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Author Topic: HP-Epson comparison  (Read 6826 times)
thompsonkirk
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« on: March 16, 2007, 12:34:53 AM »
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The HP-Epson comparison bore out the one experiment I'd participated in.  And it led me to a speculation:  The HP printer may have more potential than its convenient profiling system lets you see.  This system has the wonderful advantage of ease of use, but it looks like there’s evidence that it employs fewer than the optimal array of color samples.  

In the Epson-HP-Canon comparison that I’d seen, the printers were an iPF5000 with a profile by Andrew Rodney, a 9800 with ImagePrint, and an HP set up by its distributor (not, presumably, with the new firmware).  The most important output was an 8-bit target from HP.  This had been printed on all 3 printers, using HPR on the Epson and Canon, and HP's version of rag on the Z3100.  (The 8-bit target didn't allow the Canon to print in its high-bit mode).  

 On the score of color reproduction we observed the same things as in the report, especially re: blues.  But we noticed especially that the HP had trouble with chroma, that is, with the differentiation of hues from gray as you move up in lightness from black.  Or in simpler words, it's about where color appears in shadow detail. It shows up test prints that represent a spectrum on the X axis & go from black to white on the Y axis.  Uneven emergence of hues from black was noticeable in comparing the HP’s output  to the other two.

This weakness isn’t necessarily a problem with a printer; it can also appear when using profiles from a limited number of swatches.  (Remember the early Colorvision system?)   The review noticed that the HP had more trouble differentiating the lower tones of a gray scale.  Add color and you have relatively more 'murk' before clear colors appear in the shadows.  This is where the report says some further investigation would be a good idea.    

This leaves me wondering if the HP profiling system, easy to operate and desirable in conjunction with inexpensive replaceable heads, may be holding back the Z3100's performance in printer-to-printer comparisons.  The regular HP spectrophotometer measures only a few hundred patches, and the advanced version, if I understand correctly, doesn't quite make it to 1000.  But you can see chroma differences in test prints from profiles made from 1700 swatch & 4000 swatch targets. This is basically the difference between good though inexpensive profiles of small file size (for example from Inkjetart) and top-quality profiles with larger file size (for example profiles made by Andrew Rodney from Bill Atkinson’s larger set of targets).  

P.S.:  While preferring the Canon for slight but observable differences, I agree with the review and with Michael that HP, Epson, and Canon are all batting in the same league from the standpoint of image quality.  Differences in IQ are small enough that they may not matter as much as reliability, customer service, or relationship with a dealer - and price and size.  The HP advantage is that it reduces gloss differential on some, though not all, papers (satin/luster, better than glossy).  And Canon takes a hit on warranty policies and customer service (see Wiki).   My suspicion is that the ‘world printer series’ of the moment goes to HP, especially if you use profiles from the large Atkinson targets for your finest work.
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Doombrain
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2007, 05:45:55 AM »
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Interesting read, thanks.

What’s your opinion of the yellowing of the white point by the GO channel on the Z3100?
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neil snape
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2007, 10:41:36 AM »
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The small patch built in profiler is adequate for users that have no or little experience or need to profile their papers outside the HP line up. The profiles supplied are not actually calcualted from the same internal plots as the small patch profiler.

I do , recommend if not insist the APS option brings the best to the photographers needs. It is an optimised version of the Profile Maker engine, with a lite editor that works on the fly.
The chart to use is of course Bill Atkinson's 918 or TC 9.18 if you like. The rendering is colorful option hence there is a big difference in perceptual and relative intents.
the grey axis is much better with these Advanced Profiler made profiles over the built in. Yet the built in has a smoother grey in some cases.
In recent tests I get the same results externally with an i1 and PM 5.07 as the Advanced Profiler internally , fully automatic. Andrew has an iO of course so making 4000 patch targets is as easy.
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jpgentry
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2007, 09:06:52 AM »
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My take is that the Canon is more of a production beast while the HP is a fun machine to tinker with.  You want to knock down huge images on canvas in a hurry?  Buy a Canon 8000/9000.

Alot of people have Canon support all wrong.  They have excellent support as to when something is wrong with the machine, it just took us awhile to figure out very minor things on the 5000 which have no effect on the larger models.

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P.S.:  While preferring the Canon for slight but observable differences, I agree with the review and with Michael that HP, Epson, and Canon are all batting in the same league from the standpoint of image quality.  Differences in IQ are small enough that they may not matter as much as reliability, customer service, or relationship with a dealer - and price and size.  The HP advantage is that it reduces gloss differential on some, though not all, papers (satin/luster, better than glossy).  And Canon takes a hit on warranty policies and customer service (see Wiki).   My suspicion is that the ‘world printer series’ of the moment goes to HP, especially if you use profiles from the large Atkinson targets for your finest work.
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« Last Edit: March 18, 2007, 09:08:24 AM by jpgentry » Logged
feppe
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2007, 09:46:49 AM »
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Alot of people have Canon support all wrong.  They have excellent support as to when something is wrong with the machine, it just took us awhile to figure out very minor things on the 5000 which have no effect on the larger models.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=107272\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, as pointed out above, the ipf5000 wiki reports a lot of problems with not only QC with the printer, but with getting customer support, and repairs/replacements even when the printer is in warranty. I'm currently looking for a large format printer, and while 17" would be enough for me, I'm considering going for the larger printers from more expensive manufacturers as I'm not willing to waste my time with unresponsive product support and a finicky printer.
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2007, 10:31:24 AM »
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A lot of people have Canon support all wrong.  They have excellent support as to when something is wrong with the machine, it just took us awhile to figure out very minor things on the 5000 which have no effect on the larger models.

I must be one of those people.  Canon service and warranty policies for the iPF5000 are extremely poor.  Another report today of a poster who was refused a replacement for his defective ink cartridge.  He kept arguing and finally a manager relented and agreed to send him a replacement.  The cartridges are guaranteed for 30 days from date of purchase.  That means I have about 14 days left on the complete set I purchased, and they haven't even been installed in the printer yet.  You must have a different idea of good service and support, especially since these defective ink cartridges are a known problem with the iPF5000.  It is all documented on the Wiki:

http://www.canonipf5000.wikispaces.com

PS This poster will be looking at HP next time he is in the market for a printer.

--John
« Last Edit: March 18, 2007, 10:32:14 AM by John Hollenberg » Logged
djgarcia
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2007, 12:13:36 PM »
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I believe it's not the Canon support that sucks. As jpgentry suggests I also have gotten excellent service from the Canon support people. What I think John is really dissing are the warranty policies Canon has for the printer, which truly do suck and are not competitive at all. It's a shame because the product is solid.
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2007, 01:21:47 PM »
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I believe it's not the Canon support that sucks.

Tell that to a poster who had to wait a month to get his printer fixed, and then Canon refused to send any ink to cover that which had been wasted while his printer wasn't working properly.  He isn't the only one.  Feel free to read about this on the Wiki.

--John
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2007, 02:00:50 PM »
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I do , recommend if not insist the APS option brings the best to the photographers needs. It is an optimised version of the Profile Maker engine, with a lite editor that works on the fly.
The chart to use is of course Bill Atkinson's 918 or TC 9.18 if you like. The rendering is colorful option hence there is a big difference in perceptual and relative intents.

Are you saying that with APS you are limited to Logo Colorful version of the perceptual intent?  I have always found that the Logo Colorful squashes the colors in such a way that nuances of color are lost in the very saturated colors.  I much prefer the Logo Chroma Plus version of the Perceptual Intent (available with Profilemaker).

--John
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neil snape
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2007, 03:12:36 PM »
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Are you saying that with APS you are limited to Logo Colorful version of the perceptual intent?  I have always found that the Logo Colorful squashes the colors in such a way that nuances of color are lost in the very saturated colors.  I much prefer the Logo Chroma Plus version of the Perceptual Intent (available with Profilemaker).

--John
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For inkjet printing the Colorful option is radical for perceptual compared to relative. It does move around the colour a lot and it is rather shocking when looking at graphs. Yet the printed results give pleasing colour as the rendering intent is designed too. If like use relative as the tables are not exactly as the ICC spec says, but the colours are in the ranges that you would use for accuracy. Perceptual works well with these printers , whether it be APS or ProfileMaker.
For those who also have Profile Maker , you just drop the APS profile in the measurement data drop zone and recreate it from the spectral data housed in the APS profile.
I was looking in the profiles today , and noticed that the Logo library is version 6.x where as mine is PM 5.07. so the tables are different at run time, and I think judging by the curves in the tables that some changes are made to optimise APS for the Z hardware, both spectro and ink attributes.
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jpgentry
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2007, 03:36:52 PM »
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I truly disagree about Canon support.  It has been excellent with reports of people getting replacement printers etc.  I don't like their ink policy but if someone waited a month to correct a faulty ink cart instead of buying a new one and addressing the old one with Canon then he must not have been a professional printer or had pressing needs to get images out.  This is a Pro printer not consumer level, however many people who use it for prints every so often have snapped it up.  This means there are a ton of them out there and because of the volume, more opportunity for bad reports.

I wouldn't recommend anyone printing professionally to operate without spare carts and if one is bad I would address it with canon and throw the spare in, in the mean time.

I don't agree with Canon on their ink policy but I do know that eventually everyone has been taken care of.  I believe Canon views ink in a different way than the printer itself.  If you have a problem with the printer they have been good about taking care of it.  With ink they probably feel that it's something that could easily be abused by people who say "me too" to get a free cart.  I know many people who have never seen the ink cart issue and as far as I know all ink issues have been resolved, just not in the cross ship method some expect.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2007, 03:55:08 PM by jpgentry » Logged
jpgentry
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2007, 03:43:58 PM »
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It's not a finicky printer I can assure you.  The ipf line is excellent hardware.  There have been many, many, many times more ipf5000's sold than Z printers (mainly becuase of price) and it's natural that you will hear more horror stories with that many users.

The Canon is a very reliable printer that has performed for most of us very well.  The 8000/9000 does not have a paper feed and is fairly bulletproof so far.  I can't praise it enough.  I've called tech support a number of times on small questions/issues and found them very responsive.

Once I stopped nit-picking and started really cranking out volume work I really found the value of the printer.  I now print in 5 hours the number of canvases that used to take me days with my 9600.  Those with volume needs should think twice about not buying the ipf line.

And while I'm speaking about things I like, I just started doing business with a company called Shades of Paper and just want to say that I have never dealt with a better company for my ink and paper.  I can't tell you what Jim just did for my business in regards my ink and paper supply needs but lets just say Jim is a very good guy who takes good care of his customers and is concerned with their sucess.

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I'm considering going for the larger printers from more expensive manufacturers as I'm not willing to waste my time with unresponsive product support and a finicky printer.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=107278\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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djgarcia
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2007, 06:10:34 PM »
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I wouldn't recommend anyone printing professionally to operate without spare carts and if one is bad I would address it with canon and throw the spare in, in the mean time.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=107342\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
That is precisely the problem. You buy spare carts, 2 months later you run out of ink and you put a spare one in, and it's bad. Guess what? Canon will not replace it because you bought it more than 30 days ago. This is the crux of the problems, not that you put a new cart in and it's bad, and you wait 2 months to report it. Anyone who waits that long to report it not only is not professional, they're actually a nitwit .
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2007, 06:12:11 PM »
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I truly disagree about Canon support.  It has been excellent with reports of people getting replacement printers etc.  I don't like their ink policy but if someone waited a month to correct a faulty ink cart instead of buying a new one and addressing the old one with Canon then he must not have been a professional printer or had pressing needs to get images out. 

The problem wasn't with the ink cartridges, it was with the printed image.  Ghosting on every image.  Canon insisted on ordering a main board for the printer (which took several weeks, as it wasn't available in the U.S.) before coming out for a service call.  Of course, it turned out not to be the main board.  Problem was eventually fixed (after at least a month), but the printer was useless during this time.  Ironically, the guy with the problem was the same one who discovered the fix for banding in the trailing inch of prints made from the Cassette.  

Parts aren't available for weeks?  I don't think you can call this decent service by any stretch of the imagination, and certainly not the level of service needed for a pro printer.

--John
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digitaldog
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2007, 09:17:57 PM »
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Andrew has an iO of course so making 4000 patch targets is as easy.
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Either 4096 or 1728 (up to the user to decide) both of course Bill's fine targets. My defaults are Colorful, Paper Colored Gray, large profile and I use the GTI D50 rather than the standard D50 settings (in case anyone here is asking about the profiles I made).

Oh. I do have the Optical Brightener check box on when OB's are detected. OT I recently did some tests for GMB (X-Rite) and found that it doesn't really matter if this setting is on or off. There IS a difference in the resulting profiles when OB's are seen but they are TINY! I had to subtract two images converted both ways using Calculations and pull levels all the way to the left on the results of the new Doc only to see tiny differences in the two methods. Strange. None the less, if the check box is available for use, I keep it on.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2007, 09:19:16 PM by digitaldog » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2007, 10:12:51 PM »
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There are a lot of variables here.

A printer does not print direct in RGB mode. There is a printer driver which converts (r,g, values into the, say quadruples  like (c,y,m,k) for a 4-color machine, or 12-tuples in the case of a high-end HP.

The profile software does not see any of this in RGB mode: It just does a rgb ==> r'g'b' mapping.

All the really interesting stuff is parametered into the driver: Ink limitation, linearization etc.

So, in RGB mode, the actual profiling software gets to do only "à postériori" tuning, in essence sweeping up and tailoring the driver's behaviour.

If the driver is doing well, then a simple profile will suffice.

But if the driver behaves non-linearly, then a very non-linear profile would be needed to compensate, which translates into a difficult problem and lots of patches.

With a RIP, the game becomes very different, because then profiling packages get access to much more control, eg ink limitation and linearisation. But then more patches are again necessary to get the job done.

The upshot of this is that patience may pay off. I expect HP will take some time to perfect its driver software - we can expect to see substantial improvements in print quality at least, if not in gamut, from the current Z series as they gain traction.

Edmund
« Last Edit: March 18, 2007, 10:13:12 PM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2007, 12:56:41 AM »
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The Z 3100 and 2100 of course, both only accpt rgb data 8 bit depth for the Mac and Windows drivers at this time, including the Postscript option that has a Adobe rasterising motor for level 1.6 PDF files. The Postcript options that are in the files then are converted in driver to three channel.

Thus the reasons stated that a rip vendor for all 11 or 12 colour inkjets who should make a device N  rip will be welcomed. That is a challenge to rise to!

As I've said before I doubt anyone will touch the 12th ink, being the GlossEnhancer as the research and complexity there should be best left where it is.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2007, 12:57:33 AM by neil snape » Logged
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