Should you consider HP latex ink printers for fine art photographs or giclee?
Color gamut of HP latex ink is not yet good enough for giclee
Since the HP Designjet Z3200 has a good color gamut, as do any multi-color Epson Stylus Pro or Canon printer with eight or more colors, there is no need to jump to latex ink for giclee. The color gamut of latex ink is too limited and color pop of latex ink is no match for other more traditional inks.
Possibly in two or three years the color gamut of HP latex ink will be better, but for now the normal giclee and photo printers from HP, Canon, and Epson are known and proven systems.
What about Epson SureColor printers?
Epson SureColor is too new to know how long they will hold up. These printers are made in China. The first generation of two years ago were cheap low bid components. Even some Epson dealers did not want to offer them.
Now there is a second generation which is less junky in the wind-up units. As soon as a third generation engineering is available, based on trial-and-error results from headaches of the first two generations, then the Epson SureColor should hopefully be more reliable.
The new HP Latex 3000 uses less searing heat than earlier models
The primary issue with early generation HP Designjet and HP Scitex 850 latex printers were the excessively high temperatures required. The newer HP Latex 3000 printer does not need this much heat, but all the HP latex printers other than the HP Latex 3000 still need curing temperatures enough to melt or distort many materials.
So none of the HP Designjet L26500 or comparable models would be appropriate at the present time. You can use these for wallpaper or wall coverings, but there are many other solutions for wall paper (such as Hongsam ink, which is especially made for wall paper).
How many other latex inks exist besides HP?
Now there is a new latex ink for HP latex printers from another company but we have not yet evaluated it (as it is very new).
There is another ink for Roland and Epson DX printheads which calls itself latex ink, but since it does not use a special curing unit we do not accept the designation latex ink. And the samples exhibited at FESPA Digital 2013 in London were the weakest (least color pop) of all inks at the expo.
At APPPEXPO 2013 last week in Shanghai, the AquaRes ink from Sepiax was being shown for the first time on a Chinese printer-under-development. The color pop was about as weak as the other printer with the other brand and other chemistry we saw at FESPA 2013 in London. In the meantime Sepiax was sold to a German consortium. We discuss this in our latex TRENDs level reports (available by asking to be invoiced via
So HP latex ink has color today better than the first generation in 2008, but still not very impressive. The other inks labeled as latex are so weak that they are not very impressive. Hopefully these inks will improve.
The only latex ink which has bright colors is from Mimaki JV400LX, with special colors orange and green. White ink on the Mimaki JV400-130LX or Mimaki JV400-160LX system is also worth looking at. However Mimaki had to switch ink factories in mid-stream, and the color selection has changed so it’s not worth keeping track any more.
Updated Feb 18, 2014, whlle studying latex ink in Singapore.
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