View Full Version : Seeking feedback on HP DesignJet 130

Mike Lewis
27-Mar-2005, 15:31
I am looking for a printer to make prints up to 24" wide from scans of my LF transparencies. There is one posting on this forum regarding the relatively new (2004) HP DesignJet 130, and a favorable mention of it in the current issue of View Camera magazine. Are there others using this printer to output their large-format work, and if so, could you please provide some feedback? Thanks.

Duane Polcou
27-Mar-2005, 20:48
I've not used one personally but I viewed some display prints from this machine at the Photo Plus show in NYC last November. They, to me, represented the finest inkjet output I have ever seen.

The Epson output, to me, still resembles an over saturated poster, lacking in three dimensionality. I saw some black and white prints from Greg Gorman printed on Epson and they had absolutely no D-Max whatsoever. They looked flat and lifeless.

But apparently the HP uses dye inks (a better color gamut than pigment), and their paper uses a swellable emulsion that protects the ink, increasing the print's longevity. I've been fortunate enough to have seen some truly fine color prints in person including Ilfochromes (Michale Fatali), Crystal Archive (David Petit) and Dye Transfers (Eliot Porter), and , man, the HP prints are closing in.

Will Strain
27-Mar-2005, 21:41
Not used it myself, but I did request sample prints from HP. They really are nice. I don't know if I trust their media and life claims for archival properties - but it should certainly outlast type C prints anyway - so, bonus. It is definitely on my short list for equipment.

Oren Grad
27-Mar-2005, 22:13
You can see the Wilhelm Research premliminary print permanence ratings for this printer at

www.wilhelm-research.com/hp/hp_dj130_preview.html (http://www.wilhelm-research.com/hp/hp_dj130_preview.html)

Eric Leppanen
27-Mar-2005, 23:20

Christopher Campbell
28-Mar-2005, 06:33
I purchased the HP 130nr several weeks ago, and have just completed a very careful comparison of three test files printed on the LightJet 5000 (Fuji Crystal Archive matte), the Epson 9600 (Epson Premium Luster), and the HP 130nr (HP Premium Plus Photo Satin). As source material, I used the Atkinson lab test page, the Granger rainbow, and a Canon 20D landscape of my own. I was only interested in printers with Wilhelm ratings that qualify as archival, so my tests restricted the Epson 9600 to using the Ultrachrome inkset (the Epson dye-based inks only rate to 26 years under glass).

The short version of the conclusion is that the Lightjet has a slightly better absolute black than the Epson, but the lowest overall saturation and the narrowest gamut of the three. The Epson has the richest dark greens and blues, and a lovely overall gamut, but falls significantly short in reaching a strong black. The HP gamut is nearly the equal of the Epson, but produces a stunning black level. If you're interested in archival performance on semigloss and gloss prints, as I am, the HP is the best choice by a wide margin. If you want 3rd-party and "fine art" papers, then I would go with the Epson. The HP costs $1800 as opposed to nearly $3000 for the Epson 7600 with the same 24" capacity. Further, I have found the HP to be almost unbelievably abstemious with ink, and completely reliable. It has built-in hardware calibration so that the system is always performing at a consistent baseline. The HP profiles are good, but not great. I had Neil Snape (neilsnape.com), and Ethan Hansen (drycreekphoto.com), build custom profiles for the two HP papers, gloss and satin, and they are both superb, with a beautiful gamut, and a neutral grayscale. Under OS X, the software installation and interface has been impeccable, and the built in ethernet, roll-feed and cutter work very well. There are, of course, some quirks, such as needing to unload the roll-feed to prevent dimples at the beginning of the roll, but overall I think it is a wonderful printer.

For more detailed information, you might want to check this thread:


Michael Gordon
28-Mar-2005, 09:37
Everything Mr. Campbell says is pretty right on, but I'll also add that it 's not just the richness of black that sells me on 130 prints, but the *overall* richness of the prints. This richness easily exceeds the output of the 7600/9600 and is free of the hideous bronzing and gloss differential that kills those prints. However, beware: 130 prints are NOT water-resistant by any stretch of the imagination. I print only on HP's Premium PLus Photo Satin which easily matches or surpasses Fuji Crystal Archive matte in appearance, handling, and durability (and is also one of the papers that earns Wilhelm's 82 year rating).

On a more contrary note, I'm still not convinced that I don't have a lemon, having spent over five hours on the phone with HP tech support (which is absolutely superb, courteous, and patient [and FREE]) . My problems still persist to a degree (all color mgmt related). If you are accustomed to how fine a printer the 7600/9600 is, the 130 is absolutely clunky, plasticky, and cheesy by comparison; has truly horrendous documentation (which I have complained to HP to no end about); and makes an awful lot of thunking and thudding noises when beginning a print.

The setup and associated problems are well documented in all the forums, so you may want to spend some time researching. The prints are worth owning the printer for, but you need to be aware of the issues with the printer. I think HP may have pushed this printer into the marketplace too quickly.

Mike Lewis
29-Mar-2005, 16:48
Thanks everyone for your input. I really appreciate it.

Steve Langham
10-Apr-2005, 23:04
The 130 is an excellant printer we use it at ePingo.com for small print jobs. The color is excellant
and the rgb media profiles and ICC profiles provided by hp are very close to right on. The 130 does an excellant job on graysacle and black/white prints. I have built icc profiles for the 130 to use epson matte media, hp matte media , HP photo gloss and satin media and beleve it Canvas.
You are welcome to contact me for the details and ICC profiles. The only gotcha with the 130 is HP cant seam to keep roll media in stock.