Review: Two Dye-Sub Photo Printers
PhotoPrinter 630PS, Canon CP-100
Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2000
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
digital cameras are becoming more popular, people are more and more
interested in how they can print their photos. Sure you can always
take it to the local photo lab (Fuji and Kodak are really pushing
this), or online via Ofoto or Shutterfly, but what if you want your
own photo lab? Though it's not the cheapest method, home photo printers
are the fastest way to get your prints, and you have total control
of the output. The printers themselves may be cheap, but the ink
ribbons and paper add up quickly.
this review, I'll be looking at two photo printers that use dye-sublimation
technology. The HiTi PhotoPrinter 630PS ($249) from Hi-Touch Imaging
Technologies can be used either as a stand-alone printer, or hooked
up to a Windows PC (Mac support is coming soon). A similar 630PL
model ($169) lacks the LCD display that you'll see a bit later.
I will only be covering the stand-alone functions of this printer.
other photo printer is Canon's CP-100 ($349). This printer only
works with recent Canon cameras, and does not hook into a computer
-- yet (Canon plans to offer a kit this Fall which lets you hook
it into a Mac or PC). The only button on the printer is the power
button, as all the controls are on your camera.
isn't a comparative review, as I think they don't really compete
against each other. The Canon printer can only be used with Canon
cameras right now. But since I have both of them, I'm just consolidating
things into one review.
in the Box?
630PS includes the following in the box:
8 sheets of 4 x 6 inch paper
sheet of 4 x 4 sticker paper
sheet of 4/2/4 sticker paper
PhotoDésirée, printer driver, Newsoft Mr. Photo
all photo printers, they give you very little to start with, so
buy paper/ink when you buy your printer!
drivers and software are for Windows only. This printer and 630PL
model are not Mac compatible -- yet. Hi Touch is apparently working
on drivers, due out later this year.
manual, if you can call it that, is very brief. It's basically a
leaflet with many languages.
printer just plugs into the wall without any messy power bricks.
CP-100 includes the following in the box:
size ink ribbon
sheets of postcard size (4 x 6 inch) paper
cassettes (postcard size and card size)
interface cables (2)
deal here about the "starter kit" of paper and ink, so
you'll want to buy more quickly.
printer is totally stand-alone, so you can't connect it to a computer.
Once Canon releases the computer connection kit, this will change.
The CP-100 only compatible with Canon digicams. The compatible models
marked with a * may require a firmware update.
CP-100 has a much nicer and more complete manual than the 630PS.
It does have a power brick but it has a long cord that plugs into
the wall, so it doesn't block other AC outlets.
630PS is a pretty small device, though not nearly as small as the
CP-100. It easily fits on your desk, and is much smaller than a
regular inkjet or laser printer.
you can see, there's a LCD over on the left, two card slots on the
right, and the paper tray on the bottom. When a print is finished,
it comes out of the slot just below the vent, above the paper tray.
Also, the paper goes out the back of the printer during each pass,
so you need some space behind the printer.
slots are for SmartMedia and CompactFlash. The CF slot is Type I
only, so forget trying to put a Microdrive in there -- it won't
open up that grille on the front and see what's behind it:
it's the printer mechanism, of course! One thing to watch out for
is the heat -- this is a "thermal transfer" printer, after
all. Keep fingers away from the parts inside the printer during
and after operation.
can also see the ink ribbon.
the back of the 630PS. The ports from left to right are USB, remote
control, and power. The power switch is at the far right. That USB
connection is for hooking into your Windows PC.
at the top is the slot where prints will pop out of during printing.
is a closer look at the remote control. This is how you'll do your
printing on the 630PS. In addition to a four-way switch, it has
buttons for Escape, OK, Menu, Edit, and Print.
you turn on the printer, you're presented with the menu shown above.
The menu items include:
Photo (I assume this is for making ID cards, the manual isn't
print (6 x 5, 8 x 7, or 5 x 4)
(4 x 4, 4/2/4)
Photo (prints image without any setup menus)
(uses print markings and starts printing)
(goes to the setup menu)
pretend that you selected Photo from the menu. You then see a screen
screen only shows 4 images per page, and there's no way to adjust
it. Let's select a picture now.
picture is then shown at full size. The resolution on the LCD is
poor, unfortunately. The image on a camera's LCD is far superior.
Anyhow, you can use the four-way switch to select the number of
prints you want to make. Here, it's just one (top right number).
say you want to edit the image though. The 630PS has several built-in
functions for touching up your photos. By pressing the edit button...
you're presented with these screens. The features here include:
- moves the image around in the print area
- scale down your image
- number of copies to print
(see picture above right)
you're finally ready to print, just hit the print button and away
630PS takes approximately 2:09 to process and print a 4 x 6 image
from the Canon PowerShot A200 (a photo from the Coolpix 5700 took
another 10 seconds). Like all the dye sublimation printers I've
tested, the printer does a "pass" for yellow, magenta,
and cyan. It then does one more pass to put a special protective
overcoat on your print.
addition to regular 4 x 6 paper, Hi-Touch also makes sticker and
ID card paper.
CP-100 is one of the smallest printers out there, period. It's sibling,
the CP-10, is even smaller. Both are marvels of engineering, if
you ask me. Whereas the CP-10 prints on business card sized paper,
the CP-100 can print on postcard (4 x 6 inch) paper as well.
I said, the CP-100 can only be controlled via a compatible Canon
digital camera at this time. The one I'm using here is the PowerShot
can see that the printer isn't much bigger than the camera! Adding
that paper tray does make it larger though. There are actually two
paper trays included with the printer, and you choose the one appropriate
for your paper size.
The back of Canon 4 x 6 paper
has regular 4 x 6 inch paper (styled like a postcard on the back),
and card sized (2.1 x 3.4 inch) paper. You can get just regular
one-print paper, paper with 8 stickers on it, or peel-off label
is the side of the printer, with the ink cartridge removed. You
can also see where the proprietary printer-to-camera cable attaches.
here is the back. The CP-100 is unique in that you can buy a battery
pack (sold for $180 with charger) and take it on the road with you.
A car power adapter is also available.
how you make a print using the Canon PowerShot A200.
first select an image on the LCD that you want to print, and you
mark it. You can also print instantly by pressing the Set button
on the camera.
is the menu shown before printing. You can choose bordered or borderless
prints, and whether the date is printed on the image in the "style"
menu. You also can choose how many copies you want, and what area
of the image is printed. There isn't any rotation or resizing tied
to the printer -- if your PowerShot has this feature then you can
can also DPOF mark your photos and then print them all when you're
like the 630PS, the CP-100 does four passes per print. It's quite
a bit faster at printing, though. The same image that took 2:09
on the 630PS took just 1:18 on the CP-100.
table below illustrates the difference in operating costs for the
of ink/paper package (4x6)
prices were accurate at the time of this review. Prices were taken
from FocusCamera.com, one of the few resellers that sell both of
think it's pretty obvious which printer is the better deal. The
630PS costs $100 less, works with most cameras, and is substantially
cheaper per print.
this isn't a head-to-head review. I've printed the same photos side-by-side
for comparison purposes. These prints were then scanned in. It's
not a good idea to judge the quality by the scans, but it may help
my opinion, the HiTi 630PS produced better prints than the Canon
CP-100. They were more saturated and sharper. It's not easy to see
that in my samples, so you'll have to take my word for it. While
the CP-100 may not produce photos as nice as the 630PS, it's certainly
no slouch. I think people will be happy with the output from both.
Photo quality rivals what you'll get from the photo lab or online
photo printing service.
the way, the print resolution is 300 x 300 dpi for both of these
printers. If that sounds low compared to most inkjets, you're right.
The difference is that these are continuous tone images -- no dots
or dithering. So they look just as good (perhaps better) with less
of these printers were a pleasure to use and the prints were impressive.
The HiTi PhotoPrinter 630PS was a little more impressive, in my
eyes. With the built-in LCD, you don't need to connect to a computer
or a camera, though you can do the former if you want, as long as
it's running Windows. The prints came out slower than the Canon
CP-100's, but they were a bit nicer. The cost per print is substantially
less than the Canon and other dye-sub printers. The Canon CP-100
currently supports only Canon cameras. You will be able to hook
up to a Mac or PC this fall through an optional kit. So if you want
a stand-alone printer and don't have a Canon camera, the CP-100
is not for you. But if you do, it's well worth looking at it.
possible, take a look at these printers in person, and look at sample
prints. The HiTi printer is very hard to find, but the Canon should
be easier. Your eyes are the best judge of the print quality. Hopefully
this review has covered the features, costs, and usability areas
a second opinion
another opinion? Read these!
always appreciates your comments
and questions (as long as they're polite).