The Pros and (Mostly) Cons of Upgrading to a 4K Monitor

I'm in the process of getting back into photography which will mean a new camera, more on that in a later post. But the first step for me was a new computer, one with the horsepower to handle a modern day camera and its RAW files. Along with the computer comes a new 4K monitor. 4K is great for media consumption, right? Your characters on your favorite show or movie really look detailed and realistic. Scenery looks wonderful. Everything looks great, right? Wrong. You know what doesn't look great? That photo I took in 2012 that I thought was sharp but is very much not. I transferred over my past catalogs of photos over to Lightroom Classic and eagerly began opening up some of my favorite photos. At first I was happy with how the colors looked and how the scene was composed. Then I noticed it was a little soft. Well I had just gotten a new contacts prescription so that must be it. Changed to my glasses and the photos were even blurrier! I went through photo after photo and most ca

HP Ink Challenge Assignment #1

Let me get this out of the way now. I am NOT HP's biggest fan right now. I don't agree with their current strategy of possibly spinning off their PC unit, and bailing out of webOS devices before they were really able to do anything with them. But, shortly after these decisions were made, and before the more recent decisions of hiring Meg Whitman, I received a survey to be included in the HP Ink Challenge. There wasn't much in the way of details, but it sounded like a marketing/research project to show how much better HP's inks were over refilled cartridges. I sent it back, and promptly forgot about it.

This, times 2
Well, I got picked for it, and shortly after two HP Photosmart D110a printers were on my doorstep. The first of 2 packages to come from HP, along with what looks to be weekly assignments setup to compare ink quality. I was impressed with just how much stuff HP was going to supply us with; various photo papers, regular papers, ink cartridges, a gift card for charges incurred while re-filling the empty cartridges sent to us, and of course 2 brand new all in one printers.

Quick thing about these printers. At an MSRP of $100 these are in now way HP's top of the line photo printers. But, a neat feature that I hadn't tried before is there wireless connections and e-print. Basically I can connect to the printer over the wi-fi of my own network. Very cool for laptops that travel to multiple rooms. I also was able to give my printer an email address that I could send it print jobs. Pretty neat if I'm out and about and want to print something up. Or if I have access to someone else's printer I can send them a photo, have their printer print it up, and voila. Also cool about this setup is my TouchPad can print to it directly.

On to the assignment. The first set of assignments were to refill a set of cartridges, then print out various photos to judge if we could see any difference. Well, I was unable to refill my cartridges. Most places either didn't refill cartridges or couldn't refill the ones for this specific printer. I ended up having HP refill them for me and send them back to me. Very nice of them as I thought I'd be sending the printers back instead. So right away it's HP-1 Refills-0.

Once I set the printers up (very easy, by the way) it was time to start printing. We have a set of 3 control photos that we'll be printing every week to compare how the inks hold up. Got those printed up, then a handful of my own photos (same photo set on each printer). As I was looking at them while they were coming out of the printers I wasn't seeing that much of a difference, if any, between the 2. Colors were bright and bold, and both had the same level of detail. It wasn't until I came back to look at them a couple hours ago that I saw the black and white photos from the refill cartridges had a blue tint to them, and browns weren't rendering the same as the HP inks, which were closest in comparison to what I was seeing on my computer.

So after week 1 it's HP-2 and Refills-0.

The products mentioned in this post were provided by Hewlett Packard as part of their HP Ink Challenge.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Iain. Great details and thoughtful observations. I am enjoying your entries


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The Pros and (Mostly) Cons of Upgrading to a 4K Monitor