Digital Photography Now -  
14th August 2003
HP's No.59 black and white ink cartridge
by Ian Burley

HP has produced a solution for no-nonsense out of the box black and white printing and it really works

Have you ever tried to print a clean and neutral black and white print using a colour ink jet printer? It's usually a nightmare unless you have meticulously profiled equipment.

HP has risen to the challenge of providing a simple and reliable black and white printing solution in the form of its new No.59 black and white ink cartridge, which will be compatible with selected new HP Photosmart models from next month.

I was fortunate enough to be briefed by HP's Dr. Luanne J. Rolly, Senior Scientist for Research and Development Ink of Chemistry and Dr Nils Miller, Ink/Media Senior Scientist, at a press seminar last month. Dr. Rolly led the team that developed the new grey scale No.59 cartridge and Dr. Miller is responsible for photo paper development at HP.

A great black and white photo.
This is how a great black and white photo should look when printed.
But printing neutral black and white prints is not easy.
But can often can turn out like this, with an unsightly colour cast.

HP Number 59 black and white ink cartridge.HP's new No.59 ink cartridge really does make the job of producing consistently neutral black and white prints easy without having to resort to complicated printer profiling. Indeed, I'm so impressed by the results I have seen, I'd recommend professionals evaluate this offering from HP if they are looking for saleable quality professional mono printing, even though HP is not targeting the pro market here. HP confidently answers some challenges when it comes to print longevity too.

The sample prints I've handled successfully passed the 'metamerism' test extremely well. Metamerism is a sharp visual change in colour cast that is visible when viewing a print under different types of lighting.

The new HP Photosmart 7960
The HP Photosmart 7960 is HP's new A4 range-topping Photosmart printer. Using the No.59 cartridge in conjunction with No.57 and 58 cartridges, this printer can apply no less than 8 different inks to the page. Ink layering is now managed by the successor to PhotoRet IV, PhotoRet Pro.
The new HP Photosmart 7660
The cheaper HP Photosmart 7660 can't boast 8 colour printing, but it can use the No.59 cartridge.

There is a caveat and that is that Dr. Rolly warned the No.59 grey inks are formulated specifically for selected HP photo papers and Premium Plus glossy in particular.

I'll be getting a printer to test in a few weeks and I'll certainly be running a variety of third party papers through it.

Read on for some simple test results and comparisons with a black and white print produced by an Epson Stylus Photo 925 and some explanation as to why HP claims rather longer print life than its rivals.

Vincent Oliver over at Photo-i has started one of his interactive printer reviews featuring the HP Photosmart 7960.

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