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Author Topic: A Short, Revisionist History of Digital Ink (Giclée and Inkjet) Printing  (Read 14755 times)
teddillard
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« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2011, 09:35:33 AM »
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Talk about interpretations of history...  just found this site: http://www.jeffdwoskin.com/printers/menu.html

In it Dwoskin claims this timeline (edited, my emphasis):

 
Timeline Overview

1930 - IBM releases Model 01 electric typewriter

1938 - Chester Carlson invents xerography process

1948 - First prototype of photocopier by Battelle and The Haloid Co.

1951 - EAI develops analog flatbed pen plotter

1957 - Transfer printing discovered

1957 - Dye sublimation process invented

1959 - Haloid-Xerox releases first production-line automatic office copier

early 1960's - Stanford - developed technology for ink droplets using pressure wave patterns

1960's - Gerber Scientific produces plotters for printed circuit boards

1970's - Direct thermal printer

1973 - HP 9862A plotter released for 9800 desktop calculator

1974 - Stored energy dot matrix printer

1976 - Inkjet technology developed


1976 - First commercial laser printer

1977 - Seimens PT-80 uses drop-on-demand inkjet technology

1978 - Piezoelectric inkjet printer

1978 - First commercially sucessful dot matrix printer - Epson's TX-80

late 1970's - Ballistic wire dot matrix printers

1980 - IBM releases 5215 golf ball printer

1982 - Thermal wax printer

1984 - Thermal inkjet printer


1984 - First disposable inkjet cartridge

1987 - First color inkjet printer - HP Paintjet




...as well as some pretty interesting references.  The key to the claim of the first inkjet technology appears to be the Canon claim to have developed "thermal inkjet", or what I've always known as "bubblejet", in 1976.  Does an inkjet by any other name, print so sweet?
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Ted Dillard
tim wolcott
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« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2011, 07:52:30 PM »
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Ted the paper was a watercolor paper that had to be hand coated.  When inkjet was using dyes the tech for colors came from Dupont and the images and if you want to say inkset from Evercolor.  Pigment really was not very viable since everyone thought that pigment could not produce a high color range.  But after showing the Evercolor prints that left little doubt that it was the way to go.  Hell I remember when they said a pigment particle could not get below 30 picoliters. And know Epson is at what 1.5-2.

You should have seen what Dupont was developing in the engineering backroom.  Wish they would release some of those coatings but thats not what they do.  They wait for others to come to them and private label it.  Tim

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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2011, 02:54:40 PM »
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I don't think the story is quite so 'all-Epson-all-the-time'. The first Epson photo printer you could actually buy came out at just about the same time as HP's first generation "Photosmart" printer. And the HP model had a number of genuine advantages: it actually used pigment ink rather than fugitive dye inks like the Epson. Prints I made with that paleolithic HP printer have held up remarkably well, even saturated greens and oranges. And HP introduced the printer along with a compact scanner that could scan 35 mm slides, negatives, and small prints. Okay, the scanner was really squirrely and buggy, but still.

I suspect that HP shot themselves in the foot by selling a completely closed system, whereas the Epsons were amenable to hacking and using home-brewed inks ala Jon Cone. And the HP printer was a big, clumsy Pizza-box sized gadget that couldn't print any bigger (8x10") than the Epson. But still, it seemed pretty cool at the time.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2011, 03:58:01 PM »
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No mention of the Encad Novajets, the first model appeared in 1991, the second version could print a decent photo for that period. There were pigment inks developed for it in the years after 1991. In the sign industry it was the most common printer between 1991 and 2000. Colorspan was another model of that period. All HP licensed thermal head technology. I doubt they were never used to print art. It may not have been the nest image possible in that period but I have seen nice results even then. Affordable printers became available before Epson introduced the 3000 and later on the 7/9000. True the last had an impressive image quality.

I think HP's printers then had pigment ink for the black but not on the color channels, a combination they still have  on office printers.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

New: Spectral plots of +230 inkjet papers:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
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Schewe
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« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2011, 04:37:07 PM »
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I don't think the story is quite so 'all-Epson-all-the-time'.

Absolutely...HP had a color inkjet printer before Epson. And in the EU, HP had been the dominant brand and is still entrenched in prepress proofing until of late. Encad was also an important printer developer as well as Mutoh. I think Ted is giving Epson way too much unilateral credit.
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2011, 09:09:25 PM »
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I think that one should differentiate the difference between dye and pigment based.  As we all know dyes were alot easier in the beginning but since none of us are using dyes today since they fade.  It should clarified between the two.  And Jeff you are absolutely right about Encad.  The first pigment printer was with Encad and watercolor paper that was hand coated using DuPont pigments.  Don't remember who's heads they were but I think they were HP.  I believe the first pigment canvas inkjet we made was in March-April of 1995.  Hope this helps. T
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Schewe
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« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2011, 11:10:35 PM »
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Don't remember who's heads they were but I think they were HP.

Maybe HP but I think I remember they may have been Mutoh heads-I recall a relationship between Encad and Mutoh...don't hold me to that. Mutoh also has piezo heads...I think under license to Epson but don't hold me to that either.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2011, 06:31:29 AM »
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Mutoh (Agfa, Kodak), Mimaki (Stork) and Roland, their wide format inkjet activities all started in 1999-2000  with Epson 9000 DX3 heads. Must have been the most widely produced DOD piëzo head, production licensed in China too.
The decade before was dominated by HP thermal heads, possibly with Lexmark in between as they had a license on HP patents but added their own technology. There was the infamous Topaz (Calcomp, Summagraphics) Crystaljet that had its own DOD piëzoheads but production and patent issues killed that quite capable 36" printer shortly after its introduction but before Epson launced the 9000's. There was hot wax/resin piëzo technology as developed by Tektronics for A3 size proof printing, graphic design shops, and there must have been a wider printer based on that technology. Océ had a similar development going on for 10 years that at last resulted in the Colorwave 600 launched at the Drupa 2008. There were some resin printers that resembled smaller size sublimation printer technology. Expensive but at that time quite weatherfast technology.

Fuji developed their own piëzo printers around 2000 too, more directed to sign and a bit ecosolvent based too AFAIK but dropped them not long after that. For the photography business they switched to Epson models. Kodak has been in bed with all inkjet printer manufacturers meanwhile but has their own piëzo heads for more industrial applications, web inkjet etc. I recall a rebranded Mutoh with legs in a  K shape.  Agfa also rebranded Mutohs and more. Ilford, Encad?, Colorspan, Epson. Océ as well with the Colorwave as an exception.

All the other piëzo heads were used in more industrial environments: textile printing, solvent, UV curing inks.
Xaar, Spectra, Seiko, Konica, Hitachi. More joined the party later on. Epson had some success in the ecosolvent models of Roland etc after third party developers adapted Rolands to that kind of inks. Mutoh and Mimaki followed then.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 06:33:56 AM by Ernst Dinkla » Logged
teddillard
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« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2011, 06:29:34 AM »
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I think Ted is giving Epson way too much unilateral credit.

I'd agree.  Thanks for the great discussion, I hadn't checked in over the weekend.  Lots of threads to follow...My own awareness of this entire thing started around '92, and I was totally in the Epson camp, for sure, and only really aware of IRIS as an option.  It was a big surprise to learn that HP had an inkjet printer before Epson.  

Great stuff, and I think it's time to revise my revisionist history.  Cheesy  Even at that, it seems to me that the IRIS-centric claims for fine-art printing are still very much self-serving.  

In my defense, though, this is the introductory statement in my blog post:
In spite of what they tell you, today’s inkjet printing technology did not spring straight from the loins of a pile of altered IRIS printer parts on the floor of a certain rock-star’s garage.

Like most technological developments, things went along on several parallel paths, sometimes bumping into themselves, sometimes in completely different directions.  Here’s what I’m talking about.


Clearly, I have to add the pre-1990 "paths" to the story...
« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 06:39:23 AM by teddillard » Logged

Ted Dillard
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« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2011, 08:37:40 AM »
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Mutoh (Agfa, Kodak), Mimaki (Stork) and Roland, their wide format inkjet activities all started in 1999-2000  with Epson 9000 DX3 heads. Must have been the most widely produced DOD piëzo head, production licensed in China too.
The decade before was dominated by HP thermal heads, possibly with Lexmark in between as they had a license on HP patents but added their own technology. There was the infamous Topaz (Calcomp, Summagraphics) Crystaljet that had its own DOD piëzoheads but production and patent issues killed that quite capable 36" printer shortly after its introduction but before Epson launced the 9000's. There was hot wax/resin piëzo technology as developed by Tektronics for A3 size proof printing, graphic design shops, and there must have been a wider printer based on that technology. Océ had a similar development going on for 10 years that at last resulted in the Colorwave 600 launched at the Drupa 2008. There were some resin printers that resembled smaller size sublimation printer technology. Expensive but at that time quite weatherfast technology.

Fuji developed their own piëzo printers around 2000 too, more directed to sign and a bit ecosolvent based too AFAIK but dropped them not long after that. For the photography business they switched to Epson models. Kodak has been in bed with all inkjet printer manufacturers meanwhile but has their own piëzo heads for more industrial applications, web inkjet etc. I recall a rebranded Mutoh with legs in a  K shape.  Agfa also rebranded Mutohs and more. Ilford, Encad?, Colorspan, Epson. Océ as well with the Colorwave as an exception.

All the other piëzo heads were used in more industrial environments: textile printing, solvent, UV curing inks.
Xaar, Spectra, Seiko, Konica, Hitachi. More joined the party later on. Epson had some success in the ecosolvent models of Roland etc after third party developers adapted Rolands to that kind of inks. Mutoh and Mimaki followed then.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/


Where does Canon fit into this picture?  All I've been able to find is the mention of them supposedly discovering "thermal inkjet".  And yes, I completely forgot about the Xerox wax process, something I was, frankly, astounded by when I first started using in.  I had a friend put a lot of effort into profiling one of those printers for his promo/portfolio printing and it was remarkable how high the quality was...  Lemmee see, that was '92?
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Ted Dillard
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2011, 10:12:34 AM »
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Where does Canon fit into this picture?  All I've been able to find is the mention of them supposedly discovering "thermal inkjet".  And yes, I completely forgot about the Xerox wax process, something I was, frankly, astounded by when I first started using in.  I had a friend put a lot of effort into profiling one of those printers for his promo/portfolio printing and it was remarkable how high the quality was...  Lemmee see, that was '92?

I think Canon stayed within the office environment for their larger printers next to the consumer desktop market. Inkjets up to A3 size but the rest with (Xerox) electrostatic technology. In the last decade the 6 and 12 ink (2005?) wide format inkjet models appeared. The 6 ink models more in competition with HP Designjet models. One of the things often overlooked is the dominance of HP Designjets in the copy shop, architect, engineering market. Epson isn't so present there.

There is a good summary of technology and history here.

Google: 08_Ink-Jet.pdf

and here

http://www.printhead911.com/inkjet-history/

Canon and HP developed independently their drop on demand thermal head systems. Side shooter versus roof shooter etc. Patents swapped though. Lexmark followed. Heating instantly a picoliter of ink to 300 degrees Celsius to shoot ten ml of ink in front of it through a hole is basically the same for all but the details are important.

I'm considering to give my print shop the description: First Digital, Electronic, Electric, Steam powered Print shop :-)


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

New: Spectral plots of +230 inkjet papers:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2011, 09:50:56 AM »
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When looking at history, it's good to place it in some perspective of which developments were truly significant in terms of their usefulness to which market segments. Machines that are leading edge, prototypes, extremely expensive in their day of course were the technological innovators and pace setters. The history becomes even more interesting when these developments are re-engineered, packaged and commercialized to be accessible to a large scale market. For anyone in the photographic marketplace wanting to make *permanent* photographs at home, it really wasn't practical or affordable until Epson produced the 2000P. I believe this came to market around 1999 - I'd need to check the date - but around then. It was the first pigment-ink printer I know of that was reasonably priced, sat on a desktop and produced prints which could be considered archival apart from the OBAs in the more popular papers associated with it at the time. It had issues of narrow gamut (say compared with the 1270 dye-based model at the time), slow speed and color inconstancy (wrong alias *metamerism*), but it was a true path-breaker for the commercial market wanting affordable and convenient print permanence. At least as far as the Epson printers are concerned, subsequent models represented significant improvements in the development of that line of technology thence-forward.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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teddillard
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« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2011, 09:19:49 AM »
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I think all that's very true, Mark.  That's mostly the reason this train of thought interested me in the first place, I've always had it in the back of my mind that this all started with IRIS and trickled down from there.  

The fact is, though IRIS did make some of the first Fine-Art digital prints, (I say this in this way, because I'm not sure if and what was actually acquired by museums and such of the stuff early guys, like Cone, in the '80s were doing), and Nash (as well as Cone and others) did make a big noise centered around IRIS, but the fact is a print that could stand up in terms of archival quality (from an inkjet) didn't show up until that Epson 2000 printer, in spite of the print speed and nasty color gamut.  I think you're right, that was around '99, 2000 or so, that's about when I started at Calumet.  

The next step was that archival quality with a decent color gamut, and that was the Ultrachrome inks.  (Right?  Don't have a chance to verify which inkset did that atm.)  So the reality of the timeline is, regardless of what you see as the relative importance of the various contributors to the process, the Epson 2000 (7500/9500) inks set a benchmark, then the Ultrachrome printers next.  For me personally, the Advanced B/W step was the next breakthrough, and really was the first time I saw a decent B/W print without a RIP or third-party inksets.  From then on it's been simply refinement and elaboration...  at least in my opinion.  

Now, keeping in mind that, as Schewe kind of hinted at, Fine Art digital prints even now aren't universally accepted by collectors, but if you argue they are, you honestly can't say they have been since until around the early '00s, and the IRIS went away as a current product around '99, then I have to ask- how can you say that it played all that much of a role in truly bringing this technology to the place it is today?  You can't really say that these prints are accepted because of IRIS, in fact, it's arguable that IRIS may have, with it's very limited archival quality, done more damage to that acceptance than inkjet.  

..and sorry about my tortured syntax.  need.  more.  coffee.  (and the snow to go away) Cheesy
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Ted Dillard
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2011, 10:58:43 AM »
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Check carefully what existed just before the Wilhelm data of the Epson 2000p, 7500, 9500, 10000CF Archival pigment ink became available:

http://www.wilhelm-research.com/pdf/additional_wir/WIR_Permanence_06_2000.pdf

there is another one that already contained the Mediastreet's Generations results.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

New: Spectral plots of +230 inkjet papers:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm



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Rob Reiter
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« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2011, 11:14:52 AM »
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There was another printer in the late 90s that played a part in fine art level inkjet printing and that was the ColorSpan Giclee Printmaker.

Like the Iris, it was a drum-based printer but used 8 inks instead of 4, with HP heads. At one point, the Wilhelm numbers with ColorSpan's Endurachrome inks were 75 years on Arches Cold Press watercolor paper, about twice the life of any competing Iris ink set. It had a short commercial lifespan, dropped by ColorSpan after two or three years. My color darkroom was the first in the SF Bay Area to install one and I used it to show a lot of my Cibachrome customers what digital printing could do. It proved very popular and helped pave the way for the printers from Epson and others that followed.
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http://www.lightroom.com Fine art printing for photographers and other artists
Schewe
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« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2011, 11:45:33 AM »
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Now, keeping in mind that, as Schewe kind of hinted at, Fine Art digital prints even now aren't universally accepted by collectors, but if you argue they are, you honestly can't say they have been since until around the early '00s, and the IRIS went away as a current product around '99, then I have to ask- how can you say that it played all that much of a role in truly bringing this technology to the place it is today?

I was talking about fine art photo dealers, not collectors not really accepting digital. Collectors buy what dealers talk them into and dealers still like traditional media more than digital mainly because of the issue of scarcity...a digital print can be printed over and over which no effort not uniqueness. A chemical print is thought of as being hand made...

However, that's the photo market...the fine art market goes way beyond just photography (which you seem to keep forgetting). For traditional fine arts, there's simply not the stigma against digital prints vs a variety of other printing methods. No, it's not an original "painting" but print making itself has been an art for generations.

You really need to broaden you understanding beyond photography...
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teddillard
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« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2011, 11:56:15 AM »
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I was talking about fine art photo dealers, not collectors not really accepting digital. Collectors buy what dealers talk them into and dealers still like traditional media more than digital mainly because of the issue of scarcity...a digital print can be printed over and over which no effort not uniqueness. A chemical print is thought of as being hand made...

However, that's the photo market...the fine art market goes way beyond just photography (which you seem to keep forgetting). For traditional fine arts, there's simply not the stigma against digital prints vs a variety of other printing methods. No, it's not an original "painting" but print making itself has been an art for generations.

You really need to broaden you understanding beyond photography...

...well, I was talking dealers and collectors, too, really...  and in agreement with you basically since their relationship is so entwined, as you describe.  And I did start the discussion based on a photography perspective,  what with me being a photographer and this being a photography site and all, but thanks for the clarification.  I'm really only concerned with Fine Art photography prints, and photographers trying to make them, and the tools that evolved to do so... not sure what your point is in terms of that discussion.  

« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 11:57:51 AM by teddillard » Logged

Ted Dillard
Schewe
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« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2011, 12:32:14 PM »
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I'm really only concerned with Fine Art photography prints, and photographers trying to make them, and the tools that evolved to do so... not sure what your point is in terms of that discussion.  

Exactly...your view of "fine art digital printing" is ignoring the fine arts which makes your perspective narrow.

You also ignore the impact of reasonably priced digital cameras hitting the markets and the resulting uptick in the desire for reasonably priced methods of printing...it was the combination of photographers getting digital cameras and wanting to make prints that combined to create a big demand for inkjet printers.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2011, 12:46:03 PM »
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Exactly...your view of "fine art digital printing" is ignoring the fine arts which makes your perspective narrow.

You also ignore the impact of reasonably priced digital cameras hitting the markets and the resulting uptick in the desire for reasonably priced methods of printing...it was the combination of photographers getting digital cameras and wanting to make prints that combined to create a big demand for inkjet printers.

Astute observation, because of course the industry needs to be optimistic about a market before committing the big bugs to develop and market the technology. This is complemented by the importance of cross-fertilization of technology between the higher-priced large format machines destined for the smaller pro/lab markets, and the smaller less expensive machines going to the much larger prosumer and consumer markets. What one propels in terms of technological challenge, the other propels in terms of large volume and high cash-flow - especially the consumables.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
teddillard
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« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2011, 02:01:31 PM »
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Exactly...your view of "fine art digital printing" is ignoring the fine arts which makes your perspective narrow.

You also ignore the impact of reasonably priced digital cameras hitting the markets and the resulting uptick in the desire for reasonably priced methods of printing...it was the combination of photographers getting digital cameras and wanting to make prints that combined to create a big demand for inkjet printers.

...well when I start on my "The Complete History of Digital Imaging" book, I'll know where to go for some feedback.   Cheesy  

For now, though, I'm just concerned with this tiny segment of digital imaging, narrow as it may seem to you (and, not particularly well pieced together in any one spot.  Yet.)  I mean, how can you stop at digital cameras, without including Color Management...  Adobe's huge part in the process, for that matter?  But thanks again for the perspective.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 03:00:21 PM by teddillard » Logged

Ted Dillard
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