- Excellent output quality.
- Prints are small and relatively expensive;
- battery, case and PC connection kits are not included as standard.
The Camedia P-200 photo printer from Olympus has a footprint a little larger than a portable CD player, is about two inches thick and somewhat heavier at 830g. A dye sublimation unit, the P-200 delivers excellent output, although print size and running costs could be an issue for many users.
Build quality is very good, with only the flap covering the SmartMedia and CompactFlash card slots being a little flimsy. Otherwise, the device should comfortably stand the strains expected of a portable device.
Consumables consist of a 25-page kit with both ribbon (good for 25 prints) and paper included. At a typical street cost of just under £15, prints are quite expensive at about 60p each, but still cheaper than Polaroid prints.
The P-200 uses a dye-sublimation process, which means that you get a high-quality continuous-tone print with none of the dithering that's visible with many inkjet printers. Having said that, some recent inkjet photo printers use small enough dots for little sign of the dithering to be apparent.
The P-200 has a resolution of 320dpi, producing a 1,280-by-960 image that measures 4in. by 3in. This is significantly smaller than a typical photographic print from a high-street processor. Each print takes about 90 seconds, and involves the print passing though the printer four times, once for each of the three colours (cyan, magenta and yellow) and once for a protective coating.
The printer is incredibly simple to use. Paper is loaded into a small cartridge and a small ribbon module is inserted into the machine. The device itself has slots for both SmartMedia (3.3v) and CompactFlash. The SmartMedia slot supports cards up to 64MB and the CompactFlash supports Type I and Type II cards up to 340MB. You can switch between slots if both card types are present, but SmartMedia always takes priority.
Top panel buttons allow you to select between full image print and splitting the print into 2, 4, 9 or 16 panels, each containing its own image. You can print up to 30 images on an index print but they are, obviously, very small. You can also choose between a normal, sharpened or softened print. You can manually select the number of copies to be printed, but the P-200 also supports DPOF (Digital Print Order Format), so if this is supported and enabled on your camera, all printer settings except sharpness will be overridden.
Even without either of the PC printing kits, it's possible to edit photos on the PC and then print them on the P-200, by copying the edited images back to a memory card using your camera (if it permits copying to the camera) or a card reader. You will have to be careful, however, to follow the correct file naming conventions as used by digital cameras, or the printer will not recognise the files.
The P-200 is clearly designed as a portable printer, so it's a bit disappointing that neither the battery nor the carrying case are included as standard. Admittedly, to do so would drive the price up, and not all users would necessarily want them. However, it's genuinely disappointing that the parallel and USB kits for connecting the printer to your PC are also not supplied as standard.