Olympus Camedia P-200

(02/23/2001) – Digital cameras make sharing and transporting photos easy, and printers make them tangible. Olympus Optical Co. Ltd.’s estimated CDN$675 Camedia P-200 dye-sublimation snapshot printer lets you print your photos easily and quickly.

The P-200, like other dye-sublimation printers, heats dye on a ribbon and diffuses it as a gas onto treated paper. Using a multipass system that lays three colors and a protective coating onto the page, dye-subs create smooth, realistic output that looks better than that from most ink-jet printers.

At 4.8 inches wide by 2 inches high by 6 inches deep, the P-200 weighs a little less than 2 pounds and prints at a maximum size of 4 by 3 inches. The cost per page is about 80 cents.

This Olympus prints only from SmartMedia or CompactFlash cards, but you can purchase a USB or parallel connection kit separately for printing from your PC. (The USB kit costs $82.50; the parallel kit runs $75.00.) The P200 includes a power cord, AC adapter, and rechargeable batteries, so you can use the printer even if you’re not near an outlet. Olympus also sells a rechargeable battery pack for $75.00.

Simple Setup, Easy Printing

After only a few setup steps, you’ll be printing your first photos. Just plug in the power cord, attach the paper tray, insert a storage card, and hit Print. According to Olympus, the P200 can print files in DCF, JPEG, and TIFF file formats. We had no problem printing JPEG images taken with our digital camera.

The P-200 offers a few different output options. Using its LCD and control buttons, you can print one photo, an index of up to 30 images on one page, or up to 16 panes of the same photo on one page, as well as specify how many copies of a photo you’d like to print.

For printing a series of photos, we liked using the printer’s DPOF (Digital Print Order Format). This feature lets you encode the order of photos on the memory card in your camera (if it supports this feature), then send the photos to the printer. Simply preselect the photos you want to print from your camera and specify the order in which you want to print them, then put the card into the printer and select the DPOF mode, which will print the images in order.

Output Outcomes

We were impressed with the P-200’s photo quality, which showed rich, realistic color and strong detail. You can adjust the sharpness of a photo via the printer’s control panel to normal, soft, or fine, and though I saw little difference when printing the same image in the three settings, they might sharpen a blurry image.

Although we didn’t formally test speed, we informally clocked the P-200 at a couple of minutes per print, which is about average for the four-pass dye-sublimation snapshot-sized printers we’ve reviewed.

At $675, the P-200 is at the expensive end of the range for a device that prints only from memory cards (other photo printers we’ve tested run from $150to $675), but we like its small footprint, easy setup, and strong print quality.

Prices listed are in Cdn currency.

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