We recently purchased the Sinfonia (Shinko) CHC-S2145 printer and due to the lack of reviews around the internet thought we would write up a short review. We initially choose the printer due to its high media capacity and the output speed, as we didn't want to be forever loading media or have people waiting to collect their photos.
For those who are unsure, a dye-sub printer uses heat to transfer dye from an ink ribbon onto the paper. They are popular among the photographic community due to their speed and also the fact it is printing continuous colour as oppose to individual dots like ink jet printers.
The first thing we noticed when opening the printer carton was the quality of construction of the unit, which is what you would expect from a unit manufactured in Japan. It is fairly heavy, weighing in at 20kg without the paper roll and ink ribbon, however the strategically placed handles on either side of the unit make it easy to manoeuvre. The unit has overall dimensions (in mm) of 296 width x 342 height x 416 depth.
The printer features a front loading design for easy loading of the paper roll, ink ribbon and completing basic maintenance tasks. Setting up the printer with the consumables is a breeze thanks to the colour coordinated loading markers.
The printer accepts 6×4″ to 6×9″ media and has the ability to cut 2×6″ strips (from the 4×6″ media kit) which is the setting that we use for our photo booth. A standard 6×4″ paper and ribbon kit has a capacity of 700 copies and can print each 6×4″ photo in as little as 7 seconds. The photo leaves the printer horizontally at quite a pace so it can easily be mounted inside of a box (such as a photo booth) to conceal the printer with a simple rectangle cut-out to allow the print to exit.
The advantage of using a dye sub printer is that it runs at a fixed cost per print regardless of the individual photos characteristics. This allows greater control over profit margins.
Although the print results are not those of a professional photography lab you really can't go wrong using it as a printer for portable event photography and photo booths etc.
We have used the Sinfonia for a total of 3 events now, each time the unit runs smoothly with flawless results. With a capacity of 700 prints per roll we never have to worry about the media running out whilst at an event.
Overall the Sinfonia CHC-S2145 is an excellent choice for mobile and event photography given its professional results, fast print time and high media capacity.