While a photographer could perhaps get by with a few cameras, a super-zoom arsenal, and a slew of lighting equipment (and, of course, a healthy dose of talent), today's pro is seeking to add more in-house services to increase revenue. Wide-format printing is one such niche that can add to a studio's bottom line. Read on for some of the newest entries in this field, as well as for a few testimonials on how some of your peers are benefiting from wide-format printing.
The new Canon imagePROGRAF iPF9100, the latest addition to the company's imagePROGRAF line of large-format printers, is a 12-color pigment ink large-format printer with an 80GB hard drive that's capable of 60-inch-wide prints. The imagePROGRAF iPF8100 12-color pigment ink 44-inch printer also incorporates an 80GB hard drive. The imagePROGRAF iPF6100 large-format printer is capable of 24-inch-wide prints and is equipped with a 12-color pigment inkset and better ink-drop control for improved dot patterns and reduced dot graininess. The iPF9100, iPF8100, and iPF6100 all incorporate newly reformulated Gray, Photo Gray, Black, and Matte Black LUCIA inks for enhanced monochrome prints. The reformulated inks help these printers reduce the occurrence of "bronzing."
The imagePROGRAF iPF9000S, part of Canon's new S-series of large-format printers, provides exceptionally rapid print speeds for high-volume production environments. The iPF9000S prints at 60-inches wide and boasts up to a 40% increase in speed over the imagePROGRAF iPF9000. The imagePROGRAF iPF8000S, also part of Canon's new S-series of large-format printers, prints at 44-inches wide and boasts up to a 40% increase in speed over the imagePROGRAF iPF8000. The S-series printers can render a 32.5x40.6-inch print in 4.9 minutes in Standard Mode on glossy photo paper and features an ink sub tank for empty ink tank replacements on the fly without interrupting the printing process.
"I've been using Canon's imagePROGRAF iPF6100 for the past couple of months. The results are spot-on, right out of the box, using just the printer's driver. I especially appreciate the convenience of not needing to swap out black inks for monochrome printing." -Diane Berkenfeld
The all-new 64-inch Epson Stylus Pro 11880 is designed to meet the needs of today's most discerning creative pros. The printer incorporates Epson's latest technologies, including a new MicroPiezo TFPT printhead; real-time automatic switching between Matte and Photo Black inks; automatic nozzle verification and cleaning; Epson UltraChrome K3 Ink enhanced with vivid magenta pigments for a significantly wider color gamut; Epson's radical new AccuPhoto HD screening technology for superior color and clarity; and more.
The 17-inch Epson Stylus Pro 4880 features Epson UltraChrome K3T ink, and is now enhanced with Epson's new Vivid Magenta pigments. This newest-generation ink technology requires only eight colors, including a three-level black technology, to significantly raise the quality levels for color and black-and white prints. Vivid Magenta allows pro shooters to consistently produce prints with a wider color gamut beyond anything that was previously possible with an archival inkjet printer.
"I print fine-art nature photographs both on photo paper and on canvas, so I especially appreciate that the new 64-inch Epson Stylus Pro 11880 keeps both Matte Black and Photo Black inks ready at all times. The large 54x72-inch canvas prints I now make look stunning and have helped my gallery sales become more profitable. The Stylus Pro 11880 is rock-solid reliable and repeatable, an absolute must for accurate color management. It is also very fast, which is especially helpful when I am making such large prints."
-Bill Atkinson, www.billatkinson.com
The new Xerox 8200 Series Color Wide-Format Solutions are available in 65- and 90-inch models. The environmentally friendly, color eco-solvent products average production speeds of 162- to 215-square feet per hour and boast a low total cost of operation and compatibility with a wide range of media types. They use the latest combination of inkjet technology and eco-solvent inks and offer resolution that ranges from 360 dpi to 1,440 dpi.
The HP Designjet Z Photo Printer Series expands HP's pro printing portfolio for creative professionals with an automated, intuitive experience in image reproduction. The industry's first-ever embedded spectrophotometer greatly simplifies accurate colormatching for the HP Designjet Z2100 eight-ink and HP Designjet Z3100 12-ink printers-bringing to life true, vivid colors with the touch of a button. Using HP Vivera pigment inks, the HP Designjet Z Photo Printer Series ensures photo permanence (200-plus years lightfastness) on a wide variety of HP media.
Offering a combination of speed, image quality, and color consistency, the new HP Designjet Z6100 Printer Series is ideal for print service providers and technical customers looking to reduce their turnarounds and produce high-impact prints with vivid color, and CAD and GIS applications with crisp lines. The HP Designjet Z6100 Printer Series can produce any number of impressive applications, including photo and fine-art pieces, exhibition graphics, point-of-purchase displays, drawings, maps, presentations, as well as short-term outdoor signage.
"I have been working with the HP Designjet Z3100 Photo Printer Series, and one of the greatest things about these new printing systems is that the degree of permanence is so high-much higher than conventional photography. This new printer, with the embedded spectrophotometer, gives us a kind of consistency from image to image that's totally astonishing. I'm able to make prints in the comfort of my own studio that allow me to manage the color in ways that the darkroom and enlarger can't. HP printing technology has made a huge difference in the work I produce."
-Joel Meyerowitz, www.joelmeyerowitz.com
The 54-inch Hi-Fi JET Pro II FJ-540 is part of Roland's line of high-resolution fine-art printers designed to meet the highest standards in digital print quality. Technologically, its performance is a factor of variable droplet technology, 1440x1440-dpi resolution, wide-gamut six-color pigment inks, and precise media movement. The FJ-540 uses six inline printheads to provide more accurate dot control compared to the staggered configuration of most printheads.
Offered in 54-, 64-, and 74-inch models, the new SOLJET PRO III XJ Series printers deliver the ultimate in six-color, eco-solvent inkjet printing. With print speeds of up to 458 sq. ft./hr for the 74-inch model, the XJ series excels at high-volume production applications. High-quality 1440x1440-dpi imaging and Roland's Precision Firing Pattern make the XJ series ideal for fine-art and photography reproductions as well. VersaWorks RIP software is included.
"Technically speaking, my two Roland Hi-Fi JET Pro II 54-inch inkjet printers allow me to match 97 percent of [the] Pantone colors. While the intuitive and intangible aspects of art are vital, execution is equally important. Roland has the highest quality and consistency, and the finest contrast and color brilliance. The longevity assures me that my life's work will be around for generations."
-Kevro (a.k.a. Kevin Rouse), www.kevroart.com
The Océ CS9060 high-quality eco-solvent inkjet printer is designed for light production environments such as studios, where high-quality output is required. Addressable print resolutions range from 720 dpi to 1,440 dpi. Eco-solvent inks enable usage of the Océ CS9060 printer in a regular office environment without the need for an air-purification system. The eco-solvent inks used in the Océ CS9060 offer an outdoor durability of up to three years without lamination.