HP DesignJet 5000 and DesignJet 5000ps with the increased color gamut of their UV pigmented inks
The HP DesignJet 5000 and DesignJet 5000ps (with integrated PostScript mini-RIP already included) have totally changed the large format printer situation. Now you can get top quality with none of the deficiencies or slowness of piezo printheads. Taking advantage of the multiple benefits of thermal printhead inkjet technology (such as speed, photo-realistic quality and lack of banding tracking defects) HP has produced a workhorse that is easy to use as well as a real surprise in its reasonable price.
In January we first tested the new pigmented inks for the HP 5000. This was a beta set of the new inks before the inks were available. The color gamut was impressive. Lots of reds, blues, bright yellows, everything you need. In June 2001 the word from the grapevine is that the UV inks have stability and longevity ratings over 150 years when displayed under museum-like conditions. The tests (not by us) are still ongoing; indications are the final ratings will be even more impressive.
Just be sure you don't use some dull paper. This ink is brewed also to use for signs outside, on low-cost paper that will be laminated. The lamination adds punch to the image that is missing on the economy coated stock (heavy coated stock is the traditional name). HP was showing only heavy coated media at their booth at Graphics of the Americas trade show (Miami, early February 2001).
HP designjet 5500ps large format printer arrived at BGSU for testing
Fortunately by the time of the PMA trade show (mid-Feb. 2001), HP was showing better media. This media was specially made for the pigmented inks. The new media is better for photographs. In other words, don't use heavy coated paper for your exhibit-quality photographs. Here is one of the great printers for photo-realistic images, just crying out for a better media. Same with fine art. It takes more than an excellent printer and an outstanding new ink to make a fine art printer. The missing link is a really great media specifically for fine art and/or photographs.
We were surprised to find that the UV pigmented inks produced a beautiful gamut at 1200 dpi with speed, six color quality, Actually it would be tough to tell the difference between output from the new UV pigmented inks on the HP 5000 as compared with the dye inks of the HP 2000, 2500, 2800, 3000, 3500, or 3800. In other words, the new UV pigmented inks are much much better color gamut than the pigmented inks of the 2xxx or 3xxx series and close to the colors of the brilliant dye inks of those earlier models.
Since we are photographers and artists, we are very picky about color gamut. When you hear the trials and tribulations of people getting dull gray (instead of black) or lack of reds or blues on their Epson piezo systems we know why we have the HP 5000 as our flagship printer.
This printer technology is brand new, so you can get your hands on the latest technology that will hold up for many years of productive use.
If you seek info on Wasatch SoftRIP for an HP or Encad (thermal printers), contact Jonathan Knecht, tel toll free 888 BIG-COLR.
ColorDNA can provide HP printers nationwide. They specialize in HP DesignJet printers for signage, CAD, GIS, photos, and general applications. We have visited the ColorDNA facilities, indeed this is where we tested the original HP UV inks several years ago. We only recommend HP dealers whom we know, and whom we trust.
Every several years there is either a new Canon iPF printer or a new Epson or a new HP water-based printer that is made for giclee, decor, or fine art photography. It is hard to keep track of the advances in improved inks and color management features. FLAAR is keeping track by visiting giclee ateliers around the world that have these various brands. Each brand has its good points and a few issues and an occasional deficiency.
Since FLAAR itself does not sell printers, for you to find out information on prices and availability of each model that can print fine art giclee well, we suggest you contact a company that offers all three brands: Canon, HP, and Epson. This way they are not going to push just one brand because they offer all three. Plus you need a company that has plenty of experience with fine art photographs, photo labs, and giclee atelier.
The advantage of a place that offers both Epson, HP, and Epson is that they can provide some tips on the differences. If a store sells only one brand or the other, they will understandably push the brand they sell. One value-added retailer that we have visited several times is Parrot Digigraphic. They know each of the brands and models. Contact info is 978.670.7766.
HP 5000ps arrives in the FLAAR evaluation center at Bowling Green State University, Ohio.
Last updated: Sept. 23, 2003. Previous updates: Jan, 15, 2003, June 9, 2001.
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