Quality comparison: Dye sublimation (heat transfer) vs Inkjet

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PrinterHeaddy New Member • Posts: 3
Quality comparison: Dye sublimation (heat transfer) vs Inkjet

Hi folks. I am debating whether to buy a dye sublimation or an inkjet printer (or nothing at all and taking them to the lab instead!) in order to print a lot of photos of family trips that lie in my hard drive since too many years.. They are not masterpieces for art gallery display but nonetheless I would not settle for a quality visibly inferior to the one from the lab.

My main doubt in buying an inkjet is that their photos look a bit pixelated or not completely smooth to my eye compared to those from the lab. This not completely smooth appearance doesn’t bother me at all on landscapes or large prints (it actually gives them a great look!) but I find it quite noticeable in standard sized prints in the fine details of portraits such as the contours of the eyes, or in the silhouette of buildings against a bright background. I cannot help but noticing it.

From what I read online I got the impression that dye sublimation photos look smoother and more “photographic” to the eye, but I have also heard that the colors look duller compared to inkjets and color fidelity is inferior especially with black and white images.. I don’t have direct experience though.

Very few people talk about dye sublimation printers and I am wondering why. They seem to be more common in the USA, while in Europe and the Middle East they are harder to find. I’ve read great reviews of the DNP DS820A for example and I thought it could be ideal to print the bulk of my photos in lab-like quality, leaving the few enlargements to the lab. I am perfectly aware of the media type restrictions of this kind of printers but if it serves the puporse of printing my photos at high quality and at a price at least not greater than the lab, then I’m fine with that. Given that there is very little waste of ink and paper it must surely be cheaper to run than inkjets. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks!

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