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Below are informative tips and help on how to select an optimal printer if you need to print graphic designs, high quality signs, posters or banners.

product comparisons, printer comparisons, large format printer reviews of HP 2800CP 3800CP
HP 2800

The ColorSpan HiRes 8 ($21,000) has a reputation for outstanding depth of color, which is a well deserved reputation based on the staff at FLAAR’s experience with this remarkable printer. To achieve top image quality you need to clean and calibrate the ColorSpan in the morning before you begin to print for the day.

What about speed? All printers slow down to achieve higher quality prints. The corollary is that high-speed throughput occurs only when you lower the quality substantially. In other words, if you buy a printer for its photo-realistic capability, you do not get this quality at the faster production speeds. Most printers have banding at high speeds (one pass and two pass printing does not allow the printhead to interweave and cover the printhead path lines). To do photo-quality printing you need 4 passes minimum, while 6 and 8 passes are preferable. Roland can execute up to 32 passes but can take up to two hours for a single large print.

If you set the options for photo quality, all good printers slow down and create the quality of image s that wins awards. The ColorSpan has beat en every other large format printer at the DIMA shoot-out year after year.

If you want top quality and don't mind cleaning the printheads and running the calibration test once a day, then the ColorSpan is a good choice. If you want higher quality and don't ever want to look inside your printer's innards, then chose the HP 5000 and add your own RIP or chose the HP 5000ps which already has a basic RIP.

At FLAAR we have added a 42" HP 5000ps at Francisco Marroquin University , Guatemala and a 60" HP 5000ps at Bowling Green State University , Ohio. This is the easiest printer for us to operate when we are busy and don't want to hassle with cleaning ink lines or flushing piezo printhead clogs.

Only the ColorSpan provides a 72” width with the speed and efficiency of a thermal printhead. The HP 5000ps comes in 42" and 60" widths. The necessary cleaning and calibration of the ColorSpan is easy to learn. Indeed , for the calibration you simply press a button. Overall the maintenance requires no previous experience, only patience an d the 2-day course provided by ColorSpan.

Each printer has its special features. At FLAAR we compare printers side by side. We have a DisplayMaker 12, the noticeably improved and newer ColorSpan Mach 12, two HP 5000's, as well as an Epson 7500, HP 500ps, 800ps, and 1055. The 1055 has banding problems, which is why we replaced it with the 800ps and 5000ps.

Note: ColorDNA is a national provide r HP printers. They specialize in HP DesignJet printers for signage, CAD, GIS, photos, and general applications.


HP 5000 at Francisco Marroquin facility
Franz Holzheu (left) and Marlon Castillo installing and testing HP 5000 at Francisco Marroquin facility.


Previously updated: June 8, 2005.
Previous updates: Feb. 2003, August 1, 2002, Oct. 20, 2001.



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