Encad wide format color printers, Encad Chroma 24 and Postscript RIP software and servers.
Info, links, factual reviews of Encad wide format printers and Postscript RIP, both hardware RIP servers such as EFI Fiery RIP as well as software RIP solutions to run your Encad wide format printers.
Earlier this year we visited the Encad booth at CeBIT 2000 (mammoth international trade show in Germany, some six times larger than Comdex in Las Vegas). All the latest models of Encad wide format printers were on display. The advantage of Encad wide format printers is that they make a printer for almost every need and budget. The Encad Chroma 24 is the entry-level wide format printer. The advent of the 24 inch Epson 7000 with its 1440 dpi is probably the final blow for the 300 dpi Encad Chroma 24.
One of the advantages of the Chroma 24 is that you can learn all about wide format printers without having to sink $20,000+ into fancy equipment. You can easily install the Chroma 24 and print images 36" wide. How can you print 36" wide on a 24" printer? Easily, just have the software turn the image sideways. You can print a 24x36" image easily on a Chroma 24 lengthwise. Yes, naturally it is more practical to get a 36" wide printer to start with (if you are a commercial print shop you may want an even wider model). But if you are curious whether wide format is for you, for use at home or on weekends, for use at school or in a museum, or if your budget is limited, no need to go without a wide format printer.
The Encad Chroma 24 can get your started into the world of wide format digital printing. More than 80% of the posters pictured in this entire web site www.wide-format-printers.org are printed on 24" paper. Although I have a 36" printer and at times it would be more helpful to have a 50" to 70" printer, for actual daily use a 24" printer is definitely better than none at all.
The Encad Chroma 24 is probably sold out by now and most people who want a 24" printer are stuck with the Epson 7000. The quality is clearly superior to the output of any Encad but it can take 30 minutes for a single print or an hour for a banner. Then the prints fade in a few days if you have them in a sunny room. The new Epson 7500 was only an unfinished prototype when it was presented at the DRUPA printer trade show in Germany in May, so don't get lulled into believing the hype about it until they work the flaws out of the new system. If you are interested in a 24" printer and want to know what we actually saw and experienced during the two weeks at DRUPA, you can always contact the review editor of www.wide-format-printers.org, Nicholas Hellmuth.
Best time to contact FLAAR about 24 inch printers will be in September since two major trade shows will showcase new 24" printers (Canon is one potential candidate). So contact us in September for our new updated reports on the latest advances in better and less expensive 24" printers.
The Chroma 24 was a great deal four years ago, but we recommend you save your money and opt for the newer systems this autumn. It's only a month away.
Prints of the size you see here can be handled with an Encad Chroma 24, or of course any wider format ink jet printer. If you have the wider NovaJet printers you can switch rolls of paper from 36" to 24". It takes about 1 minute to switch a roll of paper. When you switch paper, however, first check out some practical tips on changing the media rolls.
Try to get the Encad Chroma 24 direct from Encad (encad.com) or from Publisher's Toolbox, tel. 1-800 390-0461.
How does the Encad Chroma 24 compare with the Epson 7000? The Epson 7000 is only for sale in Japan and Europe, not in the USA. I saw the Epson 7000 at the CeBIT computer trade show in Hannover, Germany, in February. It operates with a RIP from BEST, also a German company. Like all Epson printers the quality of the color is really nice. But how permanent are the colors? They are very permanent...permanently faded. Problem is that the colors fade, quickly. Put an Epson print out in the sun; put a second copy safely in a closet or desk drawer (out of all light). At the end of the day compare the Epson print that was out in the full sunlight with the Epson print that was in the dark.
Prints from an Encad will last several years hanging on the wall (I know, I have them still hanging on the wall). They still have their color. I had to remove my Epson prints because they lost their color so quickly. Hewlett-Packard inks are rated to last more than 5 years (hence prints from most Hewlett-Packard printers are rated to last longer than most prints from Encad printers. Visit our page on the NovaJet 1000i.
Main disadvantage of all the Encad printers is that the images have a visable dot pattern. This is especially obvious on 300 dpi Encad printers such as the Chroma 24. You quickly notice that the image is formed of a pattern of very obvious dots. This kind of dot pattern is not acceptable for fine art prints nor for photo-realistic needs (in other words these prints are nowhere near continuous tone). This situation is not as bad on 600 dpi Encad printers, but if you take the same print on a 600 dpi Encad printer and compare it with the results from a 600 dpi Hewlett-Packard what scanner should you use to prepare your images for a wide format printer?
Most recently updated June 1, 2002.