Steve's Digicams

Panasonic PV-PD2100
Photo Printer

Posted 4/22/2000

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

The Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer is a *4-pass, 306dpi dye sublimation printer that accepts input from a flash memory card, a video device or your PC. It prints real photos on 4 x 6" (A6) glossy paper or sticker sheets.

The printer is relatively compact measuring 2-1/2 x 9 x 11" (HWD) and weighs around 2 pounds. The paper carrier holds up to 25 sheets of paper.

* 4-pass printing is only available when using the PV-MPCS25 optional overcoat paper.

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

Inkjet printers squirt water-based inks onto the surface of the paper. A dye sublimation printer uses heat to transfer dyes from a ribbon into the emulsion of the paper. This gives them the same permanence as conventional photos unlike inkjet prints that fade when exposed to the light.

The film ribbon contains the three primary colors; yellow, magenta and cyan.

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

The input ports are on the front. There is a Type II PCMCIA slot that can handle any type of flash memory card (SmartMedia, CompactFlash and Memory Sticks must be in their PCMCIA adapters). For input from video devices there are S-VHS and regular RCA video connectors. There is also an Edit connector compatible with some video editing devices (don't ask me, I don't have a clue.)

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

On the back of the printer are the output ports. Centronics parallel for PCs and a serial port for macintosh computers. The RCA video output is connected to a TV set to view the menus when used without a computer.

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

This is the control panel, using these buttons you navigate the menus and onscreen displays (see below) when connected to a TV set.

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

With the input switch on the top in the "Card" position, this is what you see after inserting a flash card with your pictures on it. If you have a DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatible camera you can enter your print information ahead of time on the card. Simply insert the card and hit the Print button.

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

If you card does not contain DPOF information, you can use the onscreen menus to pick from a myriad of printing options available with the PD2100 Photo Printer.

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

This is an example of the Album-4 printing format. You are prompted at all four locations to select the desired photo and lock it in by pressing the Memory button. Once you have all four photos selected just hit the Print button.

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

You can print 2- or 12-month calendars with two photos on the 2-month or one photo in the center of the 12-month calendar.

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

This is the selection of Illustrations available. When applied they act like a mask with the photo showing through the center part.

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

And there are also decoratives frame effects like square, oval, heart and frost.

Panasonic PV-PD2100 Photo Printer

And finally if you've got the time or patience for it, you can add text but it is a laborious task.  Ever used a Dymo labelmaker ?

Steve's Conclusion

The Panasonic PV-PD2100 is a very capable photo printer. When used with a PC it can produce prints from any Windows application in 2 minutes or less depending on the speed of the PC. When used standalone, the processing time depends on the size of the input images. The higher the resolution, the longer the processing time.

I tested it with everything from small 640 x 480 VGA-size images all the way up to the huge 2048 x 1536 images from the new Nikon 990 -- the PD2100 printed them all without problem.

All of the new digicams have a feature called DPOF that allows you to enter the printing information on the memory card with your pictures. You go through your pictures in PLAY mode and mark the ones you want to print and how many prints of each you want made. Pop the memory card into the PD2100 and press the Print button. It reads in the DPOF info and automatically begins printing only the images that you marked. It couldn't be easier!

I have amazed a lot of people by making prints only moments after taking their picture. The back of the photos are setup just like a postcard and it can be mailed like one too. Everybody that sees these incredible prints say, "Did you print these? They look just like the ones I get from my photo finisher." The prints can be handled as soon as they come out of the printer and last as long as conventional photo prints.

The average cost per print is about $.50 to $.65 depending on where you get the ribbon and paper kits ($25-30). The kits consist of 50 sheets of paper in two seperate, sealed packs and two ribbon cassettes. The smaller pack sizes keep the paper and ribbons fresher for those that don't make that many prints at a time.

If you want to do your own photo printing at home -- this is the way to go.

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