13 Replies Latest reply on Feb 5, 2008 6:55 PM by Al Ferrari

    Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript

      I'd like to keep my total budget for an inkjet printer to under $750 if possible. What are my options, good folks? I am a graphic designer, so I need to be able to proof clean vectors and very good color reproduction. 13 x 19 output would be optimal. I'm thinking the Epson 1400 plus PowerRIP. Any other options out there?
        • 1. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
          Lou Dina Level 3
          Daniel,

          I did a lot of proofing of jobs destined for press, and never used a RIP. If you print from Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign, you probably don't need a RIP as long as you have good printer profiles. Vectors print just fine as long as you have good resolution. I used to do all my proofs on an Epson 2200, and they matched my printer's inkjet proofs almost perfectly. An Epson 2400 would definitely do the job just fine. Many printers use Epson printers for their contract proofs anyway. I tried PowerRIP and wasn't particularly impressed with it. Most RIPs (especially inexpensive ones) are a pain in the butt. Use the driver with a good custom profile and you should be in good shape. If you select a suitable proofing paper, with characteristics that are similar to what your printer uses, you should get a great match. Most printers will not use your proof as a basis for a contract anyway, and will insist on using their own proof to match against. I used to provide a proof to show them what I wanted the job to look like. As it turned out, I had great profiles for my printer, and I had their proofer profile, so they were nearly the same anyway.

          Just my opinion.

          Lou
          • 2. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
            Al Ferrari Level 1
            I agree with just about everything you said Lou, except

            >Vectors print just fine as long as you have good resolution.

            Vectors by nature are resolution independent, no?

            Thanks,

            Al
            • 3. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
              Lou Dina Level 3
              Al,

              Yes, you're right. I didn't express myself very well.

              Mainly, I meant to say that vector components, such as text, rules, lines, etc, will look fine when printing from ID, Illy and PS to a non-postscript printer or without a separate postscript RIP. The driver will rasterize them just fine and they will look plenty sharp, especially if you use the highest quality output settings in the driver.

              Sorry about any confusion. Too much wine!

              Lou
              • 4. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
                Al Ferrari Level 1
                >Too much wine!

                Opinions will vary on that as well. :-)

                Al
                • 5. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
                  Level 1
                  Lou and Al:

                  Thanks for your responses. What exactly are "ID" and "Illy?" (I assume you mean postscript by "PS"). Are you talking about printing my Illustrator or InDesign file to PDF and then out to the printer? And yes, I will be setting up a color-managed system with custom printer profiles, etc.

                  Dan
                  • 6. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
                    Al Ferrari Level 1
                    Daniel,

                    "ID, Illy and PS" means InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. They can all print directly to a printer, unless there is some particular reason to generate pdfs first.

                    Al
                    • 7. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
                      Lou Dina Level 3
                      "ID, Illy and PS" means InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop.

                      Apparently, I need more wine. I'm about to work on that deficiency. Sorry again for the confusion.

                      All the above programs, plus PDFs, print fine to a good inkjet using the driver with good custom printer profiles. I often submit press quality PDFs to printers as a convenience, (usually in the final CMYK output space), but I usually also supply the complete InDesign file with all the appropriate Tiffs, links, fonts, etc. Unless time and distance are a problem, I ALWAYS include a hard copy color proof from my inkjet, preferably printed using their press or proofer profile for simulation. If that is not available, I find out what they want me to use. With my proof, they know exactly what I am expecting in terms of color, density, etc. If their first proof looks different from mine, a good printer will often look for the reasons or give me a call. I prefer to handle all conversions myself, and if possible, I want to design using their press profile. A detailed letter or email is also a good idea. I'd much rather over communicate.

                      Lou
                      • 8. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
                        Level 1
                        How embarrassing...I've only used the terms "ai" and "psd." The only reason I bring up Acrobat is that I've read here and there that since it generates postscript, people have been using it as a substitute postscript driver. So based on what you've said, I think I'll stick with the 1400 (sitting on my office floor in an unopened box), pay attention to output resolution, and see if I get the results I need.

                        Thanks,

                        Dan
                        • 9. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
                          Al Ferrari Level 1
                          >Apparently, I need more wine. I'm about to work on that deficiency.

                          Salud!
                          • 10. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
                            Lou Dina Level 3
                            Apparently, I need more wine. I'm about to work on that deficiency.

                            Salud!

                            Hicup!

                            Lou
                            • 11. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
                              >All the above programs, plus PDFs, print fine to a good inkjet
                              >usingthe driver with good custom printer profiles.

                              It should be said, however, that when looked at very closely, there is a noticeable difference in vector edge quality between a print from ID or Illy directly to the native driver compared to printing with a RIP (like PowerRIP). This is not the driver's fault, it's the way Adobe's apps handle non-postscript printers. The Epson driver, on the other hand will usually provide a finer dithering. Neither issue will prevent the print from being used as color proofs (provided your profiles are good). If you have a second need or interest in doing fine art prints, though, you should consider this. There is the work around of rasterizing PDFs in Photoshop though, that's what I do all the time.
                              Printing from Illy and ID is a little unflexible with page setup also. At least up to CS2 you won't be able to set up and use custom page sizes (like a 13x19 cut in half...)
                              • 12. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
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                                • 13. Re: Needed: Recommendation for lower-price color inkjet with postscript
                                  Al Ferrari Level 1
                                  >At least up to CS2 you won't be able to set up and use custom page sizes (like a 13x19 cut in half...)

                                  Not true! I do this regularly in IDCS on my Epson 2200 using custon size.

                                  Al