the little printer that could *updated*

With the holidays fast approaching and the fact that I am getting daily inquires about one of my favorite travel companions (a portable printer), I thought I would do a little round up to hopefully answer all your questions. I first blogged about the Fujifilm Pivi MP-300 in this post about gadgets on April 2, 2010.

While researching it in early 2010, I found an article on Gizmodo from November 2006:

"The Fujifilm Pivi MP-300 is a palm-sized printer that cranks out playing-card-sized pictures in less than two minutes. Accepting its image data using PictBridge via a USB or infrared, it weighs just shy of a half-pound loaded with batteries and paper, making it kinda easy to carry around and ninja-print shots on the spot. It's $127, only in Japan so far. Wouldn't it be easier just to e-mail the pictures to whoever wants one? Some people are still stuck in the printing era. At least Fujifilm could have added Bluetooth to this new model."

(His second to last sentence had me giggling... I happen to like being stuck in the printing era.)

Getting the printer: I ordered this fantastic device on ebay from someone in Japan. And I don't remember feeling too nervous about it. I did plenty of research on the printer and saw that the seller had tens of thousands of transactions and 99.something% positive feedback. Though my seller does not currently have any listed, I would recommend going onto ebay and typing "Fujifilm Pivi MP-300" into the search bar. If you're nervous about ordering from a seller overseas and on ebay, I am not sure what advice to give. As far as I know, it's the only way to get it (unless you fly over there yourself), because the item is a few years old and may not even be sold at retail stores anymore.

How much I spent: $275, which included 100 films (10 films come in each pack) and a power adapter. Now that I have had it for quite some time, I wouldn't recommend the power adapter. It's bulky and nearly bigger than the printer itself. Instead, I would highly recommend a set of Ultrafire CR2 rechargeable batteries and a charger. The charger is compact and with me on most trips. The batteries do last quite a while, though I cannot give an approximate estimate on how many films I have printed on a single charge. If I were to guess, I would say at least 2 packs (20 photos), maybe 3 (30 photos).

Getting the film: I continue to order the film on ebay. In fact the other day, my order of 100 films arrived 4 days after I ordered them. At about a dollar a pop, they aren't exactly cheap, but I think they are totally worth it.

Using the printer: The USB cord plugs right into the camera and the printer. I then turn on both devices (you need to hold down the power button on the Pivi for a couple seconds). Pictbridge loads and pulls up a photo with a menu prompting me to print. I can select any image from my camera, then crop and make any adjustments before choosing to send to printer. It makes some funny futuristic (or wheezing, depending on how you look at it) noises, and then within a minute or so, the film slides out. You can then take it and shake it if you'd like, or just set it down and let it develop.

Pros: so many! compact, easy to load, can edit and crop the photos within Pictbridge, high quality prints, fun to use, travels easily, fairly instant gratification, can print multiple copies of the same photo, did I mention it travels everywhere?

Con: I can only think of 1 - it does NOT work with the iPhone. And in a perfect world, I suppose the film could be a bit cheaper.

I mentioned the Pivi in a Hawaii post from February. Love it for travel minis.

Love it for layouts.

After showing a few friends just how amazing this little printer is, they too are proud owners of the Pivi.

Kelly Purkey has this to say:
The Pivi is one of the best camera purchases I've ever made!  Amy even helped me use it to create my Christmas card last year and it was a genius idea!  Because you can print any .jpeg that is on your camera, we were able to take a lot of different shots and select the best one to be printed as an instax... this is the best perk of the printer for me.  No wasted film or money on shots that don't turn out.  And I love that I can make multiple copies of the same photo.  It was especially helpful when I want to scrap the photos on layouts and put them into a mini album or up on my bulletin board or send a friend a copy.

Vee Jennings has this to say:
I love my pivi because of the convenience of not having an extra camera to tote around and still having the ability to have the original digital photo. The pivi printer is super compact and light! The portable printer is fast, just connect your camera's USB cord and you have an instant photo in 30 seconds.

See it in action: Becky Higgins has a video from Scrapfest with an impromptu Pivi demonstration.
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Updated with answers to your questions:

Sharon Q: Can you tell us where you got the travel bag you put it in?
A: The pouch is from the uber-talented Random Nicole. I own about 5 of her pouches in various sizes and use them to hold all kinds of goodies.

Gill Q: How does Pivi compare with Pogo? (the Polaroid mini printer?
A: A friend has the Pogo and was very disappointed with the quality after she saw a side by side comparison to my Pivi print. She thinks it did the job for the trip, but ended up reprinting her photos on a Canon Selphy ES40 after she got back anyway. I am partial to the Pivi and Canon Selphy. (see comment by daphne as well)


Damiane Lucas Q: What's the difference between your printer and a regular Instax camera? Is the quality of the end result (polaroid) different?
A: The printer needs to be hooked up to a camera, while the regular Instax camera takes the photo and instantly prints it. I think Kelly Purkey does a good job of summarizing the advantage to the printer.

Damiane Lucas Q: I'm still lost regarding my Dec. Daily album. I've never made one, and since I don't have children, I can't pack my scrapbook with pics of kiddos. I love yours from last year! Will you be doing a similar one? What size? Any tips?
A: Yes, I will be doing my 2nd December Daily and I will be doing the same size - 4"X6". My tip is to keep it super simple. I only intend to spend 15 minutes each day (or night) on each page for mine. It was a great system that worked out well for last year, so I will try it again.

daphne Q: what rechargeable battery charger do you use?
A: I have an Ultrafire charger that came with the batteries. It says Model SE-CR2 on the back and is small and silver, with room to charge 2 batteries.

Kellie Q: Can it work with any camera?
A: I am really not sure. I am just guessing that if you have a new-ish camera (within the past 3 years) that has a USB cable, you can likely print with it. With that being said, my old Nikon D40 did not work with it, but my Nikon D90 does. I have hooked up Canon's and also regular ol' point and shoots as well.

Anonynous Q: Do your pictures have to be on a camera? Like, can you hook it up to your computer instead?
A: I have only used it from my camera. I don't believe there is a way to hook it up to the computer.

Gina B. Q: Great post, I sooo want one!!! One thing I was wondering about was ink??? What ink does it use, are they replacable? Where do you get them? How many inks have you gone through in relation to the photos taken?
A: The ink/film cartridge is self-contained. So I order the film on ebay and it comes in a cartridge that includes everything you need to print 10 photos. Once the printer indicates zero, then you replace the entire cartridge. It's a technological advancement I have quite enjoyed, where you don't waste paper by running out of ink. Though I do not know the technical aspects as to how it works, I certainly appreciate it.
***************Hope you enjoyed this thorough post about the Pivi. Have more questions? Leave them in the comments section and if I haven't covered it already, I will add the answers to this post. If the Pivi is on your wishlist, I do hope you get this little package sure to bring big delight!