TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Large Format Printing

Volume Number: 16 (2000)
Issue Number: 3
Column Tag: Tools of the Trade

Large Format Printing

by MacTech's Production Staff

For years, large format (e.g., poster size) printers have been available. Recently, there have been some new developments in these types of printers that warrant a look if you have any large format needs. The question that we asked ourselves were "are these the types of printers that we'd want to have in a typical network?" To answer this, we looked at two sets of solutions - low end (starting at around $1700) and high end. Here's what we found.

Choices

There are a wide range of choices that you have when selecting these printers. First, you need to determine your needs. For example, what types of media (paper) do you need? What about ink? (Some inks will fade quickly with any light exposure). What resolution? What are the types of color support that you need?

It's easy to get buried in these details - but you will need to determine them in order to select the right printer.

HP DesignJet 2500CP

This photo-quality color printer has changed our opinion of large format printing. We took the HP DesignJet 2500CP out of the box, plugged it into a Mac G3, and it was ready to go. The DesignJet 2500CP and 3500CP series both come with Adobe PostScript drivers, built-in RIP, and a 4.3 GB hard disk ready to connect to Ethernet.

As far as color matching goes, HP's integrated system of printer, ink, papers and films allows the HP DesignJet 2500CP and 3500CP series printers to produce high quality images with millions of colors. Automatic color calibration guarantees high-quality output every time, and is PANTONE compatible.

We did a test print to check out the saturation, and was extremely pleased at the results. Some designs can be heavy in black saturation, resulting in banding on some printers, but not the DesignJet 2500CP. The completely black and shadowed areas of the print were solid and clear, and the midtones and highlights were equally as clear, with beautiful color saturation on the glossy paper.

This system is very easy to run from your desktop PC. Selecting drivers, changing printing settings, calibration, and everything else involved in getting your design from your monitor to larger-than-life, photo-quality print size is as easy as working your desktop ink jet printer. All at a cost of about 40 cents a square foot on coated paper. I would definitely recommend the HP DesignJet (2500CP?) for anyone serious about printing quality large format prints from their desktop PC.

Choice of Ink and Media/Cost Per Copy

With their large-capacity ink systems, the DesignJet 2500CP printer offers very easy switching between two ink sets - dye-based for maximum image quality, or pigment-based for enhanced lightfastness. A choice of specially-developed HP and 3M DesignJet media contributes further to the output quality.


Figure 1.HP DesignJet 2500CP.

The HP DesignJet 2500CP printer has a low cost-per-copy, and is an excellent addition to anyone looking for an affordable alternative to large format printing.

Features

  • True 600-dpi black and color print resolution
  • Photo-quality output in over 16 million colors
  • A1/D-size color images in around 8 minutes
  • Large-capacity ink system - up to 2000 sq. ft. between ink system changes
  • Auto-replenishment ink delivery for easy replacement of ink
  • Built-in humidity and temperature sensor adjusts drying times for best results
  • Automatic printhead alignment
  • Optional take-up reel for unattended printing
  • Adobe PostScript 3 as standard
  • PostScript drivers for Macintosh and Windows included
  • Reprints images quickly and easily from the queue
  • Automatic color calibration for consistent results
  • Network ready with built-in HP JetDirect EIO network card for Ethernet 10/100 Base-TX
  • 4.3-GB built-in hard disk
  • Print directly from your desktop PC

Not Your Father's Large Format Printer

It used to be that these large format printers were only for service bureaus - they were expensive, and took a lot of effort to use. These Entry level HPs can run as little as $2500 1700 ($2500 is more accurate for Mac solutions - below you have $1700, so we just wanted to keep it consistent.) and plug into your Ethernet network - in other words, you don't need a dedicated workstation. If you have anything above "occasional" use needs for a large format printer, this is a printer worth having on your network.

Range of Product Line

HP's smaller models (starting with the HP DesignJet 488CA printer) have Ethernet connections, but the RIP process happens in software on the Mac. HP has a full range of solutions starting at $1700 and going up to nearly $12,000 with many steps in between. To choose the model, you need to choose resolution, paper handling, software vs. hardware RIP, etc., and then the HP model will be obvious. See HP's web site for more information.

Pricing

The HP DesignJet 2500CP (the model we reviewed) series large format printer cost approximately $10k to own. This comes fully functional and fully equipped with

  • Roll feed spindle, cutter knife, and holder
  • HP DesignJet CP Ink System for imaging
  • One each of black, cyan, magenta, and yellow
  • Two rolls of selected media (paper, etc.)
  • Ink storage container
  • User documentation
  • Drivers
  • Hard disk, HP JetDirect card for Ethernet/LocalTalk, and PostScript drivers for Macintosh and Windows

HP's product line works fairly similar to the DesignJet 2500CP printer with quality of output and media/ink types being the primary difference between models. Information about HP, and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at <http://www.hp.com>.

The Roland Hi-Fi JET

The Hi-Fi JET is a proof-quality printer - the first to offer 1440 dpi resolution in a wide-format device. The Hi-Fi JET's printing system introduces a new standard for professional digital color printing. The Hi-Fi JET is calibrated to ensure accurate and consistent color reproduction of PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM Colors, when printing in Orange and Green. The Hi-Fi JET is offers large-size proofing capability of solid PANTONE Colors using Hexachrome-licensed color technology.

Features

  • True 1440x720 dpi high resolution printing
  • Additional printing modes of 720, 360 and 180 dpi
  • PANTONE® Hexachrome® color matching
  • Two interchangeable, six-color ink set options for smooth gradations and vivid colors
  • CMYK, plus Orange and Green (UV stable pigment)
  • CMYK, Light Cyan, Light Magenta (dye or UV stable pigment)
  • Roland ColorChoice® driver-based RIP for Windows 95/98/NT and Macintosh
  • Adobe PostScript® 3
  • 50 inch printing width with no length limit (40" unit available)
  • Over a dozen types of media available; matte, gloss, film, backlit film, fine art papers and even canvas
  • Easy set-up, as little as 30 minutes
  • Ink cartridges can be changed mid-print job
  • Self cleaning permanent printer heads

Additional Features

The set-up of this large format printer and included stand went so smoothly, we didn't need to look for further documentation to answer any questions. The parallel printer cable was included and the parallel card for the Macintosh installed quickly as well. All of the printer menus were very easy to understand, and provided a helpful guide covering several popular desktop publishing programs.

You can print directly from applications such as PhotoShop and Illustrator, or Quark Xpress. With the included ColorChoice® Adobe Postscript® 3 software RIP, the RIPping went very quickly. The Hi-Fi JET includes an automatic sheet cutter which will cut and separate the print job when complete. An optional take-up roller is available for rolling extra long continuous-feed prints. The permanent print heads, equipped with automatic self-cleaning functions, produce very high quality prints, photorealistic images and smooth color gradations.

Rolls or sheets of media are easily loaded and secured with a single lever. This printer offers a very wide variety of choices in printing inks, formats, sizes and media, making it extremely flexible and completely adaptable to almost any kind of print job. Loading the media was a breeze, and the front panel menus were straightforward, to the point, and extremely helpful. An optional take-up roller is available for rolling extra long continuous-feed prints. This makes unattended printing even easier.

The Roland Hi-Fi JET large format printer has a seamless user interface. Users can print right from their desktop publishing program of choice, without having to learn a new program. The RIPping program was auto-loading and called itself up when it was needed. This is a true WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) printer. What appeared on the screen is what appeared on the output media.

Accessories

  • Power cord
  • Ink drain bottle
  • Sheet cutter blade
  • Roland ColorChoice RIP driver
  • Quick Start Guide
  • User's manual
  • Sample File CD
  • ECP (IEEE 1284) Parallel Cable
  • One ink set (User specified: CMYKLcLm, CMYKOG, or CMYKLcLm Dye)
  • 3 sheets sample media
  • Macintosh PCI Interface Card (Optional)
  • Proprietary USB to Parallel Cable (Optional)
  • Optional Take Up Reel for unattended printing

This Roland printer is a high-end unit. It's meant for people that either are in the business of creating large format output, or have high quality needs (e.g., artists, professional level production, etc...). You really need to have a high-end dedicated workstation to use the product well - as the best way to hook it up is direct interface via a PCI card or USB-to-Parallel cable. The 50" printer has a retail price of around $18,000 - so you really need to have the higher end needs to justify it. But, if you do, you'll be pleased with the results.

About Roland DGA Corporation

Roland DGA Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Roland DG Corporation, a manufacturer of computer-aided input and output devices used in photography, fine art, graphic arts, sign making, engraving and 3D modeling. Introduced in fall, 1998, the Hi-Fi JET is the first wide-format 1440 dpi Piezo inkjet, and the first device with PANTONE Hexachrome technology. The six-color Hi-Fi JET provides an expanded color gamut and truer blacks, dramatically improving the realism and intensity of full-color reproduction as well as offering print permanence of over 120 years when utilizing Roland pigment inks. The Roland Hi-Fi JET is available in 50" and 40" print widths. For more information about Roland DGA Corporation and the Hi-Fi JET printers, visit their web site at http://www.rolanddga.com.

 
AAPL
$102.47
Apple Inc.
+2.71
MSFT
$44.88
Microsoft Corpora
+0.80
GOOG
$526.54
Google Inc.
+5.70

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

EyeTV 3.6.6 - Watch and record TV on you...
EyeTV brings a rich TV experience to your Mac. Watch live TV on your Mac. Pause, rewind, and record whenever you want. EyeTV gives you powerful control over what you watch and how you watch it. Put... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0 - Create template-based...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
NTFS 12.0.39 - Provides full read and wr...
Paragon NTFS breaks down the barriers between Windows and OS X. Paragon NTFS effectively solves the communication problems between the Mac system and NTFS, providing full read and write access to... Read more
RestoreMeNot 2.0.3 - Disable window rest...
RestoreMeNot provides a simple way to disable the window restoration for individual applications so that you can fine-tune this behavior to suit your needs. Please note that RestoreMeNot is designed... Read more
Macgo Blu-ray Player 2.10.9.1750 - Blu-r...
Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can bring you the most unforgettable Blu-ray experience on your Mac. Overview Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can satisfy just about every need you could possibly have in a Blu-ray... Read more
Apple iOS 8.1 - The latest version of Ap...
The latest version of iOS can be downloaded through iTunes. Apple iOS 8 comes with big updates to apps you use every day, like Messages and Photos. A whole new way to share content with your family.... Read more
TechTool Pro 7.0.5 - Hard drive and syst...
TechTool Pro is now 7, and this is the most advanced version of the acclaimed Macintosh troubleshooting utility created in its 20-year history. Micromat has redeveloped TechTool Pro 7 to be fully 64... Read more
PDFKey Pro 4.0.2 - Edit and print passwo...
PDFKey Pro can unlock PDF documents protected for printing and copying when you've forgotten your password. It can now also protect your PDF files with a password to prevent unauthorized access and/... Read more
Yasu 2.9.1 - System maintenance app; per...
Yasu was originally created with System Administrators who service large groups of workstations in mind, Yasu (Yet Another System Utility) was made to do a specific group of maintenance tasks... Read more
Hazel 3.3 - Create rules for organizing...
Hazel is your personal housekeeper, organizing and cleaning folders based on rules you define. Hazel can also manage your trash and uninstall your applications. Organize your files using a... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Swap Heroes (Games)
Swap Heroes 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: **Half price for a limited time only** Swap Heroes is a casual turn-based strategy adventure. Form a group of heroes and guide them... | Read more »
Ghost Blade (Games)
Ghost Blade 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Get the most outstanding 3D Action Game from App Store NOW! For those who dare pursue dreams. Masterpiece of Yu Shi Game ---China... | Read more »
Fiete – A Day on a Farm Review
Fiete – A Day on a Farm Review By Amy Solomon on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fiete – A day on a farm in an interactive app for young children full of... | Read more »
Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge is Almo...
Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge is Almost Here Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] One Man Left has announced the official release date of Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Re | Read more »
Sago Mini Monsters Celebrates Halloween...
Sago Mini Monsters Celebrates Halloween with Fun Costumes and Special Treats. Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 21st, 2014 [ permal | Read more »
Inferno 2 Review
Inferno 2 Review By Andrew Fisher on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: TWIN STICK GOODNESSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad With tight controls and awesome, stark visuals, Inferno 2 is loads of fun.   | Read more »
Clips Review
Clips Review By Jennifer Allen on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: CONVENIENT PASTINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Making copying and pasting more powerful than usual, Clips is a great way to move stuff around.   | Read more »
MonSense Review
MonSense Review By Jennifer Allen on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: ORGANIZED FINANCESiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Organize your finances with the quick and easy to use, MonSense.   | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: October 13-17, 201...
Expert App Reviewers   So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iPhone/iPad lover to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just... | Read more »
Angry Birds Transformers Review
Angry Birds Transformers Review By Jennifer Allen on October 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRANSFORMED BIRDSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Transformed in a way you wouldn’t expect, Angry Birds Transformers is a quite... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Select MacBook Airs $100 off MSRP, free shipp...
B&H Photo has 2014 a couple of MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Strong iPhone, Mac And App Store Sales Drive...
Apple on Monday announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended September 27, 2014. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $42.1 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.5 billion... Read more
Apple Posts How-To For OS X Recovery
OS X 10.7 Lion and later include OS X Recovery. This feature includes all of the tools you need to reinstall OS X, repair your disk, and even restore from a Time Machine backup. OS X Recovery... Read more
Mac OS X Versions (Builds) Supported By Vario...
Apple Support has posted a handy resource explaining which Mac OS X versions (builds) originally shipped with or are available for your computer via retail discs, downloads, or Software Update. Apple... Read more
Deals on 2011 13-inch MacBook Airs, from $649
Daily Steals has the Mid-2011 13″ 1.7GHz i5 MacBook Air (4GB/128GB) available for $699 with a 90 day warranty. The Mid-2011 13″ 1.7GHz i5 MacBook Air (4GB/128GB SSD) is available for $649 at Other... Read more
2013 15-inch 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro availa...
B&H Photo has leftover previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $400 off original MSRP. B&H... Read more
Updated iPad Prices
We’ve updated our iPad Air Price Tracker and our iPad mini Price Tracker with the latest information on prices and availability from Apple and other resellers, including the new iPad Air 2 and the... Read more
Apple Pay Available to Millions of Visa Cardh...
Visa Inc. brings secure, convenient payments to iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3as well as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Starting October 20th, eligible Visa cardholders in the U.S. will be able to use Apple Pay,... Read more
Textkraft Pocket – the missing TextEdit for i...
infovole GmbH has announced the release and immediate availability of Textkraft Pocket 1.0, a professional text editor and note taking app for Apple’s iPhone. In March 2014 rumors were all about... Read more

Jobs Board

Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.