Hi Touch Imaging Intros Wireless Event Printing

Hi Touch Imaging Intros Wireless Event Printing

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Printing technology within the event photography market has enjoyed an interesting evolution over the last several years as dye-sub printers within this category have gotten more compact and more flexible with each new introduction.

The big players in this market over the years have included Mitsubishi, Sony, Kodak, Olympus and Fuji – all of which have provided and continue to provide some exceptional solutions for the mobile photographer of today.

The entire event photography category has undergone somewhat of an evolution itself as more and more amateur photographers and even a few imaging retailers, have taken to the streets with the aforementioned units to grab a piece of this burgeoning market.

Whereas the event photographer in the film era was predominantly male and quite involved in the technology – hence the oft-used nickname Weekend Warrior – this new breed is primarily female and more interested in the emotional connection to the subjects and her sense of creative expression than in the technical details of the camera.  Estimates of the number of these event shooters is now solidly up over 100,000 and growing. Some in the industry are claiming the number has hit the 200,000 mark.

While the space has essentially been dominated by the aforementioned group of manufacturers, there’s a relatively new entry into the category as Hi-Touch Imaging, out of Ontario, Ca., has been quietly coming to market with product for several years now  and two of their most recent entries are making a serious play for share.

Designed as an easily movable roll-type printer and weighing less than 20 lbs, the P510S brings the flexibility and quality needed to do on-site photo finishing at a low cost – the combination so many in this space are truly after.

Print media is available in three sizes (6×4, 7×5, 9×6) allowing a total of four different print sizes to be printed. (6×4, 7×5, 8×6, 9×6). The front loading design of the HiTi P510S printer allows for easy access to the ribbon and paper roll resulting in fairly easy and efficient maintenance procedures – a big key when considering the mobility that so many event shooters desire.  

The P510S also allows the photographer to do some simple image edits using the bright 3.6-inch LCD, bypassing the computer. The image edit options are basic but each one addresses an important need and functions more than adequately.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect Hi-Touch is bringing to the mix is the WiFi option they’ve included with the P510S in the form of their portable Wireless Foto Transmitter (WFT510). This wireless device, that ships with a small carrying case, allows the user to wirelessly send images from any PictBridge compatible digital camera to the P510S photo printer for instant printing without removing the memory card.

By installing WFT PC Kit, bundled with WFT510, users can also transmit image data directly to a computer hard drive, further enhancing the flexibility of this nifty wireless transmission solution.

The process is literally a three-step affair from capture to print. After capturing the photo the photographer then simply flicks a switch button on the WFT510, selects the photo(s), and then instantly transmits the image(s) for printing. While this slowed the print process down just a tad from the 40 seconds or so we were getting printing directly from a media card, the convenience factor when shooting on location more than makes up for the additional time on the back end. You can expect to see a price tag of under $1,200 for 510 as well. The addition of the WFT510 only adds another $275 or so to the purchase.

Hi-Touch also offers their P510K which is more of a portable kiosk solution, a 6-inch roll-type printer that features a bright 10.2-inch tilt-able TFT LCD touch screen and includes multiple media card slots. The P510K also offers a range of printing options including standard-size photos, passport/ID photos, e-frame photos and collage photos. Hi-Touch also tells us the unit offers a bit of a power break as the total power consumption for the device is about 350W, and it runs at less than 40W when the printer is idling.

An interesting market simply continues to evolve and apparently grow rather rapidly and the latest solutions from Hi-Touch certainly seem to addressing this.

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