Kodak Professional 8500

The Kodak Professional 8500 Digital Photo Printer is an affordable 8 x 10-inch, color printer that's perfect for advanced amateurs right up to professional users and mini-labs. Priced at $999, the Kodak 8500 is the least expensive of Kodak's professional grade printers and within the budget of us "normal" folks. The Kodak 8500 produces consistent results using dry imaging technology so there's no worries of clogged heads or spilled ink. The Kodak 8500 delivers true 8 x 10-inch printed size photos in gloss or matte finish and thanks to the protective laminate overcoat, your pictures are water resistant and highly durable. The Kodak 8500 printer is compatible with Windows PC and Macintosh computers. Not including the spooling time, the Kodak 8500 produces a dry to the touch photographic print in about 75 seconds. The printer uses thermal dye diffusion to achieve 314 dpi continuous tone prints with the look and feel of real photographs. And it does this quite economically with a per print cost of less than two dollars.

Setup is simple: Press the big button to open the top, insert the ink ribbon cartridge, close top, load paper in the tray, insert paper tray into front of printer, attach front and rear dust covers, connect power cord, plug in the USB cable to the computer, load software and away you go!

Printers controls are few and simple. Not shown here is the front-mounted Power button. Indicators on top for Power, Error, Media (paper in tray) and which I/O port is selected (parallel or USB.) The Online, Print and Interface buttons. The large button on the right opens the top for changing ribbons or cleaning the print head assembly.

The Kodak 8500 has both USB 1.1 and IEEE 1284 parallel interface connectors. Most users will probably use the USB port on their PC or Mac computer. As is the case with most printers being sold today, the 8500 does NOT come with a connecting cable.

You must use the Kodak paper and ribbons with this printer. There are three sizes of Kodak Professional Ektatherm paper: 8.5 x 11", 8.5 x 12" and A4. The finished prints have a one-inch top and bottom border and a one-quarter inch border on both right and left sides. The maximum print size with 8.5 x 11" paper is 8 x 9" whereas the 8.5 x 12" and A4 paper yields perfect 8 x 10" prints. The paper comes in 100 print packs with two 50-sheet packages. The paper tray holds a maximum of 50 sheets. The ribbon cartridges come in Matte and Glossy, your choice. The same paper is used with either ribbon, the 4th pass of the printing system applies the "Xtralife" glossy or matte laminate overcoat finish. Each ribbon cartridge is good for 50 prints and comes boxed with two ribbons making it a 100 print pack. The 8.5 x 12" paper is about $68 per 100 sheets and the ribbon packs are about $120 so your approximate "per print" cost is around $1.88 per 8 x 10" - this is just the consumable cost without figuring in the cost of the printer itself.

Driver software is supplied for WINDOWS 98, ME, WINDOWS NT 4.0, 2000, and WINDOWS XP and MACINTOSH OS 9.X. Shown here are the Windows XP screens: If you've used a modern inkjet photo printer like an Epson then I am sure that you've been overwhelmed by the driver software choices. The Kodak 8500 like most dye-sub printers has a relatively simple set of driver options. If you use the same ribbon type then you probably won't even need to go into the driver. The first page of driver options lets you specify the paper size, ribbon type and whether or not to apply the Xtralife coating. Beats me why anyone would choose not to apply the Xtralife coating, this is your matte or glossy finish but it is also the UV resistant coating that makes the print last like a real photograph. Other options are for paper orientation, rotation and mirroring, number of copies and scaling percentage. The image sharpness is settable for High, Normal or Off and I find the prints look the best with it set on "High." The Enhancement option is used only if you notice a registration problem between the color passes, it is normally "off."

The second page of driver settings let you "fine tune" the color, gamma, contrast and brightness. For many users these can all be left at the default "0" settings. Adobe Photoshop Elements, the "junior" version of the famous Adobe Photoshop program. Allows for quick corrections to creative editing with digital camera, scanner or any kind of digital images.