Photography is art. The power of observation. A story in the making. When your subjects or clients walk into your studio or location they are entering the stage you are creating. You make sure the conditions are perfect and you set the mood to bring your vision to life. You take the perfect photo. So after all that hard work, why would you not want to buy a printer that accurately reflects the photographs you have taken?
We believe that HP’s ‘Z’ series range of Designjet photo printers deliver highly professional and consistent results for photo printing, proofing and portfolio work, and that they also provide solutions to expand the realms of possibilities for photographic creativity
Following studies, HP concluded that many photographers often have short print runs, but equally required high quality printing with complex colours and images – as well as the ability to print proofs beforehand, for inclusion in a portfolio or for a customer pre-purchase. In addition, photographers wanted to print on a variety of media while maintaining image integrity. Finally, fast turnaround times were often required in order to meet aggressive agency deadlines or to meet customer requirements
The exact Graphic Arts model of Designjet you require will depend upon the applications you need and the way that you work - not to mention your available budget. The ‘Z’ range of HP large format printers can meet the following printing needs:
Following a joint initiative with Hewlett Packard, HP Plotter customers can enjoy a number of bespoke benefits, including:
> Free On-site audit of your current printing requirements, including all internal and external printing. Identification of immediate cash savings and efficiencies as well as benchmark performance against competitor products (provided with purchases of 10+ wide format Designjet printers)
> High Ink Savings For medium to large departments, ink usage and costs can be reduced significantly under a joint HP & HP Plotter initiative which offers ink savings plans (providing financial benefits with no purchasing obligations). This is available for specific Designjet T and Z series printers – full information can be found here
> Environmental and Recycling Fitness HP Plotter can supply recycled paper and media to meet all of your environmental objectives while also offering exceptional prices generally on all papers/media. HP Plotter also provide assisted recycling for all of your HP original printer cartridges for ultimate Recycling Fitness
> Flexible Contract Care and Support Flexible Support Contract plans have been designed to assist with Fleets of Designjets, resulting in lower support contract overheads and regular planned servicing. We offer site relocation services of equipment, with continuation of cover at no extra charge, discounts for multiple machines and flexible servicing options
The most popular Designjet printers selected by Professional Photographers are the Z2100 and Z3200. The Z2100 because of its price - it's the entry level Graphic Arts Designjet used by individual home/office photographers, and has increased capabilities over the Technical Series Designjet T120 printer (which has a smaller footprint, is Wi-Fi enabled, and has the ability to print from A4 up to A1. Notably it's 4 colour inks which usually relegates it to being a 'technical' printer, has similar characteristics to the old Designjet 130 due to its new/more advanced printhead technology, effectively giving it a foot in both camps). The Z3200 is also a firm favourite for its' increased capabilities over the Z2100 without significant differentials in price. The Z5200, Z5400 and Z6200 printers also fall within the Graphic Arts 'Z' series range, but their price and additional functionality often fall outside of the requirements of most photographers. They do however, have a firm place where printing is of high volume and where accountancy functions would make it easy to cost jobs accurately and pass on the resulting charges to customers (internally or externally). For those of you with classified or sensitive projects then this is also catered to as well. If speed is of the essence, then the Z6200 won't hold you back with its capability to print 128.5m2 per hour. In short, no stone left unturned!
Whether you want to explore high quality digital negatives suitable for exposing to monochrome silver-halide papers, digitally restore damaged or historical images, make a continuous-tone digital image from a scanned film or make high-quality digital fine art reproductions - HP have the right printer for you. Photographers using the HP Designjet Z series printers report cost savings and higher profit margins - so we know you will be reaping the benefits
Taking canvas printing as a prime example; if you wish to print on canvas you will find that many machines have the capability to do this. The key differentiator however is that not all machines are built to cut the canvas – some will cut a few times and then will need the cutter to be replaced while others, not built for excess drag and stress on the Y axis with thicker papers and canvas will cause parts like the Y motor to become damaged and require replacement. Many people get caught out by Ebay ads expounding the capabilities of a printer and it's ability to print canvas - neglecting to mention the increased repair costs when they do so!
The next consideration would be whether your canvas prints are required just for short term use such as a 3 day display - or whether you or your customer require prints with a greater longevity over a number of years. Most end users will become very upset if their canvas prints fade 3-6 months after hanging on the wall. If prints are only going to be required for short term use, then you might possibly be able to consider a technical (CAD) series printer which can produce remarkably good results albeit with reduced colour gamuts (simply put, a printer with 4 colour inks won't have as many shades and colour variances when compared with a printer with 12 colour inks) - although to the untrained eye the T series photos do look great
Conversely, if you need the prints to look good for as long as possible then the type of ink used by the printer plays a major factor. While technical printers often use dye ink, the ‘Z’ series printers use pigment based UV stabilised ink which provide prints that are guaranteed to last over 200 years (300 years in dark storage) while also offering water resistence. This compares against dye ink which may only last a few short months before starting to fade - especially when placed in direct sunlight. If you do a lot of black-and-white images then the gloss enhancer provided on the older Z3100 and latest Z3200 provide a great way to eliminate bronzing
If the work needs to be printed for outdoor use, then every print (whether using UV stablised water resistant ink...or not) needs to be sealed and laminated. However, depending upon your print volumes and the type of work you carry out, you may find that HP’s Latex Printers (think £20K+) are more suited for the job in hand rather than the purchasing a Designjet Z series printer
For those of you who are likely to carry out printing on various types of media - using either the 50+ HP media types, or not - then it’s also useful to have an embedded spectrophotometer which has been built into all of the current range of HP Designjet Z series printers - Z2100, Z3200, Z5200, Z5400 and Z6200. This is a small colour measurement instrument mounted on the carriage which essentially automates the creation of media profiles which in turn enables you to print with optimal results on any media you choose to use. To do this, you just need to answer a few questions on the screen about the new paper, the technology then tests the inks on the paper, lets the ink dry, then reads the measurements and calibrates the printer according to its findings - ultimately providing you with perfect results time after time
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