Review: Sony DPP-EX5 Photo Printer
Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally Posted: February 21, 2003
March 16, 2003
you've got your new digital camera -- now how do you get prints?
There are many options, but it boils down to two main possibilities:
have someone else print them (Ofoto, Wal-mart, Costco), or print'em
you've got a Sony digital camera, the DPP-EX5 ($199) is an inexpensive
option for printing at home. It has a memory stick slot, and
hooks up to your television, so you can print 4 x 6 inch photos
without a computer. Of course, if you want to hook the EX5 to
your Mac or PC, you can do that too, via a USB connection.
more about the EX5 in our review! Oh, and please excuse my "captures"
of the menus and such -- since my computer does not support capturing
video, I had to take pictures of my television screen!
EX5 is one of the smaller dye-sublimation printers out there.
It's small enough that you can keep it near your TV, which is
how most people will use it. The printer is made of high grade
plastic, and it feels solid enough.
dimensions of the EX5 are 3.1 x 7.9 x 11.4 inches (W x H x D),
without the paper tray installed. The printer weighs 2.2 kg (4
lb 14 oz.).
a straight-on look at the EX5, with the paper tray uninstalled.
At the top you can see the Memory Stick slot (card not included).
The EX5 supports the new Memory Stick Pro format as well. (Paragraph
you insert a Memory Stick, the follow screen shows up on your
(again, apologies for the poor quality of these)
can mark images to be printed by setting the print quantity,
and then just hit the Print button (scroll down to see it)
and away it goes. You can also hit the Picture button to get
a closer look at your image:
of that for now, let's continue our tour.
insert the paper tray, you just open the plastic door on the
front, and stuff it in there. The paper tray can hold 25 or 30
sheets, depending on the size of the paper.
a look at the side of the printer, pretty stylish as you can see.
the back of the printer, you'll find a USB port, video-out port,
and the power input. As I mentioned, you can use the EX5
as a regular printer that
you can connect to your Mac or PC (using the USB cable, of course).
Printer drivers are included with the printer.
control the printer via this panel on the top of the EX5. Many
of these buttons are self-explanatory, but I'll describe the
others in detail now.
Auto Print button will, well, automatically print photos from
your Memory Stick. You can have it print all of your photos,
or just the ones you DPOF marked on your camera.
Creative Print feature let's you create four types of unique
- greeting card
- 9 stickers per sheet
image - 2, 4, 9, 13, or 16 images per sheet
all of the above, you use templates built into the printer to
create your card, calendar, etc. You type the text using an on-screen
keyboard, which is a bit of a pain.
Effect button allows you to rotate, retouch, and enhance your
a rundown of the options available in Effect mode:
- "make the image like a painted picture"
- use the "keyboard" to put text on your image
should add that loading and manipulating high resolution images
can take a while, so it requires a bit of patience.
to the tour now. The Menu button lets you adjust settings, and
Fine Print 2 (High, lo, off) - amount of automatic image
print (on/off) - does not work on the "small" size
print (on/off) - prints the date on your photo
setting (R, G, B) - adjust the color levels, ±2,
for red, green, blue
- Slide show - you can select the interval between photos as
fast or slow
- Index print - choose from 8 x 6 or 10 x 8 layouts
- Delete images
- Format Memory Stick
are pretty much all the menus and buttons that require explanation.
For the last part of the tour, here's a look at where the print
cartridge goes, on top of the EX5.
those who like the technical details, the DPP-EX5 has a resolution
of 403 x 403 dpi. It makes three passes of color -- yellow, magenta,
and cyan -- and then puts a special protective coating layer
on top. I witnessed
a print get dunked into a hot cup of coffee with no loss of quality.
takes 60 seconds to print one small size photo, and 90 seconds
a 4 x 6. That does NOT include the time it takes to process the
images off the Memory Stick, so you should add another minute
or more to those times.
quality is as good as you'd expect from a dye-sublimation printer.
Show folks the prints, and they'll think they were professionally
developed. No dots, no funny lines -- always perfect. One thing
to watch out for is dust or hair on the paper or print cartridge
can mess up your prints.
to show you how the print quality looks isn't easy online. The
sample below will never replicate what it really looks like,
so here's my suggestion: go somewhere where they sell the printer
and have a look at its output. Sony even puts a sample print
on the outside of the box so you can see it with your own eyes.
printers traditionally are more expensive to run than inkjets,
but that is changing. Costs for the "ink" and paper
have come down considerably over the years.
almost all cases, the print cartridge and paper are sold in the
same box. That's because the print cartridge always prints a
set amount of photos -- 25 or 30 in this case.
can choose between three paper sizes on the EX5: 4 x 6 inch (postcard),
3.5 x 5 inch, and 3.5 x 4 inch (small). For each paper size,
there are various kinds of paper, such as sticker paper.
most people are printing 4 x 6's, I'll be looking at that size
when examining operating costs.
sells two 4 x 6 inch "print packs":
places like Costco printing 4 x 6's for 19 cents a pop, you can
see the home printing (at least dye-sub printing) is still expensive.
can save a few bucks by using smaller paper (3.5 x 4 inch):
Compact Print Pack - 30 sheets - $14.95 - 50 cents per print
inkjet printer will certainly cost you less to maintain, as you'll
generally get more than 25 prints per ink cartridge -- I've been
able to get several times as many personally.
you've got a Sony digital camera and want an easy way to make
small-sized prints without touching a computer, then the DPP-EX5
is definitely worth looking at. It's compact and fits nicely
The "keyboard" function is clumsy though, but what are you doing
to do when you don't have an easy way to type. You can also hook
the printer up to your computer, which kind of defeats the purpose.
quality, as I expected, was excellent. I was also not surprised
by the high per-print cost, which is the norm for dye-sublimation
big limitation is the print size: no larger than 4 x 6 inch.
I like to print 8 x 10's once in a while, so the EX5 wouldn't
be something I'd be interested. But I know that there are plenty
of everyday shooters who would not have any issues with the size
always, I recommend a trip to your local computer store to check
out the DPP-EX5 and the competition before you buy!
always appreciates your comments
and questions. Please, due to my limited resources, do
not write asking for a personal recommendation.