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Enhanced speed and image quality in the advanced, yet affordable HP DesignJet Z6 and Z9+

Enhanced speed and image quality in the advanced, yet affordable HP DesignJet Z6 and Z9+

The larger the print, the longer the print time, right? – Not any more, HP have recently released a wide format printer that challenges those norms. The HP DesignJet Z Printer series, in 24 and 44 inch options, offer both fast and high quality photos.  So how did HP manage to get both speed and quality in one printer? Here’s a look behind the technology in the newest members of the DesignJet Z series.


The DesignJet Z6 and Z9+ printers boasts the fastest print time in the industry compared to similar large format printers. The secret behind that speed? Integration. HP integrated the materials, hardware and software together. By fine-tuning each aspect to work with the others, the Z6 and Z9+ are able to achieve a greater level of efficiency compared to other options on the market.

Some of the Z6 and Z9+ models also offer one more way to save time — with a built-in vertical trimmer. The trimmer speeds up what happens after the printer spits out the image, allowing for faster trims and speeding up the process from printing to delivery.

The print speed, combined with the built-in trimmer, delivers print speeds up to 2.5 times faster, with an increase in post-production efficiency by 20 percent.

Image quality

Today’s digital cameras are steadily adding on the megapixels, and printers need to keep up with the increasing quality. To boost quality (as well as efficiency) HP took another look at the printer nozzles. The HP Nozzle Architecture in the Z6 and Z9+ uses dual drip technology. The upgraded design on the nozzle head helps give details additional clarity and colour more contrast.

The upgraded nozzles also work together with HP Pixel Control, a new technology that enhances the print quality by allowing the printer to control each pixel.

Enhanced speed and image quality are just two of the features in the advanced, yet affordable HP DesignJet Z6 and Z9+. Chat with a Photo Direct professional today to learn more on the new printers or follow the blog for upcoming details.

Yes, quality, speed and efficiency can co-exist: A look at the new HP DesignJet Z6 and Z9+

Yes, quality, speed and efficiency can co-exist: A look at the new HP DesignJet Z6 and Z9+

Choosing a large format printer requires several elements to work together. There’s, of course, the print quality. But, there’s also factors like print speed, ink efficiency, and extra features that help printers, photographers, and other artists deliver high quality work with an efficient budget. With HP’s latest large format series, the company is synchronising hardware, software along with the ink and printing surface to maximise performance in all those categories.

Available beginning June 7th, the HP DesignJet Z6 and Z9+ series encompasses large format printers designed for a mix of high print quality, fast performance and efficient ink usage. How? The hardware and software were designed specifically for each other, allowing the printer to capitalise on quality, speed and efficiency. HP says the printer is designed to keep up with growth in the industry as large photo merchandising jumped by seven percent last year alone.

The HP DesignJet Z6 launches in three variations with a 24-inch, a 44-inch and a 44-inch that adds a vertical trimmer. All three are Postscript printers. The Z9+ series also launches with 24-inch, 44-inch and a 44-inch with a vertical trimmer.

So what’s the difference between the Z6 and Z9? The Z6 series is designed for photo quality prints for a number of different types of prints, while the Z9+ is a Geographical Information Systems printer that works with final images designed to resist moisture and fading. Meanwhile, the option with a vertical trimmer helps boost productivity with 2.5 times the speed.

The series encompasses some of HP’s latest technology, including HP Pixel control for truer colours and dual drop. The series also includes security software to keep data and print information safe. Watch the blog for more details on just how these technologies work together in the new series.

Call Photo Direct (03) 9894 1644 and speak to one of our trained staff members to assist you further. Personal demonstrations are available in our CBD show room – simply call to book an appointment.

4 Reasons Print Shops Should Consider Web to Print (And Why It’s Easier Than You Think)

4 Reasons Print Shops Should Consider Web to Print (And Why It’s Easier Than You Think)

E-commerce powers many businesses today — and allows consumers to find all kinds of odd and previously hard-to-find items. But what does the shift towards online shopping mean for print shops? Web to print is a service that allows customers to order and ship prints online — and the many perks could offer a boost to even traditional brick and mortar shops. Here’s why — and why it’s not as complex as you might think.

Give customers the convenience of printing anytime.

Many of the benefits to web to print are the same as using e-commerce for other physical products. Chief among them, is that customers can shop on their own schedule, whether that’s in their PJs at 1 a.m. or while sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. All customers need with web to print is their digital files, an internet connection and a form of payment to order from a web to print service. That convenience could drive more customers to a business over competitors without the service.

Go beyond regional reach.

Continuing the perks that apply to multiple business segments in e-commerce, the web to print offering allows businesses to sell prints all over the world if the service is combined with shipping. With web to print and shipping, businesses can both offer more convenience for local customers while also extending the reach to non-local customers. The service will help keep existing customers returning, but can also help even small businesses reach more customers by expanding reach beyond just one city.

Spend less time investment on each customer.

When customers order online, they stop in store just to pick up the order, or maybe even not at all if that order is shipped. Using an online ordering system helps free up customer’s time as well as your employees. When online ordering streamlines the process, you can dedicate the extra time to marketing the new service or another task you’ve been meaning to tackle.

Offer faster service.

Web to print often doesn’t need extra work getting the file ready to print. Combined with the easier ordering system, using print to web, many print shops can offer a faster turn around time. Brick and mortar stores can even hold an edge over the global print giants by allowing local in-store pickup, eliminating the time necessary for shipping to offer an even shorter turnaround time.

But isn’t web to print hard to do?

The web to print trend hasn’t gone unnoticed by printer companies — which means that, for print shops, adding a web to print service is often painless. Diland Web, for example, offers an online software that’s identical to in-store kiosks. The software allows customers to use the same system as the in-store prints to send prints to your shop. The service easily integrates with studios already using a Diland Studio kiosk and still allows for redos, order editing and other easy features. The software even offers printing from a mobile device.

Still debating? Find out exactly what adding a web to print service would mean for your business by contacting Photo Direct today.

Tired of boring gifts? Here are 6 creative photo gift ideas sure to bring a smile

Tired of boring gifts? Here are 6 creative photo gift ideas sure to bring a smile

With Amazon a few clicks away and a big box store around the corner, finding a gift isn’t a challenge — but finding a unique, custom gift that shows you were really thinking about that person? That’s still a challenge. Photos, however, make perfect gifts because they are both personal and easy to do. But “photos” still has a lot of flexibility beyond just a simple print on paper. Here are six creative photo gift ideas for the next holiday, birthday or “just because” gift — and with it, six ways creative businesses can add new gift products for customers.


Photo albums are great gifts for when you can’t decide on a single photo to use. Albums are great gifts that can encompass an event like a wedding, or simply cover another year of growth. Albums can be inexpensive canvas covers, or high-end options with real leather and thick pages. Albums don’t need to be time consuming either — Fotospeed has Easy Books that are easy for small print shops to assemble.

Wall Art

Skip the mass produced art and offer a custom work of art with wall art prints. Wall art doesn’t just fit into a single category either — there’s framed prints, canvas, Foto Blocks, prints on wood or even prints on glass. Wall art makes a great dual purpose gift to both share a memory and dress up a living space.

Photo Cards

Cards are gifts that let the receiver know they are thought of — but don’t require big budgets. Adding a photo helps those cards feel even more custom. Photo cards are great for any occasion, or even ordering in bulk and sending throughout the year when a friend needs some cheering up.


Calendars make great photo gifts because there’s a fresh, custom photo for every month. Even within this category, there are still a lot of options for variety. There’s the monthly calendar, the annual snapshot calendar or even daily flip calendars.

Print boxes

While photo albums are excellent for protecting images, loose photos collected in a keepsake box are quickly growing in popularity. This has the advantage of being simple to add to over time, but you also need to make sure to choose a high quality, durable paper with a finish that isn’t prone to fingerprints.

Ornaments and magnets

Photo gifts don’t have to be large to make an impact. Ornaments and photo magnets are excellent keepsake gifts with a personal touch. Since they are small, they are affordable and also work for apartment dwellers and large homeowners alike.

Photographs make excellent gifts and double as memories and decor. Unlike a DIY gift, photos are both custom and easy (not to mention, high quality). Along with making great gift ideas, the same products create great opportunities for creative businesses such as photographers and print shops to expand their product offerings.

5 Tips For Better Autumn Photos, From Snap to Print

5 Tips For Better Autumn Photos, From Snap to Print

Autumn is the golden season for photography — with colourful leaves nearly everywhere you look, finding a colourful subject in autumn isn’t hard to do. But capturing all those autumn colours can present its own challenges, from nabbing the exposure to getting those colours perfectly saturated in the final print. Here are five autumn photography tips to get you started.

Try filters.

One of the trickiest parts of taking an autumn photograph is getting an even exposure between the sky and those colourful leaves. Often, that perfect exposure is impossible without a filter. Filters are relatively inexpensive yet can make a dramatic impact on the final image. A circular polarising filter will make the sky appear more blue and control reflections — and those qualities also tend to help the filter make foliage pop. A graduated neutral density filter is another filter for fall — placing the darker portion of the filter over the sky can help make sure it’s not overexposed into a boring white mass.

Choose the right lens.

Often, the autumn foliage is impressive because of the expanse. If the scene inspires you because there’s colour everywhere you look, try a wide angle lens to fit it all in. Wide angle lenses allow you to shoot that impressive expanse.

You don’t need to leave a wide angle lens on your camera all autumn, however — swap lenses to fit your vision and the part of the scene that inspires you. A macro lens can capture the details of those colours up close. When shooting an autumn portrait, a mid-length telephoto can capture both the subject and the colourful background.

Experiment with backlighting.

Autumn leaves are spectacular — but add some golden sun behind it and autumn leaves look like magic. Two big things happen when you stand so that the sun is coming in from behind the leaves. First, the leaves are thin enough that the light makes them appear to glow, creating an even more vibrant colour. Second, when light hits any leaves that are out-of-focus, those leaves will create circular bokeh. Just make sure to watch the exposure and look out for lens flares when shooting with backlighting.

Try exposure bracketing to get the perfect exposure.

Getting the exposure just right for autumn pictures can be tricky.  If you are having a hard time getting the exposure just where you want it, turn on exposure bracketing. With this setting, you’ll get three images all with small exposure adjustments between them, increasing the odds that you didn’t loose too many details to over or underexposure.

Play with paper.

Once it is time to put that image on a physical print, don’t just stick with the default paper. The paper type will play a role on how the colours appear in that final image. Fotospeed says that glossy type papers will make those colours appear more saturated, while papers without that sheen give the colours a more matte feel. Try printing the image on two different types of paper to determine which paper type presents your particular shot the best.

The autumn season is often bursting with photographic inspiration — but to make sure those shots are just as colourful as in real life, make sure to try a few autumn photo tips.

3 Creatives Share How Canon In-House Printing Drastically Changed Their Business

3 Creatives Share How Canon In-House Printing Drastically Changed Their Business

Canon’s Pro line may be known for its stunning images — but that doesn’t mean the printers are used solely for images. So what do non-photographers have to say about in-house printing with Canon’s line-up? An illustrator, prop designer and videographer recently shared insight on printing with Canon — and how the tech changed their business.

Megan Hess, Illustrator

Megan Hess, an artist known most for her illustration on the cover of Sex and the City, uses the imagePROGRAF Pro-1000 and Pro-2000 from the Canon Pro series for printing her fashion designs in-house. The illustrator, which has worked on canvases from postage-stamp sized to graphics that cover the side of an entire building, says that printer her work allows her to control the details in the graphics.

“The benefit of printing in house is that I can keep a close eye over the detail, which is a fundamental aspect of my design process. Partnering with Canon gives me the peace of mind that the exact colours, the line work, and detail is reproduced precisely as I envisioned it,” Hess says.

The artist added that prints create more value than a digital art piece.

Captain America – Winter Soldier, Prop Master Russel Bobbitt

Canon’s ProGraf IPF8400 even had a hand in creating Captain America – Winter Solider. Property Master Russel Bobbitt says that the printer was used for several aspects of the film. Since a single prop could cost up to $200,000, the art team created detailed illustrations before manufacturing and the Image ProGraf IPF8400 printer created large-scale images of those ideas.

Prints even made it into the film, when the scene required art on the walls. The printer handled a life-sized version of a weapon and even Captain America himself in a life-size reproduction. Having an on-site printer also helped to bring down costs and the ability to put 18 different types of files on a USB drive and print them right away also helped create a more convenient workflow for the prop master.

“I seek out the best tools that I can find,” Bobbitt says. “I’m a firm believer that you are only as good as your tools.”

Ori Media, Videography Studio

So how does a videographer use a large-format printer? Ori Media produces both video and stills, a versatility that owner Michael Ori says has helped to build the business. In an hour, the client can walk away with 4K video and high-end prints using teamwork and a Canon ProGraph IPF8400.

“When you are building a small business, shooting a hybrid is the only way to go,” Ori says. “Pulling stills from video saves time and helps make more money.”

Ori says that the printer look so nice that they set it up in the entry way — which often prompts customers to ask for prints and helps drive up sales. The printer offers the versatility to work with a number of different papers and offers excellent print quality with “unreal” clarity, he said.

Outside-the-box thinking and an in-house printer can help many different types of creatives explore new possibilities. Ready to explore yours? Ask a Photo Direct specialist to assist you on your creative journey today.

4 Unexpected Ways Having an In-House Printer Boosts Photography

4 Unexpected Ways Having an In-House Printer Boosts Photography

The decision to move photo printing in-house comes with several different expectations. Costs will be lower. Speed will improve. But along with the advantages of in-house printing that spark that decision in the first place, many photographers find themselves finding unexpected advantages to have quick access to that printer. Elke Vogelsang, a pet photographer from Germany, recently shared her experience using Fotospeed papers — and the unexpected perks she’s picked up along the way.

Many clients may never print images.

If all you hand over to a client is a disk or USB drive of digital images, they may never take that final step to get those images printed, which means they never see the image as it’s meant to be seen. Vogelsang explains why she includes prints eloquently: “Your client will be gobsmacked by the prints and know the investment was worth it.”

Clients that do print the images may not understand exactly how the paper you choose and the printing company you choose plays a role in the final look and feel of an image. Many non-photographers have trouble understanding just the difference between glossy and matte, let along the different whites, textures and finishes available today.

Find the flaws faster.

An image on screen is much different than the printed image — and having access to a printer on-site can help photographers find, and fix, any flaws faster. Sometimes, it’s a missed spot in Photoshop, or a shot that’s just a touch soft.

“I used to order the prints online, but now I print them here at home on my own printer,” Vogelsang wrote. “This saves time, reveals flaws immediately and gives me the opportunity to choose the right paper for each picture.”

Find the best medium for that shot, quickly.

All paper is not created equally — different types of paper will influence the colour differently and give the image a final feel. Once Vogelsang could easily print out the same shot on different types of paper, she found the medium that worked best with her different styles (and with a test pack, it was an affordable experiment). The pet photographer found she likes the finish of the Natural Soft Textured Bright White 310 for the formal shots because of a finish that resembles a painting. For the colourful, quirky pet shots? PF Lustre or Metallic Gloss.

Stay in love with photography.

For Vogelsang, printing images isn’t just about the convenience or the ability to choose the appropriate finish. “Printing your pictures is a great way not only to improve your photography but also to stay in love with photography,” she says. “In print, pictures have more depth and life than on a screen. The difference can be astonishing.”

Gaining access to an on-site, professional-level printer, on the business side of the decision, is about saving time and money. But on the artistic side of the decision, the change offers more control, a chance to make corrections, and a way to continue to be inspired.

Need help finding the best type of paper for the job? Or ready to add that in-house printer? Chat with a specialist from Photo Direct today.

5 photographers share their in-house printing secrets

5 photographers share their in-house printing secrets

Moving from using a print service to creating large format prints in-house can feel like a daunting task — but many professional photographers suggest the transition was as smooth and seamless as those giant prints. Five photographers recently shared the different ways they use Canon’s large format and photo printers in-house — and what they wish they knew before they made the switch.

Darren Jew, Underwater Photographer

As an underwater photographer, capturing an image for Darren Jew is much more than taking a walk down the street with a camera in hand — and the printer finishes the process. “I feel a photograph isn’t really complete until it has been printed — it’s the final expression of what my vision was when I took the picture,” he said.

The underwater photographer says his current Pixma Pro and large format printer line by Canon delivers the best quality that he’s seen yet, while the DreamLabo printers allow high-quality prints packed inside of a photo book.

Eugene Tan, Photographer and Gallery Owner

Switching to an in-house printer, for Eugene Tan, allows his beach gallery to create cost-effective images all on site, including anything from foam core prints to giant wall mounts. The photographer has even worked with Canon to print one of his images on the bottom of a pool. Tan chose the Pro Series printers because, in his work flow, he prints off small test images, then fine-tunes the colours to perfection, then moving to the large format print.

Tan says the software is surprisingly simple with just a click and drag that made it easy for his staff to make the switch to printing in-house. With the large format printers, Tan’s gallery can create same-day prints, or leave large print stock runs overnight.

Jeremy Cowart, Photographer

But large format printers aren’t just for displaying images.  When well-known photographer Jeremy Cowart couldn’t find the exact backdrop that matched his vision for a shoot, he asked a graphic designer friend to create one. Using the Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-4000, the photographer had a custom 40 by 60” background — and it only took a half a hour.

Andy Farrer, Landscape Photographer

Outsourcing prints is actually what led Andy Farrer to his own in-house printing system. After getting a large format shot outsourced, he was so impressed by the quality, he asked the shop what printer they used. He then decided to test out the Canon PRO-2000 himself and was so impressed that he bought two Pro line printers in two sizes. Besides lowering the print costs, the change helped add another income source to his business too.

“If, like me, you print on both glossy/lustre and matte/fine art papers, it used to mean printing in batches to minimise wasting ink, which in reality is an utter pain,” he said.   ”…the PRO Series doesn’t waste a single drop of ink when switching from photo black to matte black as it has its own proper ink head for each.”

Clive Booth, Commercial Photographer

While working with a luxury brand, a tiny LCD screen is no way to show off the quality of your work. That’s why photographer Clive Booth used an on-site 12 ink Canon iPF PRO-4000 to create proofs for the client before even leaving the site, showing the quality and colour of the images.

“There’s nothing better than seeing your work in print, nothing,” he said. “ It’s the only way a photographer can truly show their vision to another person.”

For more information on Canon’s large format printer range, reach out to the Photo Direct Customer Service team at (03) 9894 1644.

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