Epson 9000 at the left; Epson 7000 at the right. The green soap box is the clever packaging for the BEST software RIP
The 24" Epson 7000 was introduced (at CeBIT computer trade show in Germany, March 2000). Running software RIP from BEST, this Epson 7000 seems to be a vast improvement over the Epson 3000 and Epson 5000. The BEST software PostScript RIP turns the Epson 7000 into a professional quality printer in many respects.
Rather than coming out with a 54" or 62" printer Epson decided to conquer the 24" marketplace first.
The Encad Chroma 24" is not recommended because RIP´s for it are hard to find. Few RIP companies felt it worthwhile to make their product for that printer (an exception is the nice Shiraz RIP from England). Also, its only four colors, only 300 dpi. Okay to practice with but not much more.
The HP 500ps is four colors but 1200 dpi; the HP 800ps is four colors and 2400dpi. Downside is no pigmented inks, can't use aftermarket inks, and not six colors.
The 24 inch Epson 7000 will heat up the competition since the Encad Chroma 24 offers only 300 dpi. Various 24" offerings from Hewlett-Packard still show their heritage in architectural plotters of the last century (HP officially does not make any more "plodders," (sic) but the legacy of architectural plotters has stuck). The disadvantage of the HP DesignJet 500 and 800 is that both offer only four colors (the Epson 7000 offers six colors). You can use after-market inks in the Epson 7000, which means you can get UV pigmented inks for longevity. This option is totally unavailable for the HP 500ps or 800ps.
Epson is another good example of how a legacy of slow cheap desktop printers, orange discoloration, and metamerism is affecting the perception of their more professional series of wide format products. Their legendary Epson "disappearing ink" has somewhat haunted the acceptance of the Epson 9000 and now the Epson 7000. The "fast fade" ink was replaced by the Epson 7500, Epson 9500, and now the Epson 10000 archival. In the meantime, Staedtler inks, Lyson inks, and a host of agile after-market ink companies are providing archival inks to use with the Epson 9000, with longer-lasting color. Many of these same inks should be available for the Epson 7000 as well.
What report would offer you the best help ? That would be the FLAAR report on 24" printers for photo-realistic and fine art giclée printing. Just order the FLAAR Premium Report Series on Fine Art giclée.
Is it possible to run the Epson without any RIP? The original Epson comes with an EFI Fiery RIP. Is this the best option? The Epson is a six-color printer, yet most RIP´s can handle only four colors... how do you solve this dilemma? Be sure to make sure your RIP can handle all six colors. Lots of information on PostScript RIP solutions, on this site and on www.wide-format-printers.org as well as also on www.large-format-printers.org.
The Epson 7000, as with most Epson printers, can indeed operate with no RIP. You can print a TIFF file from Photoshop directly. Three problems, however, first is the slowness. It will take forever to get from your computer through the driver into the printer (and then it always takes an Epson a long long time to actually print). Second, all this will tie up your computer for between one and two hours if you print at high resolution. If you have a Mac, since they are not yet multitasking, you can't use your computer the entire time the printer driver is trying to digest the file.
With a RIP you send the file to the RIP server and that releases your computer within a few minutes. After that you can continue your own work while the RIP (which is housed in a separate computer which functions as a RIP server) handles the processing of the file and sending it to the printer already predigested.
What is a RIP server? The FLAAR Premium Report Series on RIP´s offers help so you better understand both the jargon, the hardware, and the software aspects of all this.
Yes it prints on its own drivers with no RIP, but has few capabilities and takes too long (if it is a large print such as a panorama, a mural, or a trade show poster. The RIP is the heart, the brain, the soul of the printer. Without the RIP the printer is just a simple machine with lots of innate capabilities but not enough intelligence to use them. An Epson 7000 or Epson 9000 is a viable option if outfitted with BEST RIP (if you especially need color management capabilities) or outfitted with PosterJet RIP (especially if you need layout, nesting, tiling, and speed).
How to we know about RIP or no RIP? We have an Epson 7500 with no RIP (it also came with no network card). It prints, as it should, with no RIP, but we are upgrading to BESTColor as soon as possible. As soon as PosterJet RIP is available for the Epson 7500 we intend to try that out as well.
Need help deciding which printer and RIP is best for you?
It's awkward for a printer manufacturer to recommend which RIP is best. They just provide a lame list of every RIP that can possibly function on their printer. But this kind of list can lead to maybe buying the slowest RIP or one that has about zero features (which actually is the featured EFI Fiery RIP). Just contact the senior review editor ( Click here and Dr Nicholas Hellmuth's staff at the university will do their best to read, and answer, your e-mail. Please indicate what kinds of images you intend to print (scanned slides, digital art, etc.) and what your large format prints will be used for (to sell as fine art prints, or as signs, posters, banners).
Don't worry if you are a beginner in all this, or a graphics artistic professional. But we can be considerably more helpful (and understanding of what you want to do) if you indicate approximately your level of awareness.
The RIP which is used for professional color proofing on Epson (and Roland and HP and other printers) Most other RIP´s neglect to warn you about their lack of 6-color support.
Every day we get tearful complaints from people who bought the a printer from a source incapable of providing support.
In reality the printer may have been okay, but they bought it low-bid on the Internet or from some friendly local hometown dealer... who could not pronounce giclée much less had the foggiest idea how to produce a giclée print.
Once you already take delivery on the printer, what can we do? Yet every day we get e-mail saying "I wish I had seen your web site and knew the downside of procurement from a supplier which suckered me into buying by slick advertising."
To make your large format experience more pleasant, to enable you to print (and sell and make a profit), it's worth making the effort to find one company that takes responsibility for the entire system, input through output, color management, and training.
Every several years there is either a new Canon iPF printer or a new Epson or a new HP water-based printer that is made for giclee, decor, or fine art photography. It is hard to keep track of the advances in improved inks and color management features. FLAAR is keeping track by visiting giclee ateliers around the world that have these various brands. Each brand has its good points and a few issues and an occasional deficiency.
Since FLAAR itself does not sell printers, for you to find out information on prices and availability of each model that can print fine art giclee well, we suggest you contact a company that offers all three brands: Canon, HP, and Epson. This way they are not going to push just one brand because they offer all three. Plus you need a company that has plenty of experience with fine art photographs, photo labs, and giclee atelier.
If you are looking for a place that is not a box-pusher (meaning you want a place that provides service after the sale), then one place we know for many years is Parrot Digigraphic. Their telephone is 978.670.7766.
error, omission, or have a different opinion on a review, please contact the editor