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Author Topic: New firmware Z3100 available  (Read 46064 times)
EricWHiss
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« Reply #60 on: March 07, 2007, 12:44:29 AM »
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Hi All,
I'd like to thank everyone for their contributions to this thread - its really been a big help and I'm thankful that so many of you are sharing your knowledge and test data with us.  I kind of think its also helping HP, which in turn helps us.   I know that my dealer has pointed his HP contacts to this thread as well.  

Since I don't have mine yet, and can't install the new firmware and profiles and actually test it out, and in fact the HP installers won't even let me unpack or install the profiles without a printer...I'd really love it if one of you could post a gamut comparison chart between the new and old for one of the typical papers like Satin or HPR.  Of particular interest to me is the red, yellow and purple parts of the gamut as I work with a lot of floral stuff which has these colors.  Even better if someone could e-mail me a profile for the machine so I could soft proof some of the images.  (my email is artist at eh21.com)


Thank you very much,
Eric
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 12:45:26 AM by EricWHiss » Logged

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Panascape
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« Reply #61 on: March 07, 2007, 02:56:11 AM »
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As you all may have gathered, I am in contact directly with HP and I am also in contact with many users worldwide.

A big question that was asked by HP and me was why some people are happy and some are not. Was it perhaps that some machines had faulty inkÖ

A lot of research has gone into this and it seems the situation is as follows.

Different users have different expectations from a printer. This is evident when I see what comes out of the local professional printing labs which is why I purchased my own printer 4 years ago. The strange thing is that many people are very happy with the results these labs give them although they are often not even close to the original image.

It is ironic that I was already working on an article called owning your colour prior to taking delivery of the z3100. This article deals with many photographers not managing their colour themselves and not knowing what they actually gave the print shop. I suspected this would be a small group but research and interviews showed it was a very large group and even more surprising, they were for the most part happy with the prints they were getting.

This indicates that there are too basic requirements from a printer. One group wants vibrant colourful prints and is not too worried about how closely the print matched the original, the second group needs as close to absolute colour accuracy as possible.

The latter group seems to be the smallest by far. I have seen samples from sites that are happy with the prints and personally I am not happy with the results but as one user pointed out, he prints his own images and no one knows what it is meant to look like and as long as he is happy with the results, there is no problem.

Taking all of this into account, there are most probably users who are going to be very happy, users who are not going to fully satisfied and users who are going to find the results unacceptable.

I have a very professional client base who demand accurate colour and my studio has a grey room with calibrated HP LCD monitors (go figure, these are actually astoundingly good) to ensure maximum accuracy. For me the z3100 currently cannot produce results close enough to what myself or my clients require.

There have been many varying opinions posted here but for my part, I expect anyone who is critical about colour will not be happy with the HP whereas in my opinion my Epson 4000 is currently producing acceptable colour. For users who are less critical the z3100 may be ok.

I can confirm that HP is working on the colour issues but they have not been able to give me a time frame as they are still investigating ways to resolve the problem. I can also confirm that they are aware of this forum.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 08:08:19 AM by Panascape » Logged
EvoM
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« Reply #62 on: March 07, 2007, 03:42:01 AM »
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Thanks Panascape for your input and comments. i suppose I'm a bit in both camps as i wasn't happy with various lab output and have the Z3100 to create a closed loop for colour accuracy and the best fine detail at our studio.

Having said that, i now wonder if all the complaining to labs has been totally "their" problems although I'm sure their colour and detail can vary lots on the durst lamda's. I am having to adjust various things like saturation, contrast etc. to get to the quality of prints I like but am fairly happy.

I suppose what I'm hoping for is to maintain consistancy and "fine-tune" as i go, which i think we are doing. I do believe my prints are far more accurate and have much better detail now with the Z3100 44 and it sure beats the turn-around times!

Cheers, Evo
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Panascape
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« Reply #63 on: March 07, 2007, 03:50:00 AM »
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In some cases it isn't the labs but very often it is. A properly calibrated monitor (using an Eye one or Monaco) will give you the confidence that the problem is not on your end. The next step is to get the labs printer profile, if they have one (many donít think they need one) and to soft proof with it.

Many users that I have spoken to feel the same way that you do in that the z3100 is so much better than what they are used to getting. From my end it is currently a step backwards from what I am used to getting.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 06:25:39 AM by Panascape » Logged
Christopher
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« Reply #64 on: March 07, 2007, 06:16:31 AM »
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In some cases it isn't the labs but very often it is. A properly calibrated monitor (sing an Eye one or Monaco) will give you the confidence that the problem is not on your end. The next step is to get the labs printer profile, if they have one (many donít think they need one) and to soft proof with it.

Many users that I have spoken to feel the same way that you do in that the z3100 is so much better than what they are used to getting. From my end it is currently a step backwards from what I am used to getting.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105181\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Robert made one excellent point here. I don't want to spent 7000EUR on a printer who can't give a better performence than my 800EUR printer. I'm not saying that I want a 1:1 copy of a artwork, but it must be close. It just is really frustrating, if you print something on the Z3100 and think oh that looks good. Than take the same paper and print on my R2400 and I suddenly notice. It looks much better. And that can't be the point.
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« Reply #65 on: March 07, 2007, 06:19:09 AM »
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I think Panascape's reasoning is very sound - if you are a photographer who's used to Epson or Canon prints, and you require absolute precision in the colour of your prints, then the HP is not (yet) for you.

If you're like me and are happy with prints that aren't 100% accurate but which have predictable treatment of out of gamut colours, then you can certainly live with the printer.

Zebra striping is not an issue if you specify the correct paper weight initially. Unlike some initial reports, the treatment of out of gamut colours (especially reds) is just fine - they get mapped to a very believable shade.

I await the next firmware release with interest, but not with panicky breathing.

Now let me forestall any flames from people who will say this is all well and good for me, but what about their requirements?

I'm providing this comment as a bit of devil's advocate for those people who are considering buying the printer who are looking for a positive comment. So there it is - don't buy the printer if you require absolute colour accuracy and the same gamut as the Epson. Otherwise, go ahead - you won't be disappointed.

It's also my belief that gamut will increase as further firmware development is made. I am irritated that HP would release what amounts to a beta product on the market like this. But that being said, they seem to be taking the feedback seriously and working on it.

As for the comment on why the initial firmware release mainly covered the HP papers - I'm sure that the rest of the paper types will be covered in the next release, and I'd rather have some imrovement now in some papers than have to wait for everything.

Cheers,
Peter
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marty m
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« Reply #66 on: March 07, 2007, 10:04:52 AM »
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I think Panascape's reasoning is very sound - if you are a photographer who's used to Epson or Canon prints, and you require absolute precision in the colour of your prints, then the HP is not (yet) for you.

If you're like me and are happy with prints that aren't 100% accurate but which have predictable treatment of out of gamut colours, then you can certainly live with the printer.

Zebra striping is not an issue if you specify the correct paper weight initially. Unlike some initial reports, the treatment of out of gamut colours (especially reds) is just fine - they get mapped to a very believable shade.

I'm providing this comment as a bit of devil's advocate for those people who are considering buying the printer who are looking for a positive comment. So there it is - don't buy the printer if you require absolute colour accuracy and the same gamut as the Epson. Otherwise, go ahead - you won't be disappointed.

It's also my belief that gamut will increase as further firmware development is made. I am irritated that HP would release what amounts to a beta product on the market like this. But that being said, they seem to be taking the feedback seriously and working on it.

As for the comment on why the initial firmware release mainly covered the HP papers - I'm sure that the rest of the paper types will be covered in the next release, and I'd rather have some imrovement now in some papers than have to wait for everything.

Cheers,
Peter
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105202\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Many compliments to Peter, Robert and Christoper for their excellent and balanced comments.  I certainly won't flame you!  

My previous point was simple --  Robert and Christoper ran simple tests, by printing standard test images, on HP and Epson, and compared the results.  The HP engineers should have already done just that, and not released the printer for sale in light of the results.  I was denounced as "hysterical" for making that point.

I entirely agree with Peter on his final point.  We need a new firmware release first, even if it is only for HP papers.  Then they can follow up with a firmware release that includes "photo papers" and "fine art papers" that are not HP products.

Final comment.  Corporations are corporations.  They are driven by the bottom line.  They release flawed products prematurely to try to get a return on investment.  To be surprised by this is the equivalent of Casablanca -- that we are shocked!  shocked!  that HP would do that.  It is naive to simply defend HP as some great company, and ignore the record of HP with regard to this printer.

Nor should we surprised, down the road, if they don't commit the resources to fix the problems without pressure from this forum.  They didn't do it the first time, and won't do it now left to their own devices.  The balanced comments from Peter, Christoper and Robert are perfect.  The message to HP is that professionals who demand accurate color should not purchase  this printer at this time if that is what they require.  

That applies the necessary pressure on HP to correct these problems so that the Z3100 moves from a printer for advanced amateurs to a printer for professonals.  After all, few advanced amateurs will spend $4100 or $6300 on a printer.  

HP either turns this into a printer for pros, or they are not likely to sell enough to recover their investment, let alone take market share from Epson.
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Panascape
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« Reply #67 on: March 07, 2007, 10:29:37 AM »
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I have been looking over the posts here and talking to lots of people today and there is one possible factor that users who are happy with the z3100 must take into account.

There will be changes made to the colour mixing and there could even, in a worst case scenario, be new ink sets. All of this means colour changes from what you are getting now and new profiles. If you are using the printer for edition printing, you may want to think carefully about this or print the whole edition at once otherwise you may find you cannot match the print again at a later stage.
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marty m
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« Reply #68 on: March 07, 2007, 10:40:14 AM »
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I have been looking over the posts here and talking to lots of people today and there is one possible factor that users who are happy with the z3100 must take into account.

There will be changes made to the colour mixing and there could even, in a worst case scenario, be new ink sets. All of this means colour changes from what you are getting now and new profiles. If you are using the printer for edition printing, you may want to think carefully about this or print the whole edition at once otherwise you may find you cannot match the print again at a later stage.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105255\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

On the worst case scenario of a new ink set.  That would be costly for existing users.  A new set of cartridges would approximately cost us $80 x 12 = $960.

If HP does that, they must supply a new set of starter cartridges to all existing users at their cost, especially if we'd have to flush the ink lines.  

Alternatively, HP would have to provide a pretty deep price rebate for existing users.

The individual who raised the yellow ink issue should be smiling.  He also got flamed, and whether he was right or wrong on the issue of yellow, it indicates that fundamental issues related to ink are at least under review.  

But it does indicate that HP is reading this forum, is under intense pressure (a good thing IMHO), and is looking at all options to fix these problems.  

As I said above, the basic mechanical architecture and design of the printer is fantastic.  If HP can deliver on the promise of the printer (on-board spectro, ability to profile and use all papers including non-HP, glosser, etc) it will be the best on the market.

But that promise has not been delivered on as of today.  Stay tuned.

And many thanks to Robert -- you are helping everyone who is using this product, across the globe.
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Panascape
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« Reply #69 on: March 07, 2007, 11:05:05 AM »
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Maybe just to clear up one thing, HP is not talking about new inks, I am just looking ahead to what the worst case scenario may be. I am pretty sure that everything would be done to avoid this at all costs.

The colour changes though will more than likely be a reality from one version of firmware to the next.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 11:07:13 AM by Panascape » Logged
EricWHiss
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« Reply #70 on: March 07, 2007, 12:38:32 PM »
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Lot's of great comments from all and yes, individual perspectives, expectations and experience level will change the way people will view this printer.

There's no doubt that some of you have way more experience and knowledge about printing than I do.  I've never built my own profiles or used a non manufacturer supplied inkset (other than piezotones) or used a RIP that can control each ink channel individually.  

The thing about color that got me started on this thread -  It's like using a synthesizor to make sounds - its all fine and everyone likes the cool music until you try and imitate a piano. Now everyone (even a small child) knows what a piano sounds like and then they can immediately tell the synth music is fake.  With the HP, I tried to print a red rose and it came out mostly flat red with orange spots.  I may not be the best judge of color accuracy and as an artist I don't care so much as long as I get something that looks good, but a red rose has to look like a red rose!  

Maybe HP decided that mostly landscape photographers were going to use this and tailored their inkset choices to cover sky blue, ocean blue, green grass and ?

I think the zebra stripes was a real issue too, but looks like it was resolved?

Anyhow I do still plan to buy one of these but hope the problems with red's and yellows can be further improved. Sounds like I will be happy with the B&W prints already.

Eric
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« Reply #71 on: March 07, 2007, 12:41:25 PM »
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There is no way that HP will come out with a new inkset to replace the existing inkset for the HP Z3100. Developing an inkset is an enormours undertaking that requires years of developement and millions of dollars. And why would they?
     I have to put my foot down and say that some of the contentions are simply wrong. I'm attaching a comparison of the 9800 with the Luster paper using an atkinson profile vs the canned profile of the Z3100 using the pro satin paper. The full-color gamut is the 3100, the wireframe is the epson. Notice that the HP gamut is LARGER than the Epson gamut on almost all fronts. Low L* cyan/greens are the one major area where the epson gamut pokes out. The total gamut is much larger on the HP at this point, A total vloume of 757K for the epson and 821K for the HP.

Okay lets address the clain that the 1st gen ultrachrome series is blowing away the 3100. Here are another two comparisons, also Atkinson profiles vs canned Hp profiles. 9600 ultrasmooth vs HP3100 smooth FA. The full color is the HP, the black Wire frame is the 9600.  So.... Again I restate what I said earlier is that in reality both printers are producing great results. Form many images (portraits) all of you colors are going to fit in an even smaller gamut and so you will never notice a difference. In regards to color accuracy I have profiles that have been optamized down to a average delta E of 1.2 and a peak delat E of 4, so this claim doesn't hold watter. Yes in this test I was using a RIP, however the RIP is using the HP ink limiting.

     Notice I'm still not saying that the HP is cut and dry a better printer. I think Epson makes a great product, and they have a proven track record. However I think some of the claims need to be grounded. I've had this printer for over three months, and I've watched the evolution of it. I used the Atkinson profiles which are very good and accesable, and canned profiles from HP which are free, I think this is a fair comparison. Actually it's a little biased because the custom profiles I've built show even more improvement. Perhaps we can change the tone towards being a little more constructive. Complaints are good whne they drive a solution, to that goal I offer any help that I can

Regards-
Julian Mussi
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Panascape
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« Reply #72 on: March 07, 2007, 01:12:38 PM »
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Julian I appreciate your comments and agree you have done a lot of testing and do have valid results.

What has transpired though is that at least three different major players testing this problem have all decided to stop using gamut graphs to test the machine as they are showing misleading results are all three are in agreement that this probably contributed to ending up where we are.

The graphs all show the z3100 as having a larger gamut which is true, however the graphs do not show clearly that most of the z3100's gamut is comprised of lighter brighter colours and that the 3100 has a big problem with darker saturated colours. This in effect means that although the z3100ís gamut is bigger (infact huge compared with some Epsonís), in the professional arena it will lose to machines with smaller but better colour saturation.

This wasn't something that just appeared out of nowhere but came from a lot of testing as the physical results from the z3100 compared with other printers did not match what the graphs were showing.

The first indicator that there was a problem was when the gamut was looked at from another angle where the size of the gamut and maximum colour saturation were looked at differently. The results were very revealing and correlated with what was being seen on physical prints.

Now on the subjects of RIPís, yes the rips are using some of HPís ink limiting but certain manufacturers are also secretly testing other work abounds. So far an EFI RIP has managed to match the CMYK ISO standard on a z3100 but printing through the HP driver on the same machine could not.

What you are seeing is quite probably good or better than what we are seeing but due to the variables in the equation, especially the RIP,  one must consider that while the results from RIPís are valid in indicating what the machine could possibly do, comparing the results from a rip with the results from the HP driver is not advisable until there is more clarification on exactly who is doing what.

I do know for a fact that the pressure we are placing on HP is nothing compared to what some of the RIP manufacturers are placing on them.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 01:16:28 PM by Panascape » Logged
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« Reply #73 on: March 07, 2007, 01:41:46 PM »
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Robert,

    The gamut plots I posted are not done through a RIP but through the driver. Secondly the plots are three dimensional and I've included shots from several angles so that you can see the ENTIRE gamut and you will find that the inital lead the K3 printers showed in low L* gamut has been diminished. The matte paper comparison shows a top and bottom view of the gamut. I think it's rather hard to argue with the potential of the inks to produce large gamut prints.
      In regards to accuracy in a proofing environment I think that's it's fair to expect to use either custom profiles or a RIP to achieve those results. Some of the canned Epson profiles use a black point of zero, which does not help in regards to accuracy. And I dont know any serious proofing environments that rely on canned profiles. However my previous point was only in regards to gamut, and i still fail to see where the major problem is in regards to gamut. Accuracy is still being figured out and I agree that with seven nodes of primary colors this is a much more complex issue, I do not see it as an insurmountable issue either. And on some fronts it currently yeilding acceptable results (EFI XF)

Julian Mussi
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Julian Mussi

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Roscolo
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« Reply #74 on: March 07, 2007, 01:44:02 PM »
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Different users have different expectations from a printer. This is evident when I see what comes out of the local professional printing labs which is why I purchased my own printer 4 years ago. The strange thing is that many people are very happy with the results these labs give them although they are often not even close to the original image.

It is ironic that I was already working on an article called owning your colour prior to taking delivery of the z3100. This article deals with many photographers not managing their colour themselves and not knowing what they actually gave the print shop. I suspected this would be a small group but research and interviews showed it was a very large group and even more surprising, they were for the most part happy with the prints they were getting.

This indicates that there are too basic requirements from a printer. One group wants vibrant colourful prints and is not too worried about how closely the print matched the original, the second group needs as close to absolute colour accuracy as possible.

The latter group seems to be the smallest by far. I have seen samples from sites that are happy with the prints and personally I am not happy with the results but as one user pointed out, he prints his own images and no one knows what it is meant to look like and as long as he is happy with the results, there is no problem.

Taking all of this into account, there are most probably users who are going to be very happy, users who are not going to fully satisfied and users who are going to find the results unacceptable.

I have a very professional client base who demand accurate colour and my studio has a grey room with calibrated HP LCD monitors (go figure, these are actually astoundingly good) to ensure maximum accuracy. For me the z3100 currently cannot produce results close enough to what myself or my clients require.

There have been many varying opinions posted here but for my part, I expect anyone who is critical about colour will not be happy with the HP whereas in my opinion my Epson 4000 is currently producing acceptable colour. For users who are less critical the z3100 may be ok.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105177\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ouch. This printer is marketed to pros and is priced accordingly. I have the expectation that colors will match or be very, very close. HP knows this. If they have developed this printer to do otherwise, then they have made a very foolish decision. Isn't color matching why they built in the spectro? Wasn't color matching and management supposed to be THE main attraction to pros?

I don't just print photos. I pay a lot of bills by printing making prints of artwork (paintings) for artists. The colors have GOT to match or be very close. Considering that I can do this rather well with even 6 color Epson's, the z3100 is not looking so good right now.

Of course, there aren't that many participants in this forum, much less this thread. So maybe some of these problems are related to individuals not managing color well, although I doubt it from some of the posts I've read here. Looks like most folks know what they are doing.

Anyone using the z3100 to make prints of paintings? Having problems?

For now, based upon what I'm reading here, I'm looking much more closely at the Canon ipf8000. And eargerly anticipating the ipf6000, as a 24" printer will suit my needs well.
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Panascape
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« Reply #75 on: March 07, 2007, 02:01:30 PM »
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I would really expect EFI to be getting the best results for a number of reasons that may or may not become public knowledge.

None of the testing is being done with canned Epson profiles but rather new profiles for both devices made under very controlled conditions.

So far 4 papers have been tested with 2 profiling systems and the measurement data compared and so far the HP loses significantly to the Epson 4000 in colour depth and saturation of the red, green and blue in all 4 tests.

The data from these tests is already being analysed with the aim of improving the saturation of the deep colours. More tests on a variety of media is planned and in process.

What has been agreed on is that profiling is a vital process as it gives quantifiable measurements for comparison however just a visual comparison of the top row of Gretagís RGB 1.5 chart puts the whole situation clearly in perspective.

Also devices have to be compared using the same media otherwise results are invalid. A site reported that the z3100 printing on pro satin paper surpassed the Epson 9600 (HP pro satin is seeming to be an unbelievably good media). They were asked what the Epson was using and it was using HFAP. They were asked to re test with both devices on the same media and unfortunately their Epson once again surpassed the HP.

The conclusion, results are only valid and acceptable if both printers are using the same media and are profiles with the same device.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 02:05:08 PM by Panascape » Logged
Panascape
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« Reply #76 on: March 07, 2007, 02:04:32 PM »
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Anyone using the z3100 to make prints of paintings? Having problems?

For now, based upon what I'm reading here, I'm looking much more closely at the Canon ipf8000. And eargerly anticipating the ipf6000, as a 24" printer will suit my needs well.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105318\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

At the moment based on my results I would have to say right now that the HP is far better suited for a CMYK proofing environment.

I personally would wait a bit to see what happens before deciding to buy a canon as it seems they have their own problems.
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chris anderson
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« Reply #77 on: March 07, 2007, 02:28:39 PM »
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At the moment based on my results I would have to say right now that the HP is far better suited for a CMYK proofing environment.

I personally would wait a bit to see what happens before deciding to buy a canon as it seems they have their own problems.
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What problems are the Canon's having? I hear of no color gamut problems with the ipf8000............
    Chris
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« Reply #78 on: March 07, 2007, 02:35:29 PM »
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What problems are the Canon's having? I hear of no color gamut problems with the ipf8000............
† † Chris
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No colour problems but they seem to be having firmware issues and there are some reports of driver problems. I am not saying don't go for a canon, I am just saying that I think it is too early to tell which way to go. There are also rumblings of a new Epson on its way.

Oh yes forgot to mention that some of the annoying HP driver issues are being attended to.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 02:44:00 PM by Panascape » Logged
chris anderson
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« Reply #79 on: March 07, 2007, 02:44:52 PM »
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No colour problems but they seem to be having firmware issues and there are some reports of driver problems. I am not saying don't go for a canon, I am just saying that I think it is too early to tell which way to go. There are also rumblings of a new Epson on its way.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105333\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]



like others i have been watching this thread. I have a ipf8000 and it has been running fine. I prefer to print on luster or glossy papers so, i have been hoping hp will come through soon as the glossy optimizer seems to be the ticket. On another note, the guys at colorbyte tell me that epson has nothing coming in the near future, probably next year at the earliest,
    C
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