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Monday, August 1, 2005

Seeing The World As Black-And-White

A new breed of inkjet printers is lighting the way for a resurgence in top-quality black-and-white printing from a desktop darkroom

Seeing The World As Black-And-WhiteEverything old is new again. After lying dormant for more than a few years, black-and-white photography is growing explosively. Printer manufacturers are putting sizable resources into developing better ink and paper combinations, plus improved software and firmware, to generate black-and-white prints that surpass what was possible in the old wet darkroom. As the latest generation of products comes to market, we're taking a look at the possibilities.

HP Photosmart 8750 Professional Photo Printer

Go up to 13x19 inches with the latest in the HP Photosmart line

By Maura C. Lanahan

The dual task of producing accurate color images as well great black-and-whites can be a challenge for desktop printers. I had recently used Hewlett-Packard's Photosmart 8150 Photo Printer and was extremely pleased with the results, so I requested the new HP Photosmart 8750 Professional Photo Printer for review.

The ability of this printer to render black-and-white images with subtle shifts in tonal variations is remarkable. By using nine different inks, including a light and dark gray cartridge, the 8750 is capable of capturing detail in dark, shadowy areas while deep blacks contribute to high contrasts. The quality of each print stays consistent with different paper surfaces and is comparable to a print finished by hand from a film negative.

The driver is simple to navigate, as choosing paper type and resolution commands are easy to find. I tried toning an image in the driver's advanced color options instead of my image-editing software and turned out an interesting sepia print.

Based on Wilhelm Imaging Research, when the Vivera dye-based ink system (HP 97 Tri-Color, HP 101 Blue Photo and HP 102 Gray Photo Inkjet print cartridges) is used with HP Premium Plus Photo Papers, photos resist fading for more than 100 years when exposed to light and 200 years when kept in a photo album.

Boasting a large carriage, the unit can create up to 13x19-inch borderless images, making it ideal for printing photographs to hang on your wall. Having dimensions of 25.3x24.1x10, the 8750 may take up a considerable amount of space on your desk, but for the size and quality of images, it's well worth it.

In addition, the printer's ability to produce color images is excellent. Without any optimization in image-editing software, the 8750 was able to accurately and quickly produce what I saw on screen. An 8x10 maximum-resolution color print only took 31/2 minutes. List Price: $499.

Contact: Hewlett Packard, (800) 752-0900, www.hp.com.

Printing Technology: Thermal Inkjet
Inks: Dye-based—cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan, light magenta, blue, light gray, dark gray, black
Direct To Print: Compatible with CF, SD, MultiMedia, Memory Stick, xD, USB Flash Drive

Key Features

• Nine different color inks render true color and rich black-and-white images

• Capable of producing 13x19 borderless prints

• Photos resist fading for more than 100 years


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