HiTi 630PS Photo Printer

HiTi 630PS Photo Printer


Introduction

With the increase in personal cameras and a large proportion of people now buying them, photo printing has become extremely popular. The printer of choice for most people to print digital photos, is of course a standard inkjet with some photo paper. These give decent results, and can sometimes come close to a professionally developed photograph, but it is costly, slow and not as good quality.

HiTi on the other hand, have a printer based on "Dye Diffusion Thermal Transfer" technology - meaning that the printer will be able to produce continuous tone printing with a full 16.8 Million true colours... perfectly matched for a photo printer.

HiTi630PS_Unit.jpg

630PS Photo Printer


The 630PS photo printer is able to product a borderless 4" x 6" print with results directly comparable to those from a photography lab. The printer requires proprietary paper and film cartridges which are easily available online.

This is the most feature packed printer in the range, and is able to operate entirely without a PC. Compact Flash and Smartmedia ports are included on the front of the printer to cater for mainstream digital cameras using these cards. A hi-res LCD display is built into the controller to navigate the GUI and browse the images straight from the memory card.​

Specifications
  • Prints 4" x 6" Photos
  • 100 seconds printing time
  • 300 x 300 dpi
  • Continuous tone dye sublimation printing
  • Compact Flash and Smartmedia ports
  • DPOF Compatible
  • 1.6" Colour LCD monitor
  • Handheld Controller
  • Dimensions : 218 x 210 x 140 mm
  • Weight : 3800g
  • Software is Windows 98/NT/ME/XP/2000 compatible
At first, the 300 x 300 dpi resolution may not appear to be very high, but this is not comparable to an inkjet resolution and is far superior to any consumer inkjet available. According to HiTi, the comparable resolution is 4800 dpi from an inkjet printer on photo paper!

Included Items
  • 630PS Photo Printer
  • Power Cable
  • USB Cable
  • User Guides
  • Installation CD (including Photo Desiree software)
  • Warranty Card/Information
  • 10 Print starter pack
HiTi bundle the minimum necessary to get going, along with a small sample pack to get started on printing.

Features

The layout of the unit is very simple, yet stylish. Attached to the left of the unit there is the controller (with keypad and LCD), to the right, there are the memory card slots. The paper tray is located at the front of the unit, and the top of this doubles up as the collation area. The rear of the unit comprises of the USB port, controller port, and the power socket... as well as the unusual paper exhaust. This exhaust is used to allow the paper to be passed back, allowing the paper to be printer on several times in one feed (4 passes, one for each colour + coating).

HiTi630PS_Ports.jpg

Rear / Front

The main feature of this particular model is the fact that the 630PS can print directly from a memory card, with no need to connect to a PC. There is a handheld controller attached to the printer for viewing and controlling the images on the memory card. The LCD is surprisingly sharp and allows you to view up to 4 images in thumbnail mode without a problem.

HiTi630PS_Menu.jpg

Controller Menu


The GUI was extremely user friendly, and has a large array of options. From the main menu you can choose "Photo", "ID Photo", "Index Print", "Sticker", "Quick Photo", "DPOF", "Print All", "Setup". These are all straight forward options which are easy to configure.​


HiTi630PS_Edit.jpg

Enhance Option


Basic photo manipulation can be performed when viewing a full image. Most common options which allow simple cropping and colour adjustments exist, and work fairly well for the lack of a PC editing package.​

Installation and Configuration

The printer required proprietary paper and dye film cartridges to start printing, with some similarity to loading a laser printer:

HiTi630PS_Cartridge.jpg

Film Cartridge

The film cartridge needs to be loaded in the front compartment of the printer, it is simple a push and click affair. The paper is just as easy to install, and is simply placed in a removable tray at the front of the unit (facing the correct way!). The cartridge above has been adjusted to show the dye on the film, which is normally protected in the top roller.


HiTi630PS_Compartment.jpg

Loading Compartment


HiTi bundle the "Photo Desiree" software, which is surprisingly good for some basic software. It is a drag and drop interface for adding photos to the queue, and it is able to print in batches. There are some simple effects, such as some cheesy cartoon frames, and more advanced options such as a matte effect.​


HiTi630PS_Software.jpg

Photo Desiree


Performance

The 630PS is no slouch when it comes to printing, and will rattle off print in under 1min 30secs when connected to a PC. If you are using a memory card, the printing time dips to a slightly slower 2mins.

HiTi630PS_Print.jpg

Printing

The printer works on a 4 pass process, one pass for each colour (YMC) and then one final pass for a protective overcoat. Each time a new pass is about to begin, the paper rewinds out the back of the printer to begin the next pass. Watching the image formed one colour at a time is rather fun to watch!

The final image produced is extremely impressive, with excellent colour contrast and no banding, dithering, or dots. The image is on a par if not better than images from other dye sublimation printouts we compared with.​

Conclusion

After searching for the perfect photo printer for a long time, I think I have found it. It is not often I am overwhelmingly impressed by a product, but this is one of those occasions. This printer costs just over half that of similar specification dye sublimation printers, and provides some outstanding results. It is very hard to distinguish between the prints from this printer paired with a good digital camera, and those from a traditional film camera. Even when we printed direct from the camera with no editing, we achieved some excellent results. Photos printed straight from a 1.3MP camera were still of a reasonable quality, although you will need a good 3MP camera taking hi-res shots to make the most of the high print quality.​

There is the initial cost of around £219.95 in the UK. The consumables are equally well priced at around £16.95 for 50 sheets of paper and a cartridge - working out at a very friendly 34p per photo in just under 100 seconds.

HiTi also manufacture a version of the printer with the same specs, just without the controller and memory slots for a very reasonable £129.95.

Author
Ian Cunningham
First release
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