Published on February 14th, 2020 at 07:13 pm

Inroduction

Jack Dugannne was the printmaker responsible for coining the term giclee in reference to the fine art prints they were producing on an industrial inkjet printer on which the paper receiving the ink was attached to a rotating drum. Sometimes referred to as archival prints, giclee is a French terminology that means to spray in reference to how inkjet printers work.

Today, giclee/ archival prints are revered amongst artists and art studios for the simple fact that they have enabled prints to last longer than they previously did. Giclee prints are nothing like the typical prints produced by regular office inkjet printers. If an artist wishes to create, reproduce a giclee printer they must ensure that they choose the right printer. The marketplace is saturated with inkjet printers, and it can be daunting to try and pick out a printer that is capable of handling giclee and archival prints.

 

Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Color Inkjet Printer

Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Color Inkjet Printer1
Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Color Inkjet Printer2
Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Color Inkjet Printer3

Intro

Unlike most giclee printers, the Epson Stylus Pro 3880 is slightly smaller and can easily be mistaken for a standard 13-inch printer. Despite its tiny footprint, this 17-inch printer is as high performing like any other giclee printer and is ideal for artists who create prints that are smaller in size or often require to make copies. The printer utilizes AccuPhot HD2 technology to maximize the color gamut and deliver better fine image quality than most photo-realistic printers. Blacks and greys are reproduced wonderfully on the printer as it has a three-level black technology that facilitates this. Regardless of the print resolution in use, you are guaranteed of getting photo quality finish on your prints.

Pros

  • Artist can choose color presets on the printer ranging from neutral, warm, sepia and cool.
  • Images are ultra-realistic and sharp thanks to the MicroPiezo print head.
  • Ink wastage is minimal as the ink placement on the printer is precise.
  • The printer is equipped with eight ink sets for top tier print quality capable of lasting for decades.

Cons

  • Cleaning the head of the printer can be rather challenging and will require a couple of tries before a user is able to do it.

Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO 4000

Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO 40001
Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO 40002
Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO 40003
Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO 40004
Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO 40005

Intro

The ImagePROGAF PRO 4000 from canon is an award-winning printer that boasts fantastic features that giclee/archival artists would enjoy and appreciate. Some of the features include a 320 GB hard drive that can be used to save digital copies of the prints, a 2400X 1200 dpi resolution, and a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen panel. The printer is equipped with L-COA PRO image processing engine that has 3 chips to control ink flow and image data. It also has 11 pigment color ink with two different black inks, i.e., matte and photo black.

Pros.

  • Each of the black colors has a separate nozzle meaning that artists do not need to pause mid- print to switch between the colors.
  • Artists can create prints of up to 44 inches and roll-ups of up to 59 inches.
  • Unlike other printers in the market, you can save digital print copies for future use.
  • Artists do not have to worry about media connectivity issues as the printer is equipped with most media connectivity features.

Cons

  • The printer’s software (Canon Print Studio Pro) is not as intuitive in comparison to other printers in the market.

 

Epson Sure Color SC- P800

Epson Sure Color SC- P8001
Epson Sure Color SC- P8002
Epson Sure Color SC- P8003
Epson Sure Color SC- P8004

Intro

Inspired by its predecessor, the Epson Stylus Pro, the Epson Sure color SC- P800 delivers a similar experience as its predecessor but with additional features. The 17- inch printer has a 2.7-inch LCD control panel and uses On-demand inkjet (Piezoelectric) printing to deliver quality prints with high depths. It is one of the first giclee printers that have the capability of printing wirelessly as long as the artist/ user has a functional working Wi-Fi connection.

Pros

  • Its versatility allows it to be used for both home and industrial art studios.
  • It is ideal for tech-savvy artists who are not afraid to explore using technology for their prints.
  • The photo quality is exceptional and at per with its predecessor.
  • It offers A2 sized prints despite it being one of the smaller sized printers.

Cons

  • In comparison to other printers that offer similar specs, the Sure Color P800 is slightly pricier than usual.

 

Canon PRO-2000 imagePROGRAF Printer

Canon PRO-2000 imagePROGRAF Printer1
Canon PRO-2000 imagePROGRAF Printer2

Intro

Slightly larger than most giclee printers, is ideal for use in art studios. The Canon Pro 2000 sets itself apart with the Canon to Canon workflow capability that facilitates the use of a Canon EOS DSLR Camera to get prints from this printer directly. The printer delivers accurate color reproduction as it has a wide color gamut and quality of prints is nothing short of exceptional. It is equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity, 320 GB hard drive, 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen control panel. Artists can easily change ink tanks without having to worry about spending too much time.

Pros

  • Thanks to the printer’s touchscreen, the printer can be used independently of other devices.
  • The printer has 27 sensors that easily detect clogs and compensate with a different working nozzle, and the clogged nozzle is automatically cleaned after.
  • The printer works effectively regardless of the humidity or temperature conditions.
  • Artists using Canon DSLR camera will find this printer to be extremely beneficial because of the Canon to Canon workflow.
  • You can reproduce prints as large as 24 inches.

Cons

  • Has a large footprint than most printers.

 

Epson Stylus Photo R2880 Wide-Format Color Inkjet Printer

Epson Stylus Photo R2880 Wide-Format Color Inkjet Printer1
Epson Stylus Photo R2880 Wide-Format Color Inkjet Printer2

Intro

If you are an artist with a preference for grayscale giclee prints, the Stylus Photo R2880 by Epson is the ideal printer as it reproduces images without missing a single detail. It has a 5,760 x 1,440 dpi resolution capability that is enhanced by the advanced MicroPiezo print head. The MicroPiezo head has Meniscus Control that ensures ink precision without any ink wastage being experienced. It also has 11 ink pigments with three blacks for gloss and matte paper. The different black levels are what make it great for grayscale projects.

Pros

  • Minimal ink wastage thanks to the three droplet sizes meniscus control.
  • Can handle both paper sheets and rolls to create prints as big as 13 x 19 inch.
  • The print quality and permanence are incredibly outstanding.

Cons

  • The blacks need to be separated, which means artists need to pause mid-project if they are working with both blacks.

 

Canon imagePROGRAF iPF9400

Canon imagePROGRAF iPF94001
Canon imagePROGRAF iPF94002

Intro

The imagePROGRAF iPF9400 is a large format printer with a 12-color water-based pigment that facilitates the recreation of superior prints and images. It has an inbuilt color sensor and functions using the LUCIA EX 12-colour print system. This printer is capable of meeting almost all large printing needs as it can print a paper roll of up to 18m. in comparison to other large printers available in the market, the imagePROGRAF iPF9400 has two hot-swap 330mL or 700mL ink tanks which translates to ink cartridges being replaced effortlessly without interrupting printing, therefore, maintaining maximum productivity.. The LCD touchscreen on the printer makes it easy to use and set up workflows that make an artist work efficient.

Pros

  • It is equipped with a hard drive that can be used for storing and archiving images.
  • It runs exceptionally quietly which is somewhat unexpected given the size of the printer.
  • Artists car reproduces extremely large prints.
  • Artists and art studios can benefit from the cost management software that helps them calculate their printing ROI.

Cons

  • Weighing at 167 kilograms, the printer is extremely large and bulky.

 

Conclusion

While the inkjet printer that you select to reproduce your giclee/archival prints is important, three other elements will influence the outcome of your print. They include the resolution, ink quality, and paper type. The Ink quality is the most significant determinant of the outcome of your giclee print. To achieve the best results, it is recommended that you use pigment-based inks, which have considerable permanence as opposed to dye-based inks that fade significantly. The paper type that you choose for giclee printing should be one of excellent archival quality. More often than not, the archival quality is usually indicated on the package, and you should ideally look for paper that is acid-free and consists of a 100 percent cotton or rag base. Paper with the mentioned quality will not only last long but also ensures proper color reproduction. The image resolution also matters a lot, and artists should ensure that the images they are using have dots per inch (DPI) above 300. The DPI of an image affects the print quality, and lower DPIs are likely to result in highly pixelated/fragmented prints. It is also challenging to recreate details on print and images if the DPI is not ideal.

Conducting proper research on all the four elements is essential, but this does not mean that these are the only standards to consider when recreating giclee prints. Other factors are likely to come into play, depending on the medium that an artist is producing. It’s therefore vital that you have a conversation with other artists who create giclee prints, visit art studios to view their work samples and try out their printers. Finally, you should ensure that you have the technical skill to operate your printing equipment.

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