Olympus P-200

The P-200 performs as advertised, it is small, highly portable and chugs out photo quality prints every two to three minutes. Everyone that saw it was quite impressed with its portability and especially the print quality which easily rivals traditional wet-processed prints. I have always been impressed with the print quality from dye sub printers and the P-200 is just like a miniature P-400 printer. Unlike other standalone printers with card slots, the P-200 is very fast. It's not unusual to see one of the other printers sitting there with a busy light flashing for several minutes as it processes the image before it starts to print. The P-200 was working on the 1st pass of a 3-megapixel image in just a few seconds, it's truly amazing. As with other dye sub printers, the P-200 spits out the photo after each pass and then pulls it back in again so it's also entertaining to watch! I did not get a chance to test it out connected directly to a PC but Olympus has two optional PC Connection Kits, the C-P20P for parallel and the C-P20U for USB. The P-200 is very quiet until it has been running for a couple of minutes and then a small builtin cooling fan comes on to keep things from getting too hot. Dye sub printers transfer the color dyes from the ribbon to the paper using heat. And it sure is portable thanks to the biggest NiMH battery pack I've seen since last year's notebook computer. The battery pack slips onto the end of the printer and charges via the printer's AC power supply in about 2.5 hours if fully discharged. Olympus claims 50 prints per charge or it can be run indefinitely when powered by AC. When using the DPOF function the printer automatically "knows" which images you want printed and how many prints of each. There are many DPOF settings that can be attached to images, the P-200 is compatible with date printing, print copies, selection and trimming. If trimming is specified the printing may take longer. You can also manually adjust the Sharpness of images and select the degree of contour correction desired from Normal, Soft or Sharp by pressing the Sharpness button on the control panel.

The price is a little on the high side, the printer retails for $599 and the cost per print is about $1.00.  If you need the portable printing power then I'm sure you can justify the cost. The P-200 can be a powerful field tool for police or insurance investigators or anyone that needs immediate hard copy output from any digital camera with removable media. It will also be of interest to hard core gadget freaks that just love to have another gizmo to show off.