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Thread: Colorbyte vs. Colorburst

  1. #1
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Colorbyte vs. Colorburst

    It seems like most digital artist types that I respect (George DeWolf, JP Caponigro) recommend the Colorbyte Image Print Rip software for the Epson 4000 printer especially if you print color and b&w (from George DeWolf in the current issue of "Great Output"). Does anyone have any experience with the new Colorburst RIP software that Epson is paring with the printers? The two are compareable in price. The Colorburst seems to be more marketed to graphic artists where as I am purely interested in both color and b&w fine art prints.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  2. #2

    Colorbyte vs. Colorburst

    I've never seen the Colorburst RIP, so I can't comment on that.

    I did see the Colorbyte RIP when I tried to have a test print made on an Epson 4000 at recent demo.

    I was unimpressed. The software has lots of features that might appeal to some, such as the ability to print packages of multiple prints of varying sizes, ability to optimize paper use by print placement, etc.

    None of those features have any value to me at all.

    The SOLE feature of interest to me was the much vaunted ability to do a better job of rendering monochrome output on the Epson printers.

    But in the demo, it appeared to be just a nightmare. I never did get a sample print. Even the people running the demo couldn't seem to make it work smoothly.

    The Colorbyte software for my printer would cost my $2,500. That's roughly half the cost of the darn printer. 2500 bucks for software the folks running the demo couldn't make work, and which has had the next version advertised on the Colorbyte website for months now, all for a possible incremental improvement over what I'm getting now?

    I don't think so. I was told that the big price tag was because Colorbyte must license postscript from Apple. But the 2500 buck version is the raster version, not the postscript version. I'm sure that Colorbyte feels that it's more value to have their software for a wider printer, but I don't see it that way. It doesn't cost them more to ship the dongle, it doesn't cost them more to support, it's just opportunistic pricing.

    Maybe when someone can explain to me why the 9600 version costs 2500, but the 4000 version costs 895... I might consider it. Until then, the literature continues to get filed in the 'Why bother?' file.

  3. #3

    Colorbyte vs. Colorburst

    If you don't need the fancy layout and production features of the commercial RIPs then just use the Epson driver with custom icc profiles for color and use Roy Harrington's QuadToneRIP for excellent B&W output using the OEM UC inks.

    http://www.harrington.com/QuadToneRIP.html

  4. #4
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Colorbyte vs. Colorburst

    The Harrington idea is one that I have thought about but>>>> I am sort of backing into this with some equipment that I already own and can't afford to replace in the near future like a Windows based computer which the Harrington RIP will not support yet.

    I have to laugh about the demo guys. I don't know how many times I have seen similar disasters by demo guys. So Paul what are you using? You didn't say.

    How can Colorbyte be so highly touted? I know that George DeWolf gets nothing by recommending it.

    Here is the issue. I have about ten months to produce about 30 museum quality color prints for a retrospective show of mine in Sept. next year. I have never produced a mueum quality color print in my life. Another 40 prints will be B&w most of which are traditional and already exist in regional museum collections, but a few I want to be new digital prints. I also have a very busy commercial architectural business that requires alot of color 8x10's, which I am currently producing about half on the 4000 and half on an old roller transport C-41 machine which needs to go to the dump.

    Any thoughts would be helpful.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  5. #5

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    Colorbyte vs. Colorburst

    "I am sort of backing into this with some equipment that I already own and can't afford to replace in the near future like a Windows based computer which the Harrington RIP won't support yet."

    Roy has had a version of his RIP for Windows out for a couple months now. I've been following the many, many questions and answers about it in the Yahoo digital black and white printing group since it came out but haven't yet gotten up the nerve to try to install it. From all the issues people seem to have had I have the impression that you almost need to be a computer programmer to install it. That isn't intended as a knock on Roy, whose generosity in spending so much time and effort for little or no compensation is remarkable, I'm just saying what looks like a fact of life to me from all the reading I've done. Half the time I can't even figure out what the questions are much less the solutions (and I actually was a computer programmer once upon a time long long ago). However, while I can't speak from personal experience for that reason, those who get it up and running say it works very well.

    Commercial RIPs have lots of features that probably aren't important to you since you're not doing mass production color work (at least it doesn't sound like you are) and I don't think they're necessary unless you absolutely must use Epson color inks for your black and white prints. As I'm sure you know, they tend to cost a bundle (except for Harrington's), and I'm not sure they're a necessity for high quality color work if you don't need all the various features. FWIW, if you want a RIP other than Harrington's the least expensive one that most people seem pleased with is ImagePrint for about $500.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  6. #6

    Colorbyte vs. Colorburst

    Kirk,

    First, I'd buy a new Macintosh and be done with that part of it. Mac color management works and you can certainly make wonderful color and B&W prints with your Epson without buying a RIP. Having owned several RIPs in the early days of inkjet printing I can say from that experience that they were a waste of money except for the fact that I could render postscript files for proofing without having to RIP the file in the computer via Photoshop or spool prints. So for that job they sped the work along but they did not give any better results.

    The new RIPs are ridicously expensive unless you need the features they offer (assuming they actually work as claimed). There is no way I'd buy a piece of software for thousands of dollars that would only work on one model of printer and may or may not be upgraded for new OSs or computers - not unless it answered a burning business question such as productivity or workflow that showed a good return on investment in a short period of time. I have too large a number of boxes and disks for obsolete gimmicks that are no longer usable on modern platforms. Money that might as well have been poured down the toilet.

    For B&W work you can make great prints easier if you like a little tone to them. A slighlty cool (or warm) print is much easier to make than trying for truly neutral black. Its incredibly hard to make neutral blacks and grays with color inks - there is going to be a tint no matter what you do, so you might as well go with the flow instead of fighting it. I have a friend who printed a show of 4 foot square prints made on an Epson 9600 from Hasselblad/TriX scans that are wonderful. Slightly toned and consistent in look all the way through. (poor representations on the web)-- http://www.customshousemuseum.org/wickham/inspired/clark/

    Something I don't understand is why you are making 4000 prints for your clients but feel you can't make your color show prints the same way. Why not?

    My final comment is that we are bombarded about the NEED for more hardware and software that will solve our problems - magic bullets that will change our lives. Writers, magazines, printer makers, software developers all depend on us buying into their miraculous solutions they jointly promote. I think its mostly marketing and not real.

  7. #7

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    Colorbyte vs. Colorburst

    Like Henry, I wasted time and money on various RIPS back in the early days of inkjet printing. And I agreed with Henry's POV up until the other day. That's when I delivered 40 framed sepia-toned inkjets (Epson 2200) to my client. They looked great under daylight, mixed light, incandescent, and halogen. But under the academic flourescent sconces that lit the hallway they're intended for, they turned magenta instead of the warm neutral I intended.

    I'm looking into ImagePrint, as it has the best commentary from users, but I'd welcome alternative suggestions. I'm not certain that any RIP would solve this sort of extreme metamerism, and those damn flourescents would probably make selenium toned silver prints look bad too. But I'm going to experiment - expensive as it may be.

  8. #8
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Colorbyte vs. Colorburst

    Thanks for the comments:

    **I agrree with you about the MAC but I am in the tenth consequtive year of putting kids through college with at least two to go!

    **According to Harringtons' website the Windows RIP for the 4000 is not available yet. Is that not true?

    **Why color through the Epson for my clients and not for the show? Good question. The sense I have gotten from some people was that even color ink usage was superior with the Colorbyte ImagePrint RIP (which Brian, is $895.00! as the light version I don't think is available for the 4000). Is that nonsense?

    **Is the Colorburst RIP so new that no one has any experience with it? 4 out of the 5 fine art printers in the recent issue of Great Output including Clyde Butcher and George DeWolf (who is a good friend of mine and has never steered me wrong) recommend Imageprint. I saw Clydes prints at the VC conference. I think they speak well of his approach.

    Thanks
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  9. #9

    Colorbyte vs. Colorburst

    Kirk wrote:

    **Why color through the Epson for my clients and not for the show? Good question. The sense I have gotten from some people was that even color ink usage was superior with the Colorbyte ImagePrint RIP (which Brian, is $895.00! as the light version I don't think is available for the 4000). Is that nonsense?

    Yes its nonsense.

    (smiley, smiley)

    $900 seems like real money to me. I think you should make a few big show prints and see if they're nice enough for you to be PROUD. If so, then spend your bucks for your kid's special summer semester trip to Italy. (yikes!)

  10. #10
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Colorbyte vs. Colorburst

    Henry,

    The short answer is I have printed some tests and they fall short of my expectations.

    As I understand it a RIP is superior method of sending file information to the printer than a simple driver and can produce superior results.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

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