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Which minilab to buy today?


Jvc1986
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I do not think we want a Dyesub lab, as it will force us to buy from Kodak for the paper/color ribbons (or Noritsu with their D701) and they then get to much "power" in my opinion.

With a RA/chemistry based lab there is at least several suppliers for paper and chemicals.

But iknow its alot cheaper to buy, so a very good start-up kit for many shops, but I would think the cost price pr print is higher than for the RA process?

The Kodak Picture Maker prints have a cost of 0,2

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Fuji is concentrating on this new ink system based on the Noristu 701. Looking at the quality this is definitely the way forward. Very cheap to buy, easy to run and scalable - you can easily add more printers to achieve volume. Apparently they have sold hundreds in the US where the Chemist chains are pulling out their wet machines swapping them for these ink printers. Quality is good although unit cost per print is not yet competitive.

Sorry, but would not go down the dye-sub route. Kodak just love those 'lock-ins' as I've heard them called.

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Fuji's machine is the Noritsu. They both use 4 Epson inks, probably all just re-badged. Not sure who is supplying the roll paper but lets face it, others will get into this soon as there will be lots more using this platform entering the market. You are right, material cost still too high but this is the way forward - not dye-sublimation.

I have heard of some ripping out good labs to put these in because of the space they are saving, the converting back to retail. In high cost towns and central London I can understand that the this might be a good option?

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Fuji's official line is that they are still pushing silver halide as this is the most cost effective way of making photos and will be for some time to come. I think they have jumped into inkjet to get a foot in both camps as Noritsu and HP will be vying to 'own' that market.

Interesting thought ' if Snapfish is owned by HP, how come they make all their prints on photographic paper still'?

If I was buying now I'd try Noritsu for a deal as they are trying to move as many traditional labs as they can. Prices will never be better. I guess Fuji will be in the same position. If you don't want to spend too much why not try the Doli? Machine looks simple and no lasers to wear out.

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Long term i think Kodak will go down the inkjet route, they have invested heavily in developing ink technology for the consumer market. So it makes sense to put this R&D into the drylab. Inkjet is better quality than Dyesub, you only have to look at what comes out of your LFP to see the potential of inkjet.

Being modular, Apex owners would be able to adapt their drylab as technologies change.

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I.M.H.O.

Dye sub is fine for corner shops and grocers. If you are a serious 'lab', I firmly believe you need to offer both silver halide and inkjet.

Inkjet may well be the future for the majority of the trade, but at the moment is held back by cost per print. I am sure that this will change, but not for a while.

So where does that leave us? Using a traditional lab to produce upto 12x8 very cost effectively and the inkjet for those proffitable large prints.

If you are going to look at the Dolly range of halide printers, which use an lcd screen for exposure, you may be more impressed with the Fastlab offerings, which use a higher quality lcd exposure engine, without the lens. I have one and have done all the research.

At this state of flux, I certainly wouldn't consider a lazer printer without a cast titanium guarantee from the manufacturer/suplier.

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Thanks for more feedback and insight:)

But we only have 2 suppliers with service and support in Norway as far as I know, and that is Noritsu and Fujifilm.

Due to cost pr unit we will almost certainly go for a "wet" minilab (RA), as InkJet need to be more common so the prices go down on paper and ink.

So which Noritsu or Fujifilm machine would you advice to buy with around 1000 prints/hour?

Our Fujifilm representative is coming to us on Thursday with some prices and i would like to get a opinion before that on what you guys think i the better one.

Fujifilm got the Frontier 340 with 800/h but that is on 15cm paper, so with 10,2cm (for APS and 10x13 digital) i guess its lower, might not be enough,

then we have the Frontier 500, but I really don't like that film scanner, looks simple and does not take 120 film as I need.

The Frontier 550 got 1210/h with 15,2 paper, so I guess around 900-1000/h with 10,2 paper, and that should be good enough, any experiance with this one?

And do anyone know the cost of these machines where you live? Would be fun to do a comparison:)

Maybe Fujiflm got some larger lab's they want to get rid of at a price if we are lucky  :P

From Noritsu I'm waiting on a pricelist, but i guess there model 3202/3302 would be there counterpart of the Frontier 550 with the same prints/hour. Any experiance with these and/or maybe even some prices?

Kodak do not offer anything other than Picture Makers here in Norway, Dolly i have never heard about and neither Fastlab, might be good machines, but I guess they don't sell here i Norway (pretty small marked).

We also now have a Epson 7880 to take care of enlargements, so not really a need for the big sizes from the minilab.

And one more thing, does the Kodak Picture Maker have a connection kit for Frontier labs? Iknow it has for Noritsu?

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Right now, at this exact moment in time, the wet lab solution is stil IMOH the best.. BUT, if I was thinking about buying I would wait till after Photokina, the dry lab options, from the likes of Noritsu and Fuji, are going to blow you away... I hope soon to have more details on minilabhelp.com about what the future may hold  ;)

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Kioskguy is right. If you are looking at buying a wet lab now you are in a good position to deal. I know that Noritsu has a lot of stock worldwide they want to move so it's probably a case of name your price (and warranty). Wet still gives you that price advantage on production but I think the gap will get narrower as they get more inkjet machines in. Dye sub will always stay high but that's the way Kodak like it.

Not sure that companies hang out for Photokina any longer. Now everything is moving so fast they bring new products to market as soon as they have some saleable prints off the end.

You could also consider some late model second hand machines. With the demise of Jessops and others there are quite a few labs on the market you can pick up for next to nothing. Fuji and Noritsu might not tell you this but if you scout around you will find these with dealers. If I was buying I would look at Fuji 570 as this is fast and reliable.

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I recently bought the Nortisu 3502 plus, which is a 1000 p/h machine, its output is fantastic but the new EZ software is still BETA in my mind and is missing many features that we have come to expect from a minilab. I understand there is an updated software coming this summer. The new Noritsu's no longer use AOM's which many on minilab help complain about.

I negotiated a very low price for the Noritsu which is why i did not go to a drylab.

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Thanks again for good feedback.

I'll see what comes out of our meeting with Fujifilm and Noritsu, and see what prices I can get from them.

Drylabs is probarly the future, but if we can get a pretty good and tested wet lab at a nice price (new), I think we will go for that and (or IF we do still exist) have a look at the dry labs next time we need a new lab.

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ALL THE TALK ABOUT THE NEW DRY LABS SEEMS TO REVOLVE AROUND THE PRICE OF THE MEDIA  WHICH I AGREE IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN SILVER HALIDE, BUT YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER THE RUNNING COSTS OF THE DRY MACHINES WHICH IN ELECTRIC USE IS CONSIDERABLY LOWER NOT TO MENTION WASTE COSTS AND THE COST OF THE MACHINE ITSELF I THINK THE ACTUAL PRICE OF A 6X4 PRINT IS PROBEBLY CLOSER THAN YOU THINK

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I agree with pault, you have to look at the total cost, & depending on the volume a dry lab may work out cheaper regardless of the media cost. I really don't like dye-sub, but I would defintely consider an inkjet system. I hear the prints from the Noritsu D701 look pretty good. I think injket prints can rival silver halide prints in terms on quality, so the reasons for sticking with silver halide are fast diminishing.

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I've gotta say that my view on 'inkjet' photolabs is rapidly changing.....

Capital cost is about 1/2.

media costs about double (at present ..... RA paper to increase, inkjet media to fall)

electricity costs about 10% so big savings PLUS NO big heat output = no air conditioning/overheating in summer

service costs less than 1/2

footprint less than 1/2 (can even stack them up high !)

Reduced waste product disposal costs

and no need to change media for glossy/matt (i understand ???)

near instant ready time, and can load into a van and take to an event !

For me the capital cost/depreciation is the big issue, plus unknown life xepectancy - for either ?

I'm sure my next lab will be an inkjet, - but will probably wait until the next generation come out for improved functionality.

OH,

and I'd probably want to nail down a media cost commitment whereby if a new model comes out with CHEAPER media, - then that cost benefit would be passed on to me as an older customer !

P

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