First peek review of HP DesignJet 30 and HP DesignJet 130 inkjet printers.

Breaking news: the first precise test of image quality between the HP 130 and the Epson 7600 produces unexpected results. The university lab manager used a $10,000 QEA image analysis instrumentation system to compare the two printers. The results are now available in the FLAAR Reports.

If you need a wider color gamut, then dye ink gives better colors than pigmented.

If you need long-lasting colors, that will potentially hold up for several decades, then Hewlett-Packard has a new ink chemistry for their HP DesignJet 30 and HP DesignJet 130 printers.

We did an informal survey of inks at PMA trade show of key people in the wide format inkjet printer industry. They pointed out that it is easier to make a dye that lasts several decades than it is to make a pigmented ink that has full color range.

Our comparative evaluation, reviews, and comments will be available by next week (late June 2004). The 30 and 130 are sufficiently important that we intend to have two different test facilities work on the evaluation.

In the meantime, we do have additional comments in the “Quick Peek” and “Printers at PMA Trade Show 2004.” Both these new FLAAR Reports are available at no cost. When you send in the Request Form be sure to ask for these titles by name.

Now that the HP 130 is available, we are getting e-mails coming in hourly asking for help deciding whether to buy the HP 130 or the Epson 4000. Since we have both the HP 30 and 130, and no Epson 4000, we are using end-user comments. Here is a typical decision:

"I decided for the hp 130 because it has a bigger format than the epson 4000 (epson A2, HP 130 A1), cheaper and better colors.

I'm starting a publishing company here so your suggestions are ulta welcome, I would work in presentation, advertising, fine art, and photo reproduction, so a good scanner and some printers.

If you could also suggest some report i could buy to make my decision it would really be helpful.

Leonardo (this came from Italy on June 15, 2004).

The reason Leo mentions the wider color gamut of the HP 130 is because it is easier to make dye ink last much longer than it is possible to make pigmented ink colorful. Besides, the longevity of pigmented ink is greatly overstated. At DRUPA we heard of tests, I believe by Kodak, that showed Ultrachrome inks faded much faster than predicted. We noticed that 3M does not warranty any Epson Ultrachrome ink, and warranties the earlier Epson ink for only 5 years.

But if you intend to print on thick watercolor paper, or on canvas, you may prefer the another printer. At our university we use both the HP 5000, the HP 5500, the Epson 7500, the Epson 7600 and get great color on canvas from the Canon 8200 also.

Every several years there is either a new Canon iPF printer or a new Epson or a new HP water-based printer. It is hard to keep track of the advances in inks and color management features. FLAAR is keeping track by visiting printshops around the world that have these various brands. Each brand has its good points and a few issues and an occasional deficiency.             

If you are looking for a place that is not a box-pusher (meaning you want a place that provides service after the sale), then one place we know for many years is Parrot Digigraphic. Their telephone is 978.670.7766.


Most recently updated June 16, 2004.
First posted Feb. 18, 2004.


The complete FLAAR Reports are in full-color PDF format. Our institute has comprehensive FLAAR Reports on over 73 different wide format inkjet printers, RIP software, color management, scanners, digital cameras and on countless markets such as wide format inkjet printers for photography, giclee, proofing, CAD, GIS, graphic design, signs, and specialty applications too. All FLAAR Reports by Dr Nicholas Hellmuth and his team are available on Wide-format-printers.NET