If you use digital
technology to provide images for reproduction on the printed page, you now
have a whole new horizon to scan. John Chillingworth looks at the ‘rabbit
out of the hat’ desktop proof printer from Hewlett Packard, which promises
breathtaking price, speed and quality advantages.
Changing like the seasons, responsibility for the provision of top quality
images can blow hot, cold and unpredictable for professional photographers.
For many, proofing has been something that THEY do, not us! If, by chance
one saw a commercial printer’s scatter proofs or even page proofs with your
beautiful images looking less than pristine or distinctly mud-like, it was
someone else’s problem. That idea is about to change!
You may have noticed that there is an over-rated self-belief amongst some
graphic designers who, by familiarity with PhotoShop and all its works,
believe that it is they who control image quality. That quaint idea is under
threat with the launch, by Hewlett Packard, of its Designjet PS series of
desktop colour proofing devices.
Of the three versions launched this month, which challenge the existing
pecking order of A3 inkjet page and image printers, one of them will be of
vital interest to major studios and other commercial photographers.
Providing proof of the print quality obtainable from your images in the
printed brochure or broadsheet is, it seems, becoming a client-led essential
earlier and earlier in the production process.
Until now, most industry standard A3+ proofers have cost from £5,000 upward
and print painfully slowly. The HP Designjet 10PS breaks that mould. It is
fast and staggeringly affordable!
Looking at the first of the new HP Designjets off the production line
alongside an earnest gaggle of trade magazine reviewers in a far away exotic
location your correspondent was, at first, dubious about the proofers’
relevance to the photo-industry, until the results spoke for themselves.
Here is a tool for a studio’s digital armoury, which will help prove the
quality and consistency of the photographic image so fast and accurately
that in all probability reputations will soar and lines of communication
shrink to such an extent that higher profitability should ensue for all
So if, with the advent of digital imaging, responsibility for proof of image
quality on the printed page is an everyday requirement for you, an HP
Designjet 10PS marketed at less than $1.000 (£740.00) has to be an
What you get for your money is impressive. The result of collaboration
between Hewlett Packard and Germany’s Bestcolor software technology, the
10PS and its bigger brothers appear to be in advance of many of the existing
proofers on the market, including the costly Kodak Advantage proofing
HP sees the new concept as competing with the mid range giants like Xerox
and Océ. A six colour thermal inkjet printer – yellow, dye black, magenta,
cyan, light magenta and light cyan – it delivers superior colour accuracy at
2400dpi resolution and four pictoliter ink drop.
By using a range of surfaces from high gloss to semi-gloss and matte, the
printer can accurately emulate the subtleties of the offset printing process
for client approval.
Next year, additional developments will come on stream, but at this year’s
launch the HP Designjet 10PS, is the first of a new breed of affordable
proofing printers. They will help photographic studios provide clients,
including graphic designers, with a means of dramatically reducing approval
times for digitally converted or digitally generated images, simply by the
perceived quality of image proofing.
They are distributed in the UK by one of the UK’s leading providers of
integrated imaging and IT solutions, RES Distribution Limited in Wokingham,
Berkshire. If you are hell-bent on staying ahead in the digital age, talk to