Pros: The Janome is a well-built sewing machine. Customizer for converting foreign file types works well.
Cons: Digitizer 10k is plagued with problems making it cumbersome and unreliable to use.
I had almost a decade of digitizing and machine embroidery before buying this machine a year ago. In my experience the Janome machine itself is very dependable and well built. The only adaptation one must make is if you have never used an embroidery machine is that the needle travels almost straight up and down instead of at an angle like most home sewing machines. This can make jobs like hemming jeans a bit difficult.
The embroidery software, Easy Transfer and Customizer are easy to use and do a good job of converting foreign file types.
In my opinion and as related to me by other skilled and professional digitizers, Digitizer 10000 seems to be plagued with problems that show up with greater frequency as you learn to take advantage of the more advanced features it promises. The machine will sew out almost any design I purchase or any design that I have digitized with another brand of digitizing software. With it's own though I must go in and make manual corrections so as not to have gaps in the finished design.
*All corrections for material type, stitch/underlay type and 'pull' being made gaps in stitched areas is still a major issue.
*The option to choose what type of material/garment you are going to be embroidering on while creating a design does not work at all and, according to the mfr., should 'just be ignored'.
* The Digitizing software designs in .jan format then you must save them as .jef files to be loaded onto the machine.
A professional tells me that re-opening .jef files and making any changes after they are completed may cause erratic errors when you try to sew them out.
*If you save designs in Digitizer you must be sure that all user defined default settings are the same at ALL 'save' locations within the software window. If you do not, the design specifications saved as a .jef file may not be what it was specified to be in the .jan file you created!
* Many dealers are poorly trained, through no fault of their own, in the advanced use of the software they sell. Support seems to be available from the company unless you cannot resolve an issue, their most common excuse being 'user ignorance' or 'user error', after which time you become an 'annoyance client' and they may choose to ignore all correspondence. This is does not seem to be a reflection of all their support personnel just those in upper managerial positions who take control of 'persistent' problems.
*'Ramp up' time or the time and effort needed to learn this software on your own, is in my opinion, very excessive for the average consumer.
*The Digitizer 10k software, after many 'patches', is also available on disk from Janome. How they determine who 'deserves' a new disk is unclear. Even consumers with a history of documented software problems, even if they are blamed on 'bad downloads', are often told to try and get these files again online. Replacing this Digitizer with a different brand seems to me to be a more intelligent idea.
*If the reason for the difficulties users have with the Digitizer 10k / 10001 software, according to Janome, is that it is 'professional based software' then maybe considerations should be made to sell a user friendly home version for this home machine... The Janome Memorycraft 10000 is a well built machine but far from being sturdy enough for a commercial
NOTE: The 'new' Janome Memorycraft MC10001 still uses the Digitizer 10000 / 10001 program. The only significant difference between the two machines, according to Janome, is an operating system upgrade and a new color scheme for the machine. The OS upgrade is free for those who purchased the 10k machine within 6 months of the new one's release or for sale at dealers for $349.00US
An embroidery machine is only as good as the software you use. As a professional who has used and supported this machine in the past told me, 'As far as customer support, none of the sewing machine companies are yet up to the level of companies that sell computer products. The whole concept of supporting software is foreign to what they have had to deal with in the past..' This is an understatement... in my opinion.
I believe this machine, in so far as hardware goes, is a very well built machine. It is limited and a bit behind the times in technology though. There seem to be a number of decent machines on the market at this point. I believe the software is as important as the machine itself. I found the Janome digitizing software (written by Wilcom)to be quite difficult, at best, to use. I had quite a bit experience with a Pfaff 7570 machine and PC Designer so I was not new to digitizing when I purchased this machine.
I have, in the past year, purchased Origins, an after-market digitizing program. What a joy it is! With it my Janome has finally become 'productive'. Several 'serious' (pro) digitizers recommended the Origins software to me. A few of them I have spoken with have even had a Janome and experienced the exact same problems as I did.
Deleting Digitizer and all other Janome software and then loading ONLY Customizer and EZ Edit (and all the silly patches Janome has to offer for these programs) will allow you to eliminate the need for Janome's Digitizer Program!
I have just received an offer from Origins/BabyLock Tech (creators of 'Origins' and BabyLock's Palette Digitizer software) to trade my Janome Digitizer in part for the new MasterWorks program!!! The new program is as close to a professional digitizer as most people will ever need. It utilizes Vector Graphics for design rendering. So the old Janome Digitizer is in a box packed with a big red bow to be shipped off in trade for a REAL Program that is actually usable!! 'Bye Bye Bye crappy Digitizer 10000 / 10001 !'
There are a few things I would keep in mind when considering the purchase of a new machine:
1) Will I be happy with the OEM digitizer? If not can I use an after-market program that will allow me to do designs in their format? (the new Bernina at last check would not)
2) Will the machine, if you use an after-market piece of software, allow you to import designs without their OEM digitizer programs? The Janome will not ... you must have their software to load designs directly onto a memory card since it adds 'hidden' files that allow the machine to sew the stitch base files you have created. So, basically, I had to buy Janome's over priced digitizer programs anyway.
3) What kind of re-writable memory card/drive does it use?
What type of memory card can you use? CF? SD? MM? USB Jumpdrive? What is the size limit of the memory card/drive you can use with the machine?
I personally create all sorts of designs and like to keep them on as few cards as possible. I will even load several versions of the same design on a card. This is so that, depending on what type of garment or material I will be working on (variations in stitch type, density and size), I have them ready to go. With the Janome 10k you are limited to using a Compact Flash card in an adapter. I have yet to get a SD or MM cards to work even with the PC card adapter.
You are also limited to 512M cards, unlike newer machines such as the BabyLock where you can use USB jump drives which can store far more.
So what does all this boil down to? If I was shopping for a machine I would look at one that was a bit more 'up to date' with today's technology than the Janome. I would also want one that allowed me the freedom to choose software I was comfortable with. The software is as important, if not more so, than the machine itself. I cannot afford to buy a new machine or another digitizer every time a new one comes out so I would be more careful with my next purchase to be sure to get one I could live and work with.