Photo Printers 101: FAQs About Dye Sublimation Photo Printers

Photo Printers 101: FAQs About Dye Sublimation Photo Printers

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Published 11 April 2017
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Photo Printers 101: FAQs About Dye Sublimation Photo Printers Do you know what a dye sublimation photo printer is? For some, this can be a very new term. Some people, especially those who are not very knowledgeable about printers, may not even be familiar with dye sublimation. If you want to expand their knowledge about printers, or even just educate yourself prior to making a purchase, here are some basic facts about dye sublimation photo printers.
What is a Dye Sublimation Photo Printer?
Dye sublimation photo printers are printing devices which make use of the dye sublimation method. This method is comparable to inkjet and laser printing. While inkjet uses nozzles and laser uses laser heat, dye sublimation uses a combination of these methods. Dye sublimation refers to the process which is used to attach or imprint the ink on the material or medium. Dye is used as the printing colorant and the sublimation process involves the transition of the solid dye into gas state which is then imprinted on the medium through heat. No liquid is involved in the process so the printouts will not smudge after they have been printed out.
How are dye sublimation photo printers different from inkjets in terms of printouts?Dye sublimation creates much more color-rich prints and photos as compared to inkjet printers. This can then be used to conclude that dye sublimation photo printers produce more high quality photos than inkjet printers. Since dye sublimation makes use of solid dye which is imprinted on the medium by heat, the colors of the photo come out to be more realistic and close in appearance to the original image, whereas inkjet printers can sometimes have color combination problems, making the printout less realistic. Also, the printing process of dye sublimation printers provides a layer of laminate over the finished printout, creating a photo that is protected from smudging and fading. Therefore, dye sublimation printers can produce more long-lasting photos. If dye sublimation photo printers are better in printing quality, do they have drawbacks?
Yes. Like any other product, dye sublimation photo printers are not perfect. The most practical problem that they pose is their use of colorant or dye. Dye sublimation printers use stencil-like dye panels which are used to imprint the printout on media. These dye panels are individually colored and they are the same size or bigger than the media to be used. This is why they are only used for compact photo printers. If the dye panel size is 4’’ x 6’’, the maximumphoto size that the printer can produce is 4’’ x 6’’ only. This is also the reason why the printer has limited media size accommodation.
In the printing process, heat is only applied on the area of the dye panel which corresponds with the image to be printed. Each panel is of a different dye color, and when the dye panel has already been used, it cannot be used again. Even if a very small part of the dye panel was used for printing, it is impossible to use it again without having the area used to remain blank on the next print. This means it can be very costly to replace dye panels.
Are there available dye sublimation photo printers today?
Yes. Canon and Epson have special product lines which only offerbest all-in-one multifunction printers 2017for photos which utilize dye sublimation printing mechanisms. Canon Selphy models are numerous and not very expensive. Epson PictureMate models are also dye sublimation photo printers. The current models of Epson are the Show and the Charm. The Show is a remarkable piece because it has its own LCD display which you can use to play slide shows of the photos that you have saved. Other printer manufacturers like HP have dye sublimation models but are now phased out. Conclusion
Dye sublimation photo printers are very special types of printers and they are also very good for printing photos. But not all people will find benefit in using these printers especially if the purpose of printing is not solely for photos. If you are a professional photographer, there is no other printer that you should purchase. But if you are looking for a printer which is useful for everyday home and office printing purposes, inkjet printers are still the best printer of choice.
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