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Monday, August 1, 2005

Gadget Bag: Bigger & Better

Large-format printers deliver big size, big color and more

Hewlett-Packard Designjet 90
Bigger prints mean very little if the color isn't right. The HP Designjet 90 is built around an inkset that delivers color accuracy for both color and black-and-white prints. Delivering fade-resistance of up to 82 years, the six-ink printer produces prints on pre-cut sheets of up to 18x24 inches and panoramic prints of up to 64 inches in length. It measures 43x22x20 inches and weighs 40.8 pounds.

The printer promises to deliver color that closely matches your original file and remains consistent print after print using HP's Closed Loop Color Calibration system. It includes a built-in scanner that reads the color tiles on the proof; the printer software then uses this data to make needed adjustments to counter any unwanted color variation. Its Black Point Compensation feature helps to delivers neutral black for monochrome prints, reducing the shifting of tones and color in color prints. Whether it's three or a dozen prints, the system delivers color and tonality that makes each print virtually identical. List Price: $995.

Hewlett-Packard Designjet 130

Prints as large as 24x64 inches can be output on the HP Designjet 130 printer. Providing both roll-feed and rear-feed paper handling, the printer allows use of a wide selection of papers sizes and materials, including watercolor and canvas up to 0.02 inches thick and up to 50 feet in length. HP inks deliver excellent color on matte and glossy surfaces.

The six-ink printer uses its maximum 2400 dpi resolution, four-picoliter droplet size and HP's color-layering technology to produce accurate color and smooth tonal and color transitions on virtually any printing surface. It provides excellent gloss uniformity, even in areas where minimal inks are applied. The printer measures 41.3x16.3x8.7 inches, weighs 48.5 pounds, and offers an open EIO slot for optional network connectivity. This provides multiple users access to the use of the printer. List Price: $1,295.

Final Considerations

All of these printers can take up a significant amount of space in your work area, so make sure to consider this when making your purchase. Many of these printers offer optional workstands that not only provide a convenient place to rest the printer, but also help manage large prints, particularly panoramic photographs.

The ink tanks are significantly larger than those found on desktop printers, so it's important to consider the price of replacement inks. It's also essential to regularly use and maintain the printers to reduce the chances for clogged nozzles, which can happen if the printer sits idle for lengthy periods. The inks and nozzle designs have improved to reduce such occurrences.

The first time you gaze at a big print from these large-format printers, you'll undoubtedly be impressed by the difference it makes, especially when you're looking at your best work. This likely will be a feeling that will be shared by those who enjoy and appreciate your photography.


Epson, (800) GO-EPSON www.epson.com

, (800) 752-0900 www.hp.com


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