In the What’s Happening March 2021 article, we look at an updated app from Canon that makes creating photo books easier. We also report on the HP Certified Pre‐Owned Indigo digital press program, making Indigo production more affordable. Then we cover the latest digital fine art papers from the venerable Arches Mill, as well as an optimistic view of the photo printing market in 2021 from DNP IAM.
What’s Happening March 2021
Canon hdAlbum EZ 2.1 with Updated Edit Functionality
Thanks to an update of the Canon hdAlbum EZ 2.1 application, creators of Canon hdAlbum EZ photo books enjoy new features. For beginners to advanced designers, the latest application update provides high-end quality output; an improved user experience; and advanced edit functionalities.
Canon hdAlbum EZ photo books are customizable via an easy-to-use desktop application. The app is also offered as a free download on a compatible smart device. Key features of the hdAlbum EZ 2.1 upgrade include added support for 600-dpi high-resolution printing with enhanced image quality. Previous app versions only permitted images at 300 dpi.
In addition, the upgrade provides an improved user experience with enhanced design and editing capabilities. It also integrates Canon’s guidance throughout the selection and design process. Further, it features professional-style auto layout with new real-time preview changes. And it introduces a full editing mode after consumers arrange their photos.
What’s more, images are now minimally cropped during auto layout, while keeping the image aspect ratio intact. Another new feature is that multiple binding options now include a flush mount selection that is available when using Canon Fine Art photo paper. The Canon hdAlbum EZ 2.1 application upgrade is currently available for free download.
HP Certified Pre‐Owned Indigo Digital Press Program
The HP Certified Pre‐Owned Indigo Digital Press program launched. It provides a new opportunity for print service providers of all sizes to acquire HP Indigo digital printing technology. Indigo presses offer versatile digital printing with capital expenditure (capex) savings, according to HP.
“Now is the time to plant the seeds for growth and invest in solutions that can capture opportunities for high-value work that will secure a profitable future,” said Haim Levit, general manager, HP Indigo. “This is why we are now introducing the HP Indigo CPO program; it expands investment options for print service providers to join the world of HP Indigo.”
The HP Indigo CPO program offers previously owned presses at more accessible price points. The units are certified and resold after undergoing a rigorous renewal process to ensure they give the benefits of HP Indigo quality and advanced applications along with reliable production.
Included is a portfolio of previously owned Indigo digital presses for commercial printing, as well as labels and packaging: HP Indigo 10000; HP Indigo 12000; HP Indigo 7000; and the narrow-web 6000 series. HP says a strict approval process ensures HP Indigo digital press quality and reliability for CPO units. Digital presses are selected and inspected as candidates for renewal based on age, print volume and condition. It includes replacement of dozens of parts as well as upgrading to the latest hardware. And new software configurations include the latest digital front end (DFE) to drive variable data and PrintOSX connectivity. All the pre-owned presses come with a six-month warranty.
Arches Digital Fine Arts Papers Added by Canson Infinity
Canson Infinity enhanced its portfolio with four Arches digital fine art papers from the iconic Arches paper mill: Arches 88 310gsm; Arches BFK Rives Pure White 310gsm; Arches BFK Rives White 310gsm; and Arches Aquarelle Rag 310gsm.
Located in the Vosges in France, Arches has produced premium art paper since 1492. Today, it is the only paper mill in France to use a traditional cylinder mould. Its traditional fine art papers are similar to the look and feel of handmade papers. The new Arches digital fine arts papers are based on the classical manufacturing technique combined with the latest inkjet coating technology.
The mould-made papers present the whitest whites without the use of OBAs (optical brightening agents). Made of 100% cotton, Arches says these papers guarantee better preservation. The mill applies a proprietary layer that uses the latest coating technology to produce prints with “superb color rendering, including deep blacks and natural whites.” As a result, photographers, artists and printmakers are able to create images with an augmented palette of color tones.
Arches 88 is a smooth paper with an ultrasoft finish supple to the touch. It offers a color palette that’s enhanced by its pure white base.
Arches BFK Rives Pure White has a balanced soft grain to bring out the details of each image. Similarly, soft and supple, Arches BFK Rives White also uses cotton rag and the traditional manufacturing process.
Arches Aquarelle Rag is among the best watercolor papers. Its 100% cotton construction contributes to its natural Arches feel. In addition, using the traditional watercolor base gives Aquarelle Rag a natural texture and grain.
DNP Foresees Positive Trends for the Photo Industry in 2021
Despite the difficulties of the past year, DNP Imagingcomm America sees positive emerging trends for the photo industry. In 2020, it continued to introduce new technologies: the DNP QW410 lightweight printer; the IDW520 ID solution; and the Wireless Connect Module. DNP IAM also worked to connect with and support the photo community. Now, going into 2021, it expects the industry to not only recover but to come out stronger.
“While the past year could have crushed the spirits of the event photography and photo booth industries, we were so pleased to see many of our customers and other companies within the industry do quite the opposite,” said Shinichi Yamashita, president, DNP IAM. “We saw unlikely partnerships forged and communities come together to share, grow and learn.”
In 2021, DNP IAM expects to see the return of in-person events. Photo booth operators and event photographers will see an increase in gatherings, parties, weddings and celebrations. Importantly, people will want to document these events more than ever. And as people have spent the last year separated from many loved ones, the company believes once they can safely gather again, they will want to preserve precious moments by capturing them with a camera and printing them.
In addition, in 2020, the photo community came together to educate and support one another. As part of that, DNP Brand Ambassadors hosted free seminars and inspirational lectures. Moreover, they helped studio, event and photo booth photographers learn how to print wirelessly from an iPad/iPhone. They also showed them how prints could increase their bottom line—and how to adjust to the Covid-19 pandemic. DNP IAM expects the photo community to continue to grow and collaborate throughout 2021.