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Can you produce exhibit-quality large format prints with a Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 2800CP or 3800CP Print E-mail

If you have a good original (that means outstanding colors, striking color balance), then you can produce exhibit-quality large format prints with a Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 2800CP or 3800CP, as well as with the HP 2000, 2500 (both 36" size) or HP 3000, or 3500 (both 54" size). Important is to have the proper RIP.

Hewlett-Packard DesignJet wide format printerTo get a good final product it is essential that you prepare the image correctly (this means scanning on a professional scanner such as Scitex, Fuji Lanovia C-550, Heidelberg Nexscan, Topaz, or drum scanner such as from ICG), and if you have an appropriate RIP with good color management software (such as Best, Onyx PosterShop, etc.) then, yes, you can proudly exhibit your wide format Hewlett-Packard prints in any gallery or museum. Close-up details of the map and the painting can be seen on this separate page. Further close-ups of the engraved figures on the antique map are on an additional page (these make great decorations).

You can also drive your Lexus, Audi, BMW, or Mercedes to the gallery or museum, or you can drive a Bentley (Roland or ColorSpan) or a Rolls Royce (Iris giclée prints).

In other words, I can produce (and have produced) exhibit quality prints with a 300 dpi Encad NovaJetPro using an EFI Fiery RIP. But I used a large format BetterLight digital scan back to capture the image directly in digital format from the original sculpture (a carved panel of a 7th century Maya throne from Copan, Honduras). In show clearly that an Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 2500CP or 3500CP large format printer can also produce professional quality that is exhibited in a museum.

Equally obviously, if you are operating a million-dollar fine art giclée printing business in New York or Beverly Hills, you will prefer to print on a Roland, ColorSpan, HP 5000, Iris or the newer Ixia giclée printer. But to experiment with fine art prints, and to see your art proudly exhibited in your local museum, university, college, or library, yes, you can achieve a large format print of impressive quality with a Hewlett-Packard wide format printer. You can accomplish this with an HP DesignJet 2500CP or 3500CP, DesignJet 2800CP (36" width) or 3800CP (54" width) with an appropriate software RIP.

We recommend BEST color management RIP for proofing and color matching, ColorGate and Wasatch are also good. Wasatch you can obtain from Improved Technologies, for further information on Wasatch.

We recommend PosterJet if you need speed and an easy-to-use RIP. PosterJet is faster than any EFI Fiery RIP, has more options, can be upgraded to handle other printers (not so with EFI hardware RIP´s), and the PosterJet costs less! If you get the HP 2800 or HP 3800 you can just toss the EFI Fiery RIP that comes with it and eventually replace that with a faster and better software RIP. Many people who have a Fiery RIP now realize it is not as good as claimed and are generally happy to part with the printer for a reasonable price.

We also like Ilford's RIP´star (the Ilford version of Onyx PosterShop) if you have a ColorSpan or Encad printer.

A second HP DesignJet printer just arrived at the FLAAR studios, the 1055 CM. This printer is ideal for CAD, GIS, and hence maps, drawings, and graphic design such as 3-D renderings. But if you add a really good RIP such as PosterJet, then this printer can also produce photo-realistic images. The 1050 (with no RIP, you add your own) and the 1055 (has its own internal RIP though most people add a faster more versatile after-market software RIP) used pigmented ink for black and dye-based inks for CMY. There are not any pigmented inks for the colors and HP printers do not accept any after-market inks.

Reviews of the HP 1055 CM will be on and

We just acquired an even newer printer to update that, the HP 800ps. This is now installed in the FLAAR evaluation facility in Latin America. In our new facility in Ohio we just installed an HP DesignJet 5000ps with UV pigmented inks. We are very pleased with the improved color gamut of these UV pigmented inks.

The HP 5000 is much better than the HP 2800 or HP 3800. The main advantage of the earlier models is their low price. We still have our HP 2800 and are pleased with its quality but when we need to do shows for the museum on campus, we now use the model 5000.

If you are seeking a used HP DesignJet printer it is not advisable to depend on e-bay. How do you know whether the printer even works? So if you need reassurance that your used printer is reconditioned, or at least has a 30 day warranty, or whatever, you might consider checking with This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . They are HP authorized dealers.

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.


Last updated: Sept. 23, 2003.
Previous updates: Jan. 15, 2003, June 15, 2002, Aug. 14, 2001.


The complete FLAAR Reports are in full-color PDF format. Our institute has comprehensive FLAAR Reports on over 73 different wide format inkjet printers, RIP software, color management, scanners, digital cameras and on countless markets such as wide format inkjet printers for photography, giclee, proofing, CAD, GIS, graphic design, signs, and specialty applications too. All FLAAR Reports by Dr Nicholas Hellmuth and his team are available on

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