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Printing Digital Photography Print E-mail

Instead of a darkroom use a wide format printer to print enlargements of your favorite photographs. Rather than sending your prints out to a service bureau, you can have much more fun printing your photographs on a large format printer at home or in your office. You can also buy a wide format printer to earn a profit with its use.

Large format printer s allow you to see your own photographs enlarged and displayed with the excellent quality that is possible from today's models. There is no way to realistically produce the same amount or quality of prints from a traditional darkroom unless you use a Cibachrome lab (Cibachrome was purchased by Ilford and is now Ilfochrome. When purchasing printers, people tend to start off with an Epson 1520 or Epson 3000.

These cheap Epson printers may be a poor investment, because as soon as their problems are discovered many people want to get rid of them. Once you see the better models and makes you may prefer a large format printer. From a photographic stand point, you want your prints to last. What if your Epson prints fade within a few days or weeks due to sun exposure! Archival inks an d professional wide format printers provide for increased print longevity. Epson has finally caught on and rushed archival inks into production. Every month the new ink formulas get a bit better. The initial inks that were used in the prototype Epson 7500 and Epson 9500 were very poor, yet have recently shown marginal maturation.

Encad large format printers results of printing from an Encad NovaJetPro large format inkjet printer
Photographs of two three-dimensional Early Classic cache vessels, ceramic, A.D. 450, circa 10 inches high, Guatemala. Media courtesy of Rexam.
Photographed with large format scan back camera provided courtesy of BetterLight; macro Digital lens provided courtesy of Schneider-Kreuznach, Germany.

The above photographs were printed in the FLAAR studio. Since the original photos were from a large format digital camera there was no need to even do a test print. You are looking at the first print. The prints were imaged and printed in less than an hour. To do a photograph three-feet wide, in a traditional darkroom, would have tried most anyone’s patience.

prints from Encad large format NovaJetPro printer
Printed on an Encad wide format printer provided for testing by Encad using an EFI Fiery RIP provided by Electronics for Imaging.

If you buy a printer on the basis of its low price, you end up wasting the money you spent, because many low-cost printers are so useless that the several hundred dollars could have been better invested elsewhere. The staff at FLAAR constantly receives e-mail s from people who want to do digital printing but can only afford a $500 printer. Unfortunately Alps-USA no longer sells their more affordable dry-ink printer. The economy is booming, so if you save up, then you can afford a printer that you will not be embarrassed to use. The Encad printer at FLAAR is three years-old, was reconditioned when bought, and is still working just fine , even after being shipped to Guatemala.

This Encad printer is rained upon by volcanic ash from a nearby volcano, rocked by occasional earthquakes, but still keeps printing flawlessly. Its heads recently went out of alignment but this is because the high humidity in Central America often causes paper to ripple when it is under the feeder rollers. The wavelike paper ripples knock the heads out of alignment when the two come into contact. To see whether paper problems would cause the heads on a Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 2800 to crash the staff at FLAAR tried three brutal head crash experiments. We were able to knock a few of the jets out but the HP kept repairing the head and short of hitting the heads with a hammer we were unable to knock them out of alignment. For this and other aspects of maintenance we find the HP DesignJet highly superior to any Encad printer.

For anyone interested in digital photography , marketing statistics, meeting the movers and shakers in this industry, be sure to check out the Photographic Quality Digital Printing Conference organized by IMI. For those who strongly desire technical details on inkjet media, inks, and/or inkjet printhead technology, and to meet the industry leaders, be sure to sign up for the next conference organized by IMI. Their website is, contact is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . These seminars are outstanding and offer fresh information for the readers of the FLAAR Reports in PDF format and the FLAAR Information Network of websites.



Most recently revised: May 30, 2005. Most recently updated: Feb. 20, 2003.
Previous updates: Oct. 20, 2001.



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As of June 2019, Dr Nicholas and FLAAR had 3,433 contacts in LinkedIn (and over half a million readers worldwide on the FLAAR network).

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