Targeting, in part, the event photography market, Mitsubishi recently released two new relatively compact, dye-sub photo printers: the single CD-D70DW and the double-decker CP-D707DW. Both accommodate several media sizes and the double-decker can print two different size photo prints at the same time.
To conserve space, I tested the Mitsubishi CP-D70DW single unit. At 10.8” (W) x 17.6” (D) x 6.7” (H) and weighing about 26.5 pounds, the printer is compact compared to many other professional dye-sub printers on the market right now. Given the right circumstances and set-up, the printer can be used on-site at an event although it’s probably best to find a case to transport it to the event location along with a laptop.
The Mitsubishi CP-D70DW printer comes with a quick set-up guide, CD-ROM (with a more in-depth PDF manual, with drivers and driver guides), power cords, cable ties, securing band and screws/washer, paper tray, paper flanges and spacers, ink cassette and paper strip bin.
Getting the printer out of the box was no problem but getting it set up and running was another story. Although I have more than 20 years’ experience reviewing products, preparing the CP-D70DW for printing was probably one of the more frustrating experiences in my career.
Instruction manual translations are always a challenge but illustrations can usually help where words fail. Several times during set up of the Mitsubishi CP-D70DW, the confusing manual with its poor visual explanations led me astray.
Loading the paper roll (I was given a large roll of 5 x 7” paper, which is good for about 230 prints) and the ink ribbon was a problem initially. The directions said to remove the spacer from the paper flange “when using other than CK-D735 and CK-D757.” Having no idea what those codes meant, I removed the stoppers, which resulted in my photo prints being misaligned.
A better explanation, which I found on a note taped to the side of the stopper, was to “use the stoppers if you’re using 5-inch wide paper.” Once I saw this and installed the stoppers, the Mitsubishi CP-D70DW started printing like a champ. I did, however, waste some paper since each time I re-installed the roller, the printer cut and output 3 blank sheets.
While I don’t want to belabor the point, imaging products that are confusing to set up can lead to disgruntled customers and potential product returns. In the case of the Mitsubishi CP-D70DW, the included directions need a serious re-write and illustrations should to be larger and more detailed. And, please, Mitsubishi, for $2,000 couldn’t you include a better paper tray than the flimsy one that’s included?
Once the Mitsubishi CP-D70DW was up and running, I could easily see the appeal of the printer. It’s fast and can buffer about four 4 x 6” images at a time. Outputting a 5 x 7” print took about 12.7 seconds (Mitsubishi’s estimation, which seems accurate).
The printer powers down for energy saving but wakes up very quickly so there’s very little downtime—it took maybe 15 seconds from click to final print when the printer was asleep. Using the Mitsubishi CP-D70DW was noisier than I would’ve liked. But if you’re at an event, ambient sound will most likely drown out the humming of the printer. It might be a little annoying in a quieter setting or studio, though.
The printer driver offered a decent amount of color adjustments and was easy to use. As it turned out, the default settings worked well for most of my test images. Colors were bright, vibrant and accurate. At 300dpi and with a new sharpening algorithm, image details were quite good—right down to the texture of stone steps and delicate flowers in my images. Skies in a few of my test images were a little dark and muddy but easily corrected.
Given the popularity of black-and-white prints, I decided to run some monochrome test images through the printer. Although dye-subs like the CP-D70DW use CMY ink plus an overcoat and lack a black ink, black-and-white output from the printer was, unexpectedly, good. Some photos had a warm color cast, which was quickly eliminated by adjusting levels in the printer driver. But other monochrome prints looked really nice, with deep rich blacks, clean whites and a wide range of greytones.
Surface lamination gave the prints a glossy finish that, despite my repeated attempts, seemed impervious to fingerprints.
With MSRP pricing on media, cost per print is $0.21 per 4 x 6” print; $0.49 for each 5 x 7” print, so you’re not going to be able to beat snapshot-size prices from most kiosks, online printing or mass market stores. But the quality is better than what I’ve seen from those sources.
Given all the hassle it took to get this printer set up, I find it hard to recommend this product fully. On the other hand, after seeing the quality of the photo prints, I could definitely see an event photographer use the CP-D70DW to produce and sell some high-quality 5×7-inch glossies. (Provided they don’t get stymied by the initial set-up frustrations.)
The Bottom Line
If you have a market for small, glossy photo prints, the Mitsubishi CP-D70DW is worth looking into but be prepared for what has the potential to be a frustrating set-up process. Maybe this review will help get you past Mitsubishi’s poor directions and get you churning out attractive glossy prints for your customers in no time.
Pros: Quality output for color and black-and-white glossy prints; easy-to-use driver for color correction; speedy printing; energy saving idle mode
Cons: A relatively noisy printer to use; flimsy paper tray; confusing set-up directions
Price: Mitsubishi CP-D70DW $1,995; Mitsubishi CP-D707DW (double-decker) $2,950
More info: www.mitsubishi-imaging.com/photo
*Until March 31, 2011 Mitsubishi is offering $200 cash back or two boxes of free media for the DP-D70DW and $300 cash back or three boxes of free media for the CP-D707DW