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Photography/Camera Interfacing with Portable Printer

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Question
Dear Pat

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera
http://www.ebay.com/bhp/portable-printer
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2389136,00.asp
http://www.woosim.com/english/00_main/main.jsp


Requirement
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Photo image/s captured on the digital camera device has to be taken a hard copy immediately on paper roll.

1. Can Digital Camera's interface with portable printers via a USB interface cable suffice the above requirement ?. Print button on the digital camera will allow the selected image/s to print on the portable printers.

2. Are there cameras available which have a inbuilt printing facility ?.

i.e. Without connecting to a portable printer, a outlet mechanism for the camera where photo image hard copy will be available (laser printer technology) through the outlet mechanism for the selected photo image ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Answer
Hello, Prashant,

I will answer your second question first, since it is the easier question. Polaroid makes a camera that produces an "instant" print:

http://www.hammacher.com/Product/83729

However, it is not done through laser printer technology. It has crystals embedded in the paper. This is a different technology.

In order to have a printer with laser capability, you have to have a fairly bulky device. You need four ink cartridges for starters, and they just physically take up room.

Apparently Olympus and Fujifilm also have such cameras. But as one web site says, the quantity of such devices is really thin. That means there isn't much out there.

You gave me a link to a page with a few printers on it. The problem involves a way to get the data from your camera to the printer. These printers are not suitable to take into the field. You'd pretty much have to use them in a studio or on board a vehicle of some kind. The printer has to be big enough to contain the size paper you want to use. The smallest would be one that would print a 4x5" card. That would still be awkward to carry around. There are several ways in which these printers receive data. One is the memory card. This is the same device that records digital pictures in your camera. To use it that way, you'd have to take it out of your camera each time and put it into the printer. That would involve a lot of wear and tear, so I wouldn't recommend it. Then there is the USB stick, which you may be familiar with. That's a little memory device, solid state, that has a USB plug on one end. If the printer will accept this device, it will accept a USB cable. However, the printer has to have the software to process the image in addition to the hardware to print it. The camera would have to have the software to send the image to the printer directly, rather than just storing it on a memory card. In addition, some printers will work if you first download the image to a small computer such as a netbook, but that means carrying both the printer and the netbook.

The Brother PocketJet 6, listed on that page, uses thermal paper. The thermal paper I have seen is NOT PERMANENT and will fade with time. It has a surface coating that is toxic, even if it seems to be plain paper. It uses Bluetooth to receive data. In order to use that with a camera, you'd have to have a camera with Bluetooth sending capability. I am not offhand aware of such a camera. The printer is not intended for use with ordinary DSLR cameras, but with devices like BlackBerry. These devices make poor quality pictures.

I do photography mainly in the field. I have thought about taking my netbook with me, but I have never done it. It's too bulky, even though otherwise it is quite small. But I wouldn't be carrying that plus a printer when I am photographing birds. I wouldn't even have time to use it. And I'd have to store it when it's not in use, and get it out. To make that convenient, I imagine I'd have to have the case strapped to my chest. When I'm out in the field, I want each device to be as handy as possible. I carry a small backpack that I can put lenses and water in, and one or two containers specifically for lenses that are cylindrical and hang from a strap. And that's all I feel like carrying.

In order for such devices to exist, you have to have a market for them. I haven't ever talked to any photographers, other than you, who expressed an interest in such devices, or told me they own one. That doesn't mean such people don't exist. I just haven't talked to them. But in order for these devices to be available, there have to be people who want them.

If you go and read the review of each device listed at the PCMag link, you will know just as much about these as I would. I personally have never had a need for such a device, so I am not in general familiar with them. Beyond that, I don't know what to tell you.

What are you thinking of using these devices for, that you are asking me about? If I know what your purpose is, that might help me answer your questions. But I really think that you are capable of doing research on the internet, and that you'd be more satisfied with the information not going through someone else. Most of the time, doing the research means being able to think up the search terms that will get you results. I used "polaroid printing camera" and "polaroid printing camera competitor". I hope this helps.

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Pat G

Expertise

I can answer questions about the artistic aspects of photography, and tricks for shooting landscape, scenic, macro, and animal photography. I am familiar with Pentax SLR cameras, both film and digital. I have also done work in urban photography and creative photography, and I am familiar with creative uses of filters and lenses. I am familiar with composition and color theory, and know how to make use of light. I can answer questions about things like lightning photography and moon photography. I spend time studying the techniques of the well known photographers. I work exclusively in color. Although I travel anywhere and everywhere in pursuit of landscape and scenic photography, my main area of expertise is the American southwest, and I am familiar with many scenic areas. I also have familiarity with the plants of the Sonoran Desert, having studied not only their appearance but also their uses, including ethnobotany. See my educational credentials for other art that I do.

Experience

I have spent the last ten years as a semi-professional photographer, selling my work on the internet, and having won international honors. The gallery of my most recent work, where I usually post frequently is http://patgoltz.deviantart.com/ I will take questions about how I did various photographs.

Education/Credentials
The first prize I won for my art was when I was in third grade. I have a bachelor's degree in art from Ohio Dominican University, where I learned mainly ceramics and glaze calculation. I have also done various kinds of fiber arts. In addition, I do digital landscapes, abstracts, and fractal art.

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