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Author Topic: New firmware Z3100 available  (Read 48797 times)
Christopher
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« Reply #40 on: March 04, 2007, 06:13:32 PM »
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As a current Epson 4000 user potentially interested in buying into something larger in the coming months, I have been reading the Z3100 related posts with great interest. I have to say that I am very surprised by the widely diverging comments I have come accross.

For the sake of the credibility of this debate, I feel that it would be good at this stage if all the posters could publish their real names, credentials and fine art printing experience.

Some very harsh bashing of a printer is being done by some people I know nothing about. Nothing personal but frankly speaking, as an objective by-stander, nothing prevents me from thinking that the negative comments are being put up by Epson marketing.

Thank you in advance for the clarifications.

Cheers,
Bernard
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I don't know about you, but people who spent 7000EUR on a printer which doesn't quite work as it should, have some room to complain. I don't care about what some are saying, but I have a 44in Version here and I'm like robert in contact with HP Barcelona. They know of most of the problems and they are working on them.

I don't think my name will change anything of what some might think. I posted enough avidence of different problems and good news of changes. ( Gamut test of Epson against HP ) I also don't want to name anyone here, but some people who in the beginning started to underact the problem and know stoped posting, had a connection to HP in one way or another.

I don't have any connection to HP, Canon or Epson. I just want a product that works and is woth its money.
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marty m
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« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2007, 06:21:59 PM »
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Nothing personal but frankly speaking, as an objective by-stander, nothing prevents me from thinking that the negative comments are being put up by Epson marketing.

Thank you in advance for the clarifications.

Cheers,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=104665\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm employed in an unrelated field, and not for Epson.  I have no affiliation, paid or unpaid, with any company in the photographic, printing, software, graphics, graphic arts or any remotely related field.  My views are my own, and I'm not speaking for any company.  

With regards to the comments about the yellow, I specifically said, at least twice, that the concern about yellow would apply if the views expressed "are correct."  So I accept the comments in that regard from Christopher.

I personally believe that these problems can be fixed -- if HP wants to direct their large engineering team into making this a top priority.  Where I differ with some forum participants is that I believe they will only do so if the pressure continues.  

Consider this -- these problems were identified when Z3100 users did something as simple -- as basic -- as printing test images that anyone can download off the web.  If HP is such a power house and reputable company, backed by so many engineers, how could they have failed to do what forum participants did?  Namely, to print simple test images, and compare the results to prints made from competing printers using the same test images.  What could possibly be more basic than that?   I again refer you to the tests done by Christopher, that show that the Z3100 can't even print fall colors as well as Epson.  At least not at that time, using the firmware at that time.

If HP didn't do that prior to releasing the printer -- if they failed to correct these gamut issues before selling a $4000 or $6000 printer to all of us -- then why would they do so now?  

HP will only do so now, including simple tests like printing test images, if they have reason to believe that the criticism on this site and others will cause a decline in sales.  As it should.  No one should buy the Z3100 until the users all agree that these gamut issues have been largely corrected.  That is not the case today.

Finally, what would really get the attention of HP is if the overly enthusiastic reviews are corrected to honestly reflect what the printer does right versus what it does wrong.  Michael Reichmann did an excellent job of doing just that with regards to the Canon printer, and I am hopeful that he'll do the same in the case of the Z3100.  Michael's current review, using words like "brilliant" and proclaiming it to be the best printer yet, doesn't pass that test, or any other laugh test.  What we all need is a balanced review, and balanced commentary.  

I'll concede that I am so irritated by the complete lack of balance in that review and others, that my own comments were equally unbalanced, but in the opposite direction.  The printer certainly has a number of positive attributes that I previously failed to mention. I think the on-board spectro and profiling, it ever works properly in conjunction with the driver to deliver high quality prints, is an exciting innovation.  I am really tired of making profiles by hand with the X-Rite Color Elite system.  Ditto with the gloss enhancer, which appears to work as advertised.

It is **CRITICALLY IMPORTANT** that the next firmware release cover **ALL** paper types listed in the driver, so that we can use the on-board spectro for any non-HP paper, and that is not the case with the current firmware.  That is aimed almost exclusively, and shamelessly,  at HP paper.  As my earlier post said, this directly undercuts the advertised claims for the Z3100 to be able to profile and use any papers -- not just HP papers.

Finally, last but not least, if I am too harsh, some of you are making too many excuses.  For a $4000 or $6000 product, this wasn't ready for prime time.   Christoper is right in that regard.  The defenders of HP can't ignore that prints made from a widely used test image showed all of us just that.  I own a 4000 and it worked out of the box largely as intended and as advertised.  

Someone made the observation that what the Z3100 will accomplish -- if these issues are not rapidly resolved -- is to INCREASE the market share for Epson, not the reverse.  That is not exactly the outcome that one would expect for a "brilliant" printer that is now the best on the market, according to Mr. Reichmann.

My apologies to all if my comments were a bit verbose.  I've stated my views, and will leave the rest of the discussion to all of you.  It is not my intention to dominate the discussion, and I apologize to all if I was guilty in that regard.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 12:07:52 AM by marty m » Logged
Mussi_Spectraflow
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« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2007, 07:01:32 PM »
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The firmware upgrade offers marked improvements. What there doing is tweaking the ink mixing/limiting. If one of the papers you use has not been updated try creating a new paper type, slecting one of the media types that has been updated as your base type, and building a profile using those settings. Try the litho setting for photo rag.
     On the Pro satin paper, I'm getting a total gamut that equals or excedes anything from the K3 inkset. I just got some of this media in and I'm blown away by the quality it produces. Again the HP and Epson offer different gamut coverage.However, I can not agree that the result are completely inferior or not ready for production. In actaul ink on paper comparisons between the K3 printers, on both matte and RC papers, I have been very happy with the results from the HP.
    I dont have time for an in depth reply right now justifying why I feel the way I do, let me say that my opinions however are based on significant testing. I have a review (about 10 pages worth) that is going to be posponed untill later this week to factor in the new firmware(and a busy schedule!). I'll go more in depth there.

One point worth considering....head checks are not great for testing color. Usually the maximum amount of ink on paper does not represent the maximum chroma that that ink can produce. When profiling a RIP you run into this a lot. You will often find that you get more chroma from an ink limited to 80% than from 100%, with little change to the L* value.

Julian Mussi
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Julian Mussi

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Panascape
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« Reply #43 on: March 05, 2007, 01:52:03 AM »
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As I have said before, HP is working on optimising the colour mixing formulas and a few media have already been optimised and shows a big improvement (still not where I need it to be, but some may be happy) while other media’s still have a long way to go.

The big problem as I see it is that there are no tried and tested formulas for mixing 7 colorants where as CMYK mixing has been around for a long time and there is a lot of information where as with 7 colorants it is pretty much trial and error.

Some Rip users are claiming better results than those using the HP driver and I assume this is due to the RIP manufacturers having done some of their own optimisation but cannot confirm this myself..

There were quite a few users who asked my advice before buying the printer and I recommended that they wait to see what happens.  Those who went ahead and bought the printer knew what they were getting into.

Macz5024, as for dirty yellows, I have not seen this and am not aware of any problem with this so it might be a problem specific to your machine.

Bernard, as for us working for Epson, my name is Robert Miller, I am the director of new product development for Hamillroad Software, I have no ties whatsoever to Epson and I am not being paid for any of the testing I am doing for HP. Good enough?

I will be doing a lot more testing with HP and will be happy to keep posting the results here.

Robert
« Last Edit: March 05, 2007, 02:18:34 AM by Panascape » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #44 on: March 05, 2007, 02:11:30 AM »
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Barnard, as for us working for Epson, my name is Robert Miller, I am the director of new product development for Hamillroad Software, I have no ties whatsoever to Epson and I am not being paid for any of the testing I am doing for HP. Good enough?
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Excellent Robert, thank you.

Regards,
Bernard
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« Reply #45 on: March 05, 2007, 06:05:40 AM »
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Hi Julian,

From the tech note it seems like the firmware doesn't apply to the HP pro satin... did you reprofile it and find improvements?
thanks,

denis

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     On the Pro satin paper, I'm getting a total gamut that equals or excedes anything from the K3 inkset. I just got some of this media in and I'm blown away by the quality it produces. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=104679\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Christopher
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« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2007, 06:18:03 AM »
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Hi Julian,

From the tech note it seems like the firmware doesn't apply to the HP pro satin... did you reprofile it and find improvements?
thanks,

denis
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I'm not sure what he did, but I would use HP ID Satin for paper setting and than you see some great results.
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marty m
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« Reply #47 on: March 05, 2007, 11:04:36 AM »
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I'm not sure what he did, but I would use HP ID Satin for paper setting and than you see some great results.
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In color and B&W?  With reds and yellows?
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Mussi_Spectraflow
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« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2007, 02:20:40 PM »
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The tech note gamut plots were made with ID satin, I haven't reprofiled it yet, so this reflects the older firmware. The Pro satin can reproduce a very large gamut, the lowest total volume i've measured from it is 750K, I've also gotten results that are much larger but I need to recheck these, our DTP 70 is out of play for the time being so I have to use the eye one.
     I'm confused by one point of criticism, are some people going to be unhappy unless the HP excedes the Epson in evey manner? I have a 1280 in the closet that will probably excede the 9800's gamut, but is it a better printer?I really dont think the conclusion is going to be that model X is better than model Y. I defer the analogy to the camera market, what is better a Canon 1Ds or a Hasselblad H2? depends on what your shooting!!! The HP is showing strengths in blues, greens, and High L* values, the epson on other fronts. From the results I have I can say that in a general sampling of common imagery the HP produces exceptional prints.
      If you pick the one point on the red axis that is out of gamut on the HP, and in gamut on the Epson the Epson will look better, this is a strength of the K3 inkset. I'm puzzled why people overlook issues like ink waste, BW performance, archival life, interface, driver usability, paper handling, these things matter too. I'm not trying to give HP a get out of jail free card here, there are some issues. They have addressed many of them, and there's reason to suspect that they will continue to be addressed. As it stands now it is an excellent printer. Is it better than the Epson...depends on who you are, and what you do. All I can say is that they are BOTH excellent printers.
     As for my creds'... I am a color workflow consultant, and our company is a reseller of both Epson and HP printers. I also personally own a 9800, and my background is in photography and fine art printing. I offer my comments as being representative of my experience working with these products, and try to limit them to the areas that I have first hand knowledge.
     
-Regards

Julian Mussi
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Charlie B
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« Reply #49 on: March 05, 2007, 02:40:31 PM »
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The tech note gamut plots were made with ID satin, I haven't reprofiled it yet, so this reflects the older firmware. The Pro satin can reproduce a very large gamut, the lowest total volume i've measured from it is 750K, I've also gotten results that are much larger but I need to recheck these, our DTP 70 is out of play for the time being so I have to use the eye one.
     I'm confused by one point of criticism, are some people going to be unhappy unless the HP excedes the Epson in evey manner? I have a 1280 in the closet that will probably excede the 9800's gamut, but is it a better printer?I really dont think the conclusion is going to be that model X is better than model Y. I defer the analogy to the camera market, what is better a Canon 1Ds or a Hasselblad H2? depends on what your shooting!!! The HP is showing strengths in blues, greens, and High L* values, the epson on other fronts. From the results I have I can say that in a general sampling of common imagery the HP produces exceptional prints.
      If you pick the one point on the red axis that is out of gamut on the HP, and in gamut on the Epson the Epson will look better, this is a strength of the K3 inkset. I'm puzzled why people overlook issues like ink waste, BW performance, archival life, interface, driver usability, paper handling, these things matter too. I'm not trying to give HP a get out of jail free card here, there are some issues. They have addressed many of them, and there's reason to suspect that they will continue to be addressed. As it stands now it is an excellent printer. Is it better than the Epson...depends on who you are, and what you do. All I can say is that they are BOTH excellent printers.
     As for my creds'... I am a color workflow consultant, and our company is a reseller of both Epson and HP printers. I also personally own a 9800, and my background is in photography and fine art printing. I offer my comments as being representative of my experience working with these products, and try to limit them to the areas that I have first hand knowledge.
     
-Regards

Julian Mussi
www.spectraflow.com
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As I've read the posts under this "Firmware" topic over the last couple of days, I couldn't help but wonder what we would be saying about Epson's K3 printers if the Z3100 had come out a couple of years prior to the Epsons. Would we be hammering Epson over their blue or green colors in comparison to that of the HP's. Or, as you say, Epson's waste of ink. And, I'm not saying HP doesn't need to correct or improve in certain areas as it does need to do so and, I think, will


Charlie
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« Reply #50 on: March 05, 2007, 02:42:28 PM »
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I just took delivery of my 24" Z3100 today, and have run a few prints through it with the new firmware. I didn't print anything before doing the upgrade, so I can't speak to any improvement from the last version as far as my own prints are concerned.

That being said, I have to say that I'm pleased with the results. I have several images which have highly saturated colours, especially reds, and those print beautifully. Perhaps a bit less saturated than the Epson prints I'm used to, but it handles out of gamut colours well - there are no anomalies or obvious areas of clipping.

I'm happy to frame and sell these prints.

For the record, I'm using Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm (not HP branded, although it ought to be the same paper). I did a calibration/profile using the 'Fine Art Paper >250gsm' paper type, and ran the prints with perceptual rendering intent.

Cheers,
Peter
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Charlie B
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« Reply #51 on: March 05, 2007, 02:48:35 PM »
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I just took delivery of my 24" Z3100 today, and have run a few prints through it with the new firmware. I didn't print anything before doing the upgrade, so I can't speak to any improvement from the last version as far as my own prints are concerned.

That being said, I have to say that I'm pleased with the results. I have several images which have highly saturated colours, especially reds, and those print beautifully. Perhaps a bit less saturated than the Epson prints I'm used to, but it handles out of gamut colours well - there are no anomalies or obvious areas of clipping.

I'm happy to frame and sell these prints.

For the record, I'm using Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm (not HP branded, although it ought to be the same paper). I did a calibration/profile using the 'Fine Art Paper >250gsm' paper type, and ran the prints with perceptual rendering intent.

Cheers,
Peter
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Glad to hear that. I was beginning to feel bad about starting this topic in the first place.

Charlie
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« Reply #52 on: March 05, 2007, 04:05:26 PM »
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Macz5024, as for dirty yellows, I have not seen this and am not aware of any problem with this so it might be a problem specific to your machine.

Bernard, as for us working for Epson, my name is Robert Miller, I am the director of new product development for Hamillroad Software, I have no ties whatsoever to Epson and I am not being paid for any of the testing I am doing for HP. Good enough?


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Thank you Robert

Just to let you know that I have no affiliation with all these companies. I am just a fine art printer looking for new improved techniques/printers and tired of losing money when I would like to print on glossy instead of matte paper. I also teach workshops and when doing so, I want to know what I am speaking of based on my own experience. Therefore I invest a lot of time and money in new machines and software. HP and Canon made me hope that the story of the blacks would be over and with 12 inks at least the same results would be possible as with 8 inks.

Up to now I was quite disappointed with what I have seen from the Canon iPF5000 and now from the Z3100 - which I have bought despite of all rumours and reports. There is still some hope that either HP or a RIP manufacturer will bring us to really great results that will lead into a new aera of inkjet printing: large gamut (Adobe RGB should at least be the aim ), no more gloss differential, metamerism or bronzing.

As for the yellow I do not speak of a brownish yellow - on my printer it looks sort of light green/grayish yellow - not as warm and golden as the Epsons yellow. It looks very cold to me so that I can hardly believe that it will be able to let my strawberry reds look warm enough  But let's give them a chance. We are in the boat already.

Markus
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ricgal
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« Reply #53 on: March 05, 2007, 05:07:37 PM »
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I have just reprofiled Prem ID Satin with the new firmware using the APS 900 patch target.  The gamut improvement in the lower luminence sectors is huge over the original canned profile that I got with the printer and a small but significant improvement over the previous firmware upgrade.  for the first time it is leaving way behind my Epson 4000 in terms of gamut volume even in the darks.  You may say that it should have done this a long time ago because the 4000 is old  BUT  it has already far surpassed it in terms of B&W,  metamerism, bronzing and longevity.
Practically I hopel I can offer a superior alternative to Lightjet with the Prem ID Satin with a reasonable degree of confidence,  time will tell!
I look forward to the advantages being translated to non HP papers.
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marty m
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« Reply #54 on: March 05, 2007, 10:09:20 PM »
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HP has posted a new ICC profile installer that is dated March 1.  You can find it here:

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechS...35&swEnvOID=228
« Last Edit: March 05, 2007, 10:10:30 PM by marty m » Logged
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« Reply #55 on: March 06, 2007, 10:32:48 AM »
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HP has posted a new ICC profile installer that is dated March 1.  You can find it here:

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechS...35&swEnvOID=228
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Hi Marty,
Thanks for the link.  I wonder why they don't have the new profiles available for download on the Mac section?  

I'd love to soft proof some of the images I was having trouble with reds with the earlier profiles....can anyone either point me to a link to the new profiles or even send me one? I think if the profiles are bundled with an installer, it won't work since I don't have a printer yet and the installer will quit.  

Thanks,
Eric
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« Reply #56 on: March 06, 2007, 07:36:25 PM »
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(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. 
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I did this when the red gamut issue came to my attention (I was engrossed in the buckling problem for some time).  I asked if they both read this forum and if they were aware of the red issue.  They confirmed on both accounts.
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« Reply #57 on: March 06, 2007, 11:59:58 PM »
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I'm reading this thread as someone who is likely to purchase a Z3100 for a variety of reasons, but is not especially knowledgeable or experienced with high-end digital printing.  I'm proposing to my boss that we spend a lot of money on this device, so when people are freaked out about the quality of the images coming out of them, I am concerned.  I have to read these posts and try to reason out how bad the situation is.  Maybe the Z3100 is fatally flawed, and we should wait or get a different printer.  Maybe it isn't that bad, we wouldn't really notice the difference and by the time the device has been on the market for a year, these issues, such as they are, will be largely worked out.  How can I decide?

When I read Marty M's posts, I get a sense of hysteria.  Maybe the situation is really bad, despite multiple good reviews from seemingly knowledgeable (though not entirely unbiased) reviewers.  But I have to ask myself, if there are "OBVIOUS" (his caps) problems with the prints that mean that the device shouldn't be on the market as it currently stands, and Marty bought one anyway, what's going on with Marty?  Marty seems to provide a lot of emotion, but not a lot of hard data or points of solid comparison.  Did Marty make a decision without much knowledge, and is now feeling buyer's remorse?  How much weight should I give to his posts?

In contrast Mr. Mussi and Mr. Miller (Panascape), who sound like they are knowledgeable, experienced, provide lots of data and comparisons and are well reasoned in their posts, are quite calm about the situation.  They both point out room for improvement, and they also give reasons why improvement is likely (e.g. doing actual ink mixing tests).  The impression I get from them is that while the Z3100 has some strong points, it is not perfect and means that a buyer will have to recognize that there will be trade-offs, just as with any other decision.

Well, caveat emptor.
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« Reply #58 on: March 07, 2007, 12:31:26 AM »
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Well said Tom, I'm also a potential buyer with my decision to get a Z3100. After reading all the threads I'm a bit suspicious in investing money for the high end Z3100.
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« Reply #59 on: March 07, 2007, 12:35:14 AM »
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I'm reading this thread as someone who is likely to purchase a Z3100 for a variety of reasons, but is not especially knowledgeable or experienced with high-end digital printing.. . When I read Marty M's posts, I get a sense of hysteria. . .
In contrast Mr. Mussi and Mr. Miller (Panascape), who sound like they are knowledgeable, experienced, provide lots of data and comparisons and are well reasoned in their posts, are quite calm about the situation.  They both point out room for improvement, and they also give reasons why improvement is likely (e.g. doing actual ink mixing tests). 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105154\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

(1)  Read my most recent post, above,  where I responded to Bernard's question as to whether I am employed by Epson.  I leave it to all of you to judge whether I am hysterical.  The fact remains that serious problems were identified by simply printing test images and comparing those HP prints to Epson prints made from the same test images.

Bear in mind that I was not the first to identify the problems.  The reports, and the very long threads, came from others.  I have simply put it in perspective, by noting that the users who did reveal the problems had performed the most obvious tests imaginable.  By any definition at all, this printer was not ready for public release.

You question my use of the word "obvious."  That suggests that you have not read previous threads, as I was referring to the images posted by Christoper.  You don't have to be an expert to see the differences.  Yes, at that time, the differences were obvious.  This printer -- that costs either $4,100 or $6,300 -- should not have been released for sale with such glaring problems at that time.  So before denouncing me as "hysterical" for simply noting the, yes, the obvious, read all the threads.  

And as I noted above, in my view HP will only commit the resources to fix the problems if pressure is applied.  I base that on the above conclusions and their previous record in prematurely releasing a flawed product.

I couldn't say it better myself -- buyer beware.

(I'd also note that some of the so-called experts may be anything but.  One of them privately wrote to me that the APS is based on gretag software, but the on-board system is not.  At least I've read the promotional literature to know those assertions were wrong.  And I'm not trying to sell these printers either.  At least I don't have any conflict of interest, of any kind.)

(2)  The printer is gradually improving, and the recent firmware is a step in the right direction.  The main problem with that firmware is that, based on the technical paper from HP itself, it doesn't include generic paper types such as "photo paper" and is aimed only at HP papers, and that undermines the rationale for the on-board spectro.  However, different owners have reported differing results in that regard.  As I previously posted, my earlier comments were unbalanced and failed to list the many technological advances of this printer.    

(3)  I recommend you privately contact some of the individuals you name and solicit their opinion off of the forum as to whether you should buy now, or wait to see if the problems are resolved.  One of the individuals you cite did warn folks to delay any purchases until these issues are resolved.  The jury is still out in that regard.

(4)  The obvious recommendation would be to wait for a few weeks, and see if HP solves these problems with new firmware.

My final comment may surprise you. IF HP issues firmware for **ALL**  paper types -- including non-HP paper -- that fixes the gamut issues or head strike issues (although the zebra stripes might be user error as much as anything) --

If HP does that, then this printer might actually deserve to be called "brilliant."  

But not yet.

P.S.  If you aren't intimately familiar with high-end printers, you might consider starting a separate thread, and list what you'll use the printer for; what your price range is; what type of prints you'll make; and whether you will print lots of smaller sizes or just a few very large sizes.  And solicit opinions as to what would work best for you. An issue as basic as a paper tray, and whether you need a tray, can make a big difference on what printer you might select.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 01:49:17 AM by marty m » Logged
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