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Sony has a new kind of printer that relies on old technology. The printer carries the ungainly name of the UP-DP10, and it uses
dye-sublimation to make photographic-
quality prints. It does this very well, but it is a one-trick pony.
We’ve been told for some time that digital cameras are going to take over from analogue film. This is undoubtedly true, though whether it’s this year or in 50 years depends on what kind of photography you’re talking about. For most people, photography is what you do on holiday or at parties with a cheap or, even, throwaway camera. Matching that kind of quality with a digital camera is child’s play, but matching the look-and-feel of those images is less simple.
The UP-DP10 – lets call it the Sony printer – can print on special glossy paper that’s available in 6-x-4-inch or 5.275-x-4-inch formats. For the metrically minded, that translates to 152-x-100mm, or 134-x-100mm. These are fairly standard photo sizes.
A pack of 25 sheets of either size of paper, plus the dye-sublimation rolls to print on, costs £10 including VAT. This works out at 40p per print – still more expensive than the film option, but not too pricey. Dye-sublimation allows you to predict the number of prints you’ll get from a roll, unlike with ink-jets.
The software supplied looked dreadful at first. The disc isn’t well thought out, and the good software is easy to miss. PhotoPrinter 2000 from Arcsoft is, for example, fantastic, and makes printing single pictures or sheets of mini pictures easy. But the Arcsoft PhotoStudio that’s also provided is horrible, with a nasty interface and flaky performance.
The quality of the printer equals the best ink-jets, but the output is limited to snap-size. When compared to an Epson Stylus Photo 1270, which can print the same quality at up to A3 size, this printer falls short. The Epson printers also have an optional roll for printing photo-style pictures, though you must cut them from the roll yourself. The Sony does
win on simplicity though, and for being predictable on costs. But, the Epson Stylus Photo range is more flexible.
And the smaller A4 model is £60
cheaper than the Sony printer.
If that’s all you want, then this is the best way of achieving it. If, however, you want more flexible paper sizes then there are cheaper options. Yet with the high price of consumables, the initial price of the printer is not necessarily the most important thing. The Sony printer may be a one-trick pony, but
if you only need one trick, it’s ideal.