These things are even wilder than I thought. They appear to have three pigment inks:
- PX V is 4-color ink, apparently similar to the C80 and its successors, with a 3 pl drop size.
- PX P is 7-color (CcMmYKk). The only printer using that is the PM-4000PX, which is our old friend the Stylus Photo 2200.
- The really wild one is PX G. This appears to have three shades of black (if I'm reading the cartoons right; maybe it's 2) in addition to CMY. This uses a 1.5 pl drop size, which is astounding for pigment ink. However, it also has red and blue inks to increase the gamut. This is a very interesting choice. I agree with blue; it's typically very hard to get good blue out of inkjet printers. I'm not sure I agree with the choice of red as the other "wildcard" ink, though, because the existing 7-color (PX P) inks print spectacular reds as it is. Green is usually a very troublesome color, and it's particularly difficult to get a saturated light green, so I'd think a highly saturated light green ink would be a good choice. Interestingly enough, it's not hard to get a really saturated dark green that's way outside of monitor gamut. I wonder if the really tiny drops forced them to use a formula that's less saturated, so they're compensating with the red and blue inks.
They also have PM-G inks (6-color dye) with 1.5 and 3 pl minimum dot sizes, depending upon the printer. Perhaps they've reformulated the inks; if not, they probably have the same problems as what I've seen on the 960 with poor saturation in the reds.
If anyone knows Japanese, I'd be very interested in a translation of this PDF.
So what do I think? I'd rather see a highly saturated 4-color combination (CMYK) with very small drops for the highest quality. At the very highest resolution, the PX P ink with 1.5 pl drops should come very close to matching PX V with 4 pl drops. It's certainly easier to get right, and it avoids all the nasties that multiple shades can bring (getting transitions clean, for example). However, at lower resolutions (with correspondingly bigger drops), 6-color (CcMmYK) or 7-color (CcMmYKk) are the way to go, and 2880x1440 is very slow even with the gigantic print heads that some of these printers have (plus it's computationally expensive). A lot of people will be perfectly happy with 720 DPI on the 2200, but they won't be happy with 720 DPI on these hyper-micro-drop 2880x1440 or 2880x2880 machines.
The real wildcard is this PX G. Since I can't figure out exactly how many different black/gray components it has, I have to reserve judgment until someone translates it for me. It's certainly not something we're going to support in Gimp-Print right now (that's not to say we won't in the future!), unless someone wants to use the raw interface with their own color code.
In any event, printing technology certainly isn't standing still...