Photo Printing Project (P3)

This project builds upon our shared experiences from the GIMP Photo Editing Course (P1) and the Cameras 4 Communication Course (P2).

Photo Printer Project Summary

Overview

This project is based around a Canon Selphy ES40 photo printer. This is a type of printer called a Dye Sublimation printer, that is capable of printing very high quality photos, the same quality as you would get from a photo-printing company. Dadamac will make this printer available in the Knowledge Resource Centre, with one or more people there to supervise printing.

The Canon Selphy ES40 Specification Sheet for the printer can be found here :-

http://www.canon.co.uk/For_Home/Product_Finder/Printers/Direct_Photo/SELPHY_ES40/index.aspx?specs=1

and the Canon Selphy ES40 User Guide can be found here :-

http://software.canon-europe.com/software/0035249.asp?model=

How the Printer is used

The printer can be connected by USB Cable to a computer and used like any other printer. However, the printer has a number of Memory Card Slots on the front, so it can be used on its own, without a computer. Someone with a Digital Camera or Camera-Phone can take the memory card out, plug it into a Memory Card Slot on the printer, look through the photos on the printer’s colour LCD display and select one to print. The printer also has some more advanced print facilities, to correct brightness and contrast, sharpness, crop photos to pick out one person’s face for example, add borders, print 2x2 or 3x2 sets of passport-sized photos, etc. The printer uses a combined paper+ink cartridge, so the 2 things don’t run out separately, and it makes monitoring and predicting the average cost-per-print easier than with an inkjet printer.

Aims

The Aims of the project divide into Research and Education :-

Research Aims

1.       Does the printer work at all under Nigerian conditions? (mains power, temperature and humidity).

2.       Does it work reliably? Can the supervisor get the failure rate of prints down to say 10%, so that 90% of prints are successful. This low wastage overhead will keep the average cost per print down.

3.       Market Research - See what level of demand there is for high-quality photos. What types of people want to use the printer? What physical types of photos do they want (single 6 x 4 inch, set of 4 passport photos, etc)? What types (purposes) of photo do they require on a regular basis (ID photos, graduation photos, wedding photos, enlargements of scanned small photos (family, girlfriend, etc).

4.       Researching photo services  in the area – Do people print photos now, before the arrival of the printer, or only ever see them on the camera-phone, etc? How do local people (ordinary people and professional photographers) print photos now? Do they have to travel to a town to print photos, and how long does that take to get photo-prints? Would having same-day printing at the KRC be a real advantage? Would it open up more business opportunities, at Fantsuam Foundation and KRC and/or for the existing professional photographers?

Educational Aims

1.      The actual printing will be done by a staff-member (supervisor) appointed by Dadamac), not the camera/camera-phone owner themselves. This maximizes the chances of successful printing and avoids disputes over recording prints properly, equipment damage, etc. The customer (and their friends) can watch how it’s done, and that way learn about modern print technology. They can also talk to the supervisor and learn about the full range of print facilities on the printer. The supervisor might also tell them that far more photo-manipulation/restoration/etc can be done on a computer, which would act as an easy introduction to the whole subject of using a photo-editor program like GIMP/Photoshop/Paintshop Pro/Google Picasa/etc.

2.       High-quality photos from this printer would be good enough for framing, so there may be scope for other educational projects later, teaching the art of picture framing, or creating postcards or greetings cards, etc.

 

Consumables

5 paper+ink cartridges were provided initially. It is expected that some of these will be used up while the supervisor learns how to install and drive the printer. Near the end of the project, the hope is that we can find paying customers for the printers, to at least break-even and pay for more cartridges, and perhaps even make a little profit.

Timescale

It is envisaged that the P3 project will take 2 or 3 months.