Kodak 5260 inkjet printer fails, leaving many photo labs in limbo
Last year when we first heard about the Kodak 5260 printer we assumed it would be for the photographer. After all, the brand name Kodak stands for photography worldwide.
Thus we put our initial review of this Kodak 5260 printer on this fine art web site (many photographers like to use a giclée printer for their photos).
But once we learned more about the Kodak 5260 printer we realized it was not made for fine art giclée at all. No fine art media for example. Plus the printer requires lamination, something photographers and artists will tend to avoid.
Then Kodak told us the printer is only for industrial use at million-dollar shops. This printer is not intended for the individual photographer.
Thus it is no longer appropriate to include discussion of this printer on this particular web site.
Therefore we have moved our more in-depth review to PDF format, so you can obtain it in full color.
If you prefer this longer discussion of this Kodak printer, you can get the results of FLAAR's international research at tradeshows and from correspondents around the world. Just fill out the Survey Form to request your FLAAR Report on the Kodak 5260 by Nicholas Hellmuth.
We did not have many people asking for this printer report until Kodak and then Encad issued countless full-page ads touting its speed and quality. But the printer never appeared at any tradeshow in the USA during 2001 even when ads specifically said it would be shown to the public. The disappearance of the printer during 2001 caused an inherent interest in finding out more about the printer. Since nowhere else provided the facts, we did our best to find out what was going on.
It was many months later that the printer actually appeared and quickly we saw that the speed and output so clearly shown at the tradeshow was not what the glossy ads claimed would be available.
However most printers start out like this, and then gradually improve as the engineers fix the occasional glitches in production. So eventually the printer should (hopefully) be just fine, though the speed has been lowered considerably. We next saw the printer in late September at Photokina where it gave a so-so performance. Then at SGIA it failed to come out of the shipping crate; reportedly the other new Encad printer for direct to substrate also got as far as the booth, in its crate, but was never unpacked.
So if you are considering an Encad in your future, the question is, does Kodak have Encad in its future after these two printer launch failures? We hope Encad continues, since there is a market for a practical sign printer. Epson, Roland, and comparable piezo printers are too slow. ColorSpan is the best for signs, but not everyone needs industrial size and strength of the Mach 12 or X-12 (we have two ColorSpan printers at the FLAAR facility at the university; they work great). HP 5000 and 5500 are good for signs too (we have two of them also) but they are designed for in-house corporate use, quick-print, and where an easy to use printer is needed. In distinction, sign shops need a simple basic work horse without all the bells and whistles. This was the place where Encad had its success. We hope they can recuperate.
If you are thinking about any Kodak or Encad wide format project for your future, all the more reason to check out the pithy, frank, and informative FLAAR report on the Kodak 5260, which we will send to you in full color.
In the meantime, Kodak had publicly stated they intend to become the media of choice for wide format printers. Clearly neither Eastman Kodak nor Encad have subscribed to the FLAAR statistics on which name brands people think of. FLAAR does not sell media, but our reports are read by over 240,000 users of inkjet media a year. So we thank our readers for making our information network the source of choice for documentation on what's going on in the world of wide format inks, media, RIPs, and printers.
Last checked: Sept. 24, 2003 Previous updates Jan. 6, 2003, Nov. 15, 2002 First posted August 18, 2001
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