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Kodak Professional's 8500 Digital Photo Printer. Courtesy of Eastman Kodak Co. with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Eastman Kodak prepares low-cost dye-sub!
(Sunday, May 5, 2002 - 01:43 EDT)

At $1,095 list, the Kodak Professional 8500 Digital Photo Printer could offer competition for Olympus' popular P-400 dye sublimation printer...

Eastman Kodak Co. will soon begin shipping a new dye-sublimation printer, an anonymous source tells us. The Kodak Professional 8500 Digital Photo Printer looks to be aimed squarely at Olympus' Camedia P-400 printer, with very similar specifications and likely a cost that won't be too far off either, since list pricing is generally somewhat higher than street pricing. In fact, on paper it looks like Kodak's printer may have a slight edge in some areas:

  • Where the Olympus printer offers only glossy prints, a maximum print area of 7.64 x 10", and a maximum paper size of 8.25 x 11.7", the Kodak 8500 will offer both matte and glossy prints on paper up to 8.5 x 12" with a maximum print area of a full 8" x 10".
  • The Olympus P-400 is rated at 90 seconds per print; Kodak is rating the 8500 printer at "less than 75 seconds".
  • Adobe PhotoShop Elements is bundled with the Kodak printer; Olympus bundles only the printer driver software.

The P400 does seem to have one possible advantage if you're tight on desk-space, though - Kodak's printer sits horizontally with a footprint of 17" x 28.5" x 10.75" / 433 mm x 720 mm x 272 mm (W x D x H), whilst Olympus' printer stands vertically with dimensions of 16.8" x 10.8" x 12.4" / 427mm x 275mm x 315mm (W x D x H) excluding the paper tray. Both printers are very closel weight-wise, weighing about 12kg (26lbs for the Olympus, 27lbs for the Kodak). They're closely matched in other areas too, offering laminate-overcoated prints to protect from water and fingerprints, print resolutions of 314 dpi, 50-sheet paper capacity and a choice of both IEEE 1284 parallel and USB 1.1 interfaces. Both printers offer compatibility with Windows 98, ME, NT 4.0 and 2000, as well as Macintosh OS 9.X. Olympus also support MacOS 8.6 and Windows 95, whilst Kodak supports Windows XP - which Olympus has announced plans to support for the P-400, but has not yet released the drivers.

Kodak will offer a one-year warranty on the 8500, with next business day advanced unit replacement, as well as two- and three-year extended warranties. (These extended warranties will list for $159 and $300 respectively). The Kodak Professional 8500 Digital Photo Printer will begin shipping the week of May 20th, 2002, and the printer will be advertised in upcoming issues of Rangefinder, Studio Photography & Design, and Professional Photographer. Kodak rates the list cost per print from the 8500 at $1.80, about the same as what we estimated for the P-400 in our review. List prices for accessories are as follows:

  • Paper Tray: $79
  • Ribbon Carrier: $19
  • EKTATHERM 8500 Paper / 8.5 x 11 Inches (two 50-sheet packs/box): $63
  • EKTATHERM 8500 Paper / 8.5 x 12 Inches (two 50-sheet packs/box): $68
  • EKTATHERM XTRALIFE 8500 Glossy Ribbon / CMYX (two 50-print ribbons): $112
  • EKTATHERM XTRALIFE 8500 Matte Ribbon / CMYX (two 50-print ribbons): $112
Kodak Professional's 8500 Digital Photo Printer. Courtesy of Eastman Kodak Co. with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.

Original Source Press Release:

New Portable Kodak Professional 8500 Digital Photo Printer Delivers Professional Photo-Quality Output Quickly and On Demand

Desktop Thermal Printer Offers Superior Productivity vs. Inkjet at Competitive Price

LAS VEGAS, March 11 -- Kodak Professional, a division of Eastman Kodak Company, today introduced the 8500 Digital Photo Printer, setting high standards for speed and image quality in a sheet-fed printer in the affordable $1,000 price range.

This photo-quality printer produces pictures at a quick 75 seconds per 8x10-inch image a speed superior to other thermal-based and inkjet printers at this price. Kodak Professional's new printer is designed to appeal to independent portrait studios as a faster, photo-quality alternative for photo proofs or finished prints.

"An affordable, photo-quality printer like the Kodak Professional 8500 Digital Photo Printer gives professional photographers new opportunities to sell more prints, deliver proofs faster and build their businesses," said Mike Grabel, Worldwide Director, Desktop Output Products, Kodak Professional. "This compact, portable printer can go on the road, on site and on the desktop, and opens up a wealth of entrepreneurial opportunities for any photographer."

The 8500 printer provides faster turnaround as well as a competitive cost per print, and its full-frame buffer (24 MB RAM) provides high print productivity. It prints all standard photo sizes up to a full 8x10 inches. Media (paper and ribbon) costs are a low $1.80 for an 8x10-inch print.

Designed to be portable, the 8500 printer is an ideal solution for on-site photographers who need to produce professional-quality images immediately. The lightweight printer is based on dry, thermal technology that requires no special electrical, plumbing or cooling support.

It plugs easily into existing workflows and is easy to operate and maintain. With continuous tone output at 314 dpi, and the ability to produce both matte and gloss finishes, the 8500 printer delivers photo-quality output virtually anywhere. It uses Kodak Professional Ektatherm ribbon and paper, and its enclosed paper path allows for higher reliability and fewer remakes.

The printer is designed as an open-architecture device that can be used with virtually any application and supported by virtually any operating system, including Windows 98/ME, NT 4.0, 2000 and XP systems, as well as Apple 9.X systems. It connects via either a USB or parallel interface, and comes with a power cable, paper tray, dust covers, a ribbon carrier, print drivers, user documentation, calibration utility, and a CD copy of Adobe Elements (a $99 value).

The printer part of the Kodak Professional family of quality thermal printers that includes the high-speed ML 500 print system and the venerable 8660 printer comes with a limited parts and labor warranty good for one year or 2,000 prints whichever comes first. An Advance Unit Replacement policy means a "down" or defective printer will be replaced in one business day.

The Kodak Professional 8500 Digital Photo Printer carries a suggested U.S. list price of $1,095. It will be available in the second quarter through the Kodak Professional web site or from authorized dealers of Kodak Professional products.

Kodak Professional is introducing the Kodak Professional 8500 Digital Photo Printer today at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) trade show, March 11-13 in Las Vegas (booth #911).

For information about Kodak Professional's digital printing systems, customers may call: 1-800-235-6325, or visit our web site at: www.kodak.com/go/professional.

Eastman Kodak Company and infoimaging
Kodak is the leader in helping people take, share, enhance, preserve, print and enjoy pictures for memories, for information, for entertainment. The company is a major participant in "infoimaging" a $225 billion industry composed of devices (digital cameras, printers and PDAs), infrastructure (online networks and delivery systems for images) and services and media (software, film and paper enabling people to access, analyze and print images). Kodak harnesses its technology, market reach and a host of industry partnerships to provide innovative products and services for customers who need the information-rich content that images contain.

Kodak Professional and Ektatherm are trademarks of Eastman Kodak Company.

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