Vutek UltraVu 3300 Digital Printing System.

For 2001 Vutek offered several new models in their UltraVu series, here the Vutek UltraVu 3300 solvent ink grand format printer. This model 3300 is the smaller brother for the UltraVu 5300.

300 dpi, when actually true dpi, is definitely an improvement over earlier models of grand format printers in the 1990's. Vutek is definitely going in the direction of quality output. However, being a photographer, I would not label it as "photo-realistic images." They ads are relatively okay, but that one term is dubious at best. Sure, if you come from the world of 150 dpi solvent ink printers, then 300 dpi looks great. But if your competition has a ColorSpan, then 300 dpi looks rather lame.

The Vutek UltraVu 3360 EC claims 720 dpi, but in small print it admits it's only 360 dpi addressable. Problem is that the press releases get translated straight into 720, with no warning. Thus I did a search on the Internet and they are claiming 720 dpi.

Something that is typical of printer brochures of virtually all companies, is that they do not include the true specs, for example, they do not reveal the name nor nature of the printheads. Thus nowhere in any Vutek brochure that was at the (2001) trade shows was the name of the printhead manufacturer indicated. Of course the same with the ink, but sooner or later people find out about the ink sources. Actually the name of the printhead manufacturer is not crucial, it's just another aspect of having a consumer-friendly brochure. What counts is what the image looks like on the side of a bus or up on a billboard. Does your client like it, and are consumers impressed with the signs.

I visited the Vutek factory headquarters last year. The quality of the output of their printers was indeed impressive (for a solvent ink grand format when compared with the splotchy output of only a few years ago). But the rest of the inkjet world has also improved it's quality, so whereas 300 dpi is impressive for a billboard, it's not "photo realistic" unless viewed at billboard distances, driving down the highway at 70 mph.

While recently in Mumbai, India, I tested my eyeballs on the billboards, and actually, when stopped at a traffic light, you could indeed see the defects inherent in the older piezo printhead solvent ink printers.

If you can afford this printer surely you can afford to feed it the necessary diet of electricity, 7,500 watts for the dryer.

Nicholas Hellmuth's thematic reports on large format printers for outdoor signage now available
discussion of large format printers for outdoor signs, banners, billboards, building wrap: lists of all the main solvent ink and oil-based ink printers along with thermal transfer printers which can be used outdoors with no lamination.
Reviews of large format printers most appropriate for signs, posters, banners including POP, primarily for indoor signage: HP, Encad, and more
large format printers appropriate for use in printing vehicle graphics, bus wrap and comparable outdoor use.
Media and inks for signs, posters, banners (for all printers, piezo as well as thermal inkjets, media for indoor as well as outdoor without lamination)
quick-start help, list of the best RIPs; hints for what accessories you need; list of where you can get books and training on digital imaging.
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Most recently updated August 02, 2001.