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Author Topic: Z3100 review  (Read 33346 times)
Tom.D.Arch
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« Reply #80 on: January 08, 2007, 01:53:55 AM »
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I just checked my Z3100, and my Green ink cartridge expires on March 1, 2010. The Blue is Jan 14, 2010. The Gloss Enhancer is Jan. 19, 2010. Go figure. (Note: because I have an early unit, I have no idea what production line the inks came from)

Harald Johnson
author, "Mastering Digital Printing, Second Edition"
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Thanks!  Assuming that the normal shipping units have similar lifespans, it shouldn't be an issue.  (I'm a bit worked up on this issue - I'm probably going to have to throw out about US$50 of ink for my HP multi-function that looks like it's past the expiration date (which is smudged) on the box.  When the current cart dies, I'll try them, but I'm not optimistic.  Thanks, HP)  This is probably also good news for folks considering ordering twin-packs of ink (when they're shipping, that is...)

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These 24"/44" printers are workhorses and not for hobbyists. The total ink costs can be considerable (though a lot less on Epson than the figures quoted above) but far less than you'll spend on quality paper. In terms of what you'd bill a print for, the ink cost is minor. Also, anyone worried about the life of open 130ml carts is looking at the WRONG printer. I don't know what it is on HP but it's six months on Epson.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=94459\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

In a lot of ways, I wish that the Z series actually was the wrong printer for us.  We are looking for a machine that can produce color technical drawings (at least at US Arch D - 24"x36") reasonably quickly - but raw speed isn't that important.  (I'm not going to spend the time collating and binding 8 sets of 35 sheets - we'll send those jobs to our 'blueprinting' service)  At the same time, we need the machine to produce high quality presentation materials, including renderings - some photorealistic, some hand drawn, photos of completed projects, and ideally boards that can reasonably accurately represent the colors of materials such as brick and concrete, which are a bit unpleasant to carry around to meetings in any quantity.  HP's "legacy" as a maker of technical plotters leads me to believe that these machines will hold up to cranking out hundreds of square feet of 'draft mode on bond' and then turn on a dime to do the high quality stuff.

From what I can see out there, none of the Epson printers could really handle the basic line drawing production that we need.  (Plus, what I hear about Epson clogging is pretty unappealing)  Canon seems to have 'graphics' plotters that don't do photos particularly well and photo printers that, like Epson, couldn't plot line drawings with any reasonable speed.  (One Canon rep I spoke with was quite honest about this, to his credit.)  At US$3,400 to $6,300, the Z units appear to be a great fit for our needs and at very competitive pricing versus the other two, given the built-in calibration, hard drive for big jobs, etc.

Now that I've done some research, I see that with the 44" units and the Z UV/water resistant pigment inks, we would also be able to bring thousands of dollars of work in-house, such as tyvek "grand opening" banners for our commercial projects and construction signs (not to mention bringing control in-house - I'm driven crazy every time I see a particular construction sign with a rendering I did of the building that's under construction, but the sign printer ran it way undersaturated!)  Plus there's the potential of everything from printing wall murals as 'wallpaper' strips to doing full-scale templates for the fabrication of complicated building elements.

So yes, I'm almost certainly being paranoid about 130ml carts expiring, but if the cutoff was something like 6 months, I'd likely be in hot water with my boss if we had to order hundreds of dollars of new ink because several carts still containing some perfectly good ink had all expired simultaneously!  I do realize that all this talk of using a highly precise, finely tuned photo printer to do this sort of stuff sounds insane to a bunch of photographers, but this is part of how HP is marketing these machines to graphics arts users and it's part of how I can justify buying any large format printer for the firm.

Perhaps this does raise a good question for some purely photo-printing users here - given that there are 11 individual inks, that's 1.4L(!) of ink.  (From Michael's review, it looks like he's using something like 6-7mL per m2 on matte material.  That's over 2,300 ft2 of printing to use a full round of ink, and of course, not everyone uses the colors evenly.)  Even if the chip in the cart says it's good for 3-4 years, when should you throw out a cart that isn't quite empty?  Six months?  Longer?
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Stephen Best
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« Reply #81 on: January 08, 2007, 02:12:28 AM »
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From what I can see out there, none of the Epson printers could really handle the basic line drawing production that we need.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=94468\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I print maps that size every now and then on my 7800 but pigments aren't the cheapest way to print.

These printers like to be driven hard, and used as such the total ink usage would be much the same across brands. It's only when you let Epsons sit idle that clogs can be an issue. Low use could also mean shorter life for printheads on Canon/HP.

You could put a case to your boss that by coming in every now and then and using the office printer for your photographic work that you're actually doing them a service :-).
« Last Edit: January 08, 2007, 04:21:26 AM by Stephen Best » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #82 on: January 08, 2007, 07:26:13 AM »
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If indeed quality is equal, the important questions (to me) are none that have been debated yet, and they are cost of operation, speed and durability (of mechanics not heads.)  Also quality of support.  I think paper handling (sheets) will clearly go to Epson and Canon over HP.

I have the ipf8000 (44") and have a comment (though off topic.)  I am so mad at Canon for the simple fact that they have intentionally shrouded the issue of operating costs by not disclosing how much ink the ipf models use.  While they give you the total amount of ML used per print, the driver will only read remaining ink in 20% increments so you cannot get a fix on ink usage.

Canon is feeble when it comes to communicating with their customers in the US.  Take one look at their Japaneese support site and graphics and information abound, but check the US support site and nearly every link (for the ipf8000) says "no information."  Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.  HELLO CANON!  WAKE UP!

I love the machine, but they are dumping on their US customers.  HP clearly knows where their revenue comes from.

-Jonathan
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JP - no news here - Canon's whole approach to dealing with customers is to put it diplomatically "stony". Unless you are a certified professional enrolled in their professional service program, forget it. Try to get your sensor cleaned on an emergency basis at various Canon service centers in Canada or Europe and see what kind of reception you get. As for the IPF5000, there is a ton of complaints about inadequate documentation and non-user-friendly firmware. Have they said boo about it to any one? Have they published any fixes? I cancelled my order for the IPF5000 with the first whiff of these problems and I'm glad I did. I know it makes excellent prints, well-built machine, real workhorse, but I just don't have the patience to deal with a combination of usability-foibbles and poor documentation - and if their service set-up for printer problems works like certain other aspects of their service I'd be wary. Service is an important factor. I've had excellent support from both Epson and HP on the various occasions I've needed it, and I would trust both of them in this regard.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #83 on: January 08, 2007, 07:44:38 AM »
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[let see if my quotes work. Thanks Mark!]

Here's something by David Saffir on some cost differences:
http://tinyurl.com/ybp8cr

And I see no reason why you couldn't use 17" rolls. Or 13". Or whatever. I'm going to try to find out.

Harald
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Harald, you are welcome and glad you got it working.

Thanks for pointing us to the Saffir website - good stuff there. His perspective on the cost of waste is very well-taken, as I can second from my own detailed tracking of these issues that has been published on this website for both the Epson 4000 and the 4800. The point I am at pains to make about this matter is that one does need to allow a farily substantial build-up usage experience to have a representative sample of machine operating conditions under a wide variety of circumstances and therefore a valid representative sample of performance from which to draw inferences. While the early indications for the new HPs seem to be good from what I've read (I don't own one yet - only seen them in operation and the results) - I think more time and experience needs to accumulate from a variety of users before we know the whole story reliably from a user-perspective.

As a matter of up-date on my Epson 4800, after 13 months of usage, the average cost per 54 sq. in. of printed coverage is as follows (in Canadian dollars):

Printer amortization (capital consumption): 39 cents;
Enhanced Matte Paper (letter-size): 40 cents;
Ink for Printing: 37 cents;
Ink for cleaning and maintenance: 17 cents;
NB: Excludes media-switching cycles - not economic to do on a 4800.
TOTAL cost (excl maintenance tank - too little): $1.33
My accumulated waste ratio, thanks to decent colour management, is only 9.5%, hence on a waste-adjusted basis my cost per 54 sq. in. is $1.47.

Now, this information is useful for gleaning insights about differences. For example, a printer that costs 5000 instead of 2400 would roughly double the amoritization cost for the same rate of output. EEM is the cheapest quality paper on the market. Replacing it with Hahnemuhle, Innova, or the like would triple the paper cost. Ink for Printing would vary according to the paper. What I'm not counting here is the time-value of the convenience of media switching and the market value of the flexibility which the Z3100 offers compared with my 4800. Depending on one's operating circumstances, those two factors could dwarf the ones I have accounted.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #84 on: January 08, 2007, 07:58:53 AM »
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I print maps that size every now and then on my 7800 but pigments aren't the cheapest way to print.

These printers like to be driven hard, and used as such the total ink usage would be much the same across brands. It's only when you let Epsons sit idle that clogs can be an issue. Low use could also mean shorter life for printheads on Canon/HP.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=94469\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Stephen, this is partially correct. Firstly, preliminary evidence suggests there is substantial difference in ink consumption per sq.in. of coverage. I've seen it myself even between the Epston 4000 and 4800, as reported on this website in my costing article for the 4800. Preliminary reports of ink consumption for recent HP models suggests differences from Epson. You can apply Google to assemble the evidence such as it is at this early stage of experience.

As for the conditions in which Epson printers clog, I have put a great deal of time and effort into this issue, having lived through scads of it, done alot of web research, had many conversations with senior technical reps of Epson America, and observed the performance of my printer over time under a range of print production,  temperature and humidity conditions. The unambiguous conclusion I have come to is that there is no one cause. It is a multidimensional problem. When I first got my 4800 it simply didn't clog for quite some time, which was a real breather from my previous 4000 which had become impossible. Then it started clogging - alot. Epson arranged a service call with their Canadian service reps - a firm named Trek-Hall here in Toronto. They detected that the capping mechanism wasn't sitting exactly right, so they fixed it. Since then there has not been one clogging session. Routine cleanings yes, but clogging and expensive clean-outs, No. The machine was idle for a month while we were away on an extended holiday. When I came back I switched it on expecting the worst, but it did a routine cleaning consuming 8.9 ml of ink and worked perfectly thereafter. Just yesterday I re-activated the machine after it had been sitting idle since December 24th (two weeks + a bit) and same thing - an 8.9 ml cleaning cycle and it worked just fine. All that said, there are some deep, dark mysteries about why and how Epson printers clog under various conditions - because the most striking thing I've discovered about it is the INCONSISTENCY of a broad range of user experience.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Haraldo
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« Reply #85 on: January 08, 2007, 11:13:09 AM »
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The minimum roll is 18". A curious decision, I agree.

As I just posted on the "Issues" thread here, you can print on any roll (or sheet) width you want as long as it's not narrower than A4/Letter. (and of course, not wider than the machine can handle!)

Harald Johnson
author, "Mastering Digital Printing, Second Edition"
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Haraldo
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« Reply #86 on: January 08, 2007, 11:16:40 AM »
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Printer amortization (capital consumption): 39 cents;
Enhanced Matte Paper (letter-size): 40 cents;
Ink for Printing: 37 cents;
Ink for cleaning and maintenance: 17 cents;
NB: Excludes media-switching cycles - not economic to do on a 4800.
TOTAL cost (excl maintenance tank - too little): $1.33
My accumulated waste ratio, thanks to decent colour management, is only 9.5%, hence on a waste-adjusted basis my cost per 54 sq. in. is $1.47.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=94498\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Oh my. Seems this is a science experiment, and not photography any more.

           
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Andy Biggs
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #87 on: January 08, 2007, 01:36:53 PM »
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Oh my. Seems this is a science experiment, and not photography any more.

          
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It's neither. It's cost accounting, which numerous creators of various forms of intellectual property do or have someone else do for tracking the business side of their creative endeavours. So why set-up such foolish dichotomies? What are you trying to prove?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #88 on: January 08, 2007, 02:20:17 PM »
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Someone posted in this thread that HP suggests to always leave the Z3100 printer on, as it can do cleaning circles when needed. Is that true, anyone to confirm that?

Mine falls asleep after a period of maybe 10 minutes not in use, but the fan (and supposedly the HD aswell?) is still running. Does it also fall asleep after a longer period? Or should it allways run??? Cant imagine that. Anyone?

Thanks,

Clem
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Stephen Best
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« Reply #89 on: January 08, 2007, 03:50:32 PM »
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All that said, there are some deep, dark mysteries about why and how Epson printers clog under various conditions - because the most striking thing I've discovered about it is the INCONSISTENCY of a broad range of user experience.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=94499\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'd agree with this. I'm sure there's some models that are defective out of the box and need fixing/replacing. The experience on EpsonWideFormat would suggest that Epson usually does the right thing. It's probably difficult for them though to distinguish between those with real problems and those that expect their machine to run perfectly every time at startup. I'd consider something that takes more than the minimum to ready the printer a "clog". The point I was trying to make is that, when actually up and printing, dropouts are rare ... at least in my experience. I think I've had one instance in over a year where my 7800 dropped out. So while it may occasionally take some ink to ready the printer, spread over a print run for the next eight hours or so it's not a significant contributer to running overall costs. But I can only talk from my experience with the 4800/7800. Anyway, we're getting off track here ...
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Haraldo
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« Reply #90 on: January 08, 2007, 04:32:07 PM »
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Someone posted in this thread that HP suggests to always leave the Z3100 printer on, as it can do cleaning circles when needed. Is that true, anyone to confirm that?

HP recommends that you leave the printer on; it does it's thing automatically. It takes less ink and time than turning it on and off. I don't know the ink amount used for always-on; supposed to be very small. I'm leaving mine on.

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Mine falls asleep after a period of maybe 10 minutes not in use, but the fan (and supposedly the HD aswell?) is still running. Does it also fall asleep after a longer period? Or should it allways run??? Cant imagine that. Anyone?

The default Sleep Time is 30 mins and you can change it to what you want: 30-240 mins.

Harald
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Haraldo
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« Reply #91 on: January 10, 2007, 07:03:46 PM »
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I just had a post moderated at the Epson forum for talking about why I feel, despite the "snags" I've had with Canons feedback to customers that I still feel like it's the best 44 inch printer on the market, at least for me.

In the thread that was removed at the Epson Yahoo group we were discussing prices of the HP z3100.  It was commented on that the cheapest price was $6100.

I had commented that the IPF8000 (44") despite my complaints of Canon's lack of feedback from their website and not displaying the exact ML left in the carts (my two biggest complaints) the printer has performed flawlessly and there has been nothing that I haven't been able to do with it.

I also posted that the Canon 44" compared very favorably to the HP 44" in that I was able to purchase it from itsupplies.com for $3400 shipped (if you have the serial number of a 17" or larger printer as an upgrade price.  Note you do not have to give them your printer), compared to $6100 for the HP.  I already have the ability to generate accurate profiles so this was not a big selling point for me.  From what I understand the Canon is faster and prints on thicker materials.  Quality is a toss-up.

I sold my 9600, 4000 and HP dj130 all on ebay and was abe to more than pay for the new ipf8000.  It was a no-brainer for me.

-Jonathan
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Haraldo
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« Reply #92 on: January 10, 2007, 09:57:34 PM »
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I just had a post moderated at the Epson forum for talking about why I feel, despite the "snags" I've had with Canons feedback to customers that I still feel like it's the best 44 inch printer on the market, at least for me. ...

Hey Jonathon, have you tried the LargeFormatInkjet group? It's the spin-off from EpsonWide Format to handle non-Epson discussion. This may be the reason they booted your messages off the EWF group.

Here it is for anyone who's interested:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/largeformatinkjet

Harald
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Haraldo
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« Reply #93 on: January 10, 2007, 10:04:43 PM »
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Sure.  I understand why they booted the post.  I got a page long reason from the moderator.  I just feel that understanding the differences of competing products are a very important thing to all current Epson owners.  I totally disagree with them moderating these posts.  

When you go to the Epson Groups homepage at the top it says this:
"Description
EPSON Epson epson Wide Format Epson ink jet printers: 10600, 10000, 9800, 9600, 9500, 9000, 7800, 7600, 7500, 7000, 5000, 5500, 4800, 4000, 3000 and associated hardware, software, supplies, consumables. Discussion of any subject related to wide format ink jet printing, including discussion of other printers is welcome."

Notice the last line.  Now 5 minutes after calling it to the moderators attention he has changed the description that has been there for a VERY LONG TIME.

Anyway back to the discussion of the "Z."

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Hey Jonathon, have you tried the LargeFormatInkjet group? It's the spin-off from EpsonWide Format to handle non-Epson discussion. This may be the reason they booted your messages off the EWF group.

Here it is for anyone who's interested:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/largeformatinkjet

Harald
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #94 on: January 10, 2007, 10:26:54 PM »
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If it's the same site and moderator I had trouble with, I understand what's going on. Don't lose any sleep over it or them.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #95 on: January 14, 2007, 03:18:16 PM »
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I was told by a HP rep at Macworld that HP will be offering $500 plus free supplies on the 24" Z3100 and $1000 and free supplies on the 44" model as competitive upgrades, starting on February 1st.  It will be based on serial numbers only and the purchaser will have not need to surrender their old printer.  They haven't announced how long the promotion will last, but typically run them for several months.  I'll be ordering one in early February.  Yipee!

I haven't seen much in the way of feedback for Mac compatible RIPs yet, although HP says that all the major players have released their RIP as of this week.  Have there been any reviews of Imageprint for the Z3100 published yet?  Have you heard a list price for this RIP?  My understanding is that it is a little better performer in photographic output than the EFI RIP.

With the Photoshop plugin, it sounds like a RIP is less critical than in earlier models, but still the best way to squeeze the best performance out of the machine.  I'm interested in what others have to say on this topic.

-Ron
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Tom.D.Arch
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« Reply #96 on: January 14, 2007, 11:37:12 PM »
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I was told by a HP rep at Macworld that HP will be offering $500 plus free supplies on the 24" Z3100 and $1000 and free supplies on the 44" model as competitive upgrades, starting on February 1st.  It will be based on serial numbers only and the purchaser will have not need to surrender their old printer.  They haven't announced how long the promotion will last, but typically run them for several months.  I'll be ordering one in early February.  Yipee!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=95716\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Anyone have a dead (qualifying) LF printer they need hauled away for 'scrap'?  
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« Reply #97 on: January 15, 2007, 10:02:31 AM »
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The best part of this sort of deal is that you can keep the printer if it still serves your needs, or have them dispose of it for free if it is an anchor.  

BTW:  I found prices of $1,495. for the 24" version of Imageprint and $2,495. for the 44" version.  If money was no object, it would be a pretty easy decision to spring for it.  I may try it without it initially by printing with the Photoshop plugin and upgrade later.
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