Epson was really the only game in town for archival photo printing for a long time but that has recently changed with recent announcements by HP and Canon. I'm particularly excited about the new HP models like the Z2100 and Z3100 series because of the built in spectrophotometers for automatic self-calibration of the printers. Basically they print a test sheet and then scan it in at the same time to self calibrate, which is great because you don't have to spend the time doing that manually if you care about color fidelity.
Arstechnica recently posted a pretty good article that compares the various high quality photo inkjet printers at arstechnica.com/guides/buyer/inkjets.ars. This article is a good resource to learn more about the new printer options available for archival printing.
I'm really curious to hear from people who have tried out these new HP printers, so if anyone on the forum has any experience please speak up. The way the HP ink jets are constructed is somewhat different from the Epson technology and i think it will not waste as much ink associated with things like purging cycles, especially for the black inks. Ink being so expensive, that seems like another potential advantage if it is true.
I also was excited about the possibilities of HP ponying up with a decent printer in this arena. And low-and-behold... I picked up a C6180 and oh my gosh... six-inkjet carts and a wonderful picture. all of my stills have come out in vivid colours and and very clean!
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