Shutterbug’s Exclusive photokina Coverage; New Photo Printers: From Desktop To Fine Art Studio Page 2

Canon: Quite affordable ($100) for a 9600x2400dpi photo printer, the PIXMA iP4600 employs Canon’s FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) print head technology with droplets as small as 1 picoliter using five ChromaLife100+ inks in individual tanks. Extra amenities include double-sided printing and Auto Photo Fix software that detects the type of photo being printed (portrait or scenery); it can correct redeye, enhance facial tones, optimize brightness and contrast, and improve color saturation. Prints made on Canon photo papers should last for up to 300 years in an archival-quality album.

Canon PIXMA iP4600

A high-end 9600x2400dpi photo printer with a built-in (4800x9600dpi) scanner, the PIXMA MP980 employs six ChromaLife100+ inks (including gray for pleasing monochrome prints) and it features slots for direct printing as well as a 3.5” LCD screen. The MP980 ($300) can be used for printing from anywhere in the home, via Wi-Fi or networked using an Ethernet cable to print from a wired computer in another room. It’s also Bluetooth compliant when used with an optional ($50) BU-30
Bluetooth adapter.

Canon PIXMA MP980

Larger HP Printers
Hewlett-Packard also introduced two larger photo printers, a 13x19” format model and the massive professional HP Designjet Z3200—in several versions—for making prints as wide as 24” or 44” and as long as 300 ft.

HP Designjet Z3200

Intended for professional photographers and labs, the Designjet Z3200 printers ($3400-$5600, MSRP) use 11 pigment-based inks—including a new chromatic red—plus a gloss enhancer to make absolutely fabulous color and monochrome prints with an on-display life of 200+ years according to Wilhelm Imaging Research. A photo black ink is used when printing on glossy papers; the machine automatically switches to matte black with certain types of paper. Note, too, that four black inks can be used at one time on appropriate media to make a quadtone print. A built-in spectrophotometer is included so the printer can create ICC profiles for just about any type of paper. There’s a great deal more to the Z3200 series of course, and that’s outlined in detail on the HP website. (“Shutterbug” will have a review of this printer in a coming issue.—Editor)

HP Photosmart B8550

The Photosmart B8550 is surprisingly affordable ($300) because it targets families and scrapbookers. They’ll find useful features such as slots for direct printing, a 2.4” LCD screen, versatile printer software, and Bluetooth compatibility with an optional adapter. This (1200x1200dpi) machine employs five Vivera inks (including a pigment-based black) in individual tanks, sprayed with dual drop volume technology using both 1.3 and 5 picoliter size droplets said to provide optimal quality without the need for seven or eight inks.

While at the HP booth, I used the Photosmart B8550 to make a 13x19” print from one of my own digital images; the process took 6.5 minutes and the print was absolutely gorgeous. More importantly perhaps, outputs made on Advanced Photo Paper are extremely fade-resistant. An on-display print permanence estimate was not yet available but Vivera inks are extremely fade-resistant; HP indicates the prints will “last for generations.”