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Museum Exhibit Quality and Photo-realistic Fine Art Prints Print E-mail

An excellent choice is fine art paper from the Hahnemuhle Collection of Digital Fine Art paper. This fine art paper is for digital art prints, ideal for limited editions of giclée prints and digital fine art in general. If you need special paper to reproduce historical photographs with that special look, then again, look at the Hahnemuhle Collection of Digital Fine Art paper

Hewlett-Packard DesignJet inkjet color printers for large format maps, GIS, CADPeople who run sign shops have now recognized they can make extra profit if they also print fine art giclée on the side. So FLAAR has begun to study which sign printers are capable also of achieving basic fine art quality. Keep in mind there is a difference between a sign shop doing fine art prints and a Madison Avenue giclée studio.

Here are better views of the exhibit-quality wide format images produced by a Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 3800CP. The actual printers are pictured on an earlier page (photographed at the recent CeBIT international computer trade show, Hannover, Germany). A close-up of the people on the antique map are presented on a subsequent page.

These are digital snapshots (Nikon CoolPix 950), without tripod, so the actual original Hewlett-Packard prints are far superior to this reduced image which had to be JPEGed to get it onto the Internet.

Now the newer generation of HP DesignJet printers is available. The HP 800ps is for CAD, GIS, and other computer generated images. The 800ps can also do photo quality prints. FLAAR has one in our facility at the Francisco Marroquin University because we are next door to the architecture department on campus. However this printer has no pigmented ink and is not made for fine art printing.

Why not use an Encad? Many sign shops already have an Encad. Can you produce fine art with that? You really need our full report to understand why some printers are accepted in the ramified atmosphere of fine art giclée, and other brands simply are not considered. Learn more from the FLAAR Premium Report Series for Artists, Museums, and Fine Art giclée Studios

During late April FLAAR opened up another, larger facility at a technical college of a Midwestern state university. Here we have already installed the HP 5000ps. In the meantime, we have been testing the new HP UV pigmented inks for the HP 5000ps.

What printers can you use to produce fine art prints of your own photographs or your own art work?

Based on analysis of fine art (wide format) printers at trade shows, surveys of actual companies who do fine art giclée printing professionally, as well as independent analysis, it is clear that Scitex Iris printers are obviously the printer of choice for giclée printers. Large giclée printing companies, however, may also include Roland printers. There are many jobs that Roland can do in the fine art world.

But what about individual artists, individual photographers, all of whom realize there is a fabulous market for their work as fine art exhibit prints?

Here is a print produced in the FLAAR studios in Essen, Germany. Here is a print produced in the FLAAR studios in Essen, Germany.
Here is a print produced in the FLAAR studios in Essen, Germany.

If you are an established artist or photographer you can have a commercial print company print your work for you. But will they really take the time to do a good job with your art or photos? What if you want absolutely the best rendition; perhaps it would be better to print them yourself. Thus what if you prefer to print in-house, or even literally at home?

Hewlett-Packard for fine art prints at museum qualityI get lots of e-mail from people who want their own fine art wide format printer but their budget will only allow for an Encad or Hewlett-Packard or Epson. Which once to chose?

Due to the growing demand for cost-conscious wide format printers at the entry level for fine art printing I decided it worthwhile to test different printers. Thus I asked Encad, Hewlett-Packard, and Epson for evaluation units. Encad has not designed a printer for fine art prints so there was no model to test. But we did test a regular Encad at DRUPA printer trade show. If you are interested in getting up to 6 Free FLAAR First Level Reprots, just send us an e-mail via our inquiry-survey form. We know the inner secrets of older Encad printers since we have an earlier model NovaJetPro (provided by Encad about 1997). Naturally we can report it lasts and lasts and holds up well (other than a few quirks). Indeed we have photos printed by this Encad on exhibit at a museum still today. Yet why is this printer not really adequate for doing fine art prints?

Epson found out about FLAAR's test program and offered a printer (actually they offered one before I even asked). But then the nice manager or someone seems to have hesitated when I said I would test color-fading and that I needed prints that would last for years.

I must admit that the Epson manager was totally honest and up front. He said that the current model (9000) was intended primarily for POP (point of sale) and other uses that needed to be displayed just a few days. He said that long-lasting prints were not their market (this was in January 2000). Since then Epson has moved aggressively into the pigmented ink market. When the Epson 7500 had matured, then Epson USA sent us an evaluation unit. Their Stylus Pro 10000cf is the latest model.

So if you are curious about whether the "long life" pigmented inks are as colorful as the beautiful yet "fast fade" inks of earlier models, just send an e-mail via our inquiry-survey form . But be specific about your needs, what you intend to print, what other printers you have looked at (if any). We can better explain how to use these printers if we know whether you intend to do the printing at home, in a home-studio, in a commercial studio, art department, museum, etc. Will you print paintings, photos, and at what size(s)?

Hewlett-Packard was definitely interested in having its 2800CP/3800CP tested as an entry-level fine art printer. The 2800 arrived in March 2000, about a year before the Epson 7500. The output of the HP 2800 surprised everyone by its quality. Of course HP printers have a reputation for longevity anyway, so HP had no fear of FLAAR testing their equipment for month after month after month. The digital photo of a Spanish colonial statue (Museo Colonial, Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, Antigua, Guatemala) is printed on the HP DesignJet 2800CP wide format printer. This print is definitely good enough to hang in a museum, even in the museum next to the actual statue.

Of course nowadays no one takes a 4-color printer seriously. Everyone wants six colors. So we acquired the HP 5000 and then the 12-color ColorSpan DisplayMaker XII. The reports now include updates on the HP 5000ps as well as on the ColorSpan.

Last updated: Nov. 15, 2002
Previuos updates: Aug. 18, 2001.

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