Hi Marty M
Many of the points you made have been swimming round my skull whie I lie awake at night- I shall be trying the HP branded photo rag setting to see how it compares.
There is undoubtably a discrepency between the concept of a printer with an oboard spectro which allows easy acces to a diverse portfolio of papers and the reality which is that the printer is so carefully honed to to perform on OEM papers alone as to make this potential freedom of choice for the printer an illusion.
Thanks very much for your positive comments. I'm glad to know that someone noticed the post, since yours was the only comment. HP needs to fix the firmware and software so that the onboard spectro works with all papers -- that is the big advertised claim for this printer. At the present time this printer FLUNKS with regards to HP's own advertised claims for it. A good start would be to include the generic "Photo Paper" in the list of papers that work with the new firmware release. (As well as to include their own top of the line photo paper, Pro Satin, since they didn't do that either.) They need to turn out another firmware release ASAP for those two settings. The generic Photo Paper, and Pro Satin.
While I can't say too much I can say that HP is going to be doing a lot of parallel testing against printers like Epsonís and will be looking to optimise the colour mixing for all medias so that they can equal or better the Epson in saturation while maintaining a larger gamut across all medias. Currently the new firmware only has a handful of media that have been improved.
I'm glad to hear it. Let's face it, HP has dropped the ball on this printer and badly fumbled. Why are they offering a $1000 rebate? To reclaim market share from Epson. 20 years ago HP was the top dog in printers. At the present time, in photographic printers, it is basically only Epson, and Canon as a distant second. The goal of HP is clearly to technologically leap-frog over Epson with the Z3100 and offer a combined $1300 rebate (printer and paper) to knock Epson down a few notches. That marketing approach is failing at the present time. At least one of the participants on this site has posted that he has decided to not purchase the HP and instead buy from a different manufacturer -- and has requested info on what to buy in this forum.
The Z3100 FLUNKS the most basic test of all when it comes to a professional printer. Photographers won't buy this printer, even with a $1300 rebate, if it isn't even printing correctly.
This unit was not ready for prime time, and the release should have been delayed until the problems were fixed. Some of you have gone through agony to fix the problems, at considerable expense in terms of your time and materials. Panascape is one of those, and we all owe him, as well as others, a huge debt of gratitude.
At least it's working and the download of the Mac version seems to be fine so far. I have tested again and found that there is a slight difference when using PhotoRag (original paper 188 by Hahnemuehle) together with the profile on the HP website or with the one created using the internal software (which leaves the question open whether there is a difference between the "two" PhotoRag papers). The results are quite ok now - but not as "pleasing" as with Epson K3 printers.
(1) One explanation for that is that Hahenmuhle itself provides two different profiles -- one for Photorag 188, and a different one for Photorag 308 and 460. (I apologize if my previous post wasn't clear on that point.) My guess is that the HP Photorag, with a weight of 265, is close to the profile for 308, so I was wondering if the standard non-HP branded 308 prints OK if you just use the profile for the HP-branded Photorag.
That is distinction, based on weight, is also confirmed on the HP web site. Click on any of the *names* of the ICC profiles, and you next see a list of the profiles. On that list, HP and Hahnemuhle says that the "Photorag" profile is for papers less than 250, and the "Photorag 2" profile is for papers that are greater than 250.
The other issue is that *all* profiles for the Z3100 are now out of date. The profiles on the Hahnemuhle web site for the Z3100 were based on the original firmware. The profiles for Hahnemule on the HP web site were created in early January, so they are out of date as well.
So the only way to get an accurate profile with the new firmware is to depend on the on-board spectro. Forget the old profiles on the HP or Hahn sites -- they are DOA and too old.
(2) Which leads to another interesting question, that I posted but no one responded to. Does the APS deliver better RGB profiles than the standard HP software for standard RGB printing, rather than for CMYK?
No one responded to that. Maybe because those who bought the APS don't want to confess that it was a waste of $1000?
(3) ONE FINAL REQUEST FOR PANASCAPE OR ANYONE ELSE WHO IS IN COMMUNICATION WITH HP SPAIN -- tell them to read this forum, if they aren't already doing so. The main reason that none of us should make any excuses for HP is that they will be motivated to improve the printer if they are getting slammed in forums like this one. There are plenty of photographers will will read this forum and decide not to buy the Z3100 with or without a rebate. There have now been a number of threads reporting on serious problems.
The only hope for those who have invested in the printer is that HP will be concerned enough about lost sales in the future to fix the problems in the printer. Let's face it, what motivates HP are future sales, even more than the few printers they already sold to the folks on this forum.
The latest firmware helped, but it has still not solved the problem of yellow and reds.
(4) And a PS for Michael Reichmann. Many of those who purchased the Z3100 did so based on your over-the-top and wildly enthusiastic endorsement of the printer. Your comments to HP carry more clout than any of us. You need to run your own tests, and post on your own forum with your results, and if negative, communicate that to HP. And post it on your web site as a giant correction to your over-the-top review.
It might be appropriate to do that right under the disclaimer that HP gave you a long term loaner for free.
Michael owes his readers at least that.