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Ink jet photo printers and printing Problem with your ink jet printer or are you exploring ways of making your prints ever more vibrant and pleasing. Post your ink jet printer posers here.

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  #1  
Old 18-09-06
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Arrow HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived


A massive box has been blocking the thoroughfare in DPNow Towers since last week - yes, it's the new HP Photosmart B9180 announced over six months ago by HP at PMA and now only just starting to ship.

I'm going to be opening the box today and starting work on a full in-depth review. Will it usurp Epson's R2400 as the high end enthusiasts' and low-end professionals' choice for high quality A3+ archival printing? We'll see.

If you have any questions on this - post them here.

Ian
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Old 18-09-06
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Re: HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived

And I was beginning to think the B9180 was vapourware...

What's this rumour I hear about the Epson R3800, to be announced in a week or so (allegedly it's a 17" printer but much cheaper than the 4800)? Will it affect potential customers of HP's B9180?
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Old 18-09-06
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Re: HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSR View Post
And I was beginning to think the B9180 was vapourware...

What's this rumour I hear about the Epson R3800, to be announced in a week or so (allegedly it's a 17" printer but much cheaper than the 4800)? Will it affect potential customers of HP's B9180?
Epson has a press conference booked for Photokina, so we'll have to wait and see. They have not said anything at all, not even a hint, to me about what they will be saying at Photokina. But I'm sure they are perfectly aware that HP is threatening to take a sizeable slice of their archival and fine art printing business, so I'm sure they have been working on their response.

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Re: HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived

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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Epson has a press conference booked for Photokina, so we'll have to wait and see. They have not said anything at all, not even a hint, to me about what they will be saying at Photokina. But I'm sure they are perfectly aware that HP is threatening to take a sizeable slice of their archival and fine art printing business, so I'm sure they have been working on their response.

Ian
It will certainly be interesting to hear what they have planned. As an R1800 owner, I'm not sufficiently enticed to run after another A3+ printer (like either the B9180 or, indeed, the R2400) - but I find the idea of an affordable 17" printer very intriguing.

I wonder what it is that makes 17" printers so much more expensive than 13" printers. It's only 4"..!
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Old 20-10-06
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Re: HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived

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Originally Posted by Ian View Post


A massive box has been blocking the thoroughfare in DPNow Towers since last week - yes, it's the new HP Photosmart B9180 announced over six months ago by HP at PMA and now only just starting to ship.

I'm going to be opening the box today and starting work on a full in-depth review. Will it usurp Epson's R2400 as the high end enthusiasts' and low-end professionals' choice for high quality A3+ archival printing? We'll see.

If you have any questions on this - post them here.

Ian
Well, pressures of Photokina last month meant our investigation of the B9180 had to be postponed, but we're back on track again now.

How about this for some initial observations: the inks smell strange

But apart from that, it's an impressive looking hunk of hardware for the money - marginally cheaper than a discounted Epson R2400.

Pre-production ones myself and some other journalists have used were a bit fragile, but it's been beta-tested for nearly a year so I expect these teething problems have been sorted out.

Ian
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Re: HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived

If reports from other forums are true, don't do ***too much*** testing, Ian. Otherwise you'll have trouble finding new inks and papers.

I'm glad I wasn't in the market for one of these printers. All things being equal, early adopters are paying the price in lack of consumables and lack of support. Pretty sad really, seeing that printer apparently does nothing that the R2400 couldn't do a year ago.

I look forward to reading your review on it.

JSR
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Re: HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived

I think that the B9180 won't be a revolution in terms of print quality compared to the R2400 because the Epson has set a very hight standard already. Metamerism and bronzing performance will be interesting to compare though.

What the B9180 does to do that the R2400 can't is switch between photo and matte black inks seamlessly and without wastage as there is no need to swap cartridges. The cartridges are bigger capacity and supposed to be better value in consumption terms - we'll be testing that claim, certainly. The B9180 can recalibrate its linearity, which the R2400 can't - which is ironically good if you want to use third party inks. Printing speed will be interesting to gauge too.

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Re: HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived

My own thoughts (not owning either of those two printers) is that HP are clearly bringing the fight to Epson. They may be a year late, but that's a lot closer than they were. I'm sure the announcement of the Epson 3800 was a bit of "panic" on Epson's part to try and put people on their back foot as far as the new HP B9180 is concerned (pity they've priced it out of the UK market).

Early indications imply that the B9180 is no more economical to run than the R2400, but the advantage of not needing to switch blacks makes it appeal to those who do want to switch between matte and glossy fairly frequently (it should certainly save those users a lot of money). If Epson doesn't answer this by releasing a printer that has both blacks onboard (properly, not bodged in like the 3800) and, perhaps, a GOP then they deserve to have HP steal their thunder.

Mind you, trying to work out price-per-print from the B9180 is nearly impossible given that (i) no one seems to sell the ink and (ii) HP's online prices seem to change by the hour. When the dust settles, it'll be interesting to see the outcome but if Epson haven't brought out something new by then it'll be a surprise.
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Re: HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived

Quote:
If Epson doesn't answer this by releasing a printer that has both blacks onboard (properly, not bodged in like the 3800) and, perhaps, a GOP then they deserve to have HP steal their thunder.
Ah - do you mean 'bodged' because both blacks share the same print head which needs to be flushed when you change?

What do you mean by 'GOP'?

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Re: HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Ah - do you mean 'bodged' because both blacks share the same print head which needs to be flushed when you change?
Yes. The auto-switching is a step in the right direction compared to the R2400 or 4800, but it's no substitute for having both blacks always available - as it is with the R1800.

Quote:
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What do you mean by 'GOP'?
That's the "Gloss Optimiser" that the R1800 has. I've recently been comparing prints from the R2400 and R1800. Although the gloss differential of the K3 inkset is only minor, having a GOP onboard would enable future pigment printers to appeal to both glossy and matte users.

So that's (i) both blacks, (ii) GOP, (iii) large ink carts (priced reasonably). Put all of that on a printer like the 3800 (preferably with optional roll paper feed), and they'll have something for everyone in one package.

JSR
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Re: HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived

I was disappointed with the R1800/800 gloss optimiser because although it gave a consistent shine to the printed margin, it didn't cure bronzing.

As I think you point out, the shine you can get with the R2400 and other UlktraChrome K3 ink printers is actually pretty good and bronzing is very well controlled.

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Re: HP Photosmart B9180 has arrived

Maybe I just don't know what "bronzing" really means but most people who talk about the R1800's GOP generally say that it eliminates it.

I think it's often said that the K3 inkset has the gloss "built in" to the inks and that's why it doesn't need a GOP, but I don't think that's true. If you compare an R2400 print with a print from the R1800 with GOP turned off, the R1800 looks glossier than the R2400.

Anyway, it's the uneven gloss of the K3 print that puts me off it. Most of my work is glossy, and the print from the R2400 doesn't knock my socks off like the R1800 does.

JSR
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