Dye Sub vs Inkjet

Dye Sub vs Inkjet

There are many reasons why Dye Subs are better photo printers than Inkjets. The comparison table below shows the differences between the two printers.

Dye sub printers have been quite expensive. Smaller dye sub printers which are ideal for home printing which just printed 6″x4″ photos (postcard size) have been around for years with models like the HiTi 630PS, HiTi Photoshuttle and the very popular HiTi 730PS which also printed 7×5 and 8×6 photos.

Recently Mitsubishi has launched a printer for less than £350! – This printer, the Mitsubishi M15E which is possibly the worlds least expensive professional dye sub printer, prints 6″x4″, 7″x5″ and 8″x6″ photos and is built to the same high standards as their other printers which are twice the price. The M15E has the same high quality output as the rest of Mitsubishi’s professional range which is built using metal construction and are known for being extremely reliable.

It’s not just Mitsubishi, Citizen, world-renowned for their outstanding image quality, and robust printer design have released the Citizen CZ-01, which possibly the smallest roll-fed dye sub photo printer weighing in at only 5.8kg, taking up a tiny amount of space at (W)208 x (D)240 x (H)198mm.

Dye Sub Printers have been used by professional photographers and theme parks for many years, for the reasons listed below and many printers that are used on a daily basis are still going strong ten years later. These Photo printers are industrial workhorses and their resale values are a testament to their quality.

HiTi P310W Printer

Where Dye Sub Printers are better

There are many reasons why Dye Sub make better photo printers than Inkjets. The main reasons are:

  • Superb Image Quality – “Better than a traditional lab print”
  • Known Running Costs – It’s easy to calculate how much a Dye Sub Print costs
  • Less Hassle to use – No running out of ink part way through a print run.
  • More Durable – Instantly Dry and Water resistant
  • No Mess – No messy inks to install.
  • More practical – No need for head cleaning, just switch on and use.
  • Only one consumable to buy. No need to overstock on inks and paper.
  • Glossy and Matt Prints from the same media.
  • Large print capacity – Load up to 750 prints at one time.
  • Superb Reliability
  • Ideal for high volume printing.
  • Usually industrial quality construction
  • Fast! – 6″x4″ prints every 6 seconds.

Where Inkjet Printers are better.

There are some instances where Inkjet Printers are better: The main reasons are:

Inkjet Companies make a fortune from the sales of Inkjet Inks and this is one of the main reasons why Inkjet Printers are so widely sold around the world.

Here’s what one user had to say online about their Epson Surecolor Wide format SC-P400 INKJET Photo Printer: “the prints come out muddy and poorly defined, the colors are over saturated, and the ink cartridges empty at an alarming rate. The cyan cartridge will do four 12 x 18 prints of ocean beaches, and then it’s empty.”

It is worth remembering that Dye Sub Printer are primarily photo printers so whilst it is possible to print a spreadsheet on a Dye Sub it isn’t really practical and they aren’t designed for this. Dye sub printers are also limited to the print sizes that the media is available in. If you are looking to print larger than 8″x12″ then Dye Sub printers are not for you.


Using a Dye Sub Photo Printer, to produce photos is logical. It’s what they are designed for. That isn’t to say you can’t use inkjets to produce photos, you absolutely can, but they’re just not the right tool for the job.

If you are looking for a home printer, the Mitsubishi M15E (cheaper consumables) or the Citizen CZ-01 (Smaller footprint) are low-cost options.

For commercial use, the Citizen CX-02 or the Mitsubishi M1E are great options.