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Author Topic: Z3100 & New Reds: Never ever  (Read 9106 times)
deelight
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« on: September 26, 2008, 03:37:59 PM »
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Hi folks!

After 2 days on Photokina/Cologne it seems to be no question, that the benefit of the new reds for the Z series will not become available for the owners of the 3100.

Today I spoke to the German HP Category Manager for Large Format Printing Guido Häussler on Photokina. In short: he sees the new reds as a natural step in the progress of the product.

I showed a sample print from my 3100 (APS) and test-printed the same file on the Z3200 at the HP stand. The differences needed were there with the new model, although still not perfect. Next week I will post the sample file. BTW, I also test-printed the file on the Epson stand on the 3800 on Epson Watercolor Matte Paper. This print was slightly different but not better than the Z3200.

As an owner of the 3100 44" I do not feel absolutely comfortable with the reds the machine produces in some difficult situations on matte media (I used HP Hahnemuehle Textured FAP for the sample prints). Although I am not unhappy with the printer in general.

The new reds need a new head and it´s construction differs from the one from the 3100 and will not fit into it. This is the short explaination.

Today Guido Häussler compared the benefit of the new reds to the improvement between a camera that has no image stabilisation and the next model, which has. In his opinion it is the decision of the buyer if he purchases the product and the buyer also has to decide himself, if this product will suit his needs. In case of the 3100 vs. the 3200 it is the same. I will not further comment on this statement.

Just FYI: I am photographer, I work with medium format digital back for major german clients and my workflow is fully color managed and the test prints were done with APS profiled machine.

Kind regards from Cologne,

Clem
« Last Edit: September 26, 2008, 03:39:31 PM by deelight » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2008, 12:35:19 PM »
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I'll confirm this.

I was under NDA from HP's U.S. PR agency and was told this a few weeks ago.

The Z3100 can NOT be upgraded to a Z3200. The red/MK printhead is a new design that is physically incompatible with the Z3100.

I'm not happy about it, either.
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deelight
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2008, 06:52:15 AM »
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Okay, guys,

for those interested, here comes the test picture which shows the differences between 3200 and 3100.


See the whole picture in original file quality (1MB) on:

http://www.deelight.biz/LL/Biber.jpg


See the comparison (5MB) between prints (3100 & 3200 on Hahnemühle FAP and Epson 3800 on Epson Watercolor, all shot with 5D) and the original file:

http://www.deelight.biz/LL/3100.jpg


As I already stated, the German HP Category Manager Guido Häussler says: the buyer has to decide from the specs if the product will suit his needs. The 3100 indeed suits my needs nearly perfect, except for I did not know that it does not have the reds included with the high end price...  

Did they write it in the specs? Maybe I am missing something.  

Best,

Clem
« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 08:28:02 AM by deelight » Logged

neil snape
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2008, 07:51:20 AM »
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There are two areas to look for in the reds. One is maximum saturation at different brightness levels, two is the transitions into the darker reds both saturated and middle saturation.
The new Z3200 as expected runs the reds further out at the mid levels but still fails at bottom end saturation.

This is something that Epson still do better at , not only on matte but on all photo media.
BTW, you should have tried this out on the 7900, and the older Z2100 or better yet the 9180.

The reds on the Z3100 were better before they started to hack the color maps IMO. Yet I have to say the red issues on matte paper outside of HP Hahnemuhle Smooth, were not my biggest concern as I saw they were best on the newly optimised surface (HP Smooth FA).
As noted on so many posts and so many forums, for maximum compatibility with media types Epson do much better than HP.

Could you include the Epson print here too?
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William Morse
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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2008, 07:59:18 AM »
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One problem in these comparisons it keeping the overall exposure the same. I noticed quickly that both at the high end (hi-lights)  and in the darker areas both prints were significantly lighter than the original file. Makes it hard to compare. No question, tho, that the reds are definately more saturated from the z3200.

Bill

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Okay, guys,

for those interested, here comes the test picture which shows the differences between 3200 and 3100.
See the whole picture in original file quality (1MB) on:

http://www.deelight.biz/LL/Biber.jpg
See the comparison (5MB) between prints (3100 & 3200 on Hahnemühle FAP, shot with 5D) and the original file:

http://www.deelight.biz/LL/3100.jpg
As I already stated, the German HP Category Manager Guido Häussler says: the buyer has to decide from the specs if the product will suit his needs. The 3100 indeed suits my needs nearly perfect, except for I did not know that it does not have the reds included with the high end price...  

Did they write it in the specs? Maybe I am missing something.   

Best,

Clem
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deelight
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« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2008, 08:14:08 AM »
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Now I included the 3800 aswell, printed on Epson Watercolor. I reloaded the file.

BTW, the Hahnemühle papers are indeed the HP versions...

@William: 1. Of course these comparisons by internet and via monitor viewing lack the final quality. I don´t know how the pictures are displayed on anybodys monitor. All I can say, they look like the prints - as close as I could get them - on MY monitor and my monitor and workflow is fully color managed. 2. Always you will find the prints on matte paper are with less contrast as the file itself. This is the price you pay when printing on matte media.

Clem
« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 08:26:56 AM by deelight » Logged

neil snape
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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2008, 09:18:56 AM »
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Now I included the 3800 aswell, printed on Epson Watercolor. I reloaded the file.

BTW, the Hahnemühle papers are indeed the HP versions...

@William: 1. Of course these comparisons by internet and via monitor viewing lack the final quality. I don´t know how the pictures are displayed on anybodys monitor. All I can say, they look like the prints - as close as I could get them - on MY monitor and my monitor and workflow is fully color managed. 2. Always you will find the prints on matte paper are with less contrast as the file itself. This is the price you pay when printing on matte media.

Clem
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Yes that is what I expected. Thanks for posting the Epson print.
The same print on Epson Vivid magenta should make a difference too, so the 7900 will be better also at this type of image.
Looks much better now on the 3200 than the original Z 3100. The HP papers always work better than on less optimal papers like Hahnemuhle 308 Photo Rag.
PErhaps on these types of images the new matte Baryta surfaces give you higher Dmax while maintaining a soft velvet type of surface.
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2008, 09:31:41 AM »
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Okay, guys,

for those interested, here comes the test picture which shows the differences between 3200 and 3100.
See the whole picture in original file quality (1MB) on:

http://www.deelight.biz/LL/Biber.jpg
See the comparison (5MB) between prints (3100 & 3200 on Hahnemühle FAP and Epson 3800 on Epson Watercolor, all shot with 5D) and the original file:

http://www.deelight.biz/LL/3100.jpg
As I already stated, the German HP Category Manager Guido Häussler says: the buyer has to decide from the specs if the product will suit his needs. The 3100 indeed suits my needs nearly perfect, except for I did not know that it does not have the reds included with the high end price...  

Did they write it in the specs? Maybe I am missing something.   

Best,

Clem
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Great example of why I will stick with Epson.  They have been doing this work long enough to have mastered these subtleties.
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rdonson
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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2008, 09:38:56 AM »
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Great example of why I will stick with Epson.  They have been doing this work long enough to have mastered these subtleties.
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A lot of us came from Epsons and are still happy to have made the move to the HP Z.

The reds aren't a huge concern for me as I don't do reproductions and I handle the reds in my work through paper selection and adjustments for the most part.

Just to be clear.... nothing wrong with Epson or Canon printers.  They all have their quirks and advantages as well.
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deelight
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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2008, 10:59:28 AM »
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Well, I am also VERY satisfied with the quality of the Z3100 in general. And a lot of my pictures even in the reds worked quite fine. But simply not enough of them. I also like b&w quality VERY much, I like building automated profiles.

BUT I am absolutely unhappy with the way the owners of the 3100 are treated by HP. They always said, there were no problems with the reds, they gave us PDFs how to produce good reds with certain workarounds though.

And now they solved the "not existing" problem in a new model and won´t let us existing owners participate. They should have solved the problem by new inks and a firmwareupdate. Hey, we paid something 5000Euro/Dollars for the machine. That´s peanuts???

Best,

Clem
« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 11:00:01 AM by deelight » Logged

William Morse
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« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2008, 11:02:54 AM »
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Hi Clem-

I'm not talking about the reduction in contrast from matte paper. just look at the original file and the photos of the 2 prints. the photos of the two prints are lighter than the original throughoout the range. a quick curve solves most of this. All I'm saying is it makes it harder to compare the original file with the prints.

Please don't take this as a criticism. I can, and have, done the curve as easily as anyone else.

Bill

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Now I included the 3800 aswell, printed on Epson Watercolor. I reloaded the file.

BTW, the Hahnemühle papers are indeed the HP versions...

@William: 1. Of course these comparisons by internet and via monitor viewing lack the final quality. I don´t know how the pictures are displayed on anybodys monitor. All I can say, they look like the prints - as close as I could get them - on MY monitor and my monitor and workflow is fully color managed. 2. Always you will find the prints on matte paper are with less contrast as the file itself. This is the price you pay when printing on matte media.

Clem
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deelight
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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2008, 11:39:05 AM »
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Hi William,

no problem! I didn´t take your words as an offense!  

Let´s stay with the subject instead of peeping pixels...  

Best regards,

Clem
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rdonson
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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2008, 11:57:11 AM »
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And now they solved the "not existing" problem in a new model and won´t let us existing owners participate. They should have solved the problem by new inks and a firmwareupdate. Hey, we paid something 5000Euro/Dollars for the machine. That´s peanuts???

Best,

Clem
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Maybe they'll start a LFP trade in program for Z3100 owners wishing to upgrade to the Z3200.    I got a nice rebate for the Z3100 with an Epson trade-in (that I didn't really have to trade-in).
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« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2008, 01:15:12 PM »
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It was never about peeping anything, it was about understanding the photos. If you look at the photos, it appears that the prints have significantly less red saturation than the original. All I'm suggesting is that part of that (and only part) is because the photos of the prints are also lighter than the original.

So to get back to the subject, how do you evaluate the red in the prints from the z3200 as opposed to the epson?

Bill
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Hi William,

no problem! I didn´t take your words as an offense!   

Let´s stay with the subject instead of peeping pixels...   

Best regards,

Clem
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2008, 06:46:24 PM »
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What surprises me is the apparent acceptance of the HP flat assertion that the new red ink could not have been made available for the Z3100.   I'd like to ask Neil and others to respond to a few questions:

(1)  What does the new ink have to do with the size of the new print heads?  Aren't those two separate issues?  HP points to the size of the print heads to defend its decision to not offer the new red ink on the Z3100.  But what does one have to do with the other?  

(2)  Why can't the new ink be run through the existing print heads?

(3)  Even if this requires flushing the ink lines, many of us would pay that price for improved performance.

Just to be clear, I'm not looking for the usual gung-ho PR defense of HP and the Z3100 from those who will defend their purchase, and the Z3100, to the bitter end.  (That does not include Neil, who offers candid assessments of where Canon and Epson are superior to HP or vice versa.)  

Nor am I looking for quotes from HP or what the HP salesman are telling us.  

I'm asking for those of you, like Neil, who understand the operation of printers, to explain why the new red ink could not have been released for the Z3100 along with new firmware.

Of course, that would assume that HP can actually release the PC version of firmware on their own web site, and not expect us to use the Mac version as was recently the case.

My assumption is that HP found a way to get us to buy the new model, especially if you have an issue with the reds.  Like the auto makers, HP turns out a slightly improved model, and forces us to buy it rather than offering a reliable model with honest and reliable upgrades.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 06:48:12 PM by marty m » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2008, 07:19:41 PM »
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17 months of printing with z3100. Not one complaint from a single customer about reds or anything else. Just the opposite...everyone loves the prints, photos and art repro. I do print almost exclusively on HP media. Also, 17 months and still, not one clog! 44" z3100 paid for itself in only 4 months. If the new model creates a situation where the z3100's are drastically marked down, my advice would be to jump on a great deal if/when it happens.
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« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2008, 12:52:55 AM »
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What surprises me is the apparent acceptance of the HP flat assertion that the new red ink could not have been made available for the Z3100.   I'd like to ask Neil and others to respond to a few questions:

Just to be clear, I'm not looking for the usual gung-ho PR defense of HP and the Z3100 from those who will defend their purchase, and the Z3100, to the bitter end.  (That does not include Neil, who offers candid assessments of where Canon and Epson are superior to HP or vice versa.) 

Nor am I looking for quotes from HP or what the HP salesman are telling us. 

I'm asking for those of you, like Neil, who understand the operation of printers, to explain why the new red ink could not have been released for the Z3100 along with new firmware.

Of course, that would assume that HP can actually release the PC version of firmware on their own web site, and not expect us to use the Mac version as was recently the case.

My assumption is that HP found a way to get us to buy the new model, especially if you have an issue with the reds.  Like the auto makers, HP turns out a slightly improved model, and forces us to buy it rather than offering a reliable model with honest and reliable upgrades.
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 Marty.

There is no specific reason why the Z 3100 couldn't have been upgraded. One thing is sure, as the others did Epson and Canon with the small upgrades, they made it an obligation to replace the printer rather than just update.

There was quite a bit of discussion at HP on whether to do the same or respect it's early adopters and freshly created user base.

It seems that marketing won out, but that is the way it has to go with someone like Mark Hurd running the show.

HP thus are indifferent than the others, something I thought and suggested would prove their mettle if they were to honour their current user base. In the same vein they had said they were listening to users and suggestions of specific groups of imaging specialists (myself included). After many years of taking in everything said so little was heeded, and then changing the people which the exploited as their fathoming pole removes any notion of loyalty for these people, the people they let go in their own ranks , and their users.

With such a small upgrade do you really think that changes anything in the way of QA, image quality, or innovation enough to launch into a system with spotty support?

When these innovations were met by Epson and will be surpassed in terms of use, quality of production, image quality, user base satisfaction, and most importantly support, that really makes me wonder if there are any compelling reasons to buy an HP. Notice I said buy as it seems they are giving them away to users to promote them these days.

PS if it wasn't clear enough; the new Z3200 PS I used was a disaster. An embarrassment, as I saw the same flaws that were there before as it seems they just don't know how to make color maps. So they change the reds and screw up in the same areas that were poor in the beginning. It can only be one of two things: the current testers do have models that are working which says the QC is just as poor as it was before with many discrepancies between units, or two: the new users are NOT or have not done enough evaluation and have not seen problem areas, or are not reporting them.

When I had a Z3100 on their media I was able to print my images without problem with very good image quality. The shadows always lacked colour, still do, but overall in gamut colours printed well. It was other users that spurred on and discovered  non-resolvable deficiencies on mostly third party papers. Now that I prefer to use more and more third party paper ( okay I admit I have thing with Hahnemuhle PhotoRag Baryta) the defects are glaring. In fact the defects are amplified with other third party media, only to be hidden behind GE.

So a little change in red is not the answer. Much more was needed. Z3300 perhaps?
In the meantime I'd look elsewhere.
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marty m
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« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2008, 12:04:42 AM »
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Quote from: neil snape
There is no specific reason why the Z 3100 couldn't have been upgraded. . .There was quite a bit of discussion at HP on whether to do the same or respect it's early adopters and freshly created user base. . . HP thus are indifferent than the others, something I thought and suggested would prove their mettle if they were to honour their current user base. In the same vein they had said they were listening to users and suggestions of specific groups of imaging specialists (myself included). After many years of taking in everything said so little was heeded, and then changing the people which the exploited as their fathoming pole removes any notion of loyalty for these people, the people they let go in their own ranks , and their users. . .

When these innovations were met by Epson and will be surpassed in terms of use, quality of production, image quality, user base satisfaction, and most importantly support, that really makes me wonder if there are any compelling reasons to buy an HP. Notice I said buy as it seems they are giving them away to users to promote them these days.

PS if it wasn't clear enough; the new Z3200 PS I used was a disaster. An embarrassment, as I saw the same flaws that were there before as it seems they just don't know how to make color maps.
So a little change in red is not the answer. Much more was needed. Z3300 perhaps?
In the meantime I'd look elsewhere.
Neil, thanks for the candid assessment, as it is much more valuable to readers of the forum than those who blindly defend their purchase, regardless of which manufacturer it might be.  (Although the HP and Z3

You said that "Notice I said buy as it seems they are giving them away to users to promote them these days."

I have noticed that we have had an enthusiastic review of the 3200 from at least one individual who disappeared from this forum for many months, only to reappear with wildly positive reviews for the 3200.

You are suggesting that some are receiving the printer for free.  That explains the positive reviews, because who would bite the hand who feeds them with free printers?

If that is the case, I will start to ask those who are recommending the 3200 to disclose whether they purchased the printer; or received it for free either as a long-term (permanent) "loan" or were simply given it out right.

And before someone asks me, I purchased the Z3100 and APS in the first month of release, and promptly lost $800 two months later when HP dropped the price on that package.  I am not employed in the graphic arts, photographic or any other business related to that.

And I will buy an Epson the next time, due to far superior customer support and satisfaction based on the postings on this and other web sites.
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« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2008, 12:13:14 AM »
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Quote from: neil snape
There is no specific reason why the Z 3100 couldn't have been upgraded. . .There was quite a bit of discussion at HP on whether to do the same or respect it's early adopters and freshly created user base. . . HP thus are indifferent than the others, something I thought and suggested would prove their mettle if they were to honour their current user base. In the same vein they had said they were listening to users and suggestions of specific groups of imaging specialists (myself included). After many years of taking in everything said so little was heeded, and then changing the people which the exploited as their fathoming pole removes any notion of loyalty for these people, the people they let go in their own ranks , and their users. . .

When these innovations were met by Epson and will be surpassed in terms of use, quality of production, image quality, user base satisfaction, and most importantly support, that really makes me wonder if there are any compelling reasons to buy an HP. Notice I said buy as it seems they are giving them away to users to promote them these days.

PS if it wasn't clear enough; the new Z3200 PS I used was a disaster. An embarrassment, as I saw the same flaws that were there before as it seems they just don't know how to make color maps.
So a little change in red is not the answer. Much more was needed. Z3300 perhaps?
In the meantime I'd look elsewhere.
Neil, thanks for the candid assessment, as it is much more valuable to readers of the forum than those who blindly defend their purchase, regardless of which manufacturer it might be.  (Although the HP and Z3100 zealots are particularly noteworthy in that regard on this forum.)

You said that "Notice I said buy as it seems they are giving them away to users to promote them these days."

You are suggesting that some are receiving the printer for free.  That explains the positive reviews, because who would bite the hand who feeds them with free printers?

I noticed that we have had an enthusiastic review from at least one individual who disappeared from this forum for many months, only to reappear with wildly positive reviews for the 3200.  That person was one of the most strident in criticizing the Z3100 for its reds, and he worked with HP for many months on that issue as it relates to the 3100.  Then he disappeared, only to reappear with extremely positive comments about the 3200.  Of course, he has a 3200 when no one else does.  It makes you wonder what is going on here.

I will start to ask those who are recommending the 3200 to disclose whether they purchased the printer; or received it for free either as a long-term (permanent) "loan" or were simply given it out right.

And before someone asks me, I purchased the Z3100 and APS in the first month of release, and promptly lost $800 two months later when HP dropped the price on that package.  I am not employed in the graphic arts, photographic or any other business related to that.

And I will buy an Epson the next time, due to far superior customer support and satisfaction based on the postings on this and other web sites.
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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2008, 03:12:56 AM »
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By changing the people who do the testing, it is the opposite of redundancy in that by starting from scratch the the same oversights will be made. I don't have any reason to believe their testing methods would be so different than mine, i.e.; they will look at the areas that concern their output goals, yet will not look at all user's needs globally. It is not such a bad thing though as the more testing you do the farther you get from the idealized printing condition which is to simply print your imagery without a worrying that a Granger Rainbow is doing what it should compared to other devices. Even though I did all testing without any type of compensation, or agreement of any kind, a printer in the end was a nice jest for hundreds of hours and or metres of prints for no other use than test. It is not a given that this happens, I suppose it depends on the quality of the feedback given. At the end of the tests though , there was no further contact which definitely is a fine way of closing a chapter if not a book.

Any, and all of what I have done , said, or promoted in public is /was totally disconnected from HP in any way or form. HP don't understand user groups and or forum user bases very well. They think of it as some type of trampoline for tech support or R&D feedback.

What it is , is a way of users forming a knowledge base, sharing of thoughts good and bad, bettering of what we do, etc. To the degree of which you can imagine the repercussions are greater than having big names talking about what the do or rather did, in an unbelievable situation where one has to question the honesty of the spokesperson's real intentions, and furthermore if they really are concerned about printing over their sponsorship contracts. Both of the former are important , both lead to sales, but only one is candid, and close to the truth.

The launch of the first Z series was a push of some very good engineering brought to the photography and fine art market. It was new, exciting, worthwhile. It also was so new that over time there would be things come up that could not be foreseen. Perhaps the launch of the Z3200 is about that more than anything.

The reds were known to be weak in comparison to Canon at the very beginning. Yet if the images produced fit the output which is true in 90% of all printing or better on photo paper then it is not such a big issue outside of those who had to print the <10% that were problematic. So what seems to be a a less than perfect moment, is greatly exaggerated. To launch a new series just to fix reds on some specific images seems akin to when upgrades are made to software that should be dot updates. It also seems that marketing assume for their part that by doing so, at the risk of alienating the current user base and first photo printer user base is to their advantage. As I said for the most part of the user base, 90% of their images or artwork was not a problem so the actual number of users concerned is quite small.

Pricing on printers or anything in what we do leaves me wondering about marketing, of which I know so little about. The difference between sales zones, promotions etc, makes it hard to say any more than when something is new it is going to cost more. When the competition throws a wrench in the game, the discounts are equal to the size of wrench. When the Epson x900 series are shipping , this will be a wrench. A huge one. Yet it will be HP that are going to have the winning hand in a sense as the Epson although a better product is many time more expensive for the slight differences (hard and soft) that all may not need.
Now we just need to await Canon to join in go right on by>
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