Magazine Article


Super-Size It! Is an In-Studio Large-Format Inkjet Printer in Your Future?

Mimaki JV4-130 (

Mimaki's JV4-130 (54'') and JV4-160 (63'') are heavy-duty performers. Both feature a standard FireWire interface that helps improve output speed, and a take-up roll that allows for long panoramic printing or unattended printing without damage to paper or other materials. Three types of inks are available: pigment for long-lasting output, dye ink for the largest color gamut, and dispersed dye for transfer images to textiles and other media. Two sets of 6-color inks can be loaded simultaneously on either side of the machine, so different ink sets can be used from print to print. (Price range for printers: $20,000 - $23,000)

© Mark Mackinnon

Mark Mackinnon ( of 320studio, in Beacon, New York, has been a commercial photographer for over 20 years. He takes full advantage of his Mimaki JV4-130's ability to run a color pigment set and B&W hextone set, both from For the last few years, he has concentrated on fine art, shooting mostly with his Fuji 6x7 medium-format camera and printing on 100% cotton archival coated papers from Hahnemühle, and 100% cotton waterproof canvas from InteliCoat. After scanning and retouching in-house, he sends files to a Windows PC running Onyx Postershop RIP software and profiles the papers with the Onyx RIP and a GretagMacbeth EyeOne spectrophotometer.

"The whole system is quite involved and not for the faint of heart, but I do get amazing results," says Mackinnon, who is exhibiting at the Olympia Grand Hall in London, U.K., September 29-October 3.

Roland DGA Hi-Fi Jet Pro FJ-500 (

Most Roland printers find their way into sign shops and service bureaus, but the Hi-Fi Jet FJ-500 and Hi-Fi Jet Pro II FJ-540 (both 54'') are excellent tools for printing photo-quality images. The FJ-500 is an 8-color printer available with an enhanced-gamut pigment inkset or dual CMYK ink configuration for faster production capability. The FJ-540 is a 6-color printer with a 1''-wide print head, and comes standard with a network interface. (Price range for printers: $16,000 - $22,000)

J.R. vanLienden (, of Masterpiece Portraits in Sarasota, Florida, specializes in family and children's portraiture and has been shooting professionally for over 20 years. His studio has been using the Hi-Fi Jet FJ-50 (similar to the FJ-500) with Roland's pigment inks for more than four years, for everything from wallets to 50''x70'' wall prints. "The Roland is built like a tank, and I expect we'll still be using it in 10 years for certain jobs," he says.

Most images are printed on Ilford's Galerie Pearl paper, then cold laminated using a GBC 60-inch Artic Titan laminator. VanLienden notes, "I also like Epson's textured fine art paper. We often hand-tear the edges and mount it to 1/4" foam so it floats in a frame. As for RIPs, I like the layout capabilities of IMAGEPRINT.

A Large-Format Kodak Moment: Encad's New NovaJet 1000i The Encad NovaJet 1000i inkjet printer shipped too recently for us to identify photographers who purchased them for in-studio use. Available in 42'' ($12,000) and 60'' ($17,000) widths, the high-speed 6-color photo-quality printer has a print head with 640 nozzles and a Rapid Evaporation Drying System that ensures prints will dry quickly. Encad's Quantum Dye Ink and wide-gamut Quantum Pigment Ink are available in 700ml bottles. The NovaJet 1000i will be generating super-sized images at the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. For more information, visit and watch for SP&D's October issue for a recap of the role played by Encad, Eastman Kodak, and other Olympic sponsors.