Although there are several colour printers on the market for run-of-the-mill document and photo reproduction, that will produce good quality and colour authenticity, professional photographers and graphic designers will usually have to pay considerable sums for larger prints, either at photo labs or with their own specialist equipment.
HP’s DesignJet 90 series, however, is deliberately geared towards this market, at a reasonable price and with quality as the benchmark. The print sizes start at A2+ (while the sister HP 30 series starts at A3+ and the HP 130 series at A1+), using a combination of six HP 85 and six HP 84 cartridges, with resolution up to 2,400dpi and a 4-picolitre drop size.
It has a built-in colour sensor and makes use of HP’s specially designed Vivera Inks which are guaranteed to be fade- and stain-free for 82 years (we may have to wait a while to verify this!). Loading the cartridges is straightforward and the accompanying software does an immediate colour correction test to make sure you’re on the right lines.
Designed for both Mac and Windows users, the other main noticeable difference over its rivals is the printing speed. It’s roughly twice the speed of similar models, averaging four minutes per page, and is therefore ideal for reasonably large volume assignments.
HP has brought out its own range of papers to accompany the new machine: HP Proofing Semi-Gloss and HP Proofing Matte for designers producing colour accurate offset emulations; HP Coated Paper for design proofs and basic prints; HP Premium Plus Photo Satin for high quality photo prints; and HP Professional Semi-Gloss Contract Proofing Paper for superior graphic designer proofs.
The standard paper tray holds 100 sheets of A2 and an optional 18-inch roll feed can either be purchased separately or is included in the 90r model. Optimised drivers support RGB profiles, Apple ColorSync compatibility and manual colour controls, while the optional EFI Adobe PostScript 3 RIP provides CMYK colour management and offset emulations for client proofing.
The Windows driver also has an auto-preview function with layout positioning and advice on clipping. As well as Closed Loop colour calibration, HP Professional Colour Technologies also include CMYKplus, Black Point compensation and Professional Pantone emulation; everything the professional would require.
Ultimately, of course, the proof is in the final print. The quality of the detail, tone and accuracy is outstanding, even when printing in monochrome. In short, this is a must for high quality, large format photo printing.
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