New Hewlett-Packard Designjets take wide-format printing to the next level

Imagine having the luxury of hiring a colour specialist who would guarantee the highest quality of colour-matching output each and every time, regardless of media.

Imagine hiring an on-site technician who would be available on a moment's notice to fix any technical problems quickly, especially during tight deadlines.

How much would this set you back? $100,000? $150,000? $200,000?

Well, you don't really need to, according to Hewlett-Packard, if you purchase one of its new Z2100 or Z3100 large-format printers, which both boast 24" to 44" output sizes.

"In our extensive research, we started at the top," says Charles Dimov, HP Business Manager, Designjets. "We went to the industry’s leading portrait and commercial photographers, best fine artists and design studios and top prepress specialists. We asked one simple question: What exactly do you need? What can we do to help you do your job better?

We discovered that professional photographers wanted longer-lasting, gallery-quality prints and didn't want to invest either the time or money outsourcing to professional labs.

Graphic designers wanted precise colour consistency day-in day-out. They needed to produce the most accurate reproductions in-house to show clients quickly, and maintain full quality control.

Prepress experts required continuous industry standard colour calibration to streamline their total print production operation.

Our new Z2100 and Z3100 Designjet Series large-format printers offer all that and more with breakthrough printing technology."

The technology he was referring to, and what makes these printers truly unique, is the industry's first built-in spectrophotometer with GretagMacbeth/X-rite Eye-One Color Technology. This enables the Designjet Z series to economically deliver consistent, accurate colors across a wide range of media, print to print.

The Z2100 8-ink photo printer, says the company, is the perfect solution for photographers, graphic designers, architects and commercial printers in need of high-quality, large-format prints and proofs. It features HP Vivera pigment inks that include Three-Black inks for amazingly detailed gray/black tones.

The Z3100 12-ink photo printer is ideal for creative professionals in photography, digital fine arts and prepress, and offers extended capabilities for museum-quality color and black-and-white prints on a wide variety of media, including fine art and glossy media. The Z3100 features additional HP Gloss Enhancer and HP Vivera pigment inks, including HP Quad Black inks.

The series boasts an industry-leading color gamut, says Hewlett-Packard, with more than 80% Pantone coverage and full support of main prepress color standards such as Gracol and SWOP. This enables users to produce brilliant, life-like photos and fine art prints with excellent color rendition and fine gradations within the color space.

Even black and white reproduction is stunning. Matte black, photo black and mid- and light gray HP Vivera pigment inks are used for true gray neutrality to produce smooth transitions, higher black optical density and low-image grain on glossy and matte media – without changing ink cartridges! This saves a huge amount of time and aggravation.

The HP Gloss Enhancer with the Z3100, for example, is used on photo media (with the exception of matte-finish papers) to produce images with uniform gloss from highlights to shadows, and eliminates bronzing as an image quality issue. In addition, the HP Quad-Blacks significantly reduce metamerism issues in black and white prints.

HP Vivera pigment inks, says the company, are carefully designed to work with other elements of the new printing system to provide reliable, stable performance and to help prevent ink and printhead nozzles from clogging inside the printer.

If they do clog, or if there are other technical problems, HP's Easy Printer Care/Printer Utility Software helps the user proactively maintain the printer and manage printer status, desktop alerts and automatic updates, saving additional time and effort.

Print Preview eliminates trial and error and reduces wasted ink and media with real-time layout and orientation preview from drivers on both Mac and Windows.

For prepress specialists, the HP Color Center effortlessly guides users through color management and printing. Intuitive instructions enable easy ICC profile creation and installation. Quite literally, you can set for re-calibration, go on a 20-minute coffee break, and everything will be done when you return.

As mentioned earlier, the Designjets exquisite, long-lasting prints employ HP Vivera pigment inks with 8-ink (Z2100) and 12-ink (Z3100) options. The color can be optimized for a variety of photo and fine art papers, more than 30 in total, that provide superior fade resistance and durability that lasts more than 200 years, says HP.

These include photo, fine art, proofing, bond and coated papers, as well as canvas (many new options are now available), vinyl, scrim and banner media options. The HP Designjets can print with or without borders.

The Z2100 was released Sept. 26 and the Z3100 will be available in the first half of 2007.
Prices are very competitive and range from $4,699 (CDN) for the Z2100 24" to $7,799 (CDN) for the 44". Estimates for the Z3100 range from $5,699 (CDN) for the 24" to $8,799 (CDN) for the 44".

For more information, please visit www.hp.ca, or call 1-888-447-4636.•

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.