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It€™s a Photokina Year

Posted August 8, 2016

flaar reports at photokina 2016

Photokina is every two years, and this year is sandwiched between Glasstec (glass printer expo) the days before in nearby Duesseldorf and Tecnargilla (ceramic tile printer expo) the days after Photokina in Rimini, Italy. The FLAAR Team will attend all three.

We mention these other two expos, since if you are doing any architectural decoration, learning about how to print on glass and how to print on ceramic tiles is useful. Dr Nicholas attends all these architectural decoration trade shows, plus we attend the textile printer expos. So if you wish to hire Dr Nicholas Hellmuth to walk-the-aisles with you at any or all of these 2016 autumn expos, you can hire him for a consulting session: You can make an appointment via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Photokina is not the same as it was ten years ago because the world is not the same. Cheap Chinese products have caused the bankruptcy of many prestige brands in USA and Western Europe. But Photokina is still worth attending since there is no photo expo in USA of the size and scope of Photokina. 20-25 September (we will attend Glasstec then Photokina then Tecnargilla (and then Sign Istanbul)).


ISA 2016 is an opportunity to learn printing workflow

Posted April 7, 2016

FLAAR Reports team review evaluation test prints fine art giclee photo

Our team is ready to meet you in Orlando at ISA 2016.

Four of us from FLAAR will be attending ISA 2016 in Orlando. Expo is 21, 22, 23 April. Plus, FLAAR will have a booth (#1889). Yes, this is a signage expo; this is not a fine art photo nor giclee expo. Nonetheless, you will find more of what a fine art giclee atelier or photo printing company will need (since giclee and photo expos never have as many printer brands as ISA)!

Our origins in the 1990€™s was evaluations of printers for fine art photographs; our research today is primarily textile printers, UV-cured printers, after-market inks, substrates, and printers for glass and ceramic tiles (so, printing architectural materials, since the Hellmuth family background is architecture).

Although we go to the special glass trade shows, special ceramic printer trade shows, etc. we still make sure we never miss ISA: we attend every single year.


Fine art giclee digital photography of tropical trees and flowers

Posted April 6, 2016

Tabebuia Cortez tree Guatemala fine art giclee photo FLAAR 2958 NH
Tabebuia Cortez yellow Guatemalan flower fine art giclee FLAAR 3040 NH

A remarkable yellow-flowering tree (names Cortez) in a field near the highway to Puerto Barrios, but in a dry eco-system. In addition to doing ethnobotanical photography, we do fine art giclee style photos of the flowers, and occasionally of the entire tree.

Together with Nancy Dwyer and Joseph Dwyer we are preparing fine art giclee style digital photographs for people to display electronically in their homes.

We will be announcing this shortly, but in effect, if you donate to assist our long-range project to find and photograph the native Neotropical flowers of Guatemala, then in appreciation for your contribution we will provide images which should make your family and visiting friends say WOW, where did you find these images.

These photos are of a tree which is in the dry part of central Guatemala, photographed a week ago by Dr Nicholas Hellmuth, head ethnobotanist of FLAAR (USA) and FLAAR Mesoamerica (Guatemala).

We appreciate the experience of Nancy and Joseph Dwyer (of St Louis) for assisting FLAAR to be able to focus our experience and energy on continuing our projects.

You can see more of our fine art photography style on and


Sign Istanbul, in a historical art location, so good for giclee

Posted 5 Aug 2015

Now that the summer expos are almost finished, we are focusing on Sign Istanbul, co-located with 3D PRINTSHOW. We will attend SIGGRAPH first (this coming week in Los Angeles), then Sign Istanbul.

Dr Nicholas flies about 150,000+ miles a year attending printer, signage, 3D, and related trade shows in Dubai, Shanghai, Cologne, and recently Johannesburg.

SIGN Istanbul

Since there is lots of art in Istanbul, and hence giclee print ateliers here, we will look forward to seeing what aspects of fine art photography and giclee printing are available to evaluate at Sign Istanbul.

Sign Istanbul, 10-13 September,
Tuyap Fair and Congress Center



First printer expo of the year 2015, SGI in Dubai

Posted January 9, 2015.


If you wish to get a head start on your competitors, to see the trends in printing, inks, etc, the first international expo of the year is Sign Middle East, in Dubai, January 11-13.

FLAAR has flown three people here. We would not take the time to be away from the office so long unless SGI was well worth the long flights back and forth (actually being in Dubai is worth the trip).

Epson, Canon, and HP all have large booths at SGI (Sign Middle East) in the impressive city of Dubai.

Another reason to attend is to see and learn from the kilometers of signage at the giant expo center and around the city. The drive from the airport to your hotel is a good first start: you see every kind of printed and electronic signage. Including 3D signage.

An additional reason to attend is the presence of media manufacturers from Korea and China, plus distributors of media from Europe.


We are looking forward to ISA 2015, April 9-11, Las Vegas

Updated Dec 19, 2014
Also Updated April 28, 2014
Originally posted Dec. 2013

Although ISA is a sign printer expo and a traditional signage expo (channel letters), and an electronic digital signage expo (LED and LCD panels), you can also find some items related to fine art giclee, such as after-market inks, media, and substrates.

Since PMA collapsed several years ago and its rebirth as PMA@CES is the same week as SGI, aka Sign Middle East in Dubai, we will skip PMA 2015 and focus on ISA International Sign Expo 2015 in Las Vegas.

Here at ISA you can find plenty of after-market inks for giclee and fine art printers, plus you can inspect all the latest Canon and Epson printers. HP exhibits primarily latex rather than their entire series of Z-series Designjet printers. We had an HP Z3200 but it stopped functioning when we attempted to update the firmware.

But to set your giclee atelier apart from the run of the mill, you can be clever and add new kinds of media and substrates which your competitors have not yet thought of.

FLAAR Reports sends a team of at least 4 staff to ISA because there is so much to experience here: inks, color management, media, plus all the new ink chemistries. is their web site, definitely worth visiting.

We hope to see you at ISA 2015 this year.


What new products will we find at Photokina 2014 later this month (in September, in Cologne)? What Fine Art Photo & Giclee technology advances can we expect to see at Photokina

Posted September 3, 2014

Photokina 2014 hall list digital photography brand product category list

At Photokina we will be looking at media for fine art photos and giclee prints at Photokina. However keep in mind that the best expo in the world to learn about diverse kinds of printable materials is APPPEXPO in Shanghai (in 2015 in early March; definitely worth attending).

At Photokina we will be looking for printers for fine art and giclee. Sadly, we are disappointed with our HP Designjet Z3200. It does not function whatsoever (firmware indigestion seemingly). We will be updating our report and recommending that people be wary, especially of buying one used. Too bad, as the HP Z3200 was a great printer when new.

We have over a decade of experience in fine art scanners. Several brands have attempted to copy the Cruse, but most are, at best, obvious copies (or are simply entry-level). However there are other good models of large-format fine art scanners, such as Rencay, that we will be looking at.

In general we will also be studying studio lighting systems, especially digital fluorescent lighting (such as from FJ Westcott) which can replace harsh, hot halogen tungsten lighting. But the advantage of tungsten lighting is that they have developed good systems for focused beams (fluorescent is more a broad general lighting).

FLAAR also does research and evaluation on portable lighting, but lighting whose supports can be put on un-even ground (caves, hillsides, river beds, etc). So you can't use traditional lightstands.

Plus, for fine art photography, we will be comparing large-format tri-linear scanners with medium format (CCD or CMOS) with "35mm" DSLR (CCD or CMOS). Which are the best systems for landscape photography, nature photography, architectural photography, etc.?

Sorry, we do not focus on portrait photography: already plenty of capable photographers who handle that.

For all the photo themes that we focus on, our benefit is that we actually live in one of the most photogenic areas on earth, Neotropical Guatemala: mountains, deserts, both Atlantic (Caribbean) and Pacific coasts, lakes, volcanos, savannas: virtually all eco-systems except frozen ice or snow!

About 121,292 people a year read this fine art web site (over half a million read the overall FLAAR network of several focused sites). So we look forward to providing evaluations of fine art and giclee equipment, inks, RIP software, color management, and workflow tips from Photokina.

Three of us from FLAAR will be attending Photokina: Dr Nicholas, Sophia Monzon (technical writer and evaluator of camera equipment) and Melanny Celeste Quinonez Izquierdo (likewise evaluator of camera techniques and equipment).


Fine Art Photo or Glicee Products at FESPA DIGITAL 2014 EXPO in Munich, Germany

Last Updated May 26, 2014
Updated May 19, 2014
Originally posted May 15, 2014

Ten years ago Photokina had a dozen brands of printers exhibited (in addition to cameras and lots of scanners). Now 90% of the printer brands no longer have a booth at Photokina: they exhibit in Europe only at FESPA Digital (or Sign Istanbul).

A decade ago Drupa and other printer expos had lots of products for fine art photography and giclee workflow: Heidelberg even offered medium format digital camera backs! How times have changed.

At ISA 2014 in Orlando, you could find plenty of after-market inks for giclee and fine art printers, plus you could inspect all the latest Canon and Epson printers. HP exhibited primarily latex rather than their entire series of nice Z-series Designjet printers.

So at FESPA Digital 2014 in Munich, we had curiousity to see what products were on exhibit, appropriate for giclee and fine art photography digitization, printing and finishing.

We saw between four and five booths of media for giclee and fine art photography. But didn't had the chance to see whatever remains of "Ilford." Sadly that company fell faster and further than Kodak. Of the original brands of the era of Leica and Hasselblad, only Fujifilm was able to evolve into the world of digital imaging (but not in cameras, only in wide-format printers and inks).

Four of us from FLAAR Reports assisted at FESPA (and at least two of us will be at Photokina). Since this is a "Photokina year" we will probably skip PhotoEast in New York.


Canvas and lots of fine art media at ISA 2013

Posted April 5, 2013.

Four of us from FLAAR at at ISA wide-format inkjet expo. We are making lists of all the media which can be used for fine art photo prints and for giclee.

The reports will be available in several weeks.



Metallic inks, metallic fine art paper, metallic printable rigid material

Posted Oct 22, 2012

FLAAR will be reviewing metallic inks, metallic paper, and rigid substrates made of aluminum composite material. These reviews will begin during November.



FLAAR attends Photokina

posted September 24, 2012

Photokina 2012 entrance, expo attended by FLAAR teamNicholas and Sofia attended Photokina the first four days. They inspected cameras, lens, lighting, tripods, tripod heads, plus wide-format printers, color management systems, and media for fine art photography and giclee.

The FLAAR Reports on these aspects will appear during the coming weeks.


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