I had the opportunity to attend HP’s press event at Photokina. While the breadth of HP’s line in photographic printing equipment is wide ranging, I skip the details on minilabs and other retail solutions and focus on the stuff I know.
At one side of the printing range they introduced a small photo printer that prints up to 13-inches wide. I say small because on the opposite end is a 44-inch printer for professionals.
First the printer that could fit on my desk, the B8550. It uses 5 inks to make this printer more of an all around printer that you wouldn’t be afraid to use for day-to-day use, and would be pleased with printing 4×6 prints.
5 inks? What rainbow are we talking about now? Well because this printer is designed to handle things like text, rather than be relegated to only printing photos, beside the CMYK there is an additional black ink for text.
Now for the printer that I would have to move my desk out of the room for, the Z3200. To say this is a serious printer is an understatement, none of this five inks business, this monster has 12! These include several blacks and grays and their new chromatic red ink. But what makes all these inks play together nicely on the paper is the built in profiling system.
This system is not new to this printer but it is worth mentioning. The Z3200 has a built-in X-rite spectrophotometer so that the printer automatically profiles itself. A proper profile is essential when working with final prints this size.
With the introduction of the Z3200, HP also announced a partnership with Nikon to offer a full system that covers capture (with the Nikon D3) to print using Erogosoft’s StudioPrint RIP software to power the Z3200.
During the presentation we heard from renowned German photographer Thomas Hoepker who talked about how stunning the prints are. It was moving to see some one excited about how well this technology performs.