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Mark Peters : March 4th 2006 - 15:15 CET

Interview with Marvin Gross & Nancy Pilcher from HP

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HPHP interview : At the PMA 2006 (Photo Marketing Trade Show), we have interviewed Marvin Gross, worldwide product manager of HP printers, and Nancy Pilcher, product manager of HP printer supplies. During the PMA 2006 show HP introduced the HP Photosmart. The HP Photosmart Pro B9180 Professional Photo Printer uses HP Vivera pigment-based inks that offer professional photographers more choice when using a broad array of media beyond traditional photo paper. By introducing the HP Photosmart Pro B9180 printer HP expanded its portfolio of products for professional and advanced amateur photographers with a new professional photo printer that makes use of an exclusively formulated line of HP Vivera pigment inks.
Interview with Marvin Gross & Nancy Pilcher from HPHP Photosmart Pro B9180 printer
The new HP Pro B9180 printer makes us of HP Vivera pigment ink. HP Vivera pigment ink technology, combined with the printer’s professional colors, enables accurate and consistent color reproduction. Eight individual high-capacity ink cartridges enable high-volume printing with efficient printing speeds, producing 4 x 6- inch photos in as fast as 10 seconds and 13 x 19-inch photos as fast as 1.5 minutes. The new printer could be the perfect solution for advanced users. We asked Marvin and Nancy all about their latest professional photo printer, the HP Photosmart Pro B9180.

1). Question: One of the major printer announcements at the PMA is the HP Photosmart Pro B9180 printer. This new professional photo printer uses pigment inks, instead of the dye inks used in other Photosmart and Designjet printers. What made HP to change to pigment ink? Answer: Well, basically, HP has been developing pigment based inkjet printers for the large formats for many years. Even since 1992 HP has been into pigment ink intensively. But at that time we concluded that pigment ink was not ready yet for a big implementation in our HP printer line-up. Today, things have changed. We are convinced that pigment ink based printers are ready and suitable for the professional photographer. HP is able to offer a great portfolio of dye as well pigment based printers. We now have the luxury position to decide which technique to be used for which market, and visa versa. The new HP Photosmart Pro B9180 brings a great superior image quality to the professional market. With eight-color HP Vivera pigment inks the professional photographer is able to product very high quality photos.

2). Question: The new printer will be replacing the HP Designjet R30. Will the other HP Designjet printer also be replaced with pigment inks? Answer: At the moment we are focusing on B-size printers only. The HP Photosmart Pro B9180 is the first to come. In this market we believe there is a demand for both pigment and dye-based inkjet printers. Despite the introduction of the new HP Pro B9180 printer we will continue to sell the HP Designjet 130, not all printers will be replaced at this time. Nevertheless it is obvious that there is more to come...

3). Question: Pigment and gloss are not the most ideal situation. We see a lot of bronzing on the pigment inks on gloss paper. How does HP solve this problem? Answer: Good question. Like Epson we are using encapsulated ink, but to our opinion our technique is a little more sophisticated. Epson is using resin, HP is using besides resin an electrostatic part which prevents the ink from clamping. One of the benefits of using this combination is that we offer a smoother gloss, over the whole range. Additionally, it prevents the ink filling in the nozzles. And to be sure that the nozzles will be clear we are monitoring this. This way you will end up in a high quality print through the whole process over and over again. Thanks to the pigment ink and our papers, prints of the HP Photosmart Pro B9180 will have longevity for over 200 years. This is the result of testing from the well respected Wilhelm Imaging Research. Even with our new developed paper with Hahnemühle, 200 years longevity is possible. Our new printing paper is also waterproof, not water resistant, but waterproof. We measure this by doing six tests, which will be announced on our website. The combination of the new inks with the new paper, is the first to pass all six tests, so we can guarantee it's waterproof.

4). Question: For B&W printing the new HP Photosmart Pro B9180 professional photo printer is using two kinds of black (if we consider the matte and photo black as one kind of black). Do you think two kind of black will be enough to produce a superb quality of metamerism free B&W prints? Epson is using three kinds of grey scale to produce the big dynamic range. Answer: The HP Photosmart B9180 is using the 3rd generation of gray inks. The inks are totally neutral. We are pretty confident claiming that we are able to create astonishing black and white printing. Our black ink is very dark. It helps to get the desired deep black in the photo. Beside this technology we are using a rendering in a 16 bit mode. So our rendering is Very fine, resulting in high detail.

5). Question: Pigment ink is now introduced in the professional line. Will there also be pigment in the lower range, say like the HP Photosmart 8750? Answer: To be honest, we don't know. We are responsible for the large size printers, the B-series and bigger large format printers. We have no knowledge of what is going to be the next thing in that market. Nevertheless we would like to point out that the quality of the HP Photosmart 8750 printer is superb. There are a lot of professional photographers who are very enthusiastic about the Photosmart 8750. Despite the pigment technology there is still demand for dye inks in the professional market.

6). Question: What is the main difference for the technicians when they have to develop a pigment ink based printer instead of a dye ink printer? Is the printhead totally different? Other algorithms? Answer: It is simply to complex to go into detail with this one. Let us say that the printheads are tuned around the inks. But it's not only the printhead that makes the difference. Printing is a very, very complex process and every element in the printer is working together. So, it's not just one part. It has more to do with creating and establishing the prefect combination which gives us the perfect solution.

7). Question: First we were getting more and more colors, then more grey inks and for professionals it's changing to pigment inks. Also speed has increased rapidly, so does the long lasting character of the prints. What will be the next hurdle to deal with? Answer: Actually, speed is our third key selling point of the HP B9180 printer. Speed is now also available for the professional sector. And thanks to the large ink cartridges (professional) photographers are able to print constantly photo after photo. Of course we will continue to work on innovation time and time again. But it's rather a matter of fine tuning than a big change. We are now in the process of developing a broad portfolio of dye and pigment based printers. We don't have to conquer the world with just one technique.

8). Question: What is the strength of the new HP Photosmart B9180 professional photo printer? Answer: It is not a matter of one issue. In fact there are three key values. First we are able to print gallery-quality photos, which have an image quality through the wide range of media. Second the HP Pro B9180 printer produces a very good color accuracy and consistency, thanks to the close-loop calibration which we also used in the HP Designjet series. And finally speed is, of course, one of the issues. Furthermore we are able to produce 80 B-size prints out of one series of cartridges. Photographers will be pleased to learn that the costs will be low. Only ink will cost about 28 cents for a 4x6" print. And then there is the SPT (Scalable Printing technology). Scalable printing technology puts all of the printhead technologies onto the printhead itself. The four printheads together represent 8448 nozzels, which make it possible to print at high speed.

   HP Photosmart Pro B9180
   HP Photosmart Studio
   HP Photosmart Pro B9180 at PMA 2006
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