Looking for a small printer for a portable photo booth
December 6, 2013 1:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm putting together a portable photo booth and would like recommendations on a fast, reliable, cheap-to-run, portable printer that will do photo strips.

Hey all. I'm helping a friend put together a portable photo booth as part of a (very) small side business that we're starting up together. We've got most of the design details worked out, but haven't been able to settle on a printer yet and I'm hoping that the hivemind can help me pick one out.

Here's what we're looking for in a printer, more or less, in rough descending order of priority. All of these attributes are fairly important, but I've tried to put the most critical ones at the top.
  • Quality photographic prints on approximately 2"x7" photo strips (mandatory)
  • Trouble-free, reliable, and durable
  • Fast print speeds
  • Low per-print cost (third-party ink is OK, if quality third-party inks are available)
  • Small size and light weight
  • Low up-front cost (more than $200 would be hard to justify)
Do any of you know of or have any experience with printers that you think would fit the bill? Right now the one that looks most attractive to me is the Canon PIXMA iP100 Mobile Photo Printer, but I'm by no means settled on that particular machine. (For one thing, I'm not 100% sure that it will print on strip paper, though we can always return it if it doesn't do what we want. Also, its print speeds are not terribly fast.)

I've worked photo booths before that use the Canon PIXMA iP4700 (which is obsolete now though Canon still makes very similar models) and they're OK but a bit bulky and balky and fragile, and it would be nice if they were even faster.

Anyway, I'd love to hear what you recommend; thanks in advance for your advice. Oh, and also, if there's a printer out there that you would specifically recommend avoiding, I'd be glad to hear about that too!
posted by Scientist to Technology (1 answer total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm guessing the "low cost" requirement is why this has zero answers. The only way to make inkjets truly low-cost is to convert them to CISS, which then makes them hazardous to upholstery and generally inadvisable to travel with. (And anyway, such conversion kits are generally not made for smaller/portable printers in the first place.)

In general, the smaller printers are always gonna have smaller cartridges and thus higher cost per print. I'd go with a desktop unit if possible.

As for paper...

For photobooth stuff in the past, a friend of mine bought a rotary paper cutter and put a perforating blade in it. He pre-perforated a whole stack of 4-by-6 paper, and set the software to print two strips side-by-side. After printing, just snap it apart and send the guests away with a strip to keep and a strip to share! The printer fed the perforated sheets just fine, and the apparent print speed was plenty fast because it was doing both strips at once.
posted by Myself at 8:27 PM on December 8, 2013

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