Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 90, 90r, 90gp are made for the following markets:

Professional photography.

Since most of us at FLAAR are dedicated to professional photography, we make the effort to learn which printers are best to print our own photos. The HP 30 and 130 are, so far, the highest quality (slightly better than the Epson 7600, for example). We assume that the HP 90 is the same printheads and same inks as the HP 30 and 130; just a wider paper availability.

 Graphic design.

 If you want to wow people with color gamut and fine detail, the HP 90 will do the job.


 HP offers a professional solution for professional proofing.

 The HP Designjet 90 comes in three models: HP 90, HP 90r, and HP 90gp.

The HP 90 is the basic printer. The HP 90r ads roll-feeding capability. We recommend this option for sure. The HP 90gp provides a colorimeter with profiling and calibration software using GretagMacbeth technology.

 It is unclear from this statement whether you can do only profiling of your computer monitor, or whether this option allows profiling of your inkjet media also. Merely getting canned ICC color profiles is not enough. Professionals, and especially for proofing, will need to do their own custom profiles of their inks and media. Doing the monitor alone is a useful first step but absolutely not the total solution. We will check and try to understand this option better (we have the HP 30 and HP 130, but not the HP 90gp).

 Choices of RIP software.

HP offers only EFI RIP. We have had two different EFI RIPs in the past. We were distinctly dissatisfied with both, for the following reasons:
   1.         you were stuck buying another complete RIP just to run a second printer. EFI RIPs tend to be locked to one brand and only one model of that brand. If this has changed then that would overcome this stumbling block.
   2.         There was no way to upgrade to the next version. You were stuck with the original version forever. Is this a wise investment? If newer versions of EFI RIP allow you to upgrade, we will update our comments.

 Most other RIP software, such as Onyx PosterShop, Wasatch SoftRIP, PosterJet, ErgoSoft and virtually all others, all allow updates, upgrades, and switching the RIP to other printers.

 You should select the RIP that best suits your needs. We use Wasatch SoftRIP at our printing facilities in the US and use PosterJET RIP in our printing facilities in Guatemala. We are also looking more at Shiraz RIP from AIT.

 What is it about the HP Designjet 90 that makes it preferred?

Piezo printers tend to have problems with gloss differential and extreme bronzing when printing on glossy paper with pigmented inks. Epson has severe cases of this defect. So if you want, or need, a glossy print that will last up to 70 years, you need an ink that is not pigmented. Do the chemistry labs at HP developed an ink with the longevity of a pigment but the image quality of a dye. We would also surmise that HP escapes the metamerism (color viewing shift) issues that have dogged Epson inks and printers for years.

 We have both the HP 30 and the HP 130; great quality. The team at our university rated the output superior in several aspects to the Epson 7600.

 Of course now we would have to test the Epson Stylus Pro 4800 and Epson 7800. But since we don't have those Epson printers, but do have lots of HP DesignJet printers, we will tend to comment on the ones we know better.

The quality we have seen from the HP 90, 90r and 90gp at FESPA 2005 trade show in Munich this summer are fully professional level. Eventually we will obtain this nice printer and try it out ourselves.

 At FLAAR, with about a hundred-thousand dollars worth of professional camera equipment, we don't want to use some second-best printer for our photo exhibits. We recommend the HP 30, HP 130, and HP 90 for photos that say Professional with a capital P.


Most recently updated January 30, 2006.
Previous updates:August 12, 2005, July 22, 2005.