Dedicated photo printers are different from all-purpose printers because they are made specifically to print images, not text or graphics documents. The majority of them are small and lightweight, and some even have batteries that let you print without access to an outlet. While some photo printers use inkjet technology, the majority of photo printers, including dye-sublimation (or dye-sub) printers, are constructed around a thermal dye engine.
Sublimation printers have long been specialized tools used in demanding photography and graphic arts applications. This technique became more widely used with the rise of digital photography, serving as the foundation for many standalone, portable picture printers.
Instead of using inks or toner, the technique used solid dyes, which are what the word dye in the name alludes to. The technique of turning solids, for instance, colors into their gaseous state without first passing through a liquid phase is known scientifically as sublimation.
What makes them different?
True dye-sublimation printers use a different printing method than inkjet printers. In contrast to inkjet printers, sublimation blanks use a dye from a plastic film to transfer color to a page. Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black dyes are stacked on top of one another using a three-pass technique that uses solid dyes in the form of tape on a ribbon or a roll. A dye-sub printer’s print head employs tiny heaters to vaporize the dye, which penetrates the glossy paper surface. The print is given a transparent layer to shield it from ultraviolet rays. Although this approach can yield good results, it is not at all cost-effective. Even when none of the pigments are required for a given image, that ribbon segment is still used.
Today’s market is filled with inkjet printers that can use dye-sublimation processes. Such printers use cartridges that spray the ink onto the page one strip at a time. With the help of a heating element that can reach temperatures of up to 500° C, the print head warms the inks to create a gas. Because the dyes are given to the paper in gas form, they do not form clear dots with a hard edge like inkjet printers, which makes a significant difference in the outcomes. Instead, the edges are softer and more easily merged. A better color-fast image is produced by injecting the gaseous dye into the paper.