I worked the HP meetings in Orlando at this year's PMA show as an av tech. I heard the announcements, saw the products, listened to Douglas Kirkland, and viewed the prints. All good and seemingly an alternative to some other pigment ink printers on the market. But difficult to get user information about. In cruising the various forums here and there on the net, not all epson customers are happy with the results of even some of the higher end (R1800, R2400) printers. Difficulty in setup, excessive ink usage, and uneven quality are not uncommon complaints. The HP9180, according to some, seems to have a handle on some of these issues, particularly those related to ink costs and user friendliness. While this product is relatively new, there are others entering the market. Comments, please?
The bottom line for printers is the quality of the output, something which you didn't address. I have heard some comments from other users about Epson ink usage, but I've never heard anyone complain about unusual difficulties in setup or use for either the 1800 or 2400 (except for color management workflow, which is as much an image editig software issue as it is a printer issue). What I am hearing is that the image quality obtained from the 2400 with K3 Ultrachrome inks is superior to just about anything else out there. I have a 2200 now, and will probably upgrade to the 2400 as soon as I get the money (i.e., win the lottery). So, not being familiar with HP's new or existing printers, all I cans say is....SHOW ME THE COLOR!
Can anyone tell me if there is a printer that does black & white well? I understand from the tech literature that the Epson 2400 or 4800 used three different black inks, but have not seen any prints up close and personal.
Will the results be acceptable to an old darkroom guy who's been doing the Zone system for years?
We all want the best quality possible. Is epson quality the best or is it just the only brand we hear about? The hp products are new, so there probably aren't nearly as many hp users as epson. Did any one out there bite the bullet, swim against the tide, take a chance, and go hp9180? If so...
SHOW US THE COLOR !!!
One reason you may not get much in user feedback on the HP B9180 Photosmart Pro Printer is that its delivery was delayed after the announcement and it has not been available until recently.
I agree with Bill Kahn, what you say you are hearing about the Epson R1800 and R2400 is not consistent with the feedback I have received. That is not to say some users do not have problems which as Bill Kahn mentioned can be relative to many factors beside just the printer including the quality of the image file, whether color management is used and if correctly etc. As for ink use and its cost, it is a significant factor because of the expense, but that one printer would use more or less ink to a significant amount to reproduce a particular image to a similar density and saturation is not a physical possibility, and if it were the resulting prints would not be comparable.
Canon has also moved into the pigment ink inkjet printer field and announced a 13" inch Pixma 9500 Pro, but that printer has yet to be delivered to the market. However Canon's larger pigment ink printers using the same inkset the Image ProGraf printers like the 17" iPF5000 are available, and I have just finished testing this printer and will report on it shortly in Shutterbug magazine.
Can anyone tell me if there is a printer that does black & white well?
The Epson printers that use the K3 ink-set (R2400, 3800, 4800...) are reputed to be pretty much on par with the wet darkroom, given the right paper. Early reports on HP's B9180 are that it too produces top quality B&W.
Just as with the traditional darkroom, making a B&W print is easy - but learning to make excellent B&W prints is a lifetime pursuit. No fully buzzword-enabled technology will level the playing-field between the unskilled and highly skilled artist.
Inkjet printers are reaching the point where differences in print quality are very subtle between models. In the future look for more inks in the set, self-calibration, greater speed, even longer print life, ease of setup and use, and lots of trademarked marketing buzzwords for technological "advances", but little noticeable improvement in print quality. The differences in quality between a 1996 printer and a 2006 printer is dramatic. The quality difference between a print made today and in one made in 2016 may not be visible.
I don't know precisely what you are basing your assessment on that brings you to the conclusion inkjet printing has reach any kind of plateau. Developments in some professional class printers like the Canon Image ProGraf iPF5000 with 12 ink colors and a 16-bit driver, as well as continuing development in color management printer calibration and profiling, as well as new print media with big paper company players just getting interested by the growth potential in inkjet media indicates what will filter down to the consumer photography market in just the near future will be capable of reproducing photographic images with qualities rarely seen or not at all before now.