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Arches Cold Press, Somerset Velvet or a different watercolor paper? Print E-mail

Your fine art giclee prints will look much better if you select the proper media which is specifically appropriate for your Epson 5500, 7000, 7500, 9000, 9500, or 10000. Some printers prefer slightly different media. For example, the inks for the Epson 7000 and 9000 are totally distinct from the inks for the 7500 and 9500. Each class of ink requires it's own special media.

Epson 7500 wide format printer
Epson 7500

You will quickly learn that you can't simply buy inkjet media at some cheap place and expect the resulting photographs or paintings to look museum quality. You need the appropriate ICC color profiles along with the media.

If you really want technical details on inkjet media, and especially if you wish to meet the movers and shakers in this industry, be sure to sign up for the next Annual Digital Printing Papers Conference organized by IMI in Maine.

To save yourself headaches, you might consider checking with the same place that FLAAR went when we needed to obtain information on fine art printing with Epson Stylus Pro printers.

This is because every day, actually sometimes every hour, we get plaintive e-mail from people who bought their Epson printer from some local dealer, or from a mail-order place, or low-bid on the Internet. When they unpack the printer they quickly find out that an Epson printer requires knowledge of inkjet color management. There is a learning curve here.

If you obtain your printer from a reputable specialist in fine art giclee printing, then this company can provide training. When FLAAR received our Epson 7500 printer the first prints looked like junk. That's because of the cheap paper that Epson sends with the printer. That paper is to wake you up to the fact that cheap paper does not work, indeed it won't even accept 1440 dpi (its limited to 720 dpi mode). But when you select a premium paper, your Epson prints look marvelous.

Actually FLAAR has two Epson 7500 printers (because no other inkjet manufacturer was clever enough to make a 24" printer which also included pigmented inks). The second Epson 7500 was in our facility at Bowling Green State University of Ohio. This printer is rarely used because originally virtually no after-market media was available. There is a Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 5000ps in the same room, and since this thermal printer accepts virtually any kind of material you can feed it, it's the HP printer that everyone tends to use.

But over the last several months Epson USA has continued to increase the quantity and quality of the media which is offered. On top of this, the most sophisticated Epson dealers, who specialize in printing photographs and fine art giclee, have selected fine art and photo media that works well with each model of Epson Stylus Pro.

So two of the FLAAR crew went to visit Parrot Digigraphic. Actually you don't need to do this in person, since Parrot sells nationally. But we wanted to see the Parrot technical staff and inspect their facilities before we would consider recommending their company. It turns out that Parrot is a valued consultant for university art departments, for major museums, for leading photography labs, and naturally for fine art giclee studios. Thus you can be confident in approaching the staff of this experienced company.

In addition to countless complaints from people who bought their printer before they read the reality-check in the FLAAR web sites, we also receive e-mail from fine art giclee printer studios who achieve awesome quality from their Epson printers. Many people love these printers (sort of like the way some graphics people just love their Macintosh computers; no way to interest them in a PC computer no matter how much faster or less costly they are). So if you are intent on going the Epson piezo route into the world of wide format digital imaging, at least ally yourself with people who know Epson printers, how to print photos on canvas, and the world of fine art giclee inside out. The reason we recommend Parrot Digigraphic is because we don't have enough secretaries to handle the sad tales of people who bought their printers from some cheapo place who hadn't the foggiest idea about color management or true giclee quality.

We will eventually be picturing the results of using Parrot watercolor and canvas inkjet media on our Epson 7500 and 7600 printers.

If you already have your printer from elsewhere, of course you can obtain your media, inks, and color management tools such as X-Rite, all from Parrot. I would guess that Parrot also has media which works well on a Roland printer. For sure Parrot has media for the Iris giclee printer.



Last updated: Nov. 7, 2003
Previous updates: Sept 24, 2003, July 1, 2002, first posted Sept. 2, 2001

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