Durst Lambda, Cymbolic Sciences (Oce) LightJet compared with wide format ink jet such as Hewlett-Packard DesignJet.  

If you have a high-end camera such as Better Light, Phase One, or Imacon-Hasselblad, you probably prefer to print your large format images on a Cymbolic Sciences LightJet, Durst Lamda, Scitex Iris or other top-of-the-line wide format printer.  

Although  wide format printers is dedicated primarily to ink jet large format printers, to cover the entire spectrum of wide format printing we include this mention of digital color printers at sizes up to 50 inches. An alternative 10 years ago would have been a film recorder at 4x5 size and then enlarge that. The digital photo writer eliminates one step. 

The Cymbolic Science's LightJet and Durst Lamda are the Rolls Royce and Bentley of the digital laser imagers. Gretag used to make the Sphera series of large format digital color printers. Durst (formerly distributed by Durst Dice America) also makes the model Lambda Pi 50. ZBE makes their Chromira, but the prestige printers are the Durst Lambda and the LightJet 

Cymbolic Sciences published "Cymbolic Times," a newsletter for the digital printing industry. It has not been issued recently but you can ask for back issues. Cymbolic Sciences became part of Gretag Imaging. Gretag Imaging had its own Sphera branded large format digital printer. Then Oce bought all of this and several models were discontinued. 

At digital imaging events, images printed on a Durst Lambda tend to win prizes. Six years ago, an Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 3000 won Best in Show and best inkjet printer image. In effect, that means that the images produced by a $12,000 HP DesignJet were already many years ago getting close to the quality of a $120,000 Durst Lambda. But if I had to chose between the two of them, yes, I would go for the Lambda or the LightJet, but I don't have the space or technicians to maintain an RGB laser-imager. I am content with an HP inkjet printer, especially with the HP Designjet 130, which in 2006 is so much better than any printer available six years ago. Of course if your clients are in the Fortune 500 and you are in New York, LA, or other metropolitan area, you definitely need an Oce LightJet or Durst Lambda. 

The downside of most inkjet printers is the dotty-grainy appearance, especially in areas of light colors. The only inkjet printer that approaches continuous tone image quality is the Noritsu Mytis

The Durst Lambda is a prestige printer. People often ask for Lambda prints by name. 


Most recently updated Jan. 17, 2006.