HP's A3 pro photo printer makes local debut

HP has made a further addition to its pigment-based printer line up for the professional and advanced amateur photographer market with the Australian release of the B9180.

The A3 sized printer, which HP first showcased at the Photography Marketing Association show in the US in February this year, joins the medium format z series of pigment printers, the Designjet z2100 and Designjet z3100, in its local professional line up.

Although the company does produces both dye and pigment-based inkjet printers for its consumer line, pigment is relatively new at the higher end where printers used by professional photographers cost in the thousands of dollars.

Ben Vivoda, market development manager, personal printing, said dye and pigment-based printers both have different selling points. He said pigment-based printers provided a better representation of black, and also provided better longevity of the image on paper.

"One of the reasons for getting pigment is largely about being able to achieve archival prints on a quality range of media; which is what professional photographers are looking for," he said.

Trent Parke, a leading Australian and prize winning photographer, and the first Australian to become an Associate Member of the international photographers' cooperative Magnum Photos, said he has already used the printer to produce prints, which he has subsequently bound for a book on his current work in progress, 'Coming Soon'.

He said pigment ink had two appealing factors: "It does not smudge and it's archival".

HP claims the printer, used with HP paper, has an archival rating of two hundred years.

Parke said one of his home made books, which he produced on dye ink paper two years ago, had already yellowed.

"Every night I think about making books. Every cent I earn goes back to making pictures;.pigment inks make a big difference," he said.

HP claims the B9180, which retails for $1,499, can produce 4 x 6-inch photos in 10 seconds and 13 x 19-inch photos in 1.5 minutes. It uses eight Vivera pigment cartridges and prints on watercolour and art paper as well as Canvas. HP supplies an Adobe Photoshop plug-in for colour management.

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