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Olympus P-11

Review posted 2/6/2006

Olympus P-11 Photo Printer

The compact, silver and black, cube-shaped Olympus P-11 Digital Photo Printer has a small 7.3" x 7.1" 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-11 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 35 seconds - making it the fastest dye-sub printer on the market today. And unlike other dye-sub printers, there's no tabs to tear off the prints.

Prints from the P-11 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-11 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.

Compatible with Windows 2000/XP and Macintosh OS X (10.2 and above) computers.

Olympus P-11 Features:

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

  • Fast printing, less than 35 seconds

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

  • Compact 7.3 x 7.1 inch footprint, fits anywhere

  • Direct Print from any PictBridge-compatible digital camera

  • USB connectivity with Windows and Macintosh OS X computers

Olympus P-11 Photo Printer

Thanks to its dye sublimation printing system the P-11 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-11 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-11 Photo Printer

When you want to print 3.5 x 5" size prints just insert the paper adapter in the cassette.

Olympus P-11 Photo Printer

Compatible with Windows 2000/XP and Macintosh OS X computers, the P-11 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-11 very lightweight (just 5.1 lbs) so it's easy to take with you.

Olympus P-11 Photo Printer

The front-mounted USB port is for direct connect printing from any PictBridge compatible digital camera. Shown here is the Olympus Stylus 800 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-11 Photo Printer

These are the screens shown during a typical PictBridge printing session. You can print a single photo, selected photos or all photos in the camera, quickly and easily.

Olympus P-11 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-11 is the smallest and THE FASTEST personal dye-sub photo printer that we've reviewed to date. Its predecessor the P-10 was quite fast but the P-11 is even faster!  It takes up less space than even the smallest HiTi 4x6" printer. And because it uses an external power supply, the printer itself weighs only 5.1 pounds. Like the P-10 it doesn't have anything sticking out of the printer. The paper tray is internal, 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 much noise even though there's a lot of motorized paper feeding going on inside 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-11 sells for ~$149 and the Print Packs come in 40- and 100-sheet sizes. If you buy the 100-count Print Packs ($30-35 online) then it costs ~ $.33 per 4x6" print. The 40-count cost is considerably higher at ~ $.50 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 comes in two separately wrapped packages of 50 sheets each to help keep it fresh.

The P-11 is VERY FAST with an average printing time of just 33 seconds (not counting data transmission time.) This makes it the fastest dye sub printer that we've reviewed yet! Most other 4x6" dye sub printers take anywhere from 60 to 90 seconds per print. Another nice feature is that the prints do not come out of the printer with those pesky tear-off tabs on both ends, they're 100% borderless and ready to be shared.

The P-11'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-11 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-11 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.

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Want a second opinion?

PrinterSpot's P11 review

Olympus P-11 Specifications

Print Technology Dye-sublimation
Resolution 310 dpi
Colors Over 16,770,000 colors
Color Correction Expanded 3-D control
Print Quality Superior color-accuracy and skin tones
No bleeding, scratching, or jitters
Low operating noise
Print Speed 33 sec. or less 4 x 6; 30 sec. or less for 3.5 x 5 (excluding data transmission time)
Paper Size Post Card (PC) size: 148mm x 100mm (approx. 4 x 6)
L size: 127mm x 89mm (approx. 3.5 x 5)
Maximum Print Area 1) When not edged (borderless) printing is selected:
    · 3.5" x 5" Paper: 130.4mm x 93.7mm (1591 x 1144 dots)
    · 4" x 6" Paper: 151.4mm x 104.9mm (1848 x 1280 dots)

2) When edged (bordered) printing is selected:
    · 3.5" x 5" Paper: 104.9mm x 78.7mm (1280 x 960 dots)
    · 4" x 6" Paper: 120.3mm x 90.2mm (1468 x 1101 dots)

Paper Feed/Exit Feed: Self-contained paper tray
Exit: Stacker on top of printer
Paper Tray Capacity: 50 sheets
L size adapter (included) necessary for 3.5 x 5
Ribbon Cartridge Y,M,C,OP
PC size: 100 or 40 prints
L size: 100 or 40 prints
P-10 Series Print Packs P-P100, P-P40, P-L100, P-L40
Acceptable Image File Format Exif1.0 Exif2.2 (JPEG/TIFF complied), DPOF
Switches Power switch
I/O Front panel: PictBridge connector (USB A type)
Side (Left): PC connector for USB 1.1 (B type), DC IN terminal
Printer Driver Windows 2000/XP, MAC OS 10.2 or higher (via download)
Print Mode The following options are available through the PictBridge: Print single image, Print all, Index print, Multi-copies, Select with or without borders, Print dates
*Depends on the application in case of printing from the PC
Power Supply AC adapter (24V, 2.5A)
AC100 240V, 50/60Hz, 1.5A max.
Dimensions 7.3 (W) x 7.1 (D) x 6.2 (H)
Weight 5.1 lbs.

(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

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