Words - Industry - Proving your image quality – fast (2001)


Proving your image quality – fast (2001)

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 concerned.

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 affordable solution.

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 system.

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 them…now!

© Copyright John Chillingworth