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Pigmented inks for Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 5000ps and 5500ps Print E-mail

FLAAR evaluation of the new pigmented inks for the Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 5000 and HP 5000ps documents that the color gamut is larger than expected. Reds are red in every flavor, blue sky, cyan of every kind, all the hues that piezo pigmented inks can't match, the thermal printhead technology of HP provides the colors that are needed for signs, posters, banners, photo labs, and fine art giclee studios.

Pigmented Inks for Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 5000ps

The FLAAR evaluation of the pigmented inks for the HP DesignJet 5000 and 5000ps is divided up into three parts. First, a discussion of the easy manner of changing the inks from the dye ink-set to the pigmented ink-set. A first-time user can do it in less than an hour.

An experienced user can do it in 20 minutes. The details will be posted on shortly. Second, is a discussion of our own observations and impressions of the color gamut, that is, can this new pigmented ink really produce the colors that you need?

The picture above (of the textiles) is our first prints on the HP 5000ps (July 2001). Now that we have this printer in our own facility we can test it every day. Colors of the pigmented inks are so bright and colorful that so far we have not even bothered to use the dye inks.

In the meantime, I can report the impressions of the two technicians who assisted in this evaluation. Both of them were as pleasantly surprised as to the color gamut as was the evaluator, Nicholas Hellmuth. All of us have heard the traditional stories, "you can't get usable cyan or blue; you can't get fire engine red or Coca-Cola red" (two Roland dealers told me that, as did several Roland users). We got sky blue, sky cyan, we got deep blues and a range that satisfied the viewers. Reds were also more than any of us anticipated. We will post the images shortly (we took dozens of photographs but our web designers are backed up).

Then (Jan 17, 2001) we did another "blind test." People had to figure out which image was done with dye inks and which with the pigmented inks. Trouble is the new pigmented inks have enough gamut so that its tough to tell the difference. Yes, if you have a PhD in inks, or have run a print shop for the last decade, you will notice the difference. But a normal user would have to study the print to recognize it was done with pigmented inks. Actually, the pigmented cyan is in some respects as nice if not nicer than the dye cyan. The pigmented yellow is outstanding. We used hand-woven indigenous Mayan textiles and colored woven palm fronds to test a wide spectrum of reds.

These are the comparable reds that Roland users write to us saying they can't achieve them with Epson's pigmented inks (which is the pigmented ink used by Roland).Yet with the HP inks, so far we have been unable to find a normal viewer who could tell the difference between the new pigmented inks and the new dye based inks without actually taking time to cogitate and compare every aspect of the color gamut. The snapshot here used a flash which actually makes the colors look worse than they really are. We are setting up a new facility to continue to document the new pigmented inks. Surely there must be some color the pigmented inks can't reproduce. But it's going to take us months to find out which. In the meantime, if you want more information about the gamut, this will be available shortly on

We have continued using the HP 5000 all 2001, all 2002, the entire 2003, all 12 months of 2004, and it is now summer 2005 and we are still printing with the same HP 5000. We know the HP 5500 is available, it is more of the same good thing. These printers are incredible workhorses. They keep printing and printing and printing.


Last updated: May 12, 2005.
Previous updates: Oct. 20, 2001, Feb. 24, 2003.



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