Warning: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /home/eventpho/public_html/forum/includes/class_core.php on line 1960
Review of Hiti - CS300 [Archive] - Event Photographer Society Forum

PDA

View Full Version : Review of Hiti - CS300



Trudy Trafford
20-04-2010, 08:21 PM
I would firstly like to point out that this is an independent review on the Hiti CS300. I am not sponsored by anyone (open to offers though ;-) !!!) I have no affiliation with any trade member on this forum.

After speaking to Jeremy Nako at focus who mentioned this 'type' of printer may be worth a look at, we visited both the Photomart & System Insight stand.

Jeremy has already posted a very useful and informative review of the pebble printer which Photomart offers and I don’t intend to cover the same ground.

Stuart at System Insight gave us a demo at focus of the double sided Hiti CS300. After a discussion Stuart was kind enough to give us a free loan of the printer so that we could try it out “in the field” and review it along with customer feedback as we were concerned that even though we thought it was a good idea, our customers wouldn't.

Using Express Digital core setup was the same as for any window printer and the “credit card” print size was already available.

As some of you will know, we cover Equestrian events as well as social. The idea was to use it more for the equestrian side than social as to be perfectly honest, quality wise shooting low-key, it doesn't meet with our standards.

Saying that if you are shooting Hi-key then the quality is acceptable.

The cards themselves print edge to edge, you do notice a light fade off for the first (or last) couple of mm when printing a dark background. Having said that I have never rejected one that has been printed with 'equestrian' backgrounds. The colours are good, if anything we just increase the contrast a touch for a bit more punch, or pale colours can look a little wishy washy.

The only other bug bear is that we haven’t found a way of arranging the images to print the same way up on both sides, so ‘flip’ them in ED which sorts it out, unless there is a way to do this and we just haven’t found it!

So to the important question, how well did they sell?

Well, we have had them on offer at 5 different equestrian events – a PC ODE, PC Team SJ, Dressage, Showing & an Open Show. Initially we described them as credit cards/wallet cards which customers didn’t really relate to, some even asked if you could use them as a real credit card…. A few identified with the ‘ID tag’ approach when supplied with a lanyard.

Once we recognized this and simply described them as key rings the customer identified with them more. We also had to reinforce that they were produced on site.

After much debate and gathering opinions from friends and family we set the price at £10 for a double image key ring or a £5 special offer with any print. Obviously our concern here was that selling them at £5.00 would be detrimental to our sales in terms of customer spends, but people are happy to pay £5.00 as a ‘half price’ bargain and it actually aids upselling.

In terms of workflow there is no significant impact as the card is produced concurrently with the prints, a quick hole punch and job done.

We stopped offering key rings because of the hassle factor, but this provides the opportunity to offer them particularly as an add on item to increase revenues and whilst it may take longer than the ‘print’ printers to recover the investment, we felt that it would pay for itself in time.

My Dad is a member of a flying club (model airplanes that is!) and I did him a new membership card which he showed people at the club and that has landed me a job printing the whole membership! So it has a dual purpose!

So to summarise we like the machine, like the way it seamlessly integrates into ED and the workflow, we sell them as ‘add on's’ rather than an individual items & also like the fact we can sell them via the website too with a few clicks.

I would like to take this opportunity of emphasizing that Stuart asked me to be brutally honest and write the review regarding the printer as I found it. Stuart has not had a draft review to make any changes, his only reference is this post.

Jeremy Nako
21-04-2010, 02:38 PM
Thanks Trudy - very useful.

I hope you dont mind if I add my own observations now that I've offered the product at a number of events.

Like Trudy, we only offer them at sports events. Our printer printed a little dark at first, but other than that the quality was fine.

We sell our cards at £6 each or 2 for £10, though ours are single sided (with our web address on the back).

We market them as wallet portraits. We have big poster sized adverts in the marquee explaining all the products now and that has helped, as customers know what a keyring is, but not a 'wallet portrait'.

Sales staff have been instructed to explain the product and offer them as an alternative to keyrings. The reason for this is that the cost of production is very similar, but the keyrings require a lot more time and effort to produce. My estimate is that around 70% opted for the cards instead of keyrings when given the choice. Maybe 'cos it's something different.

These printers wont earn their keep as quickly as print dyesubs, but I'm very happy that I purchased mine and I've found a whole load of other uses for it, as has Trudy !

Trudy Trafford
21-04-2010, 08:56 PM
Thanks for the feedback Jeremy.


We market them as wallet portraits. We have big poster sized adverts in the marquee explaining all the products now and that has helped, as customers know what a keyring is, but not a 'wallet portrait'.

We had loads of samples lying around, but people still didn't realise that they could buy them unless you specifically told them. Even though it said 'your photo printed here' sprawled across them! I think people saw them more as advertisments. Your poster obviously made things clearer.


Sales staff have been instructed to explain the product and offer them as an alternative to keyrings. The reason for this is that the cost of production is very similar, but the keyrings require a lot more time and effort to produce. My estimate is that around 70% opted for the cards instead of keyrings when given the choice. Maybe 'cos it's something different.

I wonder if thats because you also offer traditional type keyrings so people could make a direct comparison? We found that they sold better when marketed as keyrings rather than wallet portraits, I expected the wallet cards to be more popular. Would you now drop your other keyring in favour of making the card either a wallet print OR a keyring?

Jeremy Nako
22-04-2010, 08:27 AM
Hmmm.. not sure.. probably not, yet.

It is a question of education I think, and I'm not sure that we have it right as yet.

There's no doubt in my mind that i's a popular product once explained / shown, and certainly more efficient for us to produce.

However, getting people to understand what it is in advance seems to be the issue at the moment.

Any/all suggestions gratefully received !

Jeremy Nako
22-04-2010, 08:40 AM
Even though it said 'your photo printed here' sprawled across them!

I did a large corporate do a year ago and all the photos were free to the guests. We printed and left them on a large table. No one took any, so we printed a sign off that said 'Please help yourself'.

Half an hour later I came back.. no one had taken any of the photos, but the sign had gone ! :lol:

Mike Weeks
22-04-2010, 08:49 AM
Trudy & Jeremy,

after reading Trudys reply that the black background was not as good, to what is this compared and is it possible that both of you print the same image on your respectice machines to give a direct comparison of quality of image.

Many thanks

Mike

Stuart Morley
22-04-2010, 09:17 AM
Re: Quality

As I mentioned to Trudy when sending her sample images and as she mentioned in her review the HiTi CS300 printer (which isn't a current model) would not possibly be suitable for low key photos due to the image quality in the last 5-10 mm of the print.

This was also mentioned to Paul Rogers and Jeremy at Focus when we discuss the printer.

This as trudy mentions was not an issue with her requirements.

I will check the CS320 to see if that has the same issue.

I think it does create a neat product but as mentioned (by Jeremy) it possibly won't set the world alight.

As for samples, I have no issue in printing any samples that people might want to look at.

Stu

http://www.systeminsight.co.uk" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;