Comments on the Kodak 2042, 2060, 3038, and 3043 large format inkjet printers with suggestions and links to reviews.
The Kodak 2042 and Kodak 2060 are 300 dpi printers with only four colors. Perhaps there is still a market for 300 dpi printers somewhere, but if your competition has a 1200 dpi printer your business may suffer. Since these models pop up for resale used on e-Bay and elsewhere, it is important to learn about them.
It is noteworthy that the three largest photo and/or copier companies in the world, Kodak, Canon, and Xerox, have the least imagineative large format printers. Canon offers only a clunker, the BJ-W3000 and BJ-W7000, based on the outmoded Selex system. The newer and better BJ-W9000 cannot accept pigmented UV inks.
Xerox failed in electrostatic and has seemingly abandoned that market. The Xerox Xpress (XES) inkjet printer is unimpressive and overpriced. The newer Xerox ColorgrafX X2 is much improved but too expensive and its RIP is even more costly than need be.
Kodak failed to develop its own inkjet printing technology in the early years. The Kodak models 2042, 2060, 4742 and 4760 are rebranded Encad printers with Lexmark thermal printheads. The Kodak 3038 and Kodak 3043 are rebranded Mutoh printers with Epson piezo heads. In other words, about the same as an Epson 9000, albeit the Kodak inks are better.
The Kodak 2042 and 2060 printers offer only 300 dpi. If they have dual ink lines that would help. If not, then changing inks can take up to six hours (we know since we have an earlier Encad). The only saving grace is that these Kodak printers originally came with PosterJet RIP (DigiColor I presume is DCS Software, the original owner of PosterJet before it was sold last year to a German company). PosterJet is much better than any EFI Fiery hardware RIP system.
If you already have one of these printers then you already know about the air bubbles in the ink lines; you know you have to suck the ink down the ink lines by hand; etc. If you are thinking about buying one of these printers, you might wish to get a review and printer comparison on large format printers for signs, posters, and banners. These FLAAR reviews by Nicholas Hellmuth describe the pros and cons of the Encad, Oce, Kodak, Ilford and other re-labeled versions of the venerable Encad NovaJet printers. We have an earlier model Encad so know both the benefits and the downsides of whats under the hood of these printers.
The positive side of these Kodak-Encad printers is that they last a long time. The new model with 8 colors has dual ink lines. If they would just improve the dithering pattern and upgrade the dpi, these would be easier to recommend.
One advantage of buying a printer from Kodak is that they try to offer a complete solution, from input (scanning) through output (printing). You can't get that from Encad itself.
Now that Kodak is distributor for BetterLight scan backs (for large format digital cameras) you can obtain better input. If your original image is outstanding, then actually you can get quite an acceptable image output with the Kodak 2042, Kodak 2060, Kodak 3038, and Kodak 3043 large format inkjet printers. We know, since we have two BetterLight cameras and a 300 dpi Encad printer. Both the university where we are housed as well as the museum on campus like the output from this system. We do, however, recommend the 8 ink model over earlier variations. Our Encad is six years old and hence only 300 dpi and just four colors. Yet the BetterLight produces good enough input so that even that kind of printer produces acceptable output.
Better more recent Kodak printers.
Today Kodak has taken over Encad. So Kodak no longer sells the old 300 dpi printers at all. Kodak now offers the 600 dpi Encad 850 and 880. These are improved in all respects from the earlier printers: less mess to prime the printheads; easier to change the printheads. However we don't have any of the newer Encad-Kodak printers (and do have a venerable old Encad NovaJet Pro 36"" so tend to know that earlier model the best.
However as time goes on, we will learn more about the newer Kodak-Encad printers and update these pages. Actually we are hearing quite a bit, because we interview Encad owners at tradeshows and simply by visiting sign shops as well as by asking around.
Most recently updated June 1, 2002.