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Old Jul 18, 2005, 9:24 PM   #1
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On a side note I have been looking into a 17"-24" printer (with the DJ130 very much in the lead).

Anyways here's the scope -I got a stitched panoramic of 13,688x4,866 that I sent to 2 places for printing:

Kinko's - just down the street, they have the 60" DJ 5500ps with UV ink set. Price is about $12 psf for gloss (ouch). I gave them the file in a PhotoShop file, 214MB - image was cut down to a 34"x24" canvas @ 300dpi. First print was extremely dark, the guy tried to 'lighten' it in PS with 2 other prints, but still the output was rather dissapointing. Prints on close inspection were rather 'noisy'.

I also sent a saved JPG of the canvas to Sam's club online printing - they limit file size to under 6MB (they have 36"x24", which I paid ~$28 shipped). Print came in today from FujiColor Processing Inc. I am quite pleased with it, tone and colorwas very close to home printing on a R300, and much more detail compared to the DJ 5500ps (still well below R300 though).

Just 2 quick questions:

1) Can I assume it's more Kinko's problem than the DJ? Rather dissapointed at a $17,000 printer's output.

2) I've looked aroun Fuji's site, andcannot find any info on their large format print engines - any idea what they used? (largest size available is 48"x36").

fwiw the stitch was from 8bpp JPG file.
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Old Jun 22, 2006, 9:03 AM   #2
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My suggestion would be to not go to kinkos for your prints. You might have better luck finding people who care about color and know how to work it by going to a reprographics shop that uses a RIP, unless you want to find a specialty printer in your area. You may also get better results by saving your file RGB, a lot of people do this with their 5500's.
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Old Jul 21, 2006, 10:55 PM   #3
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You're looking at two very different print situations. The DJ5500ps is a high-production inkjet printer made for PSPs (print service providers) like Kinkos. These printers are mostly used for sign-and-banner-type jobs although some people use them for photo work. Their main drawbacks are large droplet sizes (11 picoliters, this explains the "noise") and a reduced color gamut due to the pigment inkset. One advantage is the extreme longevity of these prints (200+ years according to Wilhelm). You can't really compare this printer to a small home inkjet printer; totally different specs.

I'm just guessing but the Fuji job was probably done on digital photo print device like a LightJet, Lambda, or Chromira. These use wet-chemistry photo processing (using Fuji emulsion paper like Fuji Crystal Archive--look on the back, what does it say?). This is more what a traditional photographic print looks like. The downside is relatively short print longevity (40 years max according to Wihelm).

The Kinkos machine you used is very old technology (for inkjet). Newer inkjets, even from HP, are much better these days in delivering "photo-realistic" prints. A good test would be to go to Staples, all of which now have the HP Designjet 130 printers. This is later technology (e.g., 4 picoliter drop size) and the prints should be much better. However, keep in mind what the other poster said: these kind of places (Kinkos, Staples) are not the best if you're looking for top quality.

Hope this helps.

Harald Johnson
author, "Mastering Digital Printing, Second Edition"
author, "Digital Printing Start-Up Guide"
DP&I.com ( http://www.dpandi.com )
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