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Author Topic: Before I buy a Z3100...  (Read 12680 times)
billbunton
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« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2008, 03:45:19 AM »
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Just to keep this up to date, Wednesday evening I placed an order for a 24" z3100ps with APS.  Hopefully it will arrive next week sometime!

Bill
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rdonson
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« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2008, 09:19:42 AM »
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My HP Z3100 printer stopped working 2 months ago. Before you spend money on an HP Z3100 you should know that you will spend 20-30 minutes just getting to a tech who can answer your questions everytime you call HP. There is no direct line to the designjet group.

If your printer is not working as mine is - they will only give you suggestions on things to try. Everytime you call you will get a new tech who will give you random things to try without any logical step by step process.

I have been calling every 3-4 days for the last 2 months trying to get my printer repaired. They have very limited hours for support.  It is a good thing I don't depend on the printer for my living.

My hospital has a top notch computer IT department and they have been more useful - but only to the point that it is clear that there is hardware failure in the printer.

HP will not send a tech out to do printer repairs - especially if it under warranty- instead after 1-2 months of calling, you may get lucky and they will send you a token circuit board just for giggles and expect you to repair it yourself.

Then when you call back they will tell you that you have to change out circuits on the circuit board they sent you - which is great if you are used to working on circuit boards - but really sucks if your skills are in photography and not computer repair.

Basically when  your HP3100 fails you have a really really big paper weight.

I would seriously consider the type of support you will get when buying a expensive printer. My experience with HP has been unimaginably poor. It is clear from the problems we have had with their buggy software upgrades and support that HP is not really interested in standing behind their products.

It is a real shame because I liked this printer when it worked. It does produce beautiful prints and the in-printer paper calibration is a great leap forward. I feel sorry for the engineers that put their heart,  sweat and tears into the engineering of this printer only to watch the HP warranty and support team sink all their hard work.

So be warned before you make the purchase

Dr. Joel Murphy
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=184740\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

A good friend of mine had an unresponsive Z3100 out of the box.  He bought it from DTG and with their help they had an HP tech out quickly and a replacement machine within days.  I'm not sure why they're not responding to your calls.  Perhaps if you contacted the company you purchased the machine from they could help.
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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]
wsolum
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« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2008, 09:28:57 AM »
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I thought they fixed the roller mark problem.  My z3100 has the brown-ish foam rollers.  I bought in late October 2007.  Do I need to contact HP to get them replaced?  I've printed on Red River Aurora with no problems.  Certainly don't want to lock myself out of using Hanamuhel.


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The z is the way to go. You can't overestimate how incredibly nice it is to profile a new paper by loading it and letting the z it do it's thing to create a profile. Who wants to send out targets and wait ? What if you don't really like the paper after all that ? Even if you do have a spectro, you can't compare the ease of use. It's a no brainer. Although I admit I'm a little skewed in the anti-Epson department: Too many problems with too many printers over the years. Plus the ink swapping thing...

The only important issue will be to get the stock rollers and pinch wheels replaced if you want to print on the newer fiber papers. The old rollers make subtle marks on that type of paper. It'll be done under warranty with no cost to you. It's a bit of a hassle, but after you get it done you'll never look back.
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neil snape
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« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2008, 10:08:43 AM »
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I thought they fixed the roller mark problem.  My z3100 has the brown-ish foam rollers.  I bought in late October 2007.  Do I need to contact HP to get them replaced?  I've printed on Red River Aurora with no problems.  Certainly don't want to lock myself out of using Hanamuhel.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=184959\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You are all set then. It's not as though all users are having problems, certainly not with many papers. There were specific media that do mark, that is what was corrected. There may be a different hardware part though that you will be informed about depending of course on your specific printer serial.
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drjdmm
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« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2008, 12:11:31 AM »
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My printer started printing only 1/6 to 1/8th of the photography about 2 months ago. Then form feeds to the end of the print and cuts the paper.

 I have spent the last 2 months trying to get my printer to work  (just about everynight whe I get home from a 12 hour workday) - rather than work on my photography (which is what I have enjoy). I have a team of IT (NOT HP -secondary HP resellers)  professionals that have assisted me in  eliminating every variable but the printer hardware.

The printer will only work through the USB port but not the ethernet. HP after 1 1/2 months of phone calls finally sent me a circuit board that included the USB and ethernet  connection, but it made no difference.

I have deleted and reinstalled the drivers / software  and reinstalled the firmware 15 + times. I have gone through 2 rolls of HP professonal satin paper testing different variables so you can imagine the hours upon hours I have wasted.

We setup a simple router and used a different computer to make sure that it was not some type of network communication proble.

We have attached a laptop with a crossover cable directly to the ethernet connection to prove that the problem is not my network or desktop computer.

HP has responded by randomly asking me to do things that make no sense to my local HP  IT support group such as:

HP asked me to throw out and replace all of my in warranty ink cartridges and print heads (even though the printer prints from the USB port). Of course that made no difference. Then of course,  they asked me to unistall and reinstall the HP software/firmware again - which of course did nothing but waste more of my time.

Basically when you call HP  you get phone jock - (not a technician) who is barely familiar with the Z3100 and they give you random things to try hoping that that you will eventually tire and go away.  Their phone jocks are trained to tell you to just unistall and reinstall their software. You have to be very persistent to get any more information from them.

Printing from the USB port is not an option since I have the printer in a seperate section of my house and I spent a lot of money to have a printer that is suppose to function on a network. I don't think that it is unreasonable to expect it to work longer than 10 months - I print about 2-3 photographs a week.

I believe HP's plan is  to just keep stalling me until my warranty period runs out and then hope I will just go away out of frustration.


The printer is less than 1 year old, but since HP gives such limited and basically useless warranty/technical support I will probably have to throw out the printer and buy and Epson or Canon.

Joel Murphy DVM



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Joel,

You wrote a lot, but you didn't really include the details. What exactly is the problem with your printer? Does it turn on?, etc.

You should be able to swap out a circuit board. I was afraid to swap out a motherboard on a computer I purchased from ABS, but the tech assured me I could do it and walked me through it. Worked out great, because I gained so much confidence I built my next computer myself. I don't know how exactly how HP's tech support works, but you need to establish a relationship with ONE tech, get his phone number, and try to only deal with that one individual. Then you are working with someone who knows your situation, what has been tried, etc. ABS has such a system and it works great. I always spoke with the same tech support.

Can you still purchase the warranty that comes with on site support? I know it's pricey, but that is why they sell that for people who are intimidated by getting into their machine and swapping out parts.

Bottom line: If you take your time and follow instructions, swapping out computer parts is not a big deal for most. That may not be your problem, but the sooner you tackle that the sooner you will know for sure. At some point you will get to the point where they will send a tech out.

I completely disagree with your comment about "buggy" software upgrades. In the past, other manufacturers didn't even offer upgrades to current users of a model...they just made a new model with the "upgrades" and then they expected you to scrap your printer and buy the new model! I'm pretty impressed with HP's efforts to work out some of the minor annoyances in the z3100 with firmware / driver updates.

None of that matters to you if your printer ain't printin'. Good luck. Stay on 'em. Make careful, detailed notes every time you call tech support and exactly what you do each time you attempt a fix. Keep us posted on how it goes.
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rdonson
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« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2008, 09:54:40 AM »
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Joel,

I don't know where you're located but perhaps its the US and this will help.


December 6, 2007 at 10:17 am

To those of you who have outlined support issues on your Z series printer: my name is Ben Wolf and I am the product manager for the Z2100 and Z3100 series in the US. Let me personally apologize to anyone who has received a poor support experience from HP. I encourage anyone who has received an unsatisfactory result or had frustration with our support process to please contact me directly at ben.wolf@hp.com and I will ensure your problems are addressed.

I take customer satisfaction on our products very seriously. This is not corporate lip service: every customer is important to me, and if you are not satisfied, I will personally get involved to resolve whatever issues you may be having.

Regards,

Ben Wolf
Creative Segment Mgr
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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]
Roscolo
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« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2008, 10:55:12 AM »
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My printer started printing only 1/6 to 1/8th of the photography about 2 months ago. Then form feeds to the end of the print and cuts the paper.

 
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Joel,

I'm no IT person. I know just enough to mess things up. After doing an XP reinstall, I had problems printing, the printer was extremely slow...so slow one would think it wasn't working. Not the same as what you are experiencing, but it's one more thing you can try. Here is what I did. Probably doesn't help your problem, but you never know:

Fixed slow printing on hp z3100:

What I did:
- Went to Control Panel
-Printers
-HP Z3100
-Right click, then Properties
-Changed setting from "Spool print documents so program finishes printing faster" to "Print directly to the printer."
-Then I closed that out and went back to printing - selected "Best" quality (600dpi) under Advanced settings (haven't tried Multiple Passes yet).
-Printer carriage is no longer stopping on the right side, printing smooth, no flaws in print. Estimated print time on front panel for this 32x40 print is about 36 minutes - what I'm used to.

So, 12 hours and literally all night later, after removing heads, doing the coffee filter clean, re-align, recalibrate, and a bunch of stress, it all comes down to one click of the mouse. Gee, that's never happened to me before  


The entire thread is [a href=\"http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=20863&st=0&p=152359&#entry152359]here[/url]
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drjdmm
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« Reply #27 on: March 30, 2008, 07:13:02 PM »
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I have already tried all the optons with windows spooling, but I greatly appreciate your help. I will try to contact Ben Wolfe and see if he can help me. But the fact that HP software is so buggy that you are not able to spool your print jobs belays my point that HP has a long way to go before this can be considered a reliable printer.

Sincerely
Dr. Joel Murphy
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Roscolo
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« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2008, 10:12:32 PM »
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I have already tried all the optons with windows spooling, but I greatly appreciate your help. I will try to contact Ben Wolfe and see if he can help me. But the fact that HP software is so buggy that you are not able to spool your print jobs belays my point that HP has a long way to go before this can be considered a reliable printer.

Sincerely
Dr. Joel Murphy
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=185543\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hope it works out in the end. But to clarify, my problems with print spooling are NOT the fault of HP software. I stated I did an XP reinstall, but what I did not say was the reinstall was also on a new, rather complex motherboard with a lot of very particular settings for my set-up, and I was also dual-booting and I found out after the fact that I did not properly install the drivers for the my set-up with this motherboard.

I've been using the system as is because I've just been too busy to do another, proper reinstall and the print spooling really isn't an issue...everything prints perfectly and at proper speed. Once I reinstall again, I expect to I won't have to change spool settings. But when I do I will follow up if it persists.

Again, good luck. We've all been there at some point or other and we all feel your pain.
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drjdmm
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« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2008, 01:31:03 PM »
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I emailed Ben Wolf and listed the problems I had with getting support. I actually got a call from HP technical services and they are sending out a tech on Wednesday. In the months that I have been dealing with tech support they have never called and always refused to  send a tech for onsite repair.

I would greatly recommend that anyone goiing through the experience I have had contact Ben Wolf earlier and I thank those forum participants that directed me to him. It seems there are people in the HP organization that are interested in giving good support.

Dr. Joel Murphy
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rdonson
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« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2008, 05:23:08 PM »
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Joel,

Please let us know if the tech is able to resolve your problems.  It would be nice to see closure for you on this.
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Ron[/span][/span][/span][/span]
DLS
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« Reply #31 on: April 02, 2008, 11:16:37 AM »
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I emailed Ben Wolf and listed the problems I had with getting support. I actually got a call from HP technical services and they are sending out a tech on Wednesday. In the months that I have been dealing with tech support they have never called and always refused to  send a tech for onsite repair.

I would greatly recommend that anyone goiing through the experience I have had contact Ben Wolf earlier and I thank those forum participants that directed me to him. It seems there are people in the HP organization that are interested in giving good support.

Dr. Joel Murphy
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=186184\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You've been vocal on this board about how bad HP support is (contrary to most others' experience) and went as far as to NOT recomend the z3100 to someone who asked about it in another thread because of your experience. It's a shame that people pay more attention to negative comments than positive ones, because you may have steered someone away from what is arguably the best printer on the market.

It'll be interesting to see how vocal you'll be if you do resolve your problems.
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drjdmm
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« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2008, 09:41:47 PM »
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To give everyone on the forum an update on my printer. After emailing Ben Wolfe, I immediately got an email back from him AND I got a call from HP support. In the past I had to call them on each correspondance taking 15-30 minutes to reach a designjet phone support person. So getting a call from HP was a dramatic 180 degree improvement in service. I also got a call today to make sure the technicians arrived!

They scheduled 2 technicians to do an on-site repair in 2 days. (Wed was the first day that I could be home). The technicians were knowledgable and professional and worked for 4 hours. They replaced the "mother board" with no success and then replaced the "sensor board" and the printer started working again.
The problem with the printer is that it would not work with an ethernet connection, but would work with a USB connection.  The technicians were scraching their head as were my IT support group. When they looked at all the steps that I had taken they said that I should have demonstrated more anger and hostility on the phone with tech support until a supervisor agreed to send out an onsite repair order. I will take that advice, but it is not my nature to get hostile with workers that I am sure are only following the protocols they have been given by a bean counter that is penny wise and dollar foolish.


As I stated earlier  I really like this printer  and   As I stated earlier I believe this printer is a leap forward in photography printer technology. I like being on the cutting edge - that is why I replaced my Nikon D2x and D200 with the D3 and D300 when they became available.

I was able to print my first print on my HPZ3100 from my D3 today and I am back in photography bliss.      I printed a picture of a rare rainforest bird called the Houtzan that took me  5 days in a dugout canoe with a couple of Peruvian Amazon Indians to capture (on the Peruvian Amazon workshop I  led  in March). The colors and detail of the print are vibrant and perfect  - if I must say so myself. Now I can start trying some of the techniques I watched in  Michael's fine art workshop download.

So for those people thinking about buying a HP 3100  I do recommend the printer but I would definately keep Ben Wolf's email handy if you start going through the experience that I did with their technical support. I do believe their phone support group needs a new set of protocols.

Without the help of the forum participants I would not have found Ben Wolf who was able to demonstrate to me how professional, efficient and effective HP support can be.

My printer has not been moved and has been connected to a APS voltage regulated power backup protector since it was turned on. If  the hardware had failed after April 9th - when my 1 year warranty was over I would have had a very expensive repair bill. With that in mind I have changed my mind and decided to purchase the 3 year extended warranty. I hope that Ben Wolf does not leave HP during that time.


Dr. Joel Murphy
www.drjmphotography.com
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Roscolo
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« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2008, 12:12:22 AM »
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Congrats, Joel.

You've got me thinking about buying the extended warranty. I'm coming up on 1 yr. also.

Glad you're printing again.
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drjdmm
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« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2008, 12:28:29 AM »
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To give everyone on the forum an update on my printer. After emailing Ben Wolfe, I immediately got an email back from him AND I got a call from HP support. In the past I had to call them on each correspondance taking 15-30 minutes to reach a designjet phone support person. So getting a call from HP was a dramatic 180 degree improvement in service. I also got a call today to make sure the technicians arrived!

They scheduled 2 technicians to do an on-site repair in 2 days. (Wed was the first day that I could be home). The technicians were knowledgable and professional and worked for 4 hours. They replaced the "mother board" with no success and then replaced the "sensor board" and the printer started working again.
The problem with the printer is that it would not work with an ethernet connection, but would work with a USB connection. The technicians were scraching their head as were my IT support group. When they looked at all the steps that I had taken they said that I should have demonstrated more anger and hostility on the phone with tech support until a supervisor agreed to send out an onsite repair order. I will take that advice, but it is not my nature to get hostile with workers that I am sure are only following the protocols they have been given by a bean counter that is penny wise and dollar foolish.


As I stated earlier I really like this printer and As I stated earlier I believe this printer is a leap forward in photography printer technology. I like being on the cutting edge - that is why I replaced my Nikon D2x and D200 with the D3 and D300 when they became available.

I was able to print my first print on my HPZ3100 from my D3 today and I am back in photography bliss. I printed a picture of a rare rainforest bird called the Houtzan that took me 5 days in a dugout canoe with a couple of Peruvian Amazon Indians to capture (on the Peruvian Amazon workshop I led in March). The colors and detail of the print are vibrant and perfect - if I must say so myself. Now I can start trying some of the techniques I watched in Michael's fine art workshop download.

So for those people thinking about buying a HP 3100 I do recommend the printer but I would definately keep Ben Wolf's email handy if you start going through the experience that I did with their technical support. I do believe their phone support group needs a new set of protocols.

Without the help of the forum participants I would not have found Ben Wolf who was able to demonstrate to me how professional, efficient and effective HP support can be.

My printer has not been moved and has been connected to a APS voltage regulated power backup protector since it was turned on. If the hardware had failed after April 9th - when my 1 year warranty was over I would have had a very expensive repair bill. With that in mind I have changed my mind and decided to purchase the 3 year extended warranty. I hope that Ben Wolf does not leave HP during that time.


Dr. Joel Murphy
www.drjmphotography.com
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rdonson
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« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2008, 05:43:04 AM »
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Its so good to hear that you're once again enjoying the capabilities of the Z3100, Joel.

Its great to hear the influence that Ben Wolf can exert for customers.

You've got me thinking that I should seriously consider extending my warranty.
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« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2008, 07:32:15 AM »
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Joel,

I posted several messages around this time last year detailing my experience with Canon tech support.  The printer was an iPF5000, and to recap, it had a banding issue when printing dark, saturated colors that never was resolved.  I was so disgusted with the printer and the time and money it caused me to waste on "test" prints that I seriously considered making a video of me setting fire to it and posting it on You Tube.

The threads are still here and on John Hollenberg's iPF wiki for those with morbid curiosity.  If a printer can be possessed by demons then mine certainly was--and the final straw was when a rep from Canon USA in Lake Success, NY informed me that the banding I was seeing in my test image was "within spec".  This after I spent my own time and money mailing a set of test images to him.

I was finally able to resolve the matter to my satisfaction by writing a very calm, professional letter to the president of Canon USA.  Within a few days I had a rep on the line who essentially asked what it would take to make me happy.  My response was that I wished to simply undo the entire transaction since Canon was not backing down from their position that my printer was within spec.

I ordered a Z3100 from IT supplies, got a 100% refund from Canon, shipped my star crossed iPF5000 back to Canon USA using the Z3100's pallet and box(!) since I had already discarded the Canon packing material, and was then finally able to enjoy the excellent images I had created over the years with my various Canon DSLRs.

The Z3100 has more than lived up to its advance billing, and has been as close to perfect as any mass produced machine can be in the 11 months I have owned it.  I had a tech out to fix the paper sensor switch about six months ago, I had no idea they were using a simple open frame mechanical 59 cent looking part in the original design, but that has literally been IT as far as mechanical issues go.  The drivers did require a bit of troubleshooting work as I had an issue with CS3 crashing after one of the firmware/driver upgrades (ver 5.xx to 6.xx).  The cure was to manually remove every trace of Z3100 "stuff" from the hard drives and from the registry and reinstall the latest package.  That cured the crashing problems but I say it does point out flaws in HPs driver package---my PC is as unexotic as can be had, standard XP SP1 on a Core2 Duo and a mainstream Asus motherboard.  My day job is as the analog/hardware guy in the midst of a software/firmware group and I know very well the hassle of supporting all the permutations of hardware and software out there.  That aside, I would expect any competent SW team to handle the plain vanilla platforms cleanly.

But hey, back to the important stuff:  The printer.  Gorgeous prints, zero troubles with banding, no head clogs, no gratuitous ink consumption, always ready to print (I have it on a UPS and per HP I leave it on all the time).  I have burned through my first test roll of Ilford Gold Fibre Silk and I think it has become my new favorite paper.  No ugly marks yet, still using the original rollers and pizza wheels although I will be scheduling the update as soon as the parts are finalized as I also want to try the Harman Baryta paper and I understand marks are a given with it.

Like rdonson, it is time for me to decide on the extended warranty "care pack".  $700 per year for two years could buy me several smaller printers but it could also more than pay for itself if the printer were to require a single service call.  I have already decided, I will be ordering the care pack today.  I am totally satisfied with this printer's output and do not foresee any disruptive technology coming along in the next two years that will suddenly make the output from my printer look like 1987 vintage Oki-color by comparison.  I just want to keep printing on it without worrying about having to tuck this monster under my arm and carry it to a service center!

To (finally) wrap it up, it's common knowledge that any company can crank out an occasional clunker.  What happens after the clunker has found a new home can make or break a reputation.  Any corporate leader that expects to remain viable in this age of instant communication had better make sure that the tech support organization is as well funded and supported as the R & D team.  If customer support drives away customers then the product planners and design engineers might as well go home too.

Tim
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routlaw
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« Reply #37 on: April 05, 2008, 11:42:56 AM »
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Tim

Thats some interesting information and helpful to those of us considering a new printer. I do have a question for you and others who have used the HP Z series and especially if you have had comparative experience with Epsons. Metermarism issues is this a noticeable problem with the HPs, either b&w mode or color?

Thanks

Rob
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Roscolo
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« Reply #38 on: April 05, 2008, 12:07:37 PM »
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Tim

Thats some interesting information and helpful to those of us considering a new printer. I do have a question for you and others who have used the HP Z series and especially if you have had comparative experience with Epsons. Metermarism issues is this a noticeable problem with the HPs, either b&w mode or color?

Thanks

Rob
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=187249\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


There is absolutely no metamerism in my prints made with the z3100 on HP ID Satin or Gloss or Kodak Satin or Gloss, color or B&W, thanks to the gloss enhancer.
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rdonson
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« Reply #39 on: April 05, 2008, 12:52:26 PM »
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Tim

Thats some interesting information and helpful to those of us considering a new printer. I do have a question for you and others who have used the HP Z series and especially if you have had comparative experience with Epsons. Metermarism issues is this a noticeable problem with the HPs, either b&w mode or color?

Thanks
Rob
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=187249\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

My experience with Epsons was with their UltraChrome inkset not the latest.

In any case, as related by Roscolo I too have not experienced any metamerism with my HP Z3100.  I too use the Gloss Enhancer on satin and glossy materials.
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Ron[/span][/span][/span][/span]
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