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Which computer monitor is used by professional photographers, experienced graphic designers, and fine art giclée printers? Print E-mail
Barco monitors on exhibit at CeBIT computer trade show
Every time I visit a professional photo studio, graphics design studio, or fine art print facility, usually they all have Barco monitors. Flat LCD panels are great for saving desk space, but so far you cannot calibrate their color easily. Barco monitors on exhibit at CeBIT computer trade show.

If the color on your monitor is inaccurate, your fine art prints may have different colors than you expected. When you move into the word of digital photography, digital scanning, and digital printing there are a few key items of equipment that are crucial. You can waste a lot of money buying an "inexpensive" item of equipment. If that equipment does a poor job you will then have to buy what you should have chosen to begin with (and thus you wasted all the money on the "cheap" item of equipment.

Every time I visit a professional photo studio, graphics design studio, or fine art print facility, usually they all had Barco monitors three years ago. Today most have LaCie monitors. Flat LCD panels are great for saving desk space, but so far you cannot calibrate their color easily.

Color management starts with your monitor

Might as well find out sooner or later the basic accessories you will need when you enter the world of wide format fine art giclée printers.

Accessories for your fine art giclée enterprise
Suggestions, tips, contacts for additional information elsewhere
Color Management ICC profile Software ColorBlind used to be popular in Germany and in USA 5 years ago. Today Monaco has taken over almost totally. X-Rite and GretagMacBeth make the best color management instruments. If you wish to hire a professional color management consultant, you can contact FLAAR at Bowling Green State University. We recently spent two days helping a wide format inkjet decor printing company with color management.
Digital Cameras To fill a wide format size you need to start with a large format digital camera system BetterLight produces handsome results; check out If you intend to print and sell professional images then use a professional camera system. For information on what is available look at Calumet Photographic/Calumet Digital Solutions stock everything you will ever need for entering the world of digital photography. If you might be using the BetterLight scanning back to photograph art for eventual fine art giclée printing, then consider asking about the BetterLight camera at Parrot Digigraphic, since they know scanners, fine art giclée printers, watercolor paper, canvas, and also now the BetterLight digital camera systems.
(archival inks)
Lyson and other archival inks for longevity Hahnemuehle makes a wide range of quality mould-made and watercolor paper for digital fine art prints. For sources obtain the "FLAAR Report on Inks and Media for Wide Format Photo and Fine Art Printing."
(canvas, photo paper, fabric, textiles)
Special canvas for fine art giclée prints and printers (for the Iris, Roland, Epson, HP and Encad) For sources order the FLAAR Report on "Inks and Media for Wide Format Photo and Fine Art Printing."
Monitors Barco monitors and Radius monitors (Miro) were two highly regarded monitors for professional prepress but these have been replaced in recent years with LCD. The first color manageable LCD monitor is described in Nicholas Hellmuth's FLAAR Reports on the GraphExpo '03 trade show and then again in Hellmuth's recent report on the SGIA '03 trade show. Both these reports are free; just fill out the Survey Form and FLAAR will send you these reports in return.
Wide Format Fine Art Printer ColorSpan is much faster than Epson or Roland. If you already have an Encad or HP 600 dpi printer you can do modest fine art prints of exhibit quality but only on canvas. As you grow more confident you can eventually upgrade to a ColorSpan, Hewlett-Packard, Roland HiFi 6-color system. Many giclée printers started with a low cost used Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 2000 series (36") and 3000 series (54") or the newer better HP DesignJet 5500. Top quality for color depth is the ColorSpan DisplayMaker Mach 12 or 12X. We run ours with quad-black combined with seven additional colors.
Network, Cables, etc. Ethernet, mini-hubs, etc.
RIP, Hardware RIP and Software RIP Wasatch, PosterJet, ErgoSoft are good; for exhaustive list check FLAAR Reports on RIP software.
Scanner Using a cheap scanner will produce prints that you will be embarrassed to show. A scan from a drum scanner really brings out the color and detail. If you intend to sell fine art giclée prints then you need a drum scanner or professional flatbed scanner. Scitex, Heidelberg Nexscan, Fuji (Lanovia C-550) are in this league. Advantages of Creo Scitex is they make the widest range, hence have a model in your price range. Besides, Scitex is the Rolls Royce of high-end printing (they make the Iris giclée printer). Check out Fuji, Agfa, and Heidelberg no longer make scanners; this leaves Creo as offering the widest range of professional scanners. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for information on flatbed scanners and 35mm slide scanners.
(storing your digital images)
DVD-RAM is more secure than other flavors of DVD. Best buy is from MegaHaus or their associated company, Dirt Cheap Drives. This is where the FLAAR Digital Imaging Technology Center buys all its hard disks, CD-R burners, G4 Mac computers, memory (RAM), etc. However please realize they sell only storage (RAID, SCSI drives, fire wire drives, CD-R, DVD-RAM) but no printers and no scanners. So ask your questions here about storage... but not about printer or scanner selection.
CD-R is more reliable than CD-RW but you can now get a CD-R burner combined with a CD-RW burner in the same CD unit, so you can have both together.
DVD-RAM and/or CD Jukeboxes
Plasmon, Cygnet, or NSM Storage are best. We recommend Cygnet or NSM (NSM especially if you like German technology).
Hard Drives Seagate   (three of our Seagate disks have failed); IBM (two brand new IBM disks could not even spin up to speed; Quantum (are faster than IBM disks of same rating).
Where to buy your fine art printer?

If you are moving into fine art wide format printing, you need a sales rep who has actually been exposed to fine art printing in the real world as well as all the equipment in the above list. Buying low bid on the Internet from a sales catalog is the worse way to buy digital imaging equipment. Select only a company whose staff actually know what an ICC color profile is, and how to handle them.

If you prefer a Mimaki for production speed for giclée, contact the folks at


Last updated Nov. 8, 2003.
Previously updated Jan. 7, 2003, Aug. 12, 2001.Last edited Sept. 3-2001, last checked by webdesigner Nov. 14, 2002

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