So one of the closest stores that has the Designjet 30 / 130 is in Valhalla, which is a town about 30 minutes north of New York. So then I'm thinking - maybe this is the same Valhalla where the Nordic Gods went to die. Maybe this Valhalla is some mystical place that I should visit in the search for the holy inkjet. Maybe you need some Nordic blood to find a Designjet printer. Let me see if I can find the name of this printer graveyard in Valhalla and if they say they have these two printers - make a trek to see and use them. Oh, they are located on Summit Drive... Hmmmm.... Where the Gods dwell....
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After being put on hold by Nordic Valhalla HP, and being switched to several different people, I ended up in HP Tech. support.
- I'm a photographer in New York, and I'm trying to find someplace where I can see and do some test prints of the HP Designjet 30 and 130. Are you such a place?
- Uhh... No. We just install them.
- So, if I came out there, you wouldn't have any on display, or that I could use?
- No. We just install them. You'd have to talk with HP Direct about that. [I'm guessing that they're the ones that pointed me to Valhalla]
- Okay, thank you very much.
So much for the trip to Valhalla. Absolutely incredible. I think this is a sure sign that the world is coming to an end.
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I tracked down a place in NYC that had a DesignJet 130 - not exactly for sale - but on display. And headed over with a CD with four files and a stack of Prem. Plus Satin Paper and Gloss Paper.
Here's the thing: 1) It is actually slower than the 7960
(An 8 x 12 @ 300 DPI / Best Mode takes 6.5 minutes on the 7960. The same file (cropped to 8 x 10), took 8.5 minutes to print on the HP 130. Now that is not totally surprising since from what I was able to discern the connection is still USB 1.1 (though it says compatible with 2.x - whatever that means).
Item number 2: The color print was not as rich-looking (that is not a technical word, but I'll have to figure out later how to describe it) - but suffice to say it didn't look as good as what I'm getting from the 7960.
As far as black and white goes: plain awful. Had a strong bluish tint. Of course this is the same file that prints neutral on the 7960. Could be with tweaking and with RIP you could get to where you want to go - but I doubt it. I also got to see some demo prints from Magnum Photographers - on same paper as mine - and the stuff from my D300 looked better (by far).
So there you go. Where that leaves me at this point - I don't know. At least I have samples, and I've seen the thing in action.
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I compared the color print from the Designjet against the color print from the 7960 (both from same file, both same driver settings). There is no doubt that the 7960 is vastly superior. I'm going to ignore color rendition - since that might be something that could be fixed with the right tweaking; but I'm talking about resolution; you know, close-up; looking at how colors transition into other colors; or what the blacks look like in terms of showing detail: the 7960 is simply better. Period. So there you go: faster, better, and cheaper. Just not bigger.