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Author Topic: Status on Z3100 progress?  (Read 19180 times)
neil snape
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« Reply #40 on: October 24, 2007, 09:39:18 AM »
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Looking at prints made from Epson K3, Canon iPF (both x00 and x100 series) and HP Z Series printers on the same papers I find the Canon IPF x100 black and white prints take the cake with the least bronzing and gloss differential. HP's gloss enhancer can help reduce or even help *increase* (in Econo made) the gloss differential - either of which can be nice and that capability is certainly unique to the Z. The gloss enhancer doesn't help much with bronzing though. Papers like Harman GLass FB Al do yield far more bronzing than say Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl. I would suggest doing your bronzing comparison tests on the Harman.
All three printer series have advanced black and white modes that are smart about prioritizing black and grey inks and minimizing color inks. I think it's safe to say that they all make fantastic black and white prints that rival silver gelatin. I do think it's worth mentioning that Canon's new black and grey inks in the x100 printers appear to me to clearly have the least gloss differential and bronzing without gloss enhancers or overcoats.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148377\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
That's what I'd like to see with HP too. Less Gloss differential without the need for much or any GE. I haven't had any x100 Canon B&W prints to look at yet, but would love to see them. Surpising to hear they are even better than Epson which are pretty good without using GE. I find the Z B&W prints with GE very good and before the Canon x100 the best in class.
Thus the problem of third party papers again. I just tried the newest Hahnemuhle 325 g/m2 Baryta FA, and the bronzing and Gloss Diff, was so strong that I had to use GE on whole page. It still shows substantial GD, and some bronzing. Same goes for Harmon but I don't have anything but some scraps of paper as the French supplier never kept his word of sending samples. I did use some Harmon Baryta matte but in my opinion it is a lifeless matte paper that is way to brightened. There I think Hahnemuhle's Bamboo is excellent. The more I print on Bamboo the more I like it. I would like to print on Harmon AL FA too though as the surface is magic.

Oh I forgot, GE on the Z reduces bronzing quite a bit on their papers. Almost completely on all the HP media I tried.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 09:41:00 AM by neil snape » Logged
Scott Martin
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« Reply #41 on: October 24, 2007, 09:39:26 AM »
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I think any printer would be very hard-pressed to out-do what Gorman produced with the 3800 and the new Exhibition Fiber paper.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148364\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
But the fact that most people haven't seen a comparison on the three printers on the same paper with the same images is a problem! One that Epson and said photographer could be addressing at sales oriented presentations like that. Personally I think there is a great need for such comparisons to be done by independent parities without any corporate sponsorship or affiliation. I do this type of thing for my clients and workshop students so that they can make educated, unbiased decisions but I think we need a larger organization for this type of thing. Funding such an organization and more formal public testing, viewing and reporting is a challenge. Seeing is believing - I like to let prints speak for themselves and let people draw their own conclusions. Boy, if I didn't have to work for a living... Magazine reviewers tend to be horribly inexperienced. Webzines and furoms are full of hype and could be better informed. Today cooperate sponsorships rule the industry and dictate what and who we see and trade shows like PhotoPlus and common workshop venues.
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neil snape
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« Reply #42 on: October 24, 2007, 09:47:23 AM »
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But the fact that most people haven't seen a comparison on the three printers on the same paper with the same images is a problem! One that Epson and said photographer could be addressing at sales oriented presentations like that. Personally I think there is a great need for such comparisons to be done by independent parities without any corporate sponsorship or affiliation. I do this type of thing for my clients and workshop students so that they can make educated, unbiased decisions but I think we need a larger organization for this type of thing. Funding such an organization and more formal public testing, viewing and reporting is a challenge. Seeing is believing - I like to let prints speak for themselves and let people draw their own conclusions. Boy, if I didn't have to work for a living... Magazine reviewers tend to be horribly inexperienced. Webzines and furoms are full of hype and could be better informed. Today cooperate sponsorships rule the industry and dictate what and who we see and trade shows like PhotoPlus and common workshop venues.
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Well said. I'm not so sure I know of anyone that has all three brands, and makes a totally fair comparison.  I certainly don't, neither the space required, time, or even desire to have all three brands. On Dpreview Tom Monega? has both an HP 9180 and a Canon 5000 and his comments are straight and unbiased. Ernst has Epson and HP now and knows Canon quite well too. Of course MR has all the latest and does a very good job on reporting what he finds. Yet at trade shows someone has to pay the lunch.
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #43 on: October 24, 2007, 10:06:49 AM »
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Well said. I'm not so sure I know of anyone that has all three brands, and makes a totally fair comparison.  [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148385\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Thanks, through my daily onsite consulting I get my hands on just about everything including prerelease inkjet, solvent and UV Curable printers as well as a variety of RIPs, applications  and media. I have Epson, Canon and HP printers in my own studio as well but not every size and configuration - it's printing with my clients that gives me that range of hands-on experience and evaluation prints that is nearly impossible to have otherwise.
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rdonson
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« Reply #44 on: October 24, 2007, 10:43:52 AM »
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Personally I think there is a great need for such comparisons to be done by independent parities without any corporate sponsorship or affiliation.....
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Does [a href=\"http://www.wide-format-printers.org]FLAAR[/url] fill the need?
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[span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'][span style='font-family:Arial'][span style='font-family:Geneva'][span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']Regards,
Ron[/span][/span][/span][/span]
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« Reply #45 on: October 24, 2007, 11:35:46 AM »
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FLAAR seems to be so intent on cross promoting themselves and hyping their information that the content is overwhelmed by the form.  They come off more as rug merchants or shady car salesmen than consultants.  I've been unimpressed by them, unfortunately, as they seemed to be quite promising when I first encountered them.  I bought a couple of reports and downloaded several other free ones and felt like I could not trust much of what they said as there was a whiff of some sort of hidden agenda in most of their writing.  My $0.02 only, of course.
-Ron H.
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neil snape
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« Reply #46 on: October 24, 2007, 12:08:12 PM »
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I have zero respect for FLAAR. They are an embarrassment to those who really do know anything about IT colour devices. Yet thanks to their Google cross ads their so called review on the Z which is simply a statement that they saw it at a trade show still places high on the Google search above other more honest reviews or informative.
They look at only ways to capitalize on any potential sources, not for any relationship to the users.
Honteux we'd say in French.
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« Reply #47 on: October 25, 2007, 01:17:26 AM »
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I have zero respect for FLAAR. They are an embarrassment to those who really do know anything about IT colour devices. Yet thanks to their Google cross ads their so called review on the Z which is simply a statement that they saw it at a trade show still places high on the Google search above other more honest reviews or informative.
They look at only ways to capitalize on any potential sources, not for any relationship to the users.
Honteux we'd say in French.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148419\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Indeed, FLAAR just seems interested in pushing more books and articles than provide any real information... based on what I have seen.  The concept sounds nice, but their execution leaves a lot to be desired.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #48 on: October 25, 2007, 03:10:30 AM »
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Bernard,

If I were you I would keep "shopping" (i.e. window shopping) for a while if that is at all possible. I just returned from Photo Plus East in New York City, where all the vendors were showing their wares and outputs from the latest models. One cannot make scientific comparisons at a venue like this of course, so it is all impressions. But my impressions are clear based on what I saw. The new Epson 11880 with Vivid Magenta, a nine channel print-head (end of ink purging problem) and their forthcoming Exhibition Fiber Paper is hands down the star performer on the block.
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Mark,

Thanks for the advice, it is indeed probably what I will be doing.

Regards,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
Brad_Stiritz
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« Reply #49 on: October 25, 2007, 09:17:19 PM »
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...why I mention all this is the reasonable expectation Epson should be marketing all this technology in a slate of smaller more affordable versions at some time within the coming year. Mark
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Mark,

Thanks very much for your comments & impressions about the trade show. But do you seriously think it's likely Epson will obsolete the other brand-new x880 models (9880, 7880,  etc) within a year? I hope not! I have to buy a 44" wide printer in the next couple of months to fulfill a commission for a series of large-format color prints.

I've been planning to go with the Epson 9880 for several reasons, but just today I was chatting with the printer salesman at Calumet Chicago, and he was pushing the HP Z3100 hard. I would like to to do test prints of my work on both the 9880 and Z3100, but I'm afraid this isn't very realistic for me.

I generally print via the ColorBurst RIP on my 4800, using my own custom ColorBurst / SpectralVision ICC profiles (IT8 target). This has come to be my current standard of excellence, so I'd want to follow the same workflow on the larger-format printer.

Fortunately, I have a few weeks to study and research this choice. Any comments or suggestions appreciated!

Thanks,

Brad
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Brad Stiritz
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neil snape
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« Reply #50 on: October 26, 2007, 01:09:06 AM »
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Mark,

Thanks very much for your comments & impressions about the trade show. But do you seriously think it's likely Epson will obsolete the other brand-new x880 models (9880, 7880,  etc) within a year? I hope not! I have to buy a 44" wide printer in the next couple of months to fulfill a commission for a series of large-format color prints.

I've been planning to go with the Epson 9880 for several reasons, but just today I was chatting with the printer salesman at Calumet Chicago, and he was pushing the HP Z3100 hard. I would like to to do test prints of my work on both the 9880 and Z3100, but I'm afraid this isn't very realistic for me.

I generally print via the ColorBurst RIP on my 4800, using my own custom ColorBurst / SpectralVision ICC profiles (IT8 target). This has come to be my current standard of excellence, so I'd want to follow the same workflow on the larger-format printer.

Fortunately, I have a few weeks to study and research this choice. Any comments or suggestions appreciated!

Thanks,

Brad
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148733\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
It's probably more reasonable in your case to stick with Epson, upgrade your rip to the LFP version, and continue using the workflow you know. The only change would be now with 16 bit drivers you may not need the rip any longer, and replace it with a PC and Qimage.
That said I like the built in spectro and calibrations on the Z to the point of accepting issues of certain media ( in theory to be corrected by a part replacement) and the overall software being very nice to use on the Z. The simplicity of printing B&W batched with colour alongside is undeniably unique to the Z as well , so you'll not want to dismiss it before giving it a serious look. There are many capable owners of the Z here that could make you a print of your image , yet not sure if anyone has a 7880 yet other than Bill Atkinson, J Holmes et company.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #51 on: October 26, 2007, 07:15:13 AM »
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Mark,

Thanks very much for your comments & impressions about the trade show. But do you seriously think it's likely Epson will obsolete the other brand-new x880 models (9880, 7880,  etc) within a year? I hope not! I have to buy a 44" wide printer in the next couple of months to fulfill a commission for a series of large-format color prints.

I've been planning to go with the Epson 9880 for several reasons, but just today I was chatting with the printer salesman at Calumet Chicago, and he was pushing the HP Z3100 hard. I would like to to do test prints of my work on both the 9880 and Z3100, but I'm afraid this isn't very realistic for me.

I generally print via the ColorBurst RIP on my 4800, using my own custom ColorBurst / SpectralVision ICC profiles (IT8 target). This has come to be my current standard of excellence, so I'd want to follow the same workflow on the larger-format printer.

Fortunately, I have a few weeks to study and research this choice. Any comments or suggestions appreciated!

Thanks,

Brad
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148733\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Brad,

Epson obsoleted its own 4000 model in less than a year when it introduced the 4800. You may recall many 4000 owners were furious with them. I was a 4000 owner but I was not furious for reasons I explained in this Forum at the time. So it's not safe to make any of the usual assumptions about the timing of technical change in this industry. There is some opinion (which will go nameless)  to the effect that the new x880 models are interim products for marketing the new flavours of Ultrachrome ink and giving people a wider colour gamut if they think the specs for these machines would meet their needs. There is also a view - on what basis I have no idea - that the technology embodied in the 11880 printers will seep down to the full size range by some time next summer.

I think Michael Reichmann's review of the Z3100 confirms what I've seen that printer deliver, but I haven't seen a hugely wide sample of outputs which really test the colour gamut to the fullest and I can't say whether it would meet your particular expectations. It does lovely B&W work, but so does the new generation of Epson printers.  Greg Gorman prints his B&W work with Epson printers, so that should tell you something. As well, there must be other top-flight photographers who print theirs in HP Z printers. All it says is that for B&W these machines are probably in the same ball-park. I don't know whether B&W is important to you.

It's very difficult to give others advice about what to buy because there are so many variables, and each of these variables would affect different folks in different ways. One thing I could venture forth with, however, is a view that if it were me I would be reluctant to let one job deadline determine a longish-term decision like this. I don't know where you live, but I do know, for example, here in Toronto, there is at least one studio from whom you can rent machine time and do your work on their printers. As a one-off, this may be viable for you, and it frees you to take your time about the next printer purchase.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #52 on: October 27, 2007, 12:37:51 PM »
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Hi Neil & Mark,

Thanks both of you for your comments & suggestions.

Neil--

>It's probably more reasonable in your case to stick with Epson, upgrade your rip to the LFP version, and continue using the workflow you know. The only change would be now with 16 bit drivers you may not need the rip any longer, and replace it with a PC and Qimage.

Very sensible suggestion to stick with a familiar workflow, thanks. But sorry, what do you mean by the "LFP version" of ColorBurst RIP?

Also, not to get off-topic, but FWIW I would respectfully challenge the assertion that a 16-bit printer driver obviates the need for a RIP. I've found that going through the tedious process of "linearizing" the printer in ColorBurst before creating a custom profile makes an enormous difference in shadow separation.

Maybe in theory the extra resolution of the 16-bit driver can improve print quality. But consider that an 8-bit driver is supposed to be able to generate 256 distinct ink levels per cartridge (if I understand correctly). Realistically, of course, we users often get suboptimal print results with 8-bit drivers, when printing images with only 10 or 20 steps in a particular ink primary (e.g. using a classic "ramp" test image). A priori, I don't see how being able to generate 65K distinct ink levels is going to solve this problem.

My experience is that a *lot* of improvement can be made in the 8-bit regime, using a good RIP & a spectrophotometer. I wouldn't forgo using a 16-bit driver (currently I don't believe they're available from Epson for Windows), but I'll need to see the results of extensive, rigorous testing & comparisons of the two paths before I believe that 16-bit drivers are a quantum leap forward.

Back on topic now...

Mark--

Thanks for reminding me of the 4000 / 4800 scandale. I appreciate your suggestion to look around for a rental lab, but to date I haven't found any in Chicago  

Also, I should say that I'm not really in a one-off situation with this commission (as my original posting may have suggested) b/c I also have a major show coming up next April, which I want to print in larger-format for as well.

Based on Neil's suggestion, it feels like the "safest" path for me, in the sense of minimizing the unknowns, risks, and changes, may be to go with the Epson 9880. I would definitely love to have that wider set of inks in the Z3100, but OTOH I don't need the built-in spectrophotometer. I'll be sorry to be limited to PK ink with the Epson -- that still really irks me -- but I guess I'll have to accept the evil.

Brad
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neil snape
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« Reply #53 on: October 27, 2007, 01:03:10 PM »
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Hi Neil & Mark,

Thanks both of you for your comments & suggestions.

Neil--

>It's probably more reasonable in your case to stick with Epson, upgrade your rip to the LFP version, and continue using the workflow you know. The only change would be now with 16 bit drivers you may not need the rip any longer, and replace it with a PC and Qimage.

Very sensible suggestion to stick with a familiar workflow, thanks. But sorry, what do you mean by the "LFP version" of ColorBurst RIP?

Also, not to get off-topic, but FWIW I would respectfully challenge the assertion that a 16-bit printer driver obviates the need for a RIP. I've found that going through the tedious process of "linearizing" the printer in ColorBurst before creating a custom profile makes an enormous difference in shadow separation.

Maybe in theory the extra resolution of the 16-bit driver can improve print quality. But consider that an 8-bit driver is supposed to be able to generate 256 distinct ink levels per cartridge (if I understand correctly). Realistically, of course, we users often get suboptimal print results with 8-bit drivers, when printing images with only 10 or 20 steps in a particular ink primary (e.g. using a classic "ramp" test image). A priori, I don't see how being able to generate 65K distinct ink levels is going to solve this problem.

My experience is that a *lot* of improvement can be made in the 8-bit regime, using a good RIP & a spectrophotometer. I wouldn't forgo using a 16-bit driver (currently I don't believe they're available from Epson for Windows), but I'll need to see the results of extensive, rigorous testing & comparisons of the two paths before I believe that 16-bit drivers are a quantum leap forward.


Brad
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=149029\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Let's see. I did say that with 16 bit drivers and perhaps the use of Qimage you would be able to replace a rip for workflow reasons. With You can linearise the Epson with their utility, but I hardly think it is really necessary with a better separation sent  through the 16 bit drivers. I could be wrong but I have seen concrete examples of what a 16 bit driver means to gradients and separations.
You are as many would mixing up various functions all under the guise of 16 bit. The new op systems accept 16 bit drivers which previously was only circumvented by the use of a rip. No longer true, so the reasons of the need for a rip are based on other features that are not available at driver level (yet).

LFP is large format printers, you'll need a license for the larger version , that's all.
The 16 bit driver isn't going to provide many more levels currently available , but will provide extra points of resolution for separations which make a world of difference in gradients.
What is too bad is Epson don't use the spectral information for linearisation per media as the Z printers. Epson denies at this point any need for linearisations of this type leaving the work up to the profile creation. This would be tricky waters to venture into. All I know is the latest printers are performing well without rips. I think for prepress it is necessary for per media calibrations, but I'm not so sure about that for Epson. For thermal head printers it's a good idea. For a heavy user, even the Piezo heads have wear. In that case the Epson utility should take care of that with a LUT to adjust the output back to factory spec.
You are also correct in that a well balanced 8 bit workflow will yield little difference over the same on 16 bit, outside of course the new printers with added primaries. Canon really show an advantage when using their plug in which is a rip with 16 bit for the same reason said above.
Epson have a large gamut considering their CMYK inkset, yet will not have a higher gamut with 16 bit, but will fetch better gradients, less plugging of shadows, etc.

Don't get me wrong, a good rip is something that adds value. Currently it's the only way to save spooled jobs for example, where you will be sure to reprint correctly. Other features of course, easily justify the outlay. It's just it's no longer a necessity in terms of image quality.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #54 on: October 27, 2007, 01:10:24 PM »
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Hi Neil & Mark,


I'll be sorry to be limited to PK ink with the Epson -- that still really irks me -- but I guess I'll have to accept the evil.

Brad
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Brad,

Don't be too sorry until you've tested the new Epson Exhibtion Fiber paper which should hit the market within the next several weeks. It is gorgeous and would be one reason for me to enjoy the marriage to PK ink. No doubt it will be much costlier than Epson Enhanced Matte (almost everything is), but for high-end client work, and especially for an exhibition you may well find this paper very attractive.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #55 on: October 30, 2007, 10:35:35 AM »
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Hi Neil & Mark,

Thanks for your further comments.

Neil, regarding the reputed 16-bit driver advantage, I thought you might be interested in reading this post from Sarah Smith at ColorBurst, which I had completely forgotten about when I wrote to you last week:

Quote
I did do some testing a few months back with a full 16-bit workflow and the Windows RIP. I performed both visual and measured analyses of prints, and there was no discernable difference (visably or colorimetrically) when compared to our current workflow. Had there been a significant improvement, we would have moved towards implementing that workflow.

http://www.colorburstrip.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1840

Mark, yes I'm also very looking forward to checking out the Epson Exhibition paper! I've also been toying with the idea of experimenting with Lumijet Glossy Two Sides 265gsm, but am going to wait till I can an upclose look at Epson Exhibition.

Brad
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Brad Stiritz
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« Reply #56 on: October 31, 2007, 04:38:01 AM »
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Gee........ Am I missing something?

I've had my plain vanilla 24" Z3100 for a few months now and I couldn't be more pleased.  Admittedly I don't print much on gloss paper for the same reasons I didn't print much on gloss paper back in the day when I had a wet darkroom, so I can't offer much information in that area.

In addition to making prints of my photographs, I reproduce large watercolor paintings, usually on Premier Artist Watercolor Paper 310gsm, a rag paper with a textured matte surface.  Earlier this week I reproduced a painting of a Red Winged Blackbird, which has wing markings including a brilliant saturated red as well as some oranges and yellows.

Based on what I've read here recently, I was prepared to be disappointed; however, the reds were outstanding; nothing like old pizza sauce at all.  Compared with the original, I can't imagine how the reds could have been a more perfect reproduction in both hue and saturation.  The artist was thrilled.

In short, I like this printer and I'm quite satisfied with the output, especially on matte watercolor paper and satin photo paper.  My satisfaction makes me feel quite out of step with the experts here, perhaps because I'm not fully educated.  Furthermore, my experience with HP service (both on the telephone and when they came out to repair my  earlier DJ-130) has been very pleasant.  I have no complaints with HPs service.  What's wrong with me?  Bad drugs in the 60's?

Would someone offer some hints about how I could further educate myself so that I could learn to hate my printer and the HP company?  I'm longing to be part of the "in" crowd.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2007, 04:39:11 AM by Bob Walters » Logged

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« Reply #57 on: October 31, 2007, 07:28:48 AM »
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Gee........ Am I missing something?

........................

Would someone offer some hints about how I could further educate myself so that I could learn to hate my printer and the HP company?  I'm longing to be part of the "in" crowd.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=149751\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Bob, you are not missing anything, there's no reason to hate your printer or HP and there is no "in crowd". Your personal experience is perfectly valid in the sense that if the printer is meeting your requirements satisfactorily it is fine. Beyond that, objectively, I've seen Bill Atkinson's printer test target printed in the Z3100 and the reds -and all the rest of it - came out well. I think they've largely corrected that problem. I've had dealings with HP here in Canada on two pieces of equipment (not photographic printers) and I must say once the issue was brought to the attention of the right level in the company they were appropriately responsive.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #58 on: October 31, 2007, 07:40:46 AM »
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I've had my plain vanilla 24" Z3100 for a few months now and I couldn't be more pleased...What's wrong with me?  Bad drugs in the 60's?
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I didn't do drugs in the 60's...and I really like my Z.

Fred
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« Reply #59 on: October 31, 2007, 08:02:57 AM »
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Gee........ Am I missing something?

Would someone offer some hints about how I could further educate myself so that I could learn to hate my printer and the HP company?  I'm longing to be part of the "in" crowd.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=149751\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Perhaps.... many of us really, really like our Zs but can see ways to improve it or find additional features or capabilities we'd like to see.  Nothing wrong with that.
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[span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'][span style='font-family:Arial'][span style='font-family:Geneva'][span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']Regards,
Ron[/span][/span][/span][/span]
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