In the compact market, HP brought out the Photosmart A826 Home Photo Center.
This printer blurs the line between computer and printer with a very useable
7" LCD touch-screen display. Built-in functions include redeye removal,
a "skinny" feature to slim down your subjects (if only it was that
easy in real life!), captions and descriptions--even writing directly on
the LCD with your finger or stylus before printing. Also included are a number
of frames, graphics, and other embellishments for your images. The printer uses
a tricolor ink cartridge and lists for $199.
HP also introduced a new application that allows you to simulate the light
fading of different paper and ink combinations. It only runs on Windows-based
systems, but it's a free download at www.hp.com/go/printpermanence. The
program allows you to load a JPEG image of your choice and then see how it will
fade over a period of up to 80 years. If you use an HP printer and you've
been considering third-party ink refills, this might have you changing your
mind. At any rate, it's fun to play with.
Dye Subs: More To Come
I'd be remiss to not mention dye sub printing. Super compact printers
from Sony, Olympus, Canon, HiTi, and others are available that do a very nice
job of printing on the go. These units can all be run by battery if you wish,
making them a great travel item. For me, they work well as a way to break the
ice when traveling and shooting the local life--I can offer the subject
a free print on the spot, which usually brings a big smile and a few more poses.
For heavier workloads, many event photographers turn to units from HiTi, Mitsubishi,
and Sony. These dye sub printers excel at printing 4x6 or 5x7 images. We'll
have more on these printers in future tests and roundups in Shutterbug.