers. The photographer took a few screws out, remove the slugs, and my printer was working like new. Before he fixed my printer, I had tried calling the manufacture and no one ever called me back or responded, that destroyed my faith and confidence in that product. The printer had only been in service 3 weeks before this happened. The Foto Club Inc, whom I purchased the printer from did offer to replace the unit. But there was no way I was going to get the replacement before the start of my next event.
I asked LoPresti about DNP’s service and support. Printer service has always been a nightmare with other companies for me and other photographers I know. As I expected she mentioned that DNP stands behind it’s printers, warranties, and customer service. And DNP always has the most current printer drivers on their web site. Great news, because most companies don't keep up to date with their drivers for newly released operating systems especially for Mac's. So we end up stuck on legacy operating systems just so we can run our printers.
I called Ruben Gamma, my go to dye-sub printer specialist at the Foto Club Inc (fotoclub.com). I have worked with Gamma and the Foto Club Inc since I started in the printing on location. Gamma has always been a “straight shooter” about dye-subs and managing my expectations. I asked him straight out:
Q: “Ruben, in your opinion what is the best dye-sub on the market?”
A: “They are all pretty good, but performance wise the DNP DS40 is the fastest and most cost effective per print on the market.”
Q: “How reliable is the DS40?”
A: “Most dye-subs are very reliable. The difference is DNP has been making the technology for their printers for a long time versus their competitors. So DNP machines are going to be more stable and refined.”
Q: “Would you recommend DNP?”
Investing in a dye-sub printer(s) is an investment that you have to consider carefully, it's like buying a camera and lenses. There are different levels of printers you can consider, but if you are producing a high volume high quailty of images regularly on site, take my word for it, you will need a strong dye-sub printer. I would definitely recommend you consider DNP’s DS40. In the coming months I’ll be testing a DS40 in service for speed, reliability, features and quality.
Keith B Dixon is a Professional Freelance Photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area. Keith specializes in corporate event and print on-site photography, executive portraits, and editorial assignment work in the health care, computer technology, biotech, and real estate. Keith’s work regularly published in print ads, various magazines in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Nationally, Internationally.
Visit Keith’s Website at www.keithbdixon.com