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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

B9180 Watch: Full Review

My review of the Hewlett-Packard B9180 pigment-ink printer has been published in the English Black & White Photography magazine.

Black & White Photography issue #71, April 2007

The review appears in two parts: Part I, which appears in issue #71 (April, 2007) covers general use and operation and color photographic printing, and Part II, devoted entirely to the B9180 as a black-and-white photographic printer, is in issue #72 (May 2007).

Black & White Photography issue #72, May 2007

The magazine is widely available in the U.K., where the April issue has just gone off newsstands. In the U.S. and Canada, where the April issue will still be current for another week or two, it is most easily found at Barnes & Noble bookstore newsstands and other large bookstore chain newsstands.

The review is not available online.


Featured Comment by John: And Mike, one should add that (even without your contributions) it's a super magazine and well worth a subscription.

Thanks John...I think. —MJ


Blogger Unknown said...

We must be behind-the-times (again) here in the midwest, since one Barnes & Noble here still has the March issue on its shelf... thus is should be easy to find both the April and May issues.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Al Benas said...

Doggone it, Mike! There goes this Spring's worth of Black & White Photography magazines. Everytime you discuss a particular issue, our local importer fails to deliver any to B&N; it's totally unavailable in the area. This time you killed 2 issues in one blog. Way to go;)

I really do wish they would archive technical articles on their web site, even with a 3 month or so delay. Their web presence is pretty shabby last time I looked.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

It's a great magazine but every time you mention it, I get reminded how much nicer it is to subscribe! I forget that the newstand edition has all that writing.

5:40 PM  
Blogger thechrisproject said...

I had trouble finding it too, at the East B&N here in Madison. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Allen George said...

Ah...but I can see the conclusion on the front the May '07 issue :)

8:26 PM  
Blogger Paul Perton said...

Apologies - I posted this comment in the wrong place - I clicked the comments button on the item above!


My 9180 was delivered more than two months ago. I ordered it with some A3 sized paper to test and a set of replacement cartridges.

The printer, paper and cartridges were delivered early in March. I got the incorrect paper; HP Premium Plus and not HP Advanced paper, but did not realise the error at the time. Subsequently, I raised this issue with my dealer, who told me that this was the paper HP specified. I was promised replacement paper. This issue has yet to be resolved.

From the outset, pizza wheel marks were visible on almost every print. This may have been due to using the incorrect paper, but when I managed to track down a single 25 sheet box of Advanced paper, exactly the same spoiled prints were the result. More recently, my 9180 started banding on any area darker than mid grey.

I raised the issue with my dealer and then HP in South Africa. The dealer proved to be as powerless in getting a solution from HP as I have come to realise I am. My protests to HP here have yet to produce any realistic response - even the CEO failed to return my phone calls. The "exceptions" agent I am forced to deal with promised a solution; HP would supply as much ink and paper as I could shove through my printer in an effort to wear down the offending rollers and thereby avoid the pizza wheel marks...

Mirth aside, that solution didn't materialise - HP's distributor had imported printers, but no consumables. In fact, there was only an absolute minimum of consumable stock available here and I was told that it would take more than a month for paper and ink to finally arrive. That stock was due to arrive at the beginning of April; I have yet to see a single sheet of this stock.

I have escalated my own complaints to HP in the UK. This has produced absolutely no response worthy of note.

Locally, the resolution I'm now being offered is a refurbished 9180 as a replacement for a printer that has produced less than 100 prints. HP may have solved the pizza wheel problem elsewhere, but certainly not here - low stock turnover means that the batch my own came from is still being sold. A new printer is probably months off.

Anyway, I am now cornered - the refurb machine was promised in 2/3 days (Monday 23rd) - it never arrived. Subsequently, I have received two phone calls from yet another call centre agent telling me that my refurb unit is still "three to six" days away.

Meantime, I have no paper to print on and a printer that is functionally useless.

The 9180 came full of promise and on the odd occasion it worked as intended, delivered stunning images. For the rest, it's hard not to wonder why I bothered.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

As your conclusion is on the cover of issue #72, I may as well drive 35 minutes and buy the printer as drive 30 minutes to a B&N store which might not have the magazine. Decisions! ;-)

2:40 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

The "conclusion on the cover" is just a blurb as a come-on. I didn't decide to put it there, and it needs the context of the rest of the article. I had a lot of problems with the printer which are detailed in the articles, and in any event, the "conclusion on the cover" refers to Part II, which ONLY covers black and white.


7:43 AM  
Blogger A Glimpse of the World said...

I can reliably report that Black and White Photography is not available in China, where I'm based.
For that reason, Mike, I'd be very interested in hearding your experience of various papers, and in particular Crane Museo Silver Rag.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Rob Povey said...

I subscribe to B&W in the UK.

On the subscription copy I get you get a lovely clean front cover. None of the gunk you get on the newstand versions and a nice small B&W photography logo in the corner.

It makes a striking magazine. Simple and clean.

Have a word with Ailsa, Mike!!



3:45 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It's a shame that the UK editions are not available at either Borders or B&N (B&N does carry the US edition only)in my area. I looked forward to seeing your review.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

I'm not quite sure what you mean. The magazines in both countries are the same, as far as I know. In both countries, subscribers receive a version with no blurbs on the cover. The newsstand versions both places have blurbs on the cover. Otherwise, I don't think there's any difference in the contents.


10:37 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...


Sorry, I've never tried Crane Museo Silver Rag. I stuck to Hahnemuhle Photo Rag and Moab Entrada Natural, and a few lesser papers for lesser tasks.


10:41 PM  
Blogger john said...


Your first article was one of the biggest cliffhangers in the brief history of digital b&w - that you'd discuss the printer's b&w capability next month. Well, it seemed a long month but finally I got my hands on May's magazine and of course the article's well up to your usual high standard (same John that made the cheeky comment). Loved the dung analogy!

One thing you didn't discuss is the colour cast that you often see in b&w inkjet prints - not straight from the printer or under a daylight balanced light, but later in the evening when you're under tungsten lights. For this reason, I've only ever been happy with the neutrality of custom inksets. Did you try this printer's output under normal houselight conditions?


6:04 AM  

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