Monday, September 29, 2008
Go Large With High-Tech Printers
Modern large-format printers are cost-effective and give you the opportunity to make exhibition-quality prints right in your studio
|HP Designjet Z3100|
All three of the printers covered here are capable of excellent black-and-white printing, thanks to the use of multiple shades of black inks. Epson offers an Advanced Black & White mode in its printer driver that neutralizes color shifting while giving you control over toning and overall grayscale adjustments. HP and Canon both offer a mode that uses only the black inks to generate neutral monochrome images. Especially when printing on the baryta-type papers, such as Inkpress Baryta, Hahnemühle Baryta or the outstanding Epson Exhibition Fiber paper, the output from all three printers meets or exceeds what you can create in the traditional darkroom.
The Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6100 ($3,495) and iPF8100 ($5,995) are the latest versions of Canon’s pro printer line in 24-inch and 44-inch widths, respectively. Both printers use twelve pigment inks with all inks available (no cartridge swap). They are Photo Black, Matte Black, Gray, Photo Gray, Cyan, Photo Cyan, Magenta, Photo Magenta, Yellow, Red, Green and Blue. The printers come with a plug-in for Photoshop that supports 16-bit printing for smooth tones and excellent color reproduction. Canon has a wide range of media available, including photo rags produced by Hahnemühle. Ink costs for the Canon range from about $.58 per ml for the 130ml cartridges in the 24-inch model, to about $.40 per ml for the 700ml cartridges in the 44-inch.
The HP Z3100 is available in 24-inch ($3,395) and 44-inch ($5,595) sizes. Postscript versions also are available for $4,595 and $6,995, respectively, and also include HP’s Advanced Profiling Solution for customizing profiles and calibrating displays. There are twelve inks on board (Photo Black, Matte Black, Gray, Light Gray, Magenta, Light Magenta, Light Cyan, Yellow, Red, Green, Blue, Gloss Enhancer). Ink costs for the Z3100 are about $.52 per ml in the 130ml cartridge size. The HP currently is the only printer available that includes an onboard spectrophotometer, made by X-Rite, for calibration and profile creation. The Gloss Enhancer, used on gloss and luster papers eliminates gloss differential. When printing to fine-art papers, a grayscale mode allows you to print with all four blacks for fine control and excellent neutrality.
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