HiTi Transphotable
A Movable Printing Feast

If you ever have the need to make snapshot-sized prints on the road, or want a tough but practical printer that speeds through the printing process with image enhancements to boot, you might want to consider the Hi-Touch Imaging Technologies "Transphotable" printer. That somewhat odd name gives you a hint of how this dye sub printer is configured. It's actually a HiTi 630PS printer (reviewed in these pages a few months back in our February 2003 issue and available by going to the Shutterbug website and typing HiTi 630PS into the Search box) with body armor and circuitry that allows you to get power from the cigarette lighter socket in your car. Being a dye sub printer it works with four passes--three for the color and one for the UV coating--but even with that it's much faster than going the ink jet through the computer route.
You have a choice of a number of different print formats, all on the 4x7" paper, including standard 4x6 glossy prints, photo stickers in two configurations, ID photo size as well as index prints of all the images on the inserted memory card. Loading the ribbon and paper couldn't be easier, and if you want extra protection on the road there's even an included dust filter that can be placed into the 8.8 lb unit.

The Transphotable delivers sharp, color rich borderless images in about a minute in a four-pass setup. We darkened the picture of the statue prior to printing using the handheld controller's edit function. The color range of the flags gives a good indication of the good color the unit delivers the first time through when camera exposure is on the money.
Photos © 2003, George Schaub, All Rights Reserved

The real treat in this setup is the direct printing capability, even though you can use the Transphotable as a computer connected printer as well. There are two slots for CompactFlash and SmartMedia cards and to use a SecureDigital card you have to use an optional CompactFlash adapter. You can only print from JPEG images, as the unit will not handle TIFF or raw files. We used our 4-megapixel Canon PowerShot G4 with JPEGs and were able to get prints and index cards to print with ease.

The Handheld Controller
Included with the printer is a handheld unit that allows you to choose from among the printing options and even add enhancement to images, including a very good lighten and darken control and rotation, re-sizing, contrast, and color biasing. Moving through the menus and making edits is intuitive, although judging sharpness from the LCD screen on the handheld previewer is not advisable. But when we printed an image and then decided we wanted it darker all we had to do was hit the edit button, choose brightness from the scroll-down menu and toggle our way to a darker, richer print. All the prints were right the first time out and we found it to be an excellent way to get sharp and color rich prints right from the memory card. We also found the index print right on the money. The unit will also accept DPOF orders made in the camera.

Hardy Companion
Being a transportable printer you might expect it to be able to take some knocks, which it does. The body armor is solid rubber, which is wrapped around the handheld controller and LCD viewer as well as the main printing unit. There's also what the company calls a "Fuzzy Ambient Temperature Detection and Quality Control" feature, which in a nutshell means that the unit will automatically adjust for temperature and humidity conditions and set up the printer for the best prints under those conditions. The stated temperature range for operation is 41-100ÞF.

The index print from our Canon PowerShot G4 kicked out in under a minute. The unit can handle CompactFlash, SmartMedia, and, with an optional adapter, SecureDigital cards. The prints can be made from JPEG images only. Colors were right on and we used the index print as a good guide to color and exposure.

In all, the HiTi Transphotable, at about $399 including handheld viewer, is a versatile and quality setup for those who want to make 4x6 and index prints on the road. It's a PC-only setup. Included in the package is the controller, car power kit, USB cable and CD (needed if you use the printer connected to your PC), a sample paper and ribbon kit (sold separately in 50 sheet packs of ribbon and paper), and a nice carry bag for the printer and accessories.

For more information contact Hi-Touch Imaging Technologies at www.hitouchimaging.com.