Steve's Digicams

KODAK (Lexmark)

Personal Picture Maker
PM100 InkJet Printer

Kodak PM-100

The Kodak Personal Picture Maker from Lexmark is a 1200 x 1200 dpi thermal inkjet color printer. It handles paper sizes from 4" x 6" up to 8-1/2" x 11" in 16 to 150 pound weight with a 100-sheet tray. The printer has been optimized for Kodak Inkjet Photo Paper and also handles photo and plain papers, transparencies, envelopes, labels, greeting cards, iron-on transfers and banners.

The PM100 can read both CompactFlash and SmartMedia flash memory cards. Prints can be made directly from these flash cards without the use of a computer or it can be attached to a Windows 98, 95, 3.1, 3.11 computer via the parallel port (sorry, no Mac support). Optionally you can connect an Iomega Zip (100MB or 250MB) drive to the printer's parallel port and transfer the image data from the CF or SM flash cards to the ZIP drive.

Kodak PM-100

Any size CompactFlash or SmartMedia flash memory card may be inserted into the card slots on the top of the printer.

Kodak PM-100

You then instruct the printer to print an index sheet of the images on the memory card using the control panel.

Kodak PM-100

You use the index sheet as a reference and tell the printer which picture numbers you want to print, how many, what size, type of paper and etc.

You do pay a price for convenience of using the PM100 without the computer and that price is time. Printing a 4" x 6" high-quality photo print took about six minutes from start to finish reading it from the memory card. Printing the same picture using a computer and a graphic program took a little over two minutes.

Kodak PM-100 Kodak PM-100

You also pay a price in image quality. These are 4x enlargements, on the left is the print made direct from the CF card. On the right is the same picture printed from the computer. You can see noticeable "mottling" in the white area on the left print, it is much smoother on the right print.

Kodak PM-100

The PM100 can only hold one ink cartridge at a time in the printer. For most photographic uses you will be using the color cartridge (shown here) but if you wanted to do nothing but text printing it would be wise to use the special black cartridge. To print black with the color cartridge it mixes all the colors together to make black and thus wastes a lot of ink.

Kodak PM-100

On the back of the printer is this cartridge holder to hold the "other" ink cartridge when you swap back and forth between the color and black cartridges.

Kodak PM-100

Here's a 2X magnification of an 8x10" print from a Fine mode 1600 x 1200 pixel image from a Nikon 950. The printer was set at its highest quality setting and using the "approved" Kodak glossy photo inkjet paper. You can see the apparent "banding" which is visible when holding the print at arm's length.

Strangely enough, even though this printer has supposedly been "optimized" for Kodak photo paper I achieved much better results using the Repeat-O-Type Picture Perfect paper that I use in my Epson Photo EX.

Steve's Conclusion

The Kodak Personal Picture Maker is a good multi-purpose color printer that is capable of doing the day to day printing tasks most computer users need plus print the occasional digital camera picture. I can't really give it high marks in the photo printing category because it is relatively slow and the print quality is not equal to its peers. The Epson Stylus Photo 700 will far surpass the PM100 in both speed and quality.

It is handy to be able to just pop a memory card in the printer and make prints without a computer but I don't really see this as a major benefit for what is basically a desktop printer in the first place. Before you can print anything you need to print an index page and even in its highest quality setting the thumbnail pictures in the index are "rough" looking to say the least.

The ability to read CF and SM memory cards and transfer the images to ZIP drives without a computer is kind of unique. I prefer to archive my images on CD-R discs now that the burners are less than $150 and the 650MB blank discs are down to less than a dollar a piece.

The PM100 does deliver on most of its promises as advertised, it justs falls a little short in the image quality category. I think that Kodak/Lexmark made a mistake by not having USB support on this printer, Mac folks can't use it at all except as a standalone device. My advise, pass it by and get an Epson photo printer or one of the new HP PhotoSmart P1100 or P1000 printers instead. Sorry Kodak, better luck next time ...

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