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.
Any size CompactFlash or SmartMedia flash memory card may be inserted into the
card slots on the top of the printer.
You then instruct the printer to print an index sheet of the images on the
memory card using the control panel.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 ConclusionThe 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 ...
Return To Our
Note: All photographs and page content
Copyright © 1999 Steve's Digicam Online, Inc.