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Author Topic: What are you printing on a 44" wide printer?  (Read 2189 times)
johnbirch
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« on: December 19, 2012, 02:40:00 PM »
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I have been printing with an Epson 4900 printer for most of the year, and love the prints coming from it.  The only thing I wish, is that I could print larger.

I am considering a 7900 or 9900.  To the people with the 9900 or other 44" wide printers, what are you printing on them?  Can you enlarge your photos to 44" and still have them look good? I know there are many factors including how far away you are viewing the print, the format size, quality of file, media type, etc.  I am shooting a D800E with good practice (tripod, remote, MLU, sharp primes, etc.)  Do you need stitched files, medium format, or scanned large format to take advantage of a 44" printer?

Long story short, I would consider a 9900 if I can take advantage and be happy with 44" wide prints.  Otherwise it is a lot of extra money.

Thanks,

Jeff
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Jeff Magidson
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 03:03:53 PM »
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Long story short, I would consider a 9900 if I can take advantage and be happy with 44" wide prints.  Otherwise it is a lot of extra money.

What YOU would be happy with is very subjective. I would find a person or lab with a 44" printer and print a few. You could also enlarge a few choice files to 44" and print a few sections on your 4900.

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framah
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2012, 03:38:57 PM »
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I would think you would be better off with stitched files  if you want it to look as good as it does in a smaller print size.

There is only so far you can take a file in  any of the up-rezzing software before it loses it's "zing".

On the plus side, if you DO have a 9900, you can print for other people and make back the costs of that machine.

When my 9900 died this summer, I jumped off the cliff and got the 11880 figuring that eventually someone would want something larger than what the 9900  could give me. I just finished up printing a piece at 64 x65 inches, and she wants to do more after Xmas. Without it, no one else in the area could have helped her.

Always buy as much as your money can afford is my motto.
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louoates
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2012, 05:41:25 PM »
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I've been using a 9800 for about 5 years, recently upgraded to the 9900. I am now printing only my own canvasses and paper prints for my galleries and would not be in business long without the 44" format. With the Imageprint rip I can efficiently use the size to position multi images to best utilize the material. I used to print for artists who always wanted canvases that simply couldn't fit on the 24" format with gallery wraps. I doubt anyone who saw the need for the larger size would ever go back. Resolution is almost never an issue with the third party up-res and sharpening plugins. Plus most of my landscapes are composites of 3 to 12 shots for me that gets me up to 2 GB file sizes pretty quick.
I think the larger size would allow you much greater opportunity to print for others if there is a shortage of those services in your area. Just make sure to charge appropriately. The material and ink savings from the big printer efficiency should go directly to your bottom line.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2012, 06:04:13 PM »
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I made the choice to go with the Canon 8300 in large part because of the economics: with the rebates they had and the full set of 330ml inks, it was just the better deal compared to the 24". Now I'm really glad I made that choice.

I still haven't printed wider than 24" on paper, but I've started working with canvas and a 24" printer just isn't big enough. For gallery wraps you need the extra canvas so 24" quickly become limiting. I haven't quite needed the full 44" yet, but I've done some 30" wide gallery wraps using 36" rolls. I really like working with canvas for large prints, they look fantastic. There's a learning curve with the acrylic coating and mounting options, but the large canvases are easier to handle than large paper prints (less delicate) and also cheaper to mount/frame for display since no mat or glazing is needed (heck, a frame isn't strictly needed if you like the look of gallery wraps).

As far as how big you can print and still be happy, I shoot with a D800 and wouldn't go bigger than 24x36 on paper without stitching, but different people have different criteria for "acceptable" and the type of image also is a factor. With canvas you can get away with more enlargement before the image starts to fall apart. And of course there's always stitching.

I don't know how the economics work out between 24" and 44" with Epson, since I haven't looked. But setting price aside, IMHO the main reason to go with 44" over 24" is canvas.
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langier
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2012, 06:14:27 PM »
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First it was the 4000. I needed bigger and the following year it was a 7600. That still wasn't big enough, so two years later, it was a 9800 and today, it's the back-up to the 9900...

Most of the printing is done on 24 inch roll paper. A great way to print "enlarged" proof sheets for my use and that of my clients. A 24x36 sheet of 3x5 prints has impact!

The main reason for moving up to the 44 inch printer is several: Cheaper cost/ml for ink, cheaper cost/sf for paper, faster printing, larger images beyond 24x36, especially for any kind of canvas. About the largest canvas you can print for stretching on a 24 inch printer is just under 20 inches wide, almost too small to work, IMO. 36 and 44 inch canvas gives you more options when it comes to final size and more potential for sales.

If you have the space and do any printing for a living, the couple of extra thousand more for nearly double the width is well worth considering. Both the 24 and the 44 inch printers are the sweat spot, depending upon your needs. The 60 inch printers seem like overkill unless you have MF digital backs or a specialized market and nearly double the space it takes for the 44 inchers.

For me, the 9800 sold a major print project I've worked on the past two years and more than paid for the purchase of the 9900 which also auto cuts the canvas that I sold. Most every photo of the 600 plus images started life as a 10-12 MP raw capture carefully crafted to 20x30 to 30x40 prints. A few were from scanned 35mm and 6x6 scans, but the digital captures look so much better.

Oh, one more thing, all three of these large format printers was second-hand and found on eBay, Craig's list or other listserve. Each was well below retail and ready to print once I got them set up. One came from a hobbiest, a second was at the end of the service contract and had just been serviced (now five years since I bought it and running swell) and the last was from a lab that pulled the plug and came with lots of media and extra carts.

All three took man power to put in the back of my 4Runner and each took a crew to pack them down the stairs into my studio. Every one I bought has more than paid for itself and I'm almost sorry I waited so long in buying each!

If money's an issue, be patient and keep your eyes open for second-hand.
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Larry Angier
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johnbirch
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2012, 06:17:14 PM »
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Thanks for all the replies.  Lula is a great resource for printing.  I will do a couple test prints on my 4900 simulating the larger enlargements and see what I am happy with.  I am pretty picky about image quality.  A bigger printer will probably just entice me to go with a higher resolution camera (get on the merry-go-round).

I will have to do more stitching too.  I have been super happy with the D800E photos printed on 17x20, but we'll see with larger photos.

I am all for buying as much as my money can afford, but would rather not pay extra for something I can't use.
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bill t.
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 06:46:43 PM »
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I have often heard laments about going 24" instead of 44" but I have never heard the opposite.

Right now I'm printing 2, 21 x 60's and 1, 43 x 27 on a single long length of 44" canvas.  Will tape it up on a sheet of Coroplast for coating, glue it to a piece of Gator, cut it up and frame the pieces.  So easy.  Three mounted prints for little more than the work of one.  Gang printing is a good reason for 44" even if you don't do prints bigger than could be done on a 24".

Of course framah could print those 60 inchers sideways, now I'll have to get a Canon 9400 just to keep him in his place.
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2012, 08:05:25 PM »
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I have often heard laments about going 24" instead of 44" but I have never heard the opposite...

I'm in the group of lamenters. I bought a 24" Z3200 a few years ago, and wish, wish, wish that I'd bought the 44" Z3200 instead. So I've been using a collaborators Epson 9900 until I buy my own 9900, which I'm hoping to do any day now. I shoot only 35mm DLSR these days, and the right files look very good in a 40"x60" size range, so long as the viewing distance makes sense. Note that I don't shoot or print landscapes, and I am not a nose-to-print viewing-with-loupes kind of guy.

John Caldwell
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chichornio
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2012, 09:38:01 PM »
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If you can get a good deal on a 44" printer, I would buy it and keep both. As a owner of an only 44" wide printer, sometimes I wish to have a 24" of the same model to do some small format jobs. 44" rolls are big to handle and more expensive than the 24" ones.
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kdphotography
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2012, 09:46:21 PM »
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...but you can also use 24" (or smaller rolls) on your 44" printer.   Wink

The only time I wished for a smaller printer was for a 38** series just to print smaller greet card stock.  That's it.  Until that 4800 dies, it ain't gonna happen.  The 4800 is relegated to large greeting cards only with its paper feed tray.  Otherwise, I have two 44" printers that get all the print work from 10" rolls all the way up to 44" rolls.  If you have the space and print regularly, a 44" printer offers more flexibility. 

ken
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smjphoto
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2012, 01:04:12 AM »
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I find the D800(e) files will happily accommodate 30"+ wide printing, even viewing up close (assuming really good technique and low ISO).  I'm loving using 36" wide paper for 32 x 48 or 30 x 45 so I can use 40x 60 mats with 5" borders. I export out of Lightroom at 300 dpi and let the canon driver upres to 600 dpi. For canvas, I figure it takes 44" wide to allow for a wrap to yield 36" x 54". YMMV

Certainly there are images you may prefer more resolution, so I consider a stitching as a backup. But I'm really finding if I did my part well, the images look great as single shots. I don't think it's at all an issue to the average customer.
Stuart
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framah
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2012, 08:34:55 AM »
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As Larry Angler said, it takes man power to move these beasts. Figure on 4 people. My 11880 was so heavy that all 4 of us had all we could do to lift it out of the crate and onto the stand.

Of course, it consisted of 3 old men with various levels of age related problems and one young buck who complained that we weren't  taking our fair share of the weight.
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acktdi
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2012, 09:35:24 AM »
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I started with a Canon Pixma 9500 that did 13x19", after a couple years of mastering that, I felt the urge to go bigger.  I bought an IPF8400 44" recently, you really need good files to begin with, if you want to print big.  You'll see every little imperfection.  I've been using Photoacute for some photos, to help uprez the quality.  I'm using a 5dm2.  I'm now itching to upgrade to a Pentax 645D, but all in due time..

I was able to manhandle the printer into my living room by myself and just needed 1 other person to lift it onto the stand.

There's still one more IPF8400 on ebay, 3000$ after rebate.  It's a steal, considering a full ink change is nearly 2k.
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bill t.
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2012, 01:11:54 PM »
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For you pixel peepers, you can always lean on one of the resizing programs, or even PS's own resizing functions, to make your blowups at least a little cleaner looking if not actually better.

This is an 800% upsize with from a pathetically low resolution original, Resize7 treatment on the left, pathetic original on the right.  Looks like a PS Filter, doesn't it?

The results you get from higher resolution and higher quality originals are not as dramatic, and in most cases PS will do just as good a job all by itself, provided one resists the temptation to over-sharpen.

This should start a pretty good argument!   Smiley

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Atlex.com
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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2012, 09:19:52 AM »
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I would either recommend the Epson 9900 which has the HDR inks.  This is supposed to be the top of the line printers (x900 series).  The Canon IPF8400 is also a great model.  With the full set of ink that comes with the printer and better discounts, it is a pretty unbeatable price.  But, it really depends on what the customer wants (or the owner that uses the printer) wants in quality.  The 4900 quality will be comparable to the 9900.  We did a print on the 7900 with and w/o the O&G and really couldn't tell a big difference (on a flower with green and orange all over).  If you can see the difference and want the best quality, the 9900 would be the best option. 

Both models are great and really close quality.  We have the IPF8300 and has a 9890 (than sold it and will have another one in our office soon).  We have many demos in our office as we also sell these printers (Brand New).

The Z3200 standard printers are now discontinued from HP and the PS versions are the only ones available in that line.

If anyone has questions on the printers or prices, feel free to contact us.
800-327-2822 x5583
Chris W
cwood@atlex.com
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mstevensphoto
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« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2012, 03:40:49 PM »
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I actually mostly print 24 and 36" rolls on my 44" printer, but the few times I need 42" prints the savings is astronomical. I recently did a 44x96" canvas, it would have cost almost as much as the printer to have someone else do that.

my single biggest annoyance is that none of the papers I love come in 10" rolls. sometimes I just need to crank out a bunch of 8x10's and I don't want to have to hand cut them. (I'm looking at you Moab)
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