Steve's Digicams


Kodak

Easyshare Photo Printer 500


Review posted 10/25/2005


Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 500

The Kodak Easyshare Photo Printer 500 brings the benefits of real Kodak pictures at home to virtually all digital camera and camera phone owners — with or without a computer. People who use CANON, SONY, OLYMPUS, NIKON, HP and other camera brands can experience the same great quality that Kodak Easyshare camera owners have enjoyed for the past two years.

With the Photo Printer 500, people can view and edit their pictures on a large, bright, 3.5-inch LCD screen — the world’s largest on a snapshot photo printer. The LCD screen can be closed, making it more convenient to move around the home or take on trips, as well as protecting it from dust.


Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 500

The Photo Printer 500 makes 4×6-inch prints directly from virtually any digital media in about 60 seconds, including most popular memory cards (SD, MMC, CF, xD, Memory Stick), USB flash memory devices, PictBridge enabled digital cameras, mobile devices with Bluetooth wireless technology, and Wi-Fi enabled computers (optional KODAK Wi-Fi card is required).

Pictures are enhanced with Kodak PerfectTouch Technology, automatically delivering better, brighter pictures without the use of complex menu commands. Red-eye reduction is also available at the touch of a button. Your prints will last for a lifetime thanks to the Xtralife Lamination, which also makes them waterproof and stain-resistant.


Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 500

This is a dye transfer printer, not an inkjet. Never change another messy, leaking ink cartridge, this is a completely dry process. The printing is accomplished by a four-pass process, one for each color (cyan, yellow and magenta) and the forth pass applies the XtraLife protective overcoat.

A thermal printhead uses heat to transfer ink dyes from a mylar sheet and fuses them in the paper. This is a subtractive color process, the color dyes are transparent and can be placed on top of each other to create up to 16 million colors and produces a picture the equal of conventional photo prints.



PictBridge Direct Printing

Kodak EASYSHARE-ONE

Direct printing from any PictBridge compatible camera is simple. Just connect the camera to the side-mounted USB port using the camera's download cable. Most cameras automatically go into PictBridge print mode when the cable is plugged in - if not, then switch to Playback mode manually. Select the picture on the camera's LCD and press the PRINT button. Sixty seconds later you have a photo lab-quality print that's dry to the touch.

Shown here connected to a Kodak Easyshare V550 camera.


Kodak EASYSHARE-ONE

You can also use the side-mounted USB port to transfer pictures from a USB Flash Drive device to the host computer.



Printing from Flash Cards

Kodak EASYSHARE-ONE

Printing from flash memory cards is easy. Plug your card into one of the front-mounted slots, view the pictures on the LCD and press the print button. If you have previously selected images to print in your camera using the DPOF feature, the printer recognizes this and gives you the option to print the tagged pictures first.

The left slot accomodates CompactFlash cards (Type I only, no Microdrives), the middle slot handles SD, MMC, Memory Stick and xD-Picture Cards. The far right slot is a SDIO (input/output) type for use with the Kodak Wi-Fi card.



Kodak EASYSHARE-ONE

The large, flip-up, 3.5-inch color LCD screen makes viewing and editing your photos a snap. You can zoom and crop the pictures to get them just the way you want them before printing. The LCD closes with the face inward when not in use to protect the screen and make the printer more compact for storage and transportation.



Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 500

The controls: Menu button calls up the onscreen menu system where you select your printing settings, wireless settings, editing options, menu language and etc. The Rotate buttons lets you rotate portrait mode images for proper display on the LCD. The Slideshow button begins automated playback on the LCD. The Crop button lets you easily crop the frame for subject content or to fit a 4:3 aspect ratio image into the 3:2 format used by 4×6-inch prints.

The Cancel button stops the print. Press the Bluetooth button to enable/disable the internal radio receiver. You select pictures and navigate the menus by pressing Right or Left on the 4-way controller just like your digital camera and print the picture displayed on the LCD by pressing the center button. Red Eye Reduction is used when printing without a computer, press it to automatically remove red-eye in your pictures. The Transfer button works with the Kodak EasyShare Software when connected to a computer to automate downloads from your flash cards.

The LEDs warn if the paper is out and tell you when it is time to replace the ribbon cartridge.



Wireless Operation

Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 500

The Kodak Photo Printer 500 is ready "out of the box" to communicate with Bluetooth equipped camera phones, laptops and PDAs.


Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 500

It also works wirelessly with standard 802.11b/g Wi-Fi devices when used with the optional Kodak Wi-Fi card.



Print from Computer

And let's not forget that the Kodak Photo Printer 500 can be used like any other personal dye sub printer when connected with its USB cable. Using Kodak's Easyshare Software makes it a snap to print your pictures on this printer. Compatible with computers with builtin USB port and operating with Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000 SP1 or XP and Macintosh OS X 10.2.8 or greater.

When the printer is connected to your computer it also functions as a card reader. You can transfer images and movies from either card slot to your computer, there's even a dedicated Transfer button that launches the Easyshare Software to do it.



Print Sizes

Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 500

The Photo Printer 500 can print 4 different sizes:

  • Full photo 4×6"
  • 3×4" credit card size with borders
  • Multiple 2×3" wallets
  • 1.3×2" mini photos

You can also choose from four different color modes: natural, enhanced (vivid), black and white or sepia toned.

To make "perfect" 4×6-inch borderless prints you need to use your camera's (3:2) quality mode. This 3:2 aspect ratio yields an image that fits perfectly on the 4×6- inch size paper with no cropping. Most cameras create a 4:3 aspect ratio image which printed at 4×6" requires cropping some of the top and bottom of your image. For this reason Kodak offers the smaller 3×4-inch print size.



Kodak 4×6" Print Packs

Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 500

The PH-40 print packs contain the ribbon cartridge and two packs of printing paper with 20 sheets in each pack. The ribbon is good for all 40 prints, separating the paper into two packages helps keep it fresher. The street price is $24.99 so the "per print" cost is rather high at $0.62 each.

The PH-80 print pack for $39.99 will make 80 prints ($0.50 per print). For the greatest value buy the PH-160 print pack, it's $46.99 and makes 160 prints which lowers the cost down to an economical $0.29 each.





Steve's Conclusion

The Kodak Easyshare Photo Printer 500 was made for users of digital cameras other than Kodak models, this isn't a Printer Dock, it's strictly a photo printer. If you have an Easyshare camera then you'll want to get the Printer Dock Series 3, it also makes 4×6-inch prints -and- it charges your camera's battery when docked and makes transfers simple.

The printer is very compact and lightweight and its big 3.5-inch color screen makes viewing and editing a pleasure. It's a perfect match for anyone that wants a home printer capable of making photo lab-quality "jumbo" size prints. Dye sub printers use a dry ribbon, no messy inks to fool with and you always know exactly how many prints are remaining. This printer takes those features and adds Kodak's PerfectTouch Technology to automatically improve the color and brightness and you have red-eye removal at the touch of a button.


Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 500

The unretouched digicam image



Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 500

After pressing the Red Eye Reduction button



I had no problems using the printer with my Sony VAIO laptop with its builtin Bluetooth wireless connectivity and the Kodak Easyshare Software or connected directly with the USB cable. The jury is still out as to whether the Wi-Fi capabilities are all that useful or not. It's only useable within a hundred feet or so and it's just as easy to remove the card or plug in a cable to make prints. Maybe in the future when all digicams have Wi-Fi builtin as a standard feature, right now it's really nothing more than a gimmick that will cost you another $100 to use. And this comes from a self-confessed "gadget freak" with a wireless router and laptop, a cellphone and a van with Onstar.

Printing at home is handy but it comes at a cost, you have to buy the printer and then the consumables. With many places like WalMart and others making 4×6-inch prints for twenty cents or less you need to decide if the convenience is worth the price. Buying the Kodak PH-160 Print Pack for $46.99 gets the per print cost down to $0.29 with this printer. Many of the inkjet photo printers have much higher per print costs and inkjet prints are nowhere near as durable or fade-resistant.

The Kodak Easyshare Photo Printer 500 is extremely easy to use, produces brilliant color photos that rival conventionally processed prints both in quality and longevity. If you have a PictBridge compatible digicam you might want to consider the soon to be available Kodak Easyshare Photo Printer 300, it will lack the color LCD (which isn't needed for PictBridge mode) and will be less expensive.



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Want a second opinion?

Imaging-Resource's Kodak 500 review






Photo Printer 500 Specifications

Print sizes One 4 × 6 in. (10 × 15 cm)
Two 3 × 4 in. (7.5 × 10 cm) with borders
Four 2 × 3 in. (5 × 7.5 cm)
Nine 1.3 × 2 in. (3.3 × 5 cm)
Media size 4 × 7 in. (10 × 18 cm), including two 0.6 in. (1.5 cm) perforated sections (one on each end)
Print technology continuous-tone thermal dye transfer
Print speed Approximately 75 seconds for first 4 x 6 in. (10.2 x 15.2 cm) print, then 60 seconds for subsequent prints.

NOTE: Printer may slow down when thermal head needs to cool. Print speed is dependent on picture size, number of continuous prints, and environmental conditions.

Color modes natural, enhanced, black and white, sepia,
Other specifications
Print resolution 300 × 300 ppi continuous tone thermal dye transfer
File formats JPEG
LCD 3.5 in. (8.9 cm) diagonal adjustable color image display
Tray capacity tray 25, output 25
Power 24V AC adapter (100-240 VAC 50/60 Hz)
Weight 44.5 oz (1,262 g)
Dimensions
(W × H × D)
13.1 × 3.1 × 7.3 inches
33.4 × 7.8 × 16.6 cm
Wireless compatibility built-in BLUETOOTH® wireless technology (OPP and FTP)
Wi-Fi ready (optional KODAK Wi-Fi® Card required)
Standalone functionality
Reads CompactFlash Cards, SD, MMC, xD-Picture Cards, Memory Stick, USB flash drives, camera and cell phone cameras or devices
PictBridge compatible yes
Editing picture size, zoom, crop, red-eye reduction




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