Cymbolic Sciences LightJet 430 from Gretag Imaging.

The only large format printers that render true continuous tone are the LightJet from Cymbolic Sciences and the Durst Lambda. The ZBE Chromira is roughly comparable but not in the elite realm of the LightJet. When a successful company wants the absolute best photographic reproduction they turn to either the LightJet or the Durst Lambda, never to an inkjet print.

One exception I noticed at Photokina trade show. Foveon, the leading high-end CMOS camera, was promoting its new CMOS technology. They had prints on the wall, I believe from a Durst Lambda. They needed some quick prints of ongoing photography and turned to the Hewlett Packard DesignJet 5000ps, as the closest from the inkjet world.

Output from a ColorSpan would also be in the league of the highest quality for an inkjet. Roland photo images are this good as well unless your particular machine is prone to banding, an edemic problem with Roland printers. The other catch is that a single large print on a Roland Hi-Fi Pro can take up to two hours.

So if you want a continuous tone digital photograph, that looks like it came from a darkroom, you need a print from a photo lab that has a LightJet or Lambda. Since these machines cost over $139,000, they are not often used in the home.

If $100,000 is a bit steep for you, and you want the best inkjet at a reasonable cost, this is the speciality of FLAAR, after all, we are a Photo Archive working in museums throughout the world and headquartered at a university. We also need the best quality; we also can't afford a LightJet.

If you check our list of reports you will see a title that provides you all the pertinent information.


Most recently updated July 06, 2001.