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Olympus P-10

Review posted 05/19/04

Olympus P-10 Photo Printer

The compact, silver and blue, cube-shaped Olympus P-10 Digital Photo Printer has a small 7.5" x 7.7" footprint, making it ideal for placing on a shelf or desktop. Responding to the needs of today's digital camera users, Olympus designed the P-10 for high quality prints at the fastest speed possible. It produces vivid 4" x 6" (approx.) or 3.5" x 5" photo-lab-quality, edge-to-edge color prints with or without borders in less than 45 seconds - making it the fastest dye-sublimation printer of its kind on the market today. And unlike other dye-sub printers, there's no tabs to tear off the prints, ever.

Prints from the P-10 emerge in archival condition - dry, durable and ready to share. A protective laminate overcoat resists water, scratching, moisture, fading and fingerprints. In contrast to inkjet printers, Olympus precision dye-sublimation printers do not lay down colors as individual dots that could be detected at close range. Instead, heat vaporizes colors that saturate the photo paper to create smooth, realistic, continuous-tone images. The vaporized colors permeate the surface of the paper, creating a gentle gradation at the edges of each pixel and produces over 16-million colors. Because the color dye infuses the paper, it's also less vulnerable to fading and distortion over time.

The P-10 offers the convenience of PictBridge technology, which makes prints instantly by connecting an enabled digital camera directly to the printer without need of a personal computer. This allows the printer to be placed anywhere an electrical outlet exists.

Currently only compatible with Windows 98/Me/2000/XP computers, Olympus will be providing a Macintosh OS X (10.2 and above) driver in June that can be downloaded from the Olympus America web site free of charge.

Olympus P-10 Features:

  • 310 dpi dye-sublimation printing, dry process no messy inks

  • Fast printing, less than 45 seconds

  • Borderless (or bordered) 3.5 x 5" or 4 x 6" prints

  • Compact 7.5 x 7.7 inch footprint, fits anywhere

  • Direct Print from any PictBridge-compatible digital camera

  • USB connectivity with Windows (and soon Macintosh OS X) computers

Olympus P-10 Photo Printer

Thanks to its dye sublimation printing system the P-10 eliminates the messy ink cartridges found in inkjet photo printers. You install this dry film ribbon cartridge in the side, load up the paper tray and you're ready to print. The ribbon is made up of four sections, three colors (cyan, magenta and yellow) and the protective overcoat. The overcoating resists fingerprints, scratching and moisture and also protects against UV-fading from exposure to the light.

Olympus offers the ribbon and paper packs in two sizes; 3.5 x 5" which is for most digicams with a 4:3 aspect ratio (640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x960, 1600x1200, 2048x1536) and 4 x 6" which makes perfect (no crop) prints from cameras that have a specific 3:2 aspect ratio mode. The Print Packs also come in two quantities, either 40 prints or 100 print size.

Olympus P-10 Photo Printer

The paper tray holds up to 50 sheets of 4 x 6" (or 3.5 x 5" with the included tray insert) paper. The tray slides into the front of the printer and you close the door, it does not stick out like the trays on other dye-sub printers.

Olympus P-10 Photo Printer

Compatible with Windows 98/Me/2000/XP (and Macintosh OS X in June) computers, the P-10 features a USB 1.1 port for connection to the host computer. The printer is powered by an external AC power supply that can be placed underneath of your workspace. This makes the P-10 very light (just 5.5 lbs) so it's easy to move or take with you.

Olympus P-10 Photo Printer

The front-mounted USB port is for direct connect printing from many Canon, Epson, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus and Sony digital cameras that are PictBridge compatible. Shown here is the Olympus D-580 Zoom camera.

You can make photo prints anywhere there's an AC outlet without the need of a computer. Just plug your Pictbridge compatible camera's USB cable into the front USB port and follow the menus on the camera's LCD screen.

Olympus P-10 Photo Printer

These are the screens shown on the Olympus D-580 Zoom during a PictBridge printing session. You can print a single photo, selected photos or all photos in the camera, quickly and easily.

Olympus P-10 Photo Printer

The finished prints come out on top of the printer so you only need a few inches of overhead clearance when it's in operation.

Steve's Conclusion

The Olympus P-10 is the smallest and one of the fastest personal dye-sub photo printers we've reviewed to date. It takes up less space than even the smallest HiTi 4x6" printer. And because it uses an external power supply, the printer itself is very lightweight, only 5.5 pounds. It's unique in that it doesn't have anything sticking out of the printer. The paper tray is inside the printer, the paper is output on the top and there's no slot where the paper goes in and out during the printing. It's compact, stylish and doesn't make too much noise -- but no dye-sub printer is quiet, there's a lot of motorized paper feeding going on in there.

With all photo printers you need to weigh the inital cost of the printer and the per print costs carefully, some of those cheap inkjet printers use very expensive color cartridges. The Olympus P-10 sells for $199 and the Print Packs come in 40- and 100-sheet sizes. If you buy the 100-count Print Packs then it costs approx. $.55 per 3.5x5" print and $.65 per 4x6" print. The 40-count cost is considerably higher at $.75 per 3.5x5" print and $.86 per 4x6" print. You'll save money in the long run with the larger quantity even if you don't intend to use that much. The paper and ribbon keeps well as long as the printer is used in a normal temperature and humidity-controlled environment.

The P-10 is a very fast 4x6" dye-sub printer with an average printing time of just 45 seconds (not counting data transmission time.) That puts it in a tie with the HiTi PhotoShuttle and the HiTi 730PS which also produce 4x6" prints in 45 seconds. Most other 4x6" dye sub printers take anywhere from 75 to 100 seconds per print. Another nice feature is that the prints do not come out of the printer with the usual tear-off tabs on both ends, they're 100% borderless and ready to be shared.

The P-10's print quality is excellent, it's as close to lab quality as it gets from a home or small business printer. Compared to prints from a HiTi dye sub, the P-10 prints are a little more contrasty but I'm sure they will satisfy today's digital camera users. The PictBridge direct-print feature is super-handy and the vast majority of new digicams are compatible with it. This means you can take the highly portable P-10 along with you to a party or event and make prints right there without need of a computer. It also elminates the problems of color matching between camera, computer and printer - a major stumbling block for many digital newbies.

If you need to make larger prints then be sure to check out our Olympus P-440 Photo Printer review -- this is also a dye-sub printer but it can make 8 x 10" size prints in just 75 seconds!

US visitors P-L100 Print Pack for Olympus P-10 Printer (100 3.5x5" Sheets with Ribbon)

$ 28.99 at

Olympus P-10 Specifications

Printer Type Printer/heat transfer process full color type
Printing System Sublimation dye transfer printing 4-pass printing
(Yellow/Magenta/Cyan and protective overcoat layer)
Resolution 310 dpi
Gradations 256 levels (8 bits) per color
Approx. 16,770,000 colors
Effective Print Width 3.5" x 5" Paper: 1,084 x 1,494 dots
4" x 6" Paper: 1,200 x 1,750 dots
Paper Feed Automatic paper feed from the Cassette max. 50 papers
Paper exits from top
Ink Ribbon Y+M+C 3 layers and light-resistant overcoat (protective layer)
Output Tray Hold max. 50 papers (both 4" x 6" (approx.) and 3.5" x 5")
3.5" x 5" Conversion Tray Bundled
Print Size 4" x 6" Paper: 3.9" x 5.8" (100mm x 148mm) 3.5" x 5" Paper: 3.5" x 5" (89mm x 127mm) Totally borderless (no micro-cut paper is necessary) Border: Optional
Printing Speed 43.6 sec for 4" x 6" (approx.)
39.9 sec for 3.5" x 5"
(excluding data transmission time from digital camera or PC)
Compatible File Formats Exif 1.0-2.2 compatible (JPEG/TIFF)
DPOF compatible
Display LCD No
PC Interface Windows 98/Me/2000/XP
Power Sources DC 24V (Dedicated AC Adapter)
Rated Power Consumption 82W (during printing)
5.3W (during standby)
Operating Temperature 41° 95°F (5° 35°C)
Operating Humidity 20 80%
Dimensions 7.5"(W) x 7.7"(D) x 6.5"(H) (180mm x 196mm x 166mm)
Weight 5.5 lbs (2.5kg)
Included Accessories AC adapter; AC cable; paper & ribbon (starter sets for 5 prints); Paper tray set; CD-ROM (w/o CAMEDIA Master); Instruction manual book; Warranty card; Photo printer registration card (depending on destination)

(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

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