Sony announces low cost photo lab for independent retailers

By James Wells

SYDNEY: Sony Australia today announced a low-cost digital photo printing solution for independent electrical retailers looking to provide consumers with a high quality digital print in 13 seconds.

Known as ‘Snap Lab’, the $3,000 unit combines a high-quality state-of-the-art Sony dye-sublimation printer and an eight-inch colour LCD with simple to use software and graphical user interface (GUI).

Weighing just 11 kilograms and with a footprint of only 275x380mm, Snap Lab has several professional and business applications, including parties and events, weddings, hospitality, legal, education and rental to name a few.

According to a spokesperson from Sony Australia, this product is unique as it is a stand alone product that can act as a ‘plug and play’ solution rather than requiring external computers and printers.

“From a retail point of view, there are more low end applications. I don’t think this type of product is designed for a large retailer such as a Harvey Norman store that wants to create hundreds of thousands of prints – it is more suited to a smaller independent electrical retailer. This is an ideal solution for a company that requires an instant print solution,” the spokesperson said.

The product, which will be on display at the Photo Imaging Council of Australia (PICA) event next month in Sydney, will be available to retailers from April.

“The best thing about this product, is that it is a behind-the-counter solution and not a kiosk which I accessed by a consumer. Individual retailers have the option to set the price that provides them with a cost-recovery basis and matches the volume that the store is creating. It is ideal for smaller electrical retailers looking to generate a low volume of digital prints.

“Commercial grade printers and PCs become extremely expensive and for an independent electrical retailer that does not want to outlay a lot of money upfront, but wants to get into small scale digital photo printing, this is ideal,” the spokesperson said.

“Snap Lab is the first product of its type to hit the market,” said Sony Australia product manager – digital photo printers, Neil Perry.

“With the built-in monitor, GUI and software, there’s no need for any kind of external device such as a PC or laptop. It’s a fantastic standalone solution for anyone with a business need to provide instant prints,” he said.

A newly developed thermal print mechanism creates prints between 13 and 17 seconds, depending on print size. Snap Lab can create prints sized 3.5×5-inches, 4×6-inches and 5×7-inches and can accommodate all popular memory cards including Memory Stick, SD Memory Card, MultiMedia Card, SmartMedia, xD-Picture Card, CompactFlash and Microdrive.

Onboard photo editing is also possible with features including crop, rotate, colour, red eye reduction and special image effects Sepia and Black & White.  Photo boarders can also be added, as can event names, titles, or other copy.

Snap Lab can also be connected to a PC or laptop, so users can access existing editing software and interface directly with Snap Lab.

“With the popularity of digital cameras, we are seeing a real shift in photo processing away from ‘wet labs’ to digital prints. Digital is much faster, cleaner, requires less training and the hardware is much cheaper to buy and maintain,” Perry said.

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