HP Photosmart Pro B9180 Review

August 30, 2006 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 79 Comments |

HP Photosmart Pro B9180The new HP B9180 is an 8 colour, A3+ inkjet printer that uses Vivera pigment inks for waterproof photos which resist fading for more than 200 years. The HP Photosmart Pro B9180 has a street price of around $699 in the US. We find out if the HP B9180 is the best A3+ inkjet printer that money can buy in our exclusive review.

Website: HP Photosmart Pro B9180 Review



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#1 Daniel Bottner

Thanks for the review, what you share is much appreciated by many around the world even if they don't write.

I was kind of looking for a color gammut comparison for this printer.

I have a DJ130 which seems to do great with the exception being red tones, the Canon i9900 it really outshines the HP here.

7:40 pm - Monday, August 21, 2006

#2 Jon Canfield

Daniel -
The DJ130 still has a slightly larger gamut than the pigment printers do, but the 9180 is very close - it's hard for me to imagine a typical image that would have gamut issues with the 9180.
But, if you're happy with the DJ130 and don't want the variety of paper types, there's really no reason to move to a new printer.

1:50 am - Tuesday, August 22, 2006

#3 Mark Goldstein

Hi

I just had to rework an image of a family in which two girls were wearing red sweaters. The saturation and contrast in the red sweaters had to be significantly lowered to be printed on the DJ_130.

Short of buying a Roland printer it had the most complete color gamut of the printers available 6 months ago to the best of my knowledge.

This is a sad situation for the professional printing business as the consumer level Canon i9900 printer makes a better looking print in some situations than most wide format printer available.

I have gone thru seven i9900 printers, waiting for a commercial level printer to replace it.

For my business I need a 13 inch wide desktop printer and a 20 to 24 inch wide printer.

Paper variety and the fact that each print needs to sprayed are big issues with the DJ 130,

Christmas is coming up soon, there will be many more people dressed in red and green for Christmas photos.

Daniel

11:10 pm - Tuesday, August 22, 2006

#4 Michael Sill

The lack of a roll option is a killer for me. Since I shoot so many panoramas it is a printer I will have to pass on for now. The review does make it very tempting especially the improved detailing in the shadow areas.

2:25 am - Wednesday, August 23, 2006

#5 Nicholas

My concern is print time, including spooling, for 8x10, 5x7, 4x6, 13x19??

Would appreciate any info on these times.

Regards, Nicholas

4:20 am - Wednesday, August 23, 2006

#6 Jon Canfield

Michael, although the 9180 doesn't have a roll option, you can easily cobble one together similar to what others have done with the stock DJ130. I printed several panoramas with the printer, but I precut the paper to the length I wanted.

Nicholas, I'll provide specific print times for each of these in a day or so.

5:20 am - Wednesday, August 23, 2006

#7 Nicholas

Thank you Jon

10:32 am - Wednesday, August 23, 2006

#8 Daniel Bottner

Spool times are likely dirrectly related to computer speed and transfer speed. The spool times on the Canon seem to be insignificant, there is almost no way to back this printer if you are building images and pages while you are printing.

The HP DJ-130 seems to take several minutes to spool large images and generally seven times longer to print to achieve image quality of my preference. Then the prints need to be sprayed = more time. I still believe the HP-130
produces the widest color gamut of the 24 inch printers avialable.

Daniel

1:43 pm - Wednesday, August 23, 2006

#9 Noel Jacobs

Thanks for review. One of my major (but not only) requirements is good b&w prints. How does the B9180 fare against the R2400 in this respect. I note the B9180 only has 2 grades of black/grey per paper type whereas the R2400 has 3.

11:20 pm - Wednesday, August 23, 2006

#10 Jon Canfield

Noel -

You'll love the B9180 if b&w is your thing. I get better results, with more neutral prints in all lighting conditions using the HP than I do with the Epson K3 inks. This is primarily due to the HP using only the blacks, while the Epson uses color as well, even when printing with the Advanced b&w option.
You'll also see better tonal range with the HP than the Epson. I have a reference print that I use - the B9180 is the first printer that has been able to reproduce the dense shadow detail in the foreground trees.

12:20 am - Thursday, August 24, 2006

#11 Barbara

Thanks for the review. I have to decide on a printer to replace my S9000. I want a longer non-fade time, good B-W and a reasonable price. I was leaning towards the new Canon 17x24 but the ability of the HP to handle longer papers, thicker art papers and a 200 year non-fade timeline gives the HP a leg up. I will give up the larger size for the ability to handle art paper. I don't want the clogging issues of the Epson and the ink waste so it was off the list. The Canon is close to $2k. I am thinking the HP may be a great compromise. If I need larger than 13 inches wide, I can still send it out. Any idea when this will hit the market? What is the realistic price estimate - street?

6:04 pm - Thursday, August 24, 2006

#12 Barbara

Well, duh, I guess the estimated street price was mentioned early on. Sorry about that.

6:06 pm - Thursday, August 24, 2006

#13 Peter

Jon, I read in Neil Snape's review that you can't use the black-only inks on photo media, so you have to use composite inks, but he doesn't have a final production unit. Do you know if that is still the case?

6:53 pm - Thursday, August 24, 2006

#14 Jon Canfield

Peter, there is nothing in the current driver that excludes fine art papers from printing with blacks only. I just checked by selecting Photo Rag as the paper type, Grayscale as the Color type, and Gray inks only in the Color Options tab.

1:39 am - Friday, August 25, 2006

#15 Jon Canfield

Barbara, the Canon iPF5000 will handle long and thick media just fine. Yes, HP does have an advantage on print life, Canon claims over 100 years on color and 200 on b&w. There is a huge difference in price though with the Canon about 2,000 and the HP about 700. But, larger print sizes will cost more regardless of the maker. HP is still saying first of Sept, and I understand they have been shipping to dealers in the US.

1:43 am - Friday, August 25, 2006

#16 Peter

Sorry if I wasn't clear Jon - I meant that you can't print on, say, glossy Advanced photo paper with the black inks only. You can only print on fine art papers, like the one you mention, with black inks only. For glossy photo paper you have to use composite inks, which may not give you quite as good or neutral a B&W print. Neil noted in his review that he hopes this will change in the future.

Thanks, Peter

1:58 am - Friday, August 25, 2006

#17 Jon Canfield

Peter - Gray only is now available when printing to photo papers like Advanced Glossy & Satin. It looks like this was updated since Neil's review or test.

2:25 am - Friday, August 25, 2006

#18 Nicholas

Hello Jon,

Know you are very busy on the web helping us regading the B9180.

Waiting for your print speed figures with spooling, etc.

Regards, Nicholas

3:39 am - Friday, August 25, 2006

#19 Twum

Hi Guys,

For those with the DJ 130, have you tried using the printer with a RIP like the PosterJet RIP? It's really fast and powerful, not to mention easy to use.

Regards
Twum

9:23 am - Friday, August 25, 2006

#20 Philip Warner

Many thanks for this review. I have been
wanting to upgrade from my HP 7660 and
your comments have helped me decide on
the HP B9180. I'll start shopping.

Thanks again.

Philip

3:32 am - Sunday, August 27, 2006

#21 Neil Snape

Thanks for the review Jon.
As you know I posted my review as there were not enough out there considering the shipments are already going to the distributors.
On my review it's clearly stated that it's about discovery. The model I have although perfectly reliable is still prototype with prototype software firmware and inks/media.
Delivery of a shipping model will update the perhaps contradictory info on my page.

Cheers.

8:53 pm - Sunday, August 27, 2006

#22 Nicholas

Hello Jon,

Were you able to obtain print speeds?
Several comments around the web seem to indicate print speeds, including typical spooling times is only average.

Thank you.

12:25 pm - Wednesday, August 30, 2006

#23 Bron Faison

Great review. Lots of good information. I had almost sprung for an HP 8750, but held back because I wanted a pigment based printer. The HP B9180 sounds like just what I need. And I'm sure the larger formats are right around the corner. But 13 x 44 will do fine for most of what I do.

Yours was one of the more complete reviews I found - so thanks again for that!

1:51 am - Saturday, September 2, 2006

#24 Don Porter

Thanks for the excellent information. You mention that it is 26" wide and 28" deep. The specs say 16.9" deep. I assume the difference is the tray sticking out in front. My question: can that extension hang out over the edge of the table? Also the height is quoted as 9.5" - how much headroom is required above that for operation? You can see that I'm operating in a limited space!

3:53 pm - Thursday, September 7, 2006

#25 Jon Canfield

Hi Don -
The depth quote does include the tray, and that can easily extend past the table, so you should be in good shape.

The only reason you'd need to open the top would be to clear a jam, so headroom isn't really a problem. Ink is loaded from the front as is paper for the specialty tray.

Jon

6:45 pm - Thursday, September 7, 2006

#26 Don Porter

Thanks, Jon, that's very encouraging!

8:56 pm - Thursday, September 7, 2006

#27 Jon Canfield

Sorry for the delay in getting numbers out to share on the spool times.
On a MacBook Pro connected via USB, a 23MB file takes 6 seconds to process in the Photosmart Pro plug-in, and a further 8 seconds to spool before starting to print. So, the total time for an 8x10 is 14 seconds.

4:13 am - Wednesday, September 13, 2006

#28 Alan LaPearle

Thanks for taking the time to present an excellent in depth review for such a new printer. Your experience will greatly aid those seriously looking for a professional grade photo printer. The inforomation was extensive, and explained much personal use information on this printer that is greatly appreciated for decision making.

5:58 am - Thursday, September 14, 2006

#29 Mark Goldstein

Posted on behalf of Nicholas.

Jon only mentioned spool times on his Mac but
his review is incomplete without revealing
print times for 4x6, 5x7, 8x10 once the spooling is completed.( at best quality ).

I am near deciding to buy the HP B9810 but must know the print times.

12:03 pm - Friday, September 15, 2006

#30 Nicholas

Thank you Mark, I know Jon must be busy.

Nicholas

12:51 pm - Friday, September 15, 2006

#31 Nicholas

I find this all very interesting.

I found no web reported print times of the HP B9180.

I stopped buying all print photo magaines because they were very nuetral most of the time and did not want to upset their advertisers. I found real info on the web.

Apparantly not any more.

Is HP that influential that no reviewer can report on print speeds of one of their printers?

Nicholas

2:01 am - Sunday, September 24, 2006

#32 Jon Canfield

Nicholas -

I recieve nothing from HP or any other manufacturer. I pride myself on being objective with reviews, and when I submit to a magazine it's my experience. If it's negative and the publisher chooses not to run the review that's their perogative. In this case, the B9180 is everything I hoped for as far as image quality goes.

I hesitate to publish print speeds because of the variation that will be present in every image. It's going to vary based on paper, image, ink density, etc.

For the testing I did here, a print at Max DPI took just over 2:20 for an 8x10 on advanced satin paper. I have 2 books and over 15 articles to finish and really don't have time to do extensive timing tests. The figures on the HP site are fairly accurate but should be considered best case numbers and your times might be 15% or so higher.

2:44 am - Sunday, September 24, 2006

#33 Mark Goldstein

I'd just like to add that PhotographyBLOG is also completely objective in its product reviews - if we don't like something, we say so...

9:46 am - Sunday, September 24, 2006

#34 Nicholas

REQUIRED CLARIFICATION:

I have never questioned the objectivity or integrity of Photography Blog.

In fact when, after a period of time, Jon did not yet post print times in response to the above exchange:

"5) My concern is print time, including spooling, for 8x10, 5x7, 4x6, 13x19??

Would appreciate any info on these times.

Regards, Nicholas
Posted by Nicholas on Aug 23, 2006 - 04:20 AM

6) .....
Nicholas, I'll provide specific print times for each of these in a day or so.
Posted by Jon Canfield on Aug 23, 2006 - 05:20 AM"

I wrote to Mark Goldstein in a private email
regarding if Jon could post his print times as he stated. Mark responded with the above post:

"29) Posted on behalf of Nicholas.

Jon only mentioned spool times on his Mac but
his review is incomplete without revealing
print times for 4x6, 5x7, 8x10 once the spooling is completed.( at best quality ).

I am near deciding to buy the HP B9810 but must know the print times.

Posted by Mark Goldstein on Sep 15, 2006 - 12:03 PM"

How could I ever suggest Photography Blog is less than the Highest of Standards as a news source?? I have not and would not.

Jon,

Thank you for the 8x10 print time.
I know you are busy ( as I stated above ) but I assume the 4x6 and 5x7 print times are faster? I intend to use the HP B9180 as an event printer for the 'WOW' factor in the crowd. That is why I need to know print times. 1 minute for a 4x6, 1 1/2 for an5x7 would be slow for my purposes.

Can you provide the link to the HP web site listing of print times that you mentioned?

Thank you Mark and Jon,

Nicholas

12:45 pm - Sunday, September 24, 2006

#35 Jon Canfield

Nicholas -

I'll do my best to find the original page. The current spec page HP has up onl shows the draft mode speeds which aren't a realistic number to go by unless you just want to do proofs.

And, I will do a print run tomorrow evening of different sizes for you - i promise :)

Jon

12:46 am - Monday, September 25, 2006

#36 Jon Canfield

OK, here are the numbers for various print sizes. These are all done on HP Advanced paper and timed from when the paper feeds into the printer and stopped at paper eject.

4x6 1:24
5x7 1:48
8x10 2:35
13x19 6:41

File is a 61MB 8 bit TIFF. I didn't have 5x7 paper size so this print was done on 8x10 paper, which should have a negligable effect on timings.

Jon

7:00 pm - Tuesday, September 26, 2006

#37 Nicholas

Thank you very much Jon.

Nicholas

3:43 am - Wednesday, September 27, 2006

#38 Kees

Interesting to read the B9180 review. My interest is in the cost per print, maximum print size, compared to inkjet competitors, as well as Lambda and LightJet services.

I cannot so far find any data on that

4:11 pm - Friday, September 29, 2006

#39 Ken

Hi, I recently purchased this printer and immediatlely exchanged it for a new one! The print quality was not nearly as good as my Photosmart8250... The exchange printer was the same = UGH!

Have you noticed print quality differences with HP Premium paper?

I compared the same photo (using different photos too) printed on the 8250 v 9180... When I used the Advanced paper (note this is HP mid-quality paper, Premium being the better) the quality was great on both printers.

When I compared the two printers using the Premium paper, the 9180 was terrible; flat, no detail, as if the ink had absobed into the paper.

I contacted HP, and they confirmed, that their best Premium paper was indeed not suited for the 9180 and advised that I use the Advance paper - UGH!

Do you have any comment on this?

thank you!

5:45 pm - Saturday, October 7, 2006

#40 Jon Canfield

The Premium Plus papers are NOT compatible with the B9180 or other pigment printers. They have a swellable surface designed to work with dye inks - with pigment it just turns into a mess. The correct photo paper from HP is the Advanced, or one of the fine art papers. I'm having very good results with Moab Kokopelli as well, and I've heard that people are happy with Epson Premium Luster.

1:45 am - Sunday, October 8, 2006

#41 Mark Goldstein

Thank you so much for your comments... This is not widely known - I believe, as many of the techs just said - huh?

thanks again,

Ken

10:30 am - Sunday, October 8, 2006

#42 photographers-search

Yeah I was wondering about the print speeds also. Any info on that?

2:53 am - Monday, October 9, 2006

#43 Jon Canfield

Hi -

Print speeds are posted a bit earlier in the thread. These times were for the Best setting, not Maximum DPI. Keep in mind that print times will vary depending on the image you're outputting.

3:03 am - Monday, October 9, 2006

#44 Carol Laprise

Thanks for the excellent review. I have a question regarding the Postscript printing options. Is it possible to print directly to the HP B9180 from Illustrator or from QuarkXpress with EPS files imported ?
Do I need a complicated RIP Software ?

Thank you very much.

Carol

4:01 am - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

#45 Guido FORRIER

I was yesterday at the hp briefing in Brussels . Instaed of showing prints from their new pro printers is saw a lot of B9180 prints. No bronzing? No metamerism ? The prints were full of it. Every photografer in the meeting room could see that.

12:14 pm - Tuesday, October 24, 2006

#46 Jon Canfield

Carol -

The printer doesn't do Postscript natively, but you can use the EFI RIP, which isn't complicated. You might also be able to use QImage, although I haven't tried it - I'm not an Illustrator user.

3:47 pm - Tuesday, October 24, 2006

#47 Jon Canfield

Guido -
With the wrong paper or settings it's entirely possible to have bronzing, metamerism, and gloss differential issues. One problem I've seen is that some of the HP reps don't understand that the Premium papers are not compatible with the pigment inks.
And, depending on whether the black & white prints were done with gray only or composite color, the differences can be large.
I'd be happy to forward specific info to HP if you have it.

3:50 pm - Tuesday, October 24, 2006

#48 Guido FORRIER

Jon ,
The prints(color and b&w) I saw were in de meeting hall of the HP printer division in Brussels. Looking directly in front of de prints they were not bad but looking from a step aside the prints were horrible.I need prints for exhibition and people must can see the prints from different angles.I already saw better prints and i hope there wil be good b&w printers coming soon.

6:17 pm - Tuesday, October 24, 2006

#49 Michael Stromer

Jon,

Excellent review. I've been trying to compare as much information between the B9180 and Epson R2400 as I can find. Definately keep going back and forth between which one I'm leaning towards getting.

After reading a review at InkJetArt, I am concerned about what ppi settings the image would need to get best prints from the 9180. They relate that in their testing a ppi of at least 720 is needed to produce an ideal quality print and it responds even better up to 1200 ppi. Needless to say, many computer systems would choke on this. What ppi settings did you use and if you varied them did you see a point at which the quality gains were outweighed by the increase in file size?

Also, although I probably can figure out the answer, if you had to select one printer as your first for being able to produce the quality of prints either is capable of would you go with the 9180 or the 2400?

Another consideration I've encountered comes down to ink usage and costs. From what I've been able to glean and use to compare costs, the 2400 looks to be lower cost based on the prices I found at my photography supplier.

Thanks for your time and again the excellent review.

Mike

5:13 am - Thursday, November 16, 2006

#50 rickie

Well, from what I can read here and eslewhere it sure sounds like this is NOT the printer for fine art B&W on matte or glassy papers. No one has definitively said anything about direct comparistons to Epson's B&W particularly in terms of bronzing (no, "acceptable" will not do!), depth of deep black, and subtle toning without unwanted color casts. All I see are "B&W looks real good!" comments. That's not intelligent comparison or discussion. Why is there such a lack of anyone who has held and compared the B&W from this printer to the Epson 2400 or 3800? And discuss it in detail? I can only surmise it just does not cut it for serious B&W work.

8:18 pm - Saturday, November 25, 2006

#51 Denis Conway

The best review I have read regarding the HP B9180 printer. Thanks.

11:20 am - Sunday, February 4, 2007

#52 ChrisC

Hi - in answer to the question about Illustrator, I've tried a slew of settings when printing and the quality is bearable but not great. The colours are vary wildly, especially in the amount of Cyan, either too much or too little, and have coarse dots in pale tinted areas, and banding in gradients. InDesign/Acrobat are worse. Lastly the prints show pixelation, even at the highest print resolution. I've been onto HP about this, asking if there's anything I can do other than open everything in Photoshop, and got a quick 'no, you can only print reliably from Photoshop or HP Photosmart Studio. Anything else is your/Adobe's problem.'
Luckily quality from Photoshop is just fine, however it doesn't fit the description as being suitable for a design studio, which is how it's being advertised here and elsewhere.

8:13 pm - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

#53 Walter de Almeida

Jon: your's is one of the best reviews i've read lately!! I thank you for such a precise and clearly written review.
Congratulations
Walter

11:36 pm - Saturday, February 24, 2007

#54 Jon Canfield

Rickie -
I'm not sure why you're under the impression this isn't a good b&w printer. The results from the 9180 exceed those from the 4800 and R2400 that I've compared against in both shadow detail and neutrality. All pigment printers will suffer from some bronzing on gloss papers unless you're using a coating spray or gloss enhancer.

Denis, Walter, thanks for the comments.

Chris - I'm not an Illustrator user - I have it but haven't printed from it so at this point I don't have suggestions for you.

Jon

5:38 am - Sunday, February 25, 2007

#55 sohail

Thanks for the review. I have noticed on other websites that one criticism of the 9180 is that there is some rotation of 4x8 paper in feeding/printing. This is not present with larger papers. Have you had this problem.

Also I know this is a photo printer but can you comment on quality for printing text and color images on plain paper for use as a non photo printer.

4:59 pm - Wednesday, April 18, 2007

#56 Stewart Smith

I have been meaning to get an A3+ printer for some time now and your informative review has helped me no end in coming to a decision.
I will be ordering one tonight.

Many Thanks.

12:53 pm - Thursday, May 3, 2007

#57 Pacha

"Although the printer driver only has paper settings up to 13x19, you can choose the Custom option to create page sizes up to 13x44. I printed several 24" and 30" panoramics with no problem at all."

I just got my printer yesterday, and I haven't had much time to spend with it. The first thing I noticed trying to print a sample page, was that the custome paper size option in InDesign wasn't available. I can only choose the standard sizes. I'm working on a iMac. How do you set up or choose custom paper sizes?

Please help!

Many Thanks.

7:14 pm - Friday, September 14, 2007

#58 Michael

Thanks for the excellent review which helped me to make my choice of this printer. My comment is similar to Pacha's (57).

"Although the printer driver only has paper settings up to 13x19, you can choose the Custom option to create page sizes up to 13x44. I printed several 24" and 30" panoramics with no problem at all."

The photoshop plug-in, although a lovely thing in all other respects, doesn't provide for custom paper sizes and although generic page set-up does, and a newly created custom size appears alongside the correct printer designation in the subsequent print windows, any amount of experimenting with settings won't get my printer to print anything longer than 19 inches, either from the main paper tray or the speciality media tray.

I've uninstalled and reinstalled the software and updated it. I'm printing from Photoshop 7 on a G4 v 10.4. Have you been using a later Photoshop version? After spending hours hanging on the phone and e-mailing HP support they've finally come back to me with "Unfortunately, this printer will not support paper sizes larger than 13x19 inches. The paper you are trying to print on is simply too long for the printer to handle".

I don't expect you to sort out my woes - but if anything occurs I'd be grateful.

1:12 pm - Wednesday, December 19, 2007

#59 Jon Canfield

Hi Michael -
I'm not sure if I follow your question completely. Here are the steps I used to print a panorama from the plug-in. I can only go back as far as Photoshop CS2, but it should be working the same regardless of your version of PS.
1. Create the custom page size in the Page Setup dialog (The plug-in does not allow custom page creation).
2. Open the plug-in with your selected image.
3. Select the custom page size from the Paper Size list.
4. Make sure you change the Paper Source to the Specialty Media tray. You can't print longer than 19" from the main tray.

Your preview area should now show you the longer print - does it?
At this point, when I print it handles the length just fine. I'm not surprised that HP claims only 19" as the max as that is what the specs say.

Jon

4:01 pm - Wednesday, December 19, 2007

#60 Mark Goldstein

(Posted on behalf of Michael)

Hi Jon

Thanks so much for responding.

My problem is that the custom page I create in Page Set up fails to be added to the Paper Size list in the Plug-In, and although it appears in print dialogue boxes if I avoid the plug-in and use the standard print dialogue route, it still fails to print.

Using the standard route and 'Print with Preview' shows me an unscaled properly fitted document in the preview window.

Then the Destination Paper Size box offers me either:

"Use documents paper size: Rigid media 13x19" though nowhere have I specified the Rigid Media choice.

Or "Scale to fit paper size" which also has an option to tick "Scale down only". Ticked or unticked this ungreys a paper size list that does include my custom size. But the printer still won't print the size.

The "scale to fit" designation is the only route into the paper list.

My document fits well inside the paper size.

It's useful to know though that it's the plug-in you are using successfully.

The only variable I can think of is my older version of Photoshop?

Thanks again for taking the trouble to respond. I'll keep trying.

Michael

5:56 pm - Wednesday, December 19, 2007

#61 Francis Michaels

Jon,

I bought this printer a couple months ago knowing it could print panoramas. I tried printing one and it wouldn't print so I searched the internet and found your blog.

I have followed your instructions on how you printed the panoramas and I am running into the same issues as Michael in the previous message. I am using an iMac G5 with PS CS2 and CS3 installed. Along with the plug-in, neither PS will allow a successful panorama print.

Everything Michael wrote in his message is also true with my situation. The only thing I will add is when I use the Print with Preview route, everything sets up fine, when I go to print the Printer Dialogue Box thinks for a few seconds and then it say Jobs Stopped. No other error messages.

Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Francis

11:03 pm - Tuesday, January 22, 2008

#62 Jon Canfield

Francis (and Michael) -

I've just tried this again, using both Photoshop CS2 with the plug-in, and CS3 with the normal printer driver. Both printed a 13"x42" panorama just fine.

Here are the specific steps I took, first for CS2 and the plug-in:
1. Select Page Setup
2. Select the HP 9100 Series as the printer (do not leave set to "any printer"
3. Select Manage Custom Sizes at the bottom of the page size listing.
4. Enter a page size, like 13x42 and save it as a preset.
5. Open the plug-in
6. Select the new custom page size from the Page Size list. If it's not already, make sure you have the Specialty Media Tray selected as the source.
7. Check the scaling options to make sure you have them set the way you want.
8. Print

From CS3, the initial steps are essentially the same -
1. Select Print
2. Select Page Setup
3. Select the HP 9100 Series as the printer (do not leave set to "any printer"
4. Select Manage Custom Sizes at the bottom of the page size listing.
5. Enter a page size, like 13x42 and save it as a preset.
6. If it's not selected, you'll need to open Page Setup again to refresh the list to see your new paper size.
7. Select your color management options
8. Print
9. Select the Page Layout panel, and set the paper type and be sure Specialty Media Tray is selected.

If you want to be sure, you can choose Preview first.

These tests were done on a MacBook Pro running Leopard, but that shouldn't impact the results at all.

If it still isn't working for you, I can help more - I'd need to know the file size, how the printer is connected, what resolution you're printing at. Worst case scenario I can take a look at your file and try running a print on my system.

Hope this helps
Jon

1:25 am - Wednesday, January 23, 2008

#63 Michael

Hi Francis (and Jon)

I've had some success with what seems to be our common problem. I've described my method in probably too much detail as odd quirks seem to dictate success or failure. If you subsequently manage to find a way of using the plug-in to print panoramas on your set-up, perhaps you'd post your method? Anyway, I hope it works for you.

Go to Page Setup>Paper Size>Manage Custom Sizes.
Click the plus and name the new custom page size.
Enter your custom page size. IMPORTANT! Make the long edge the height and the short edge the width - otherwise the new size will not appear in the subsequent print dialogue boxes. (My custom page size was Width 32.9cm Height 55cm).
Click the OKs and save.

Load your custom paper in the speciality media tray and click the OK button on the printer to feed the paper.

With my set-up the new custom size still won't appear using Jon's route via the plug-in, so I avoid that for panorama sizes and use the conventional route:
Go to 'Print with preview'.
Choose 'Centre Image' and 'Scale 100%'.
Click 'Print'.
Select 'Photosmart Pro B9100 series' in the drop down menu.
Choose 'Paper Handling' in the third drop down menu.
Your custom page size name should be visible in the Destination Paper Size panel. Choose 'Use Documents Paper Size'.
In the third drop down menu choose 'Paper Type/Quality'.
Make your choices and choose 'Source>Speciality Media Tray'.
In the third drop down menu choose 'Borderless Printing' and make sure that 'Print Borderless' is not checked (Regardless of the slider it always scales the image even if you have previously chosen 'No Scaling').
Hold your breath and click 'Print'.

Good luck!

Michael

2:27 pm - Saturday, January 26, 2008

#64 Francis Michaels

Jon and Michael,

Thanks for the info on printing the panoramas. I was able to resolve the issue and can now print panos. This is what the issue was:

In a different review it was said that a PC could print up to 44 inches and ‘longer’ on a Mac. ‘Longer’ was never defined in the review so when I was trying to enter a paper size of 56 inches I didn’t think twice about this being an issue, but this is what it turned out to be.

After doing everything as you did (and having it not work), I decided to try a 35 inch panorama. When I went to print, I noticed in the Paper Handling section, the new size had automatically been placed into the ‘Use Documents paper size:’ section. The 56 inch size would never show up there. After seeing this I new the panorama would print so I went back and found the longest possible size I could print on a Mac. This turned out to be 50 inches.

I got my paper ready and printed a beautiful 50 inch pano, no more problems.

Thanks again,

Francis

1:53 am - Monday, January 28, 2008

#65 John Ball

Another excellent review.
Having used this beast for a little over a year, I can add a couple of points.
The first is it's absolute reliability.
Even though I am often away for weeks on end, I have yet to suffer a blocked jet. The self servicing feature really does work.
The second point is it's consistency of image quality across different papers.
HP have done an excellent job with the profiles, which I now trust enough to rarely bother with proof prints.

Overall, it is head and shoulders above the Epson it replaced.

John Ball

8:49 pm - Wednesday, February 6, 2008

#66 Pedro Caldeira

I have my 9180 only a couple of days and I'm still learning it. From waht I've tried so far I think the HP plug in is the best way to print. I'm using CS3 with Vista os and followed Neil Snape way of making CS3 recognising the plug in but I'm still not able to print. The drop down menus don't display the paper type and tray. The job goes to the spooler but doesn't arrive to the printer. Is there any away fix this?

11:47 am - Thursday, February 21, 2008

#67 Helen

I have the HP B9180, just started using it and not happy. The manual didn't make it clear that only certain HP paper would work and used a whole batch of double sided brochure paper and after letting it dry for one day the ink rubs off.

I'm now using the advanced paper and it still won't work, the printer is snagging - cut in grooves in the paper running through the ink... is this printer faulty or a known problem - so far I am not happy with the results.
H

8:42 am - Tuesday, July 15, 2008

#68 Jon Canfield

Hi Helen -

The 9180 should work just fine with most papers. The HP Premium papers do not work with this or any other pigment ink printer - only dye inks. But, plain paper, the Advanced series, and any other third party papers designed for pigment inks will work well.
If you have the right paper type selected in the print driver and you're seeing these issues on the printed page, it sounds like a hardware problem. Some thicker papers will leave "pizza wheel" marks on the page, but none of the HP Advanced papers are thick enough to cause this problem.

Jon

3:21 pm - Tuesday, July 15, 2008

#69 Helen

Thanks for that Jon.

I am using the pack that came with the printer (the advanced) and it's only about 180g - looks like there might be more to this.

I have only ever had small desktop printers and my ignorance thought that if it says HP on it, then it will go into an HP printer. The manual at the back stated something about paper for brochures, so I went and bought some and wasted a whole packet because it didn't dry :o(

Looks like I'd better follow this up, I can't have scratches though it.
Cheers
H

3:28 pm - Tuesday, July 15, 2008

#70 Damon T. Miller

Beware of this printer. I bought one a little over a year ago and was never able to print more than ten pictures reliably. The paper would jam halfway through nearly every print job. The few times the printer managed to complete a job, the results were decent, however these were few and far between.

After approximately 10-11 months of trying various paper and setting combinations, I finally gave in and called HP's tech support. I'd read many reviews of this experience and I was prepared for the worst. Sadly, my expectations were confirmed.

The first 45 minutes of my initial call was spent trying to navigate HP's support queues. Eventually I really someone who walked through the usual "level one" tests, e.g. confirm power, confirm paper, etc. I've worked in enterprise IT for ten years so this was a bit annoying but I was pleasant throughout, recognizing that the guy had a job to do.

Eventually the conclusion was that I should try different paper. I agreed, and he promised HP would send a small bundle for testing. After waiting three weeks, I called to check on the order and found that it had been cancelled. The reason given was that the printer was no longer under warranty. Excellent work, HP.

I'm sad to say that this experience is precisely what I had expected--an infuriating waste of time. With no further recourse, I took the printer to a nearby dumpster and bid farewall.

In short, don't buy this printer. And if you do, never, ever call HP for support. It will be a complete waste of time.

Damon

6:31 pm - Saturday, September 13, 2008

#71 Jez Greenaway

This printer is utter crap. HP support for what they describe as a 'Professional' product is non-existent and provided by sub-literal bimbos who can't understand English, let alone the technicalities of the product.
The B9180 I have is 18 months old. It became defective six months after purchase when several of the small paper guide wheels finished up in the print tray.
To date (Jan 09)the print cycle is less than 700, and now it constantly demands a reset et al.
NOTHING EFFING WORKS ON THIS.
AVOID HP
I am trying to earn a living from imaging, and I did so successfully for 40 years with old fashioned colour and b&w;'wet work', supported wonderfully well by Ilford techies, Durst and the like.
HP couldn't give a toss, and Seiko Epson are even worse - I have another A3+ squirter from them which printed the glorious total of 620 glossies before dying.
Come on guys, get real . . .
GET BACK TO WET WORK - save a fortune - get into profit maybe ? !

4:05 am - Friday, January 9, 2009

#72 Matthew Kirby

We have a B9100 and it's useless in a design studio, from quark the colours are rubbish. AVOID

3:01 pm - Thursday, February 26, 2009

#73 david hough

i would love something to be compatable with my IMAC. i used the hp9180 with windows no problem. but now cannot get it to print borderless. i dont seem to be able to find a dropdown to pick it

please anyone

6:28 pm - Sunday, November 8, 2009

#74 r4i software

With over 25 years of comuting technology behind me, and favoratism's towards digital imaging this is a miserable and undesirable product.

6:31 am - Monday, November 16, 2009

#75 Pedro Caldeira

I´m trying to print a picture with 70x30cm with hanhamulle soft fine art paper, but I can't achieve the 300d.p.i resolution. It allways returns to 175d.p.i.. It produces a picture with unacceptable quality.
I guess its a problem of buffer memory with the printer. My computer has only 2GB but I think that woul'd be sufucient. Does anybody know a way to achieve high resolution with "big" pictures? (without having to buy a new printer)

5:15 pm - Monday, November 16, 2009

#76 Jon Canfield

Pedro -

I'm able to output at this size with 300 ppi. Are you using the Scale to Fit option in the Photoshop print dialog? If so, that will reduce or increase the ppi to fit the page without interpolating the image. You should size it first via Edit > Image Size to the dimensions an ppi you want.

David -

The Borderless option is in the print driver, just below the Paper Type/Quality option in the pop up menu. Note that not all papers support borderless though.

7:27 pm - Monday, November 16, 2009

#77 Photo Bandit

Do not buy this printer. I'm a semi-pro photog who bought this printer several years ago, as a backup for my HP Designjet 130. It worked OK for a year or so. But the stupid ink cleaning controls it has make it completely worthless. It has been clearly documented that it has serious problems. It wastes incredible amounts of ink TRYING to clean the heads, when the actual problem is the sensor. It does not have an easy method for removing all that ink, and people have actually had ink drip out onto the table beneath it. I use lots of HP equipment, but this is probably their worst product!

6:30 am - Thursday, June 30, 2011

#78 julia

i purchased one of these and it has been nothing but grief, taken it back to the shop and demanded a refund

9:43 am - Saturday, December 3, 2011

#79 Alan Yahnke

The short of it. It stopped working just out of warranty replaced heads, ink etc. Still didn't work. HP wouldn't repair it. Now it's junk. They don't back up what they sell, I have a scanner that I bought from them that is not supported on the newer Mac OS either. I also had a previous 13x19 printer that quit working.

No more HP...

6:18 pm - Sunday, May 12, 2013