HP Photosmart 8750 Printer in Review

The 9-ink HP 8750 makes a great photo printer if some limitations are not an issue.
The HP Photosmart 8750 is a nine-color printer: cyan, magenta, yellow,
light cyan, light magenta, blue, light grey, dark grey and black. It
prints images from postcard up to 13″ by 19″ or 324mm by 476mm (A3).
Print resolution is up to 1200dpi in mono and 4800dpi in color. As
such, HP pitch it as the photographer’s printer.

Paper Handling

The 8750 has three ways of loading paper. The main paper tray, which
holds up to 80 sheets, takes paper printing side down. The bypass tray
also takes face down paper and up to 5 sheets. A rear paper slot takes
face up single sheets. So the main paper paths take HP’s usual wrap
around paper path. This is not really a printer you can load up with
photo papers and plain paper and drive the selection of paper source
from the computer, as for anything but the main tray you need to get up
and setup the printer with paper first.

Only the rear path is a straight through one. This is not a printer for
overly heavy papers, taking a maximum weight of 130lb or 240gsm in
photo paper or 110lb, 200gsm in card stock. Paper feed seems to work
well, though I did occasionally have an issue with plain paper loading
from the main tray for some of the printer calibration functions (never
in normal printing, so go figure).

Unlike some larger printers, this one has no dramas handling smaller
paper sizes. A neat feature in the main paper tray is a foldout arm to
properly locate the smaller papers. The printer also handles various
sizes of panoramic paper.

Since the inks are dyes, HP’s papers for this printer are generally
micro-porous papers which pull the ink below the surface. This gives
quick apparent drying (the surface is) and is necessary because this
printer uses print rollers on the output side. This may limit your
choices of other paper types. However, it also prints well on
heavyweight matt photo papers, like the Hahnemuhle PhotoRag, which
needs to go through the rear single sheet slot.

Inks

The normal nine inks for this printer: cyan, magenta, yellow, light
cyan, light magenta, blue, light grey, dark grey and black, make for a
printer with an extended color gamut in the blue area, smooth tonal
ranges and excellent monochrome (BW) printing performance.

Whilst using dye-based inks, it does achieve excellent fade resistance.
Wilhelm Research Institute tests rate the inks with HP’s Premium (and
Premium Plus) Photo Paper at 108 years display life behind glass, more
than 130 years behind a UV filter and over 200 years dark storage in an
album, which are excellent ratings. BW print ratings are a bit longer.
See http://www.wilhelm-research.com/hp/8750.html. Print longevity on
other papers is yet to be determined.

Unlike the current trends with Epson and Canon, HP persists with using
shared cartridges for its inks, in this case three. One holds the three
blacks, one the normal CMY and the third the blue plus the two lights.
I know that this puts some potential purchasers off, and given the
trends with their competitors it would do HP well to follow suit.
However nine individual ink cartridges is not necessarily cheaper to
run than three combined ones. It all depends on costing of the
cartridges, ink usage, etc. Another thing to remember is that HP
cartridges also house the print heads, so you get a new set of ink
heads with each cartridge change, making blocked heads and endless
ink-wasting cleaning cycles much less of an issue.

Print Quality

Print quality is striking. Monochrome printing is smooth and very good,
quite photographic. Color printing is well balanced and any image with
strong blues will really jump. The printer driver offers a good range
of color adjustments and color profiles. Resolution is very good and
the dot size is small.

Printing speed is not high. An 11″ x 7.5″ sized photo print on HP
glossy photo paper took 5 minutes, 53 seconds. So this is not the
fastest printer around.

Summing Up

This is a striking printer, offering great print quality, amazing blues
and excellent monochrome printing in a convenient package that,
providing you do not need to use the rear paper slot for thicker
papers, can be pushed up against a wall. It is certainly fast enough.

The downsides are its relatively slow speed (more an issue for normal
printing than photo printing), shared ink cartridges. Also the use of
dye inks and output rollers mean this is not a printer for
experimenters, such as those using InkAid. Also the lack of CD/DVD
printing capability will upset some users.

So what is my call? Well, I find this a great printer for photographers
and a very capable printer for digital artists, graphic designers, etc,
so long as they don’t want to experiment too much with printing
surfaces. At a price of US$499.99 or A$899, this is an amazingly good
photo printer with excellent print life and superb color. Very highly
recommended.

www.hp.com

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