Enhanced black printing on B9180 & B8850

At Macworld Expo last week in San Francisco, we got a little tip from the folks at Hewlett-Packard about the Photosmart Pro B9180 and B8850 printers, as well as the wide-format Designjet Z2100: when you’re printing on matte or fine-art media, the printer uses both the photo and matte black inks, in addition to the gray ink. The end result is that you get deeper blacks, and much better tonal range in the shadows, especially when working with black-and-white images.

When you’re printing on glossy and semigloss papers, the matte black ink isn’t used, but the nature of the paper and the ink mean that getting rich, deep blacks is less of an issue.

This is definitely one of the reasons that HP’s black-and-white output looks comparable to that of Epson’s Stylus Photo R2400, which uses two lighter shades of black in addition to the photo and matte black inks.

And, if you’re printing on HP’s high-end Designjet Z3100, which has photo black, matte black and two gray inks, you’ll get a quadtone print when using matte or fine-art papers, which is quite nice.

By Rick LePage

Rick LePage was formerly the editor in chief of MacWEEK and Macworld magazines, was one of the cofounders of the MacInTouch newsletter. He has been covering digital printmaking and photography since its inception.

4 replies on “Enhanced black printing on B9180 & B8850”

Dear sir,
I work with PHOTOSHOP CS3 and print in B&W with an HP 9180 printer on HP Smooth Fine Art or Water Color paper.
I have used the “use black inks only” setting, after the reading the tip I think it could be an error.
Please let me know the best setting for the color management in the PRINT window and the printer window.
Thank you in advance.
Best regards.
P. Goemans.


Regardless of whether you print with “Black inks only” or “Composite black inks,” you will use all three black inks when printing on matte and fine-art papers on the B9180.

What papers are you using? Which ones do you like?

Thank you Sir for the prompt answer.
I work with PHOTOSHOP CS3 and print in B&W with an HP 9180 printer on HP Hahnemühle Smooth Fine Art or Water Color paper.
#In the PRINT window I set “printer manages color” for the color handling, is it better to let Photoshop manage?
#Does’nt “composite black ink” add some color ink, is it better.
Thank you in advance.
Best regards.
P. Goemans.

I am new Internet,I need plenty of help.What I hate most is ink color changes when I am emailing.I like Black because it is easy to read.Can you please tell me how to set this up on my laptop so that it remains.

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