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Dye Subs and the 2nd user market [Archive] - Event Photographer Society Forum


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21-11-2011, 11:34 AM
I am not sure if this has been asked,

Used dye subs crop up with regularity on Ebay etc. How much of a gamble are they?

I know this is a very - very open ended question

If you were to spend say, 400 to purchase a 1200 commercial printer, and it was to fail after a short time, would the
cost of repair, once added to the original purchase price, still mean you had a bargain? As a service engineer myself, I know all the 'stock faults' on the kit I repair, and some models I would not recommend to be purchased 'used' as the risk would be too high of getting a non viable failure.

Does anyone have any sad tales they wish to share?

Mike Weeks
21-11-2011, 11:43 AM

sad truth is that all devices fail at unpredictable times. Replacement parts for Dye Subs can be expensive but more importantly they need time to repair and it is the time that costs.

I have bought numerous items second hand once I have seen and tested.

It is a real case of buyer beware and with top brands such as DNP and Mitsubishi (not sure of any others) offering a 2 year warranty that has to be good peace of mind. So the question is 1100 new with 2 year warranty vs 800 secondhand with unknown history and no warranty, what would you do?


21-11-2011, 12:09 PM
Thanks Mike, totally agree, the price differential of your example is not enough to justify a substantial investment risk.
As I said, as an electronics engineer I am only too aware of how easy it is to be stung with what appeared to be a bargain at the time.

If its 400 and the worst case scenario for a fix is 200 then its a viable purchase. Its that 'average price to fix' that would be interesting to know for the various manufacturers. Also it would be interesting from the point of purchasing brand new, and perhaps ought to be considered just as much as the cost of media to feed the beast.


Peter Martin-Turner
21-11-2011, 12:31 PM
You can get secondhand bargains but you need to very selective about where you get them from, caveat emptor.

Two things you need to consider in making the decision. The older the machine the closer it comes to be obsolete, either because they are no longer manufactured, supported or media is no longer available. The other is that the average cost per print can be up to 50% higher or more on an old printer compared to the newer ones. You are potentially looking at maybe 8p through to 12p ex VAT for a 6x4 print, or the variation on 6x9 can go through 22p to around 40p ex VAT. Obviously the savings are negligible based on smaller volumes of prints annually. If you print higher volumes annually, the more "expensive" new printer initially can work out cheaper over the year for example. Do the maths basically for your own business.

Mark Amies
21-11-2011, 01:42 PM
This has come up on the forum before.

To be honest , if you are making an investment into your business, and you can afford to do so , buy new with warranty. Yes secondhand items are out there,and some wil be bargains, but you need to be very caeful what you are buying , so ask all the right questions - how old is it?, how many prints has it done?, has it had a replacement thermal head? has ist come from a retail photo solution ( ie a kiosk or booth) ?.

Stuart Morley
21-11-2011, 10:39 PM
All depends upon what price you pay and if you get a warranty? We sell second hand kit with warranty so the risk is reduced.

I see loads of people buying ebay bargains only to find out that they weren't such a bargain after all.

However if you are careful then you can pick up some bargains. You must see it working!

Just like buying a second hand car to be honest.

In the last few weeks we had someone who purchased brand new from the USA only to discover UK media didn't work in his printer.

I had someone buy a printer and the courier dropped it so it wasn't working, you then have possible a big hassle getting your money back etc.

We saw someone with a kiosk model that wouldn't work.

Your rights buying privately are different from buying from a retailer as are your rights buying from a wholesaler.

Like someone said above caveat emptor (May the buyer beware)



22-11-2011, 01:54 AM
Perfectly happy with my second hand purchases.
But then I've always been careful who and where I buy from.

I knew the history of the Dye Sub I bought and I'd be happy paying more for that peace of mind, than I would buying from an unknown retailer on eBay.

Mark Amies
22-11-2011, 09:06 AM
Stuart mentioned a kiosk printer. The most common example of this is the Mitsubishi CP 9550DW-K variant, that most commonly was fitted to PhotoMe 'E-Station' kiosks. You should keep clear of these, as you will only be able to use media supplied by PhotoMe.

Re the printer from the States, I suspect that was a HiTi P510. We had a similar incident. Do tell me if I am wrong Stuart.

22-11-2011, 09:40 AM
Thanks all - I personally am seeking to buy new next year. I posed the question more out of curiosity as to others experiences who have been doing this job for many years.
It may be because it is such a small market, but 'Googling' to see what costs these items are to repair, returns little, if any info.
Choose a domestic LCD Panel and your results are more than likely to give the part number, cost and a blow-by-blow repair guide.
Must be the engineer in me that questions not only running costs, but maintenance costs also :)


Mark Amies
22-11-2011, 01:53 PM
If you can afford to do so, buy new and invest in your business, rather than run the risk.

Stuart Morley
22-11-2011, 07:28 PM
Nothing wrong with second hand as long as you are careful. If you see it working then you should be fine

All the second hand equipment we sell comes with warranty for piece of mind.

Buying from ebay will be cheaper of course but then you have little recourse should things go wrong but if you see it working etc then you might get a real bargain.

Remember: People selling a second hand machine thing it's worth 10 less than they paid for it 3 years ago and people buying second hand expect it to be 1/3 of the price it was a month after it was purchased :) :)



p.s. Yes the P510S was a US model which can be converted (by us) but is not economically viable at the price that was paid. Dye Subs like Inkjet printers are often region locked.