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Author Topic: HP Z3100 TALK ME OUT OF BUYING IT  (Read 32574 times)
dseelig
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« on: January 27, 2008, 10:19:37 AM »
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WELL  after reading as much as I could I am about to buy it. Anyone who has used one think I should buy a canon or epson instead. Thanks David PS I could get by right now with a 17 inch printer but I do not want to take a grand hit later to replace. thanks in advance David
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duraace
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2008, 11:58:05 AM »
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WELL  after reading as mcha s I could I am about to buy it. Anyone who has used one think I should buy a canon or epson instead. Thanks David PS I could get by right now with a 17 inch printer but I do not wan to take a grand hit later to replace. thanks in advance David
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I think you should buy an Epson Pro 3800.  :-)
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2008, 12:35:59 PM »
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WELL  after reading as much as I could I am about to buy it. Anyone who has used one think I should buy a canon or epson instead.
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I think you should buy a Canon iPF6100  

[a href=\"http://canonipf.wikispaces.com]http://canonipf.wikispaces.com[/url]

--John
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marty m
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2008, 02:49:38 PM »
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(1)  I suppose the only fair and impartial statement would be that each of the printers, and manufacturers, has its own set of strengths and weaknesses.  So you need to decide on your own.

(2)  How many of the forum participants have personally owned and used both the Z3100, and one of the other printers that they might recommend?  The only valid and honest comment would be from someone who has owned and used both the Z3100 and one of the current Epson or Canon printers.  

For full disclosure, I have not.  My previous printer was an Epson 4000, and my comments below on Epson are based on that, so take them with a grain of salt since the 4000 is ancient by today's standards.

(3)  One of the few who has actually owns and used all three manufacturers, at least that I know of, is Michael Reichmann.  You might consider writing to him off line and see if he'll privately respond to you.  Beware of those who get paid by any of the manufacturers to do reviews or seminars, or get free printers for doing so.  Some of them have posted here in the past.  Michael, to my knowledge, doesn't belong in either category.  I may not always agree with his views, but at least he is not paid by a manufacturer or given free equipment and is thus impartial.

(4)  But you need to provide Michael with more information that you provided here.  To say "talk me out of it" is not very informative.  What do you print?  What sizes?  How often do you actually print really large to need a 24" printer?  The Z3100 is VERY LARGE.  You need a separate wall in a separate room to house it.

How often do you use or try other papers?  If not very often, then the on-board spectro in the Z3100 might be less important in your personal evaluation.  But then you need to buy a separate and really good profiling package, and the good ones aren't cheap.  Compare the price of a printer, plus such a package, to the Z3100 after subtracting any rebates that may still be offered

Do you print from rolls or sheets?  If from photo sheets, especially 17x22 and smaller, then you look at a printer with paper cassette that handles those sizes.  If from heavy and thick cotton sheets, then all of the printers will only allow you to load one at a time and are pretty much equal in that regard.  Some may load sheets slightly better than others.

(5)  If you search under my user name, you will find that I led a personal crusade against HP many months ago.  So it is quite a change for me to now recommend HP.  Their level of support is probably the best I have ever experienced from a large company, and they have won me over.  That is an important factor for you to consider.  Does Canon, to use one example, stand behind their products and offer that level of service?  Never owned a Canon, so I will let John and others comment on that

(6)  The case for the Z3100, very briefly:

* great customer service, as noted above

* I think it does a great job of printing -- the colors are more vibrant than my old 4000, especially the blues.  The reds are very good IMHO, but it is true that some landscape prints from the 4000 had slightly, very slightly, stronger reds than the Z3100.  Others can comment, but I think HP has gone a long way to fixing the issue with the reds.  For me, doing landscapes, the Z3100 does a great job with all colors.  Others, who make more exacting prints, might have a different view, and then the question is what printers they have personally used and would recommend instead

* The on-board spectro is a delight.  I'm glad I no longer have to do manual profiling of papers.  I use the APS.  It is not critical that you buy that, but I believe the newer models of the Z3100 include the APS in a package deal.  The APS, IMHO, is equal to and superior to the last $1000 Xrite package I purchased

* The level of technical documentation is simply outstanding.  I have an entire folder on my hard drive consisting of 120 mb and over 50 documents.  HP actually tells us what the various driver settings mean in terms of head height, ink delivery, etc.  Does Epson or Canon do that?  Epson certainly did not do so with the 4000.  They only provided settings for their own papers, and I was always mystified as to which Epson paper setting to use with a third party paper.  As I have posted here, I think HP can improve those documents.  But they are already far better than what Epson provides, at least based upon my 4000.  But judge for yourself -- download the docs from the manufacturers to see how much detail they provide about their settings and drivers.  Note -- in the case of HP I am not referring to the manual but tech support docs that have been released and updated since that time

* There is an issue with ink building up on one specific print head.  After nine months, it took me about an hour to clean the print heads.  I don't think that is a big deal.  But the issue of ink on the heads is something that HP is looking at, because, as I have told them, it shouldn't be happening on a $4000 printer that I use infrequently

* On the other hand, I have never had a print head clog up.  The 4000 was NOTORIOUS for that.  What is the record of the current generation of Epson and Canon printers?  HP has, at least, solved that.

*  The issue of marks rollers and star wheels seems to impact some Z3100 owners a lot; for some it is an inconsistent and infrequent problem; and for some it never happens at all.  It is important to note that Epson has their own problems with marks with star wheels.  HP will have a fix available in three to six months, in any case.

*  Software.  Well, I would stay away from Vista with any printer and for any use.  See my posting on that.  The basic problem is Vista more than it is HP.  

If you using XP or a Mac then any of the printers should be about the same -- but you need to read the postings.  

Candidly, I rarely read any of the postings in this forum on Canon or Epson, for the simple reason that I don't own one!  (Aside from my original 4000 that I finally plan on selling for some cheap price just to get it out of here.)

I hope that helps
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dseelig
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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2008, 03:40:55 PM »
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HI Everyone
Well I do use a mac so the vista issue is a non issue for me. I print from landscape to rock and roll stars I shoot for an arena. I was all set to just get a 17 inch model then I kept hearing this was the best thing out there . With the rebate about to end I need to make a decision. Yes I try all kinds of papers, for different effects. I am a photographer not a hobbyist. I live in Idaho and if hp has service centers here in boise I am 2 hour drive away that might end my conversation about this also canons 600 dollar heads scare me.My website is www.davidseelig.com and yes I am having problems with it. I do want 24 inch for the future availble  I have had an epson 7600 and the ink switching was not fun.thanks David
 
Quote
(1)  I suppose the only fair and impartial statement would be that each of the printers, and manufacturers, has its own set of strengths and weaknesses.  So you need to decide on your own.

(2)  How many of the forum participants have personally owned and used both the Z3100, and one of the other printers that they might recommend?  The only valid and honest comment would be from someone who has owned and used both the Z3100 and one of the current Epson or Canon printers. 

For full disclosure, I have not.  My previous printer was an Epson 4000, and my comments below on Epson are based on that, so take them with a grain of salt since the 4000 is ancient by today's standards.

(3)  One of the few who has actually owns and used all three manufacturers, at least that I know of, is Michael Reichmann.  You might consider writing to him off line and see if he'll privately respond to you.  Beware of those who get paid by any of the manufacturers to do reviews or seminars, or get free printers for doing so.  Some of them have posted here in the past.  Michael, to my knowledge, doesn't belong in either category.  I may not always agree with his views, but at least he is not paid by a manufacturer or given free equipment and is thus impartial.

(4)  But you need to provide Michael with more information that you provided here.  To say "talk me out of it" is not very informative.  What do you print?  What sizes?  How often do you actually print really large to need a 24" printer?  The Z3100 is VERY LARGE.  You need a separate wall in a separate room to house it.

How often do you use or try other papers?  If not very often, then the on-board spectro in the Z3100 might be less important in your personal evaluation.  But then you need to buy a separate and really good profiling package, and the good ones aren't cheap.  Compare the price of a printer, plus such a package, to the Z3100 after subtracting any rebates that may still be offered

Do you print from rolls or sheets?  If from photo sheets, especially 17x22 and smaller, then you look at a printer with paper cassette that handles those sizes.  If from heavy and thick cotton sheets, then all of the printers will only allow you to load one at a time and are pretty much equal in that regard.  Some may load sheets slightly better than others.

(5)  If you search under my user name, you will find that I led a personal crusade against HP many months ago.  So it is quite a change for me to now recommend HP.  Their level of support is probably the best I have ever experienced from a large company, and they have won me over.  That is an important factor for you to consider.  Does Canon, to use one example, stand behind their products and offer that level of service?  Never owned a Canon, so I will let John and others comment on that

(6)  The case for the Z3100, very briefly:

* great customer service, as noted above

* I think it does a great job of printing -- the colors are more vibrant than my old 4000, especially the blues.  The reds are very good IMHO, but it is true that some landscape prints from the 4000 had slightly, very slightly, stronger reds than the Z3100.  Others can comment, but I think HP has gone a long way to fixing the issue with the reds.  For me, doing landscapes, the Z3100 does a great job with all colors.  Others, who make more exacting prints, might have a different view, and then the question is what printers they have personally used and would recommend instead

* The on-board spectro is a delight.  I'm glad I no longer have to do manual profiling of papers.  I use the APS.  It is not critical that you buy that, but I believe the newer models of the Z3100 include the APS in a package deal.  The APS, IMHO, is equal to and superior to the last $1000 Xrite package I purchased

* The level of technical documentation is simply outstanding.  I have an entire folder on my hard drive consisting of 120 mb and over 50 documents.  HP actually tells us what the various driver settings mean in terms of head height, ink delivery, etc.  Does Epson or Canon do that?  Epson certainly did not do so with the 4000.  They only provided settings for their own papers, and I was always mystified as to which Epson paper setting to use with a third party paper.  As I have posted here, I think HP can improve those documents.  But they are already far better than what Epson provides, at least based upon my 4000.  But judge for yourself -- download the docs from the manufacturers to see how much detail they provide about their settings and drivers.  Note -- in the case of HP I am not referring to the manual but tech support docs that have been released and updated since that time

* There is an issue with ink building up on one specific print head.  After nine months, it took me about an hour to clean the print heads.  I don't think that is a big deal.  But the issue of ink on the heads is something that HP is looking at, because, as I have told them, it shouldn't be happening on a $4000 printer that I use infrequently

* On the other hand, I have never had a print head clog up.  The 4000 was NOTORIOUS for that.  What is the record of the current generation of Epson and Canon printers?  HP has, at least, solved that.

*  The issue of marks rollers and star wheels seems to impact some Z3100 owners a lot; for some it is an inconsistent and infrequent problem; and for some it never happens at all.  It is important to note that Epson has their own problems with marks with star wheels.  HP will have a fix available in three to six months, in any case.

*  Software.  Well, I would stay away from Vista with any printer and for any use.  See my posting on that.  The basic problem is Vista more than it is HP. 

If you using XP or a Mac then any of the printers should be about the same -- but you need to read the postings. 

Candidly, I rarely read any of the postings in this forum on Canon or Epson, for the simple reason that I don't own one!  (Aside from my original 4000 that I finally plan on selling for some cheap price just to get it out of here.)

I hope that helps
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jpgentry
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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2008, 08:51:34 PM »
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If you can't wait for whatever Epson has up their sleve in the 24 inch range than you will want the HP or Canon.

HP and Canon have no cloging issues.

The Canon has excellent support (every complaint I've ever had was answered with an immediate replacement part the next day no questions asked.)  My expeience with the HP 130nr was positive as well though they were a bit more tight with qualifications of sending parts etc.

I've owned Epson 4000, 9600, R1800, HP Designjet 130nr, Canon ipf8000 and Canon ipf9100, so I have a little experience with all the brands.

I've always loved the Epson but would never buy it now untl the clogging issues are fully addressed.  

I view the Canon as the machine to buy if you do alot of prints and want them printed quickly.  The Canon runs circles around the others as far as speed and the 6100 is among the best print qualify of any printer.  Black and White is excellent and color gamut is also about the best.  Only thing that is slightly better would be the 11880 but I don't think you're looking for a 64 inch printer.  Epson will release a similar printer is the 24 inch size at some point soon (i think.)

You will want to get a custom profiling package with the Canon and I recommend starting with the PrintFixPro before moving to something more expensive.
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rdonson
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2008, 09:02:14 PM »
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WELL  after reading as much as I could I am about to buy it. Anyone who has used one think I should buy a canon or epson instead. Thanks David PS I could get by right now with a 17 inch printer but I do not want to take a grand hit later to replace. thanks in advance David
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=169956\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I can't talk you into or out of buying anything.  I'm not really sure what you're looking to print.

I can say that I have the 24" Z3100 base unit + APS and I'm very pleased with the printer.  

I was originally going to buy an Epson 9800 but then I thought about the black changeovers and buying a Gretag/x-rite spectro because I wanted custom profiles and felt that the Z3100 offered the best of all worlds.  The Gloss Enhancer was an added bonus for me.  

I've never been disappointed in prints from Epsons but felt that the Z produced prints of equal quality with all the conveniences I was looking for.
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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,
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2008, 09:10:00 PM »
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I live in Idaho and if hp has service centers here in boise I am 2 hour drive away that might end my conversation about this also canons 600 dollar heads scare me.
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While that is a potential issue, Canon now has a one year warranty on the printheads (up to a certain volume of ink).  There have only been about 4 reports of failed printheads to the Wiki, all replaced under warranty by Canon without questions.  While it is possible you could run into a failed printhead, you can also get failures of different kinds on the Epson/HP printers outside their one year warranty that could be very expensive.

--John
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casterle
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2008, 09:43:12 PM »
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HI Everyone
I live in Idaho and if hp has service centers here in boise I am 2 hour drive away that might end my conversation[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=170055\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
From my experience you need not worry about the distance. I live in Casper, Wyoming (for reasons inexplicable even to me); the nearest HP support center is 3 - 4 hours away, but that hasn't stopped HP from sending someone out within 24 hours.
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dseelig
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2008, 10:41:05 PM »
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It seems like people are into these printers like a canon versus nikon debate. I am still debating this as many have made good points  about the canons and there are some hardware problems with the hp. I do wonder which is more ecopnimical to run wasted ink and ink per print anyone know?  thanks ot everyone here for helping me . David
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From my experience you need not worry about the distance. I live in Casper, Wyoming (for reasons inexplicable even to me); the nearest HP support center is 3 - 4 hours away, but that hasn't stopped HP from sending someone out within 24 hours.
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marty m
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2008, 10:44:46 PM »
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While that is a potential issue, Canon now has a one year warranty on the printheads (up to a certain volume of ink).  There have only been about 4 reports of failed printheads to the Wiki, all replaced under warranty by Canon without questions.  While it is possible you could run into a failed printhead, you can also get failures of different kinds on the Epson/HP printers outside their one year warranty that could be very expensive.

--John
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John, weren't there quite a few problems with an earlier Canon model, and my impression was that support was not very good, leaving owners to fend for themselves.  I base that on occasionally reading the Canon threads about eight months ago.  In addition, as I recall, there was some part that Canon refused to replace, causing you (I think it was you?) to actually recommend against buying Canon at that time?

Is my summary remotely accurate?  If so, have these issues all been resolved, and is Canon now more responsive to their customers?
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2008, 12:25:29 AM »
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WELL  after reading as much as I could I am about to buy it. Anyone who has used one think I should buy a canon or epson instead. Thanks David PS I could get by right now with a 17 inch printer but I do not want to take a grand hit later to replace. thanks in advance David
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I have used all 3.  I currently own an ipf6100, an 11880, a 3800, have used a 9880 (briefly), and have had a z3100 for a few weeks on trade trial.

I really wanted a z3100, but after profiling it myself as well as generating machine profiles, I didn't like the output as well as my 9800. That's about when I bought the 3800.  All 3 of my current printers produce better prints than my 9800 ... and the differences are apparent.

I feel the 3800 is the best printer for the money if you don't need roll feed.  If you need roll feed and mk/pk frequent switches, the Canon ipfx100 series is definitely the winner.  The 11880 represents the future of Epson printers, but currently is very difficult to buy and pretty pricey.  the Epson x880 printers produce beautiful prints and I like the physical build quality of them better than the canon as well as the straight through paper path design, but ink swapping is an issue.

Please let me qualify this a little, just so my viewpoint is understood.  I do almost exclusively color, so I cannot offer opnion on B&W.  My current printers all do what I feel is a nice job with B&W.  Second, I don't want to appear like I'm knocking this printer ... it has great output, and I'm sure if you buy one it will make great prints.  I personally just think the other printers output looks a little better.  A little more detail in the shadows, and a little better in light gradations.

my 2 cents
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dseelig
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2008, 12:38:26 AM »
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Wayne are you getting better detail in the shadows in both matte and glossy papers thanks David
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I have used all 3.  I currently own an ipf6100, an 11880, a 3800, have used a 9880 (briefly), and have had a z3100 for a few weeks on trade trial.

I really wanted a z3100, but after profiling it myself as well as generating machine profiles, I didn't like the output as well as my 9800. That's about when I bought the 3800.  All 3 of my current printers produce better prints than my 9800 ... and the differences are apparent.

I feel the 3800 is the best printer for the money if you don't need roll feed.  If you need roll feed and mk/pk frequent switches, the Canon ipfx100 series is definitely the winner.  The 11880 represents the future of Epson printers, but currently is very difficult to buy and pretty pricey.  the Epson x880 printers produce beautiful prints and I like the physical build quality of them better than the canon as well as the straight through paper path design, but ink swapping is an issue.

Please let me qualify this a little, just so my viewpoint is understood.  I do almost exclusively color, so I cannot offer opnion on B&W.  My current printers all do what I feel is a nice job with B&W.  Second, I don't want to appear like I'm knocking this printer ... it has great output, and I'm sure if you buy one it will make great prints.  I personally just think the other printers output looks a little better.  A little more detail in the shadows, and a little better in light gradations.

my 2 cents
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2008, 09:05:01 AM »
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John, weren't there quite a few problems with an earlier Canon model, and my impression was that support was not very good, leaving owners to fend for themselves.  I base that on occasionally reading the Canon threads about eight months ago.  In addition, as I recall, there was some part that Canon refused to replace, causing you (I think it was you?) to actually recommend against buying Canon at that time?

Is my summary remotely accurate?  If so, have these issues all been resolved, and is Canon now more responsive to their customers?
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You are absolutely correct.  Virtually all of the problems reported earlier have been resolved (except for Media Type lockout, a real annoyance).  Service is generally considered to be very good at this point (consensus of Wiki reports).  There are still some lingering questions about timeliness of service, especially for those that live far from a service technician, but I don't know what the current situation is.  If you want a current list of issues, see this page:

[a href=\"http://canonipf.wikispaces.com/Considerations+Before+Buying+This+Printer]http://canonipf.wikispaces.com/Considerati...ng+This+Printer[/url]

Interestingly, when I went to find the above link I had to edit the page a bit, as some of the information (quality of Canon USA download page) was out of date.  They have improved in the last couple of months, making it easier to find needed updates.  Not perfect, but better.

--John
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Don Kesler
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2008, 10:25:10 AM »
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I agonized for three months over my decision and went with the Epson 7880 in the end. I am a long time Epson 4000/3000 user and I still use the 4000 for matte color printing.

After a month of light but constant use, the 7880 has yet to have a clog, has run like a clock, and produced stunning prints in both color and B&W with no transport/surface problems, or banding issues. I already have the Eye One Match system.

I have always found Epson customer service to be quite good, but honestly it has been five years since I have needed to talk to them about anything.

I run it on both a MAC using Leopard, and Windows XP and I have no issues.

Have you noticed how few posts there are on this board about problems, concerns, and gripes, other than the ink swap thing with the most current models?

My final decision was based on the "better to deal with the one you know than the one you don't" principle , and so far I'm seriously happy.

Best of luck on your quest.
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dseelig
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2008, 10:57:37 AM »
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I have gotten the impression that the z 3100 is more difficult for getting ease of use then the canon. I am not a techie . I will not be using a ton of papers but will use a few . the canon can be had for 2500 right now and the hp abput 2900 after rebate has anyone gotten there rebate back any rebate issues ? I deeply appreciate all that has been relayed to me both public and private. David PS I am not considering the epson because of the ink switchover problem and they have been known to drink ink .
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Roscolo
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2008, 11:03:48 AM »
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WELL  after reading as much as I could I am about to buy it. Anyone who has used one think I should buy a canon or epson instead. Thanks David PS I could get by right now with a 17 inch printer but I do not want to take a grand hit later to replace. thanks in advance David
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I haven't used any Canon printers. I've used numerous Epson's. The z3100 is the best printer I've ever used or seen. I print my own photographic work (commercial architecture, some portraiture, and landscape work in color and B&W), and do some giclee' printing for artists. Since I got the z, I've also gotten requests to do photo printing for almost every other photographer in town!
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marty m
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« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2008, 11:22:24 AM »
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I have gotten the impression that the z 3100 is more difficult for getting ease of use then the canon. I am not a techie . I will not be using a ton of papers but will use a few . the canon can be had for 2500 right now and the hp abput 2900 after rebate has anyone gotten there rebate back any rebate issues ? I deeply appreciate all that has been relayed to me both public and private. David PS I am not considering the epson because of the ink switchover problem and they have been known to drink ink .
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This has actually been a very good discussion on the part of all participants.

Don Kesler makes a good point about the relative lack of complaints about Epson as compared with HP and Canon.  It is true here, as elsewhere, that "no news is good news."  So Epson seems to have mastered both quality control and customer service.  Both Canon and HP need to emulate the example of Epson.

On the other hand, my experience is that HP is trying very hard to quickly resolve any problems and to improve their customer service.  John Hollenberg provided the same report for Canon.

However, I would ONLY buy a printer that can use mat black and photo black inks simultaneously -- instant switching -- with no loss of ink.  You'll be surprised by how often you switch between papers.  Or, to put that a different way, buy a printer that at least has that capability.

The most important consideration is to compare prints from both machines.  For many of us, that is impossible.  But if you can do it, take your own files and print identical photos on your top two contenders and judge for yourself.  As several people have said, all of these printers do a very good job, but each has its own strength on a different part of the color gamut.  You might decide that these differences are so subtle as to not matter.  For other users, such as those who print fashion, these differences might be the determining factor. (I can see a VERY subtle difference in reds between the 4000 and the 3100 on landscapes.  But so subtle it doesn't matter -- for me.  But I am not printing anything like a fashion model in bright red dress.)

As far as the price difference, Canon doesn't have a built in spectro and HP does.  So I think the price difference is a wash.

Is that price for the Z3100 alone or for the Z3100 that is the package with the APS?  I forget what the package is called??  I don't think the APS is essential, but if you can get it in a package deal, you should

Having used a top of the line Xrite device, and it was relatively easy to use, I can only say that it is a bit of a pain.  I really appreciate the built in spectro on the HP.  

Someone commented that as long as the machine runs its own calibration to stay at a factory level, you can depend on profiles from other sources.  That might be true in the future, if the market changes, but not at the present time.

I think the only printers in that category -- with ICC files widely available from paper manufacturers -- are the Epsons that have been on the market for a while.  It is very unlikely that paper manufacturers will supply profiles for new printers from Canon or HP for many months after the release of those printers, if ever.  (I acknowledge that this varies from one paper maker to another.)  So you still need your own spectro or a built in spectro.

Then the final difference is speed of printing.  It sounds like Canon may be the speed king.  But I am not printing vast quantities where that matters.  Will you?  We're talking about a difference to one to four minutes to print a 16x20 -- at least that is my best guess.

Finally, I would actually give the HP high marks for ease of use.  The software interface is relatively easy to use.  It is certainly no more complicated than what I saw with the Epson 4000.  I can't compare it to Canon.  The number of technical docs available for the HP might sound like it is too complicated or difficult.  It is, in fact, just the opposite.  The tech documents tell you what you need to know -- what the various driver settings actually do -- so you can change settings when you want to.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2008, 11:26:53 AM by marty m » Logged
jpgentry
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« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2008, 11:41:21 AM »
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Marty

Your in Washington D.C.  I live just outside of D.C. in the suburbs.  It would be neat to get together sometime and compare prints from the Z and the Canon.  I haven't seen the Z series prints.

I want to add this about profiles.  The amount of different media you use is a consideration.  If you use alot of different media all the time profiling will be an issue to consider.  If you are the type to settle down and use a few certain media types over and over, then you can have a qualified person make really good  profiles for you that will most likely go beyond the profiling quality of what's available for less than the cost of eather of these printers.

Regarding Epson posts, I think the real issue is that Epson users don't post here that much.  I consider these boards as more of a Canon and HP hang out however there is a large 3800 following here.  It seems all the 9880, 7880, 7800 guys are on the groups.yahoo.com Epson wide format list.  I think that's why there is little posted about Epson issues here.  I would have to say however that Epson makes great products as reliability is concerned.  

-Jonathan

Quote
This has actually been a very good discussion on the part of all participants.

Don Kesler makes a good point about the relative lack of complaints about Epson as compared with HP and Canon. It is true here, as elsewhere, that "no news is good news." So Epson seems to have mastered both quality control and customer service. Both Canon and HP need to emulate the example of Epson.

On the other hand, my experience is that HP is trying very hard to quickly resolve any problems and to improve their customer service. John Hollenberg provided the same report for Canon.

However, I would ONLY buy a printer that can use mat black and photo black inks simultaneously -- instant switching -- with no loss of ink. You'll be surprised by how often you switch between papers. Or, to put that a different way, buy a printer that at least has that capability.

The most important consideration is to compare prints from both machines. For many of us, that is impossible. But if you can do it, take your own files and print identical photos on your top two contenders and judge for yourself. As several people have said, all of these printers do a very good job, but each has its own strength on a different part of the color gamut. You might decide that these differences are so subtle as to not matter. For other users, such as those who print fashion, these differences might be the determining factor. (I can see a VERY subtle difference in reds between the 4000 and the 3100 on landscapes. But so subtle it doesn't matter -- for me. But I am not printing anything like a fashion model in bright red dress.)

As far as the price difference, Canon doesn't have a built in spectro and HP does. So I think the price difference is a wash.

Is that price for the Z3100 alone or for the Z3100 that is the package with the APS? I forget what the package is called?? I don't think the APS is essential, but if you can get it in a package deal, you should

Having used a top of the line Xrite device, and it was relatively easy to use, I can only say that it is a bit of a pain. I really appreciate the built in spectro on the HP.

Someone commented that as long as the machine runs its own calibration to stay at a factory level, you can depend on profiles from other sources. That might be true in the future, if the market changes, but not at the present time.

I think the only printers in that category -- with ICC files widely available from paper manufacturers -- are the Epsons that have been on the market for a while. It is very unlikely that paper manufacturers will supply profiles for new printers from Canon or HP for many months after the release of those printers, if ever. (I acknowledge that this varies from one paper maker to another.) So you still need your own spectro or a built in spectro.

Then the final difference is speed of printing. It sounds like Canon may be the speed king. But I am not printing vast quantities where that matters. Will you? We're talking about a difference to one to four minutes to print a 16x20 -- at least that is my best guess.

Finally, I would actually give the HP high marks for ease of use. The software interface is relatively easy to use. It is certainly no more complicated than what I saw with the Epson 4000. I can't compare it to Canon. The number of technical docs available for the HP might sound like it is too complicated or difficult. It is, in fact, just the opposite. The tech documents tell you what you need to know -- what the various driver settings actually do -- so you can change settings when you want to.
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« Last Edit: January 28, 2008, 11:50:59 AM by jpgentry » Logged
marty m
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« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2008, 11:49:49 AM »
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Marty

Your in Washington D.C.  I live just outside of D.C. in the suburbs.  It would be neat to get together sometime and compare prints from the Z and the Canon.  I haven't seen the Z series prints.

-Jonathan
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Yes, I will contact you off line through the forum message system
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