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Kodak makes new try with Kodak 1200i version of the Encad NovaJet 1000i Print E-mail

We have gathered fresh details on the Encad printer, and as promised we are updating this page. In the meantime we use common sense to discuss this and other printers. We also saw the Kodak 1200i at FESPA trade show; at first we thought it was a totally new printer. But everyone we asked said it is the same Encad NovaJet 1000i, just with different RIP, and packaged with Kodak inks and media branded by Kodak.

What about speed claims?

Epson speed claims for years also tried to show comparisons with Canon and HP, but the Epson claims did not all hold up to close scrutiny.

Apple tried to claim the G5 was the fastest computer on the planet... until FLAAR commissioned a Bowling Green State University computer science student to spend a month benchmarking the Mac G5 against a PC, and turned out the Dell PC was faster in many instances and on par in other instances. We felt the Apple claim was smoke and mirrors.

The ads for speed of the previous Kodak printer, their model 5260, were a tad over-enthusiastic, thus we are curious if they are using the same advertising agency for the Encad 1000i.

But Encad provided our first wide format printer, back in 1997, so we wish Kodak and Encad well, and if the printer does everything they claim, what better place than to tell eager buyers than a FLAAR web site. Year after year, FLAAR has become the de facto source for benchmarking, comparative ratings, reviews, and evaluations in the wide format inkjet printer industry. We now have a staff at our university to handle testing and evaluation of digital imaging from input (scanning, digital photography) through printing, color management, RIPs, and finishing (trimming and lamination).

Thus it remains to be seen how the new Encad speed claims hold up. So far we are not familiar with any industry speed tests that were completely forthright in their figures. This is a perfect kind of future project for sponsored research at a university test lab. But we will give the benefit of the doubt, maybe Kodak did it right this time. Our policy is fully supportive of innovative printers and lower prices. If Kodak-Encad can produce a fast printer, with lower cost for ink and media, our over 399,000 readers a year would like to learn about this, but in a factual manner, with objective comparative charts. For example, is the Canon ImagePROGRAF W8400 included in the Kodak speed comparisons? If not, why not?

And when the speed is mentioned, is it admitted that horizontal banding defects probably occur across the image?

Sign shops and quick-print reprographic and commercial printers need productive speed and lower costs on consumables. But it takes more than advertising slogans: the speed has to be without blemishes (such as banding). And the ink and media costs must be demonstrably lower in a manner that FLAAR is able to see this clearly. So far we hear mainly slogans. Ink-laydown must be less too: low priced ink laid down excessively jacks the overall ink cost right back up into the stratosphere. Excessive ink also causes problems with drying the media. At least Encad is trying to overcome the drying issue with a new heater-dryer system. But engineering such a system to hold up to daily use may prove a challenge.

Encan NovaJet 1000i
Encad NovaJet 1000i at PMA 2004 tradeshow

Kodak goes for low price ink and media with the Kodak 1200i

As for cost of ink and media: if the media is from China, it can indeed be lower priced. Or otherwise, if Kodak is coating it, they can lower the price. Same with the ink. If Kodak actually makes the ink, they can lower the price.

FLAAR is working on preparing new ink price benchmark reports. To our knowledge this is the first in the industry. The first edition of this valuable report is in our Survival Series (so named because if you don't know the true price of your ink your sign shop, print-for-pay, reprographics shop, quick print, commercial printer, photo lab, or in-house print shop won't survive).

A lot will depend on the image quality too. We briefly mention that in other FLAAR Reports. We are beginning a long range project on wide format image quality analysis. We have a QEA image quality instrumentation system so we can define image quality in quantitative manner (as you would expect of a university).

The Encad NovaJet 1000i: Nicholas at the Athens Olympics

Encad prints are all over the luxury hotel outside Athens where Kodak has its headquarters. Dr Hellmuth won the Kodak-Germany DRUPA trade show sweepstakes: prize was a free trip to the Kodak villa for the Athens summer Olympics (free for two, so he took Judy).

We are surprised at what we saw in Greece and have learned elsewhere, because the printer looked so nice at trade shows. Now you know why a trade show booth is not realistic: the only way to find out what a printer is really like is to see it in its natural habitat: a sign shop.

What we learned about the Encad NovaJet 1000i in Greece, and all our observations, are in a special FLAAR Report on the Encad NovaJet 1000i.

Since people ask us about this printer, we found a print shop that had two Encad NovaJet 1000i printers. We visited them three times. It is very very interesting what you learn when you ask questions inside a place that actually has a product at work: in this case two of them.

If you are considering an Encad NovaJet 1000i, the Kodak NovaJet 1200i (or the Xerox equivalent of the Encad); or if you bought one recently; you might like to learn what we discovered. www.wide-format-printers.NET has all FLAAR Reports. The Encad 1000i reports should be in the sign series.

 


First posted Jan. 22, 2004.
Updated March 11, 2004. Updated during the Athens Olympics in late August 2004; updated September 23, 2004. Updated Nov. 22, 2004.

 
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