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We are looking forward to ISA 2015, April 9-11, Las Vegas

Updated Dec 19, 2014
Also Updated April 28, 2014
Originally posted Dec. 2013

Although ISA is a sign printer expo and a traditional signage expo (channel letters), and an electronic digital signage expo (LED and LCD panels), you can also find some items related to fine art giclee, such as after-market inks, media, and substrates.

Since PMA collapsed several years ago and its rebirth as PMA@CES is the same week as SGI, aka Sign Middle East in Dubai, we will skip PMA 2015 and focus on ISA International Sign Expo 2015 in Las Vegas.

Here at ISA you can find plenty of after-market inks for giclee and fine art printers, plus you can inspect all the latest Canon and Epson printers. HP exhibits primarily latex rather than their entire series of Z-series Designjet printers. We had an HP Z3200 but it stopped functioning when we attempted to update the firmware.

But to set your giclee atelier apart from the run of the mill, you can be clever and add new kinds of media and substrates which your competitors have not yet thought of.

FLAAR Reports sends a team of at least 4 staff to ISA because there is so much to experience here: inks, color management, media, plus all the new ink chemistries. is their web site, definitely worth visiting.

We hope to see you at ISA 2015 this year.


What new products will we find at Photokina 2014 later this month (in September, in Cologne)? What Fine Art Photo & Giclee technology advances can we expect to see at Photokina

Posted September 3, 2014

Photokina 2014 hall list digital photography brand product category list

At Photokina we will be looking at media for fine art photos and giclee prints at Photokina. However keep in mind that the best expo in the world to learn about diverse kinds of printable materials is APPPEXPO in Shanghai (in 2015 in early March; definitely worth attending).

At Photokina we will be looking for printers for fine art and giclee. Sadly, we are disappointed with our HP Designjet Z3200. It does not function whatsoever (firmware indigestion seemingly). We will be updating our report and recommending that people be wary, especially of buying one used. Too bad, as the HP Z3200 was a great printer when new.

We have over a decade of experience in fine art scanners. Several brands have attempted to copy the Cruse, but most are, at best, obvious copies (or are simply entry-level). However there are other good models of large-format fine art scanners, such as Rencay, that we will be looking at.

In general we will also be studying studio lighting systems, especially digital fluorescent lighting (such as from FJ Westcott) which can replace harsh, hot halogen tungsten lighting. But the advantage of tungsten lighting is that they have developed good systems for focused beams (fluorescent is more a broad general lighting).

FLAAR also does research and evaluation on portable lighting, but lighting whose supports can be put on un-even ground (caves, hillsides, river beds, etc). So you can't use traditional lightstands.

Plus, for fine art photography, we will be comparing large-format tri-linear scanners with medium format (CCD or CMOS) with "35mm" DSLR (CCD or CMOS). Which are the best systems for landscape photography, nature photography, architectural photography, etc.?

Sorry, we do not focus on portrait photography: already plenty of capable photographers who handle that.

For all the photo themes that we focus on, our benefit is that we actually live in one of the most photogenic areas on earth, Neotropical Guatemala: mountains, deserts, both Atlantic (Caribbean) and Pacific coasts, lakes, volcanos, savannas: virtually all eco-systems except frozen ice or snow!

About 121,292 people a year read this fine art web site (over half a million read the overall FLAAR network of several focused sites). So we look forward to providing evaluations of fine art and giclee equipment, inks, RIP software, color management, and workflow tips from Photokina.

Three of us from FLAAR will be attending Photokina: Dr Nicholas, Sophia Monzon (technical writer and evaluator of camera equipment) and Melanny Celeste Quinonez Izquierdo (likewise evaluator of camera techniques and equipment).


Fine Art Photo or Glicee Products at FESPA DIGITAL 2014 EXPO in Munich, Germany

Last Updated May 26, 2014
Updated May 19, 2014
Originally posted May 15, 2014

Ten years ago Photokina had a dozen brands of printers exhibited (in addition to cameras and lots of scanners). Now 90% of the printer brands no longer have a booth at Photokina: they exhibit in Europe only at FESPA Digital (or Sign Istanbul).

A decade ago Drupa and other printer expos had lots of products for fine art photography and giclee workflow: Heidelberg even offered medium format digital camera backs! How times have changed.

At ISA 2014 in Orlando, you could find plenty of after-market inks for giclee and fine art printers, plus you could inspect all the latest Canon and Epson printers. HP exhibited primarily latex rather than their entire series of nice Z-series Designjet printers.

So at FESPA Digital 2014 in Munich, we had curiousity to see what products were on exhibit, appropriate for giclee and fine art photography digitization, printing and finishing.

We saw between four and five booths of media for giclee and fine art photography. But didn't had the chance to see whatever remains of "Ilford." Sadly that company fell faster and further than Kodak. Of the original brands of the era of Leica and Hasselblad, only Fujifilm was able to evolve into the world of digital imaging (but not in cameras, only in wide-format printers and inks).

Four of us from FLAAR Reports assisted at FESPA (and at least two of us will be at Photokina). Since this is a "Photokina year" we will probably skip PhotoEast in New York.


Canvas and lots of fine art media at ISA 2013

Posted April 5, 2013.

Four of us from FLAAR at at ISA wide-format inkjet expo. We are making lists of all the media which can be used for fine art photo prints and for giclee.

The reports will be available in several weeks.



Metallic inks, metallic fine art paper, metallic printable rigid material

Posted Oct 22, 2012

FLAAR will be reviewing metallic inks, metallic paper, and rigid substrates made of aluminum composite material. These reviews will begin during November.



FLAAR attends Photokina

posted September 24, 2012

Photokina 2012 entrance, expo attended by FLAAR teamNicholas and Sofia attended Photokina the first four days. They inspected cameras, lens, lighting, tripods, tripod heads, plus wide-format printers, color management systems, and media for fine art photography and giclee.

The FLAAR Reports on these aspects will appear during the coming weeks.



FLAAR exhibits fine art photographs of tropical flowers

posted Sept 24, 2012

FLAAR photo exhibit at Missouri botanical gardenTwo weeks ago an exhibit of photographs of Nicholas Hellmuth and Sofia Monzon opened at the Missouri Botanical Garden. This is one of the largest botanical gardens in the world but conveniently happens to be in St Louis, where Nicholas has been raised and schooled before leaving for Harvard.

We will be issuing reports on this exhibit this week.



FLAAR will evaluate current Epson Stylus Pro printer models during 2012

First posted March 5, 2012.

Epson Supercolor SC S30600, water-based ink printer review

At the recent Graphics of the Americas in Miami the knowledgeable person in an Epson RIP distributor booth helped us understand what they felt were Epson's benefits over other brands (we then provide a real-world reality check to the claims).

In another Epson distributor booth, the sales person was very fervent pro-Epson. This helps us understand what claims are preached, and thus we can better explain the reality.

At the official Epson booth a hospitable individual helped me understand features of the newest Epson giclee printer.

Earlier, at FESPA Barcelona 2012, we also inspected the Epson SuperColor SC-S30600 but that is definitely not a fine art giclee printer.

So on this fine art giclee printers web site, we will be adding comments on Epson printers during 2012, and especially when is it better to prefer a current model, and when is it not a good idea to opt for a used previous model.

We will base our discussion on our own observations, on our appraisal of the claims by Epson dealers. One initial comment I can make based on perusing the Epson Stylus Pro 7900 in-person is that it really does offer many features that are not available on any HP or on any Canon wide-format printer. But we will discuss all this in more detail during the coming weeks.



Printing on Glass, Sign Africa Expo 2011.

First posted Jan 16, 2012.

CES (international Consumer Electronics Show) was attended by (a claimed) over 150,000 people last week in Las Vegas. PMA, a photography equipment trade show that faltered during 2009-2010 and then failed to launch an expo in 2011, has co-located with CES and was attempting to regain a presence as PMA@CES.

Three FLAAR Reports will result:

  • a free download on digital camera equipment at PMA + at CES; plus on what little wide-format fine art presence was there

  • free download of general comments on CES, in case you might consider attending in 2013 (be forewarned, the city was not able to handle 150,000 people, as in, over-priced hotels and not enough local transportion);

  • and a special consulting report for trade show organizers who would like to learn how to avoid the issues, headaches, problems, omissions, inadequacies that were so glaring at CES.

All three should be ready by Friday this week. You can order the report on how to improve management of your trade show by writing FrontDesk "at" The other two reports will be free downloads as soon as they are finished.



Printing on Glass, Sign Africa Expo 2011.

consulting Asia trade showsHow to survive with a printing shop when LED and LCD take over signage:

What YOU can still print to stay in business (and prosper)

This lecture will be presented by Dr Nicholas Hellmuth, at Sign Africa, in the last week of August, in Johannesburg.

Nicholas will also speak at the Sign Africa expo on innovative new inks, including from Jetbest, Sepiax, and Hongsam.

Dr Hellmuth is discussing with IPEX Middle East to possibly speak at their new expo in mid-November. IPEX Middle East replaces SIM. This is in Abu Dhabi.

FLAAR Reports takes pleasure in announcing that Nicholas will be speaking at the Sign Africa Expo Conference about "Printing on Glass: Discussion of workflow and many kinds of ink that work on glass".



Wallpaper, wallcoverings: "fine art giclee" for larger exposure.

Decal self adhesive polyester textile disperse dye sublimation printer media wall covering wallpaper decor

Imaging trying to find a truck big enough to move a framed panoramic mural! Chances are the mural would be scratched during shipment. Now you can print on scores of papers and materials, and send a simple roll to the hotel, corporation, or home, and have the mural installed directly onto the already-existing wall.

FLAAR has been visiting ink companies that make special ink for printing wallpaper. So our report on Hongsam wallpaper, wallcovering ink will be issued before FESPA. We will do updates during FESPA and during APPPEXPO Shanghai.

Our report on wallcovering material from DECAL is now already available as a download. We visited their factory last month.

Many people have told us they notice that FLAAR Reports are covering much more than just printers: we evaluate inks, media, substrates, and cutters.

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