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Author Topic: Epson 9900 v HP z 3200?  (Read 9253 times)
Curtis Miller
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« on: March 22, 2010, 02:52:01 PM »
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I suspect there is no agreement on this topic but I'm going to be buying a 44" printer very soon and wonder if there is any consensus on the relative merits of these two printers. I am a fine art photographer. I will be printing relatively small volumes of images, probably on a mix of photo and fine art papers but with a preference for the fine art papers at least for now.

I've read that the HP is much faster than the Epson. That's nice, but then I won't be doing a big volume of printing. I'm attracted to the built in photospectrometer in the HP and its ability to do self-calibration, but I'm not entirely clear whether the photospectrometer is included in the basic model or only in the version with the rip. I have a Colormunki and have been doing my own profiling on my Epson 4880 with satisfactory results so I could probably do without the built-in profiling.

The reviews I've read seem to suggest that the HP is a very low-maintenance printer in the sense of not having problems with ink clogs and paper handling, and the driver seems to do some nice things as far as monitoring paper and ink usage.

Are there significant differences in image quality? What about the photospectrometer and the speed and handling properties of the two machines?
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2010, 04:04:15 PM »
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Quote from: Curtis Miller
I suspect there is no agreement on this topic but I'm going to be buying a 44" printer very soon and wonder if there is any consensus on the relative merits of these two printers. I am a fine art photographer. I will be printing relatively small volumes of images, probably on a mix of photo and fine art papers but with a preference for the fine art papers at least for now.

I've read that the HP is much faster than the Epson. That's nice, but then I won't be doing a big volume of printing. I'm attracted to the built in photospectrometer in the HP and its ability to do self-calibration, but I'm not entirely clear whether the photospectrometer is included in the basic model or only in the version with the rip. I have a Colormunki and have been doing my own profiling on my Epson 4880 with satisfactory results so I could probably do without the built-in profiling.

The reviews I've read seem to suggest that the HP is a very low-maintenance printer in the sense of not having problems with ink clogs and paper handling, and the driver seems to do some nice things as far as monitoring paper and ink usage.

Are there significant differences in image quality? What about the photospectrometer and the speed and handling properties of the two machines?


The Epson should be much faster.
There are some issues with image quality that force users to higher print resolutions with an impact on the speed but a good 9900 should be faster.

On the Z3200 the spectrometer is always included, it does calibration and comes with sufficient software to create printer profiles is included as well. I think you will not make better profiles with the ColorMunki.

The Epson 9900 comes without a spectrometer. It can be purchased separately or there are some more affordable bundles. Then you still need profiling software that is compatible with the Epson spectrometer. You can not compare the HP solution with Epson's version.

The image quality of the HP is excellent. Gloss the best around, B&W as well.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/

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hsmeets
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2010, 04:11:57 PM »
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You'll get as many thumbs-up for HP as Epson, don't think you go wrong with either, personal preferences and specific details may lead you to choose the one over the other. No dealer(s) within traveling distance to see/work with both printers??  I for sure would like to see the printers before spending that kind of money. Btw: check out price and size of inktanks for both: quite different: HP relative small with 130ml vs Epson with 350/700ml but Epson is on a 'per ml' basis much cheaper....but than again, "they"  say the epson is less frugal with ink....

To make your life even more miserable :-) perhaps also worthwhile to have a look at the recently announced Canon iPF8300 ??
« Last Edit: March 22, 2010, 04:15:47 PM by hsmeets » Logged

Curtis Miller
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2010, 04:15:28 PM »
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Thank you Ernst. Your reply illustrates why it's such a difficult choice. I'm surprised about the Epson being faster. The review of the Z3100 here at Luminous Landscape suggests the HP is faster. The spectrometer does sound nice. I like the idea of the printer doing it's own calibration and I like the idea of the replaceable heads on the HP.

Any comment on the ease of use, user experience? Again, the review was very positive about it. How about support? I've heard negative comments about HP's support.

The small ink tanks were a concern but I'm a low volume printer so smaller may not be so bad and with the two-packs, the ink compares very favorably to the Epson.

I'd be reluctant to even consider a printer without a substantial track record. I want to make a choice before the Epson rebate runs out at the end of the month.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2010, 04:18:01 PM by Curtis Miller » Logged
Wayne Fox
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2010, 04:37:17 PM »
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Very hard to get objective opinions on this ... we all tend to defend our own choices. Rather than get into here again there are numerous threads here that a little searching will turn up.

The main reason I responded is that personally if I were buying a new printer the 2 in contention would be the Canon ipf8300 and the Epson 9900.  I spent some time talking to canon and looking at output of the new 63/8300 printers, and they have done a nice job with new inks and heads.  Bottom line is increased gamut, decreased bronzing and gloss differential, and better droplet formation for more consistent size, shape, and placement of dots.  I chatted with David Sparer for a few minutes and he said one of the main goals in the printer development was better tonal transitions.  I don't have one here at the store yet to do some serious testing, but personally think output from either of these printers will be about as good as can be had with current technology.  

I admit to not testing a 3200, but in my mind the on board spectro is to keep the printer in calibration which is a necessity, so they market it as a feature.  Personally I hate the idea of having to pay for a spectro every time I bought a printer ... I prefer a stand alone solution for that.  I tested a 3100 on two occasions and came away very disappointed both times ... so much so I won't take the time to bring in a 3200.  Nothing to gain, I already know what I can get with the Epson.

My 7900 output still continues to amaze me and I have no doubt you would be delighted with the print quality, but the new Canon appears to be in the same league and worth evaluating.
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Curtis Miller
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2010, 04:49:48 PM »
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Thank you Wayne. Interesting perspective. Every comment is helpful!
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ooblik
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2010, 04:55:15 PM »
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I work with a Z3200 for 6 month now, before I had a 9900 and a lot of trouble...
for me Z3200 is the BEST choice, without any hésitation !

look a this :
> http://members.upc.nl/reppel/E9900.html
> http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....225&hl=9900
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Ryan Grayley
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2010, 06:09:58 PM »
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I have both a Z3200 44" and an Epson 7900.

The 7900 print speed is noticeably faster but the advantage is lost because I spend a lot of  time checking and clearing ink blocks on the Epson.
The print quality to my naked eye only is impossible to tell apart.
Loading roll paper on the Epson is a lot easier.

If I was buying today I would consider Canon and HP but not Epson.

Ryan
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Ryan Grayley BA IEng MIET ARPS
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2010, 06:52:24 PM »
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I use all three of these and agree that the Z3200 isn't quite in the same league as the Epson x900 or Canon x300 printers speed-wise, gamut-wise and quality-wise. Epson has had a number of issues with this generation but I'm hopeful that they are behind us.  The gamuts from Epson's and Canon's latest inks are very large and similar. Epson's gamut is slightly larger in the highlights, Canon's is slightly larger in the shadows. Canon's printers hardly ever clog and come with a Photoshop printing plugin that offers an exceptional printing workflow. Epson's color LCD is snazzier looking. Both are neck-to-neck speed-wise. There are lots of little details to discuss but I imagine cost and personal preference will the deciding factors in your decision, and it's hard to go wrong either way.
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abiggs
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2010, 10:32:57 PM »
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Here are some additional thoughts after my using a Z3200 44", a Canon iPF8300 44" and an Epson 9900 44":

Cut sheet on the Z3200 is very painful, the Epson is the easiest and Canon somewhere close to the 9900
The Z3200 does not have a cutter for heavy media like canvas, and the 9900 and 8300 printers do
The Z3200 is s-l-o-w
The Z3200 has the best black and white toning in the printer driver, as it does highlights, mid tones and shadows separately. VERY COOL.
The 9900 loads paper from the top and the Z3200 from the rear. Pain in the neck on the Z3200.

Since I own all 3 of the latest 44" printers, here is what I use them for:

Z3200 for toned black and white prints on either fiber or cotton papers. No canvas.
iPF8300 for just about anything. when speed can be an issue.
9900 for just about anything. when speed can be an issue.
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Andy Biggs
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2010, 03:23:54 AM »
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Quote from: Curtis Miller
Thank you Ernst. Your reply illustrates why it's such a difficult choice. I'm surprised about the Epson being faster. The review of the Z3100 here at Luminous Landscape suggests the HP is faster. The spectrometer does sound nice. I like the idea of the printer doing it's own calibration and I like the idea of the replaceable heads on the HP.

Any comment on the ease of use, user experience? Again, the review was very positive about it. How about support? I've heard negative comments about HP's support.

The small ink tanks were a concern but I'm a low volume printer so smaller may not be so bad and with the two-packs, the ink compares very favorably to the Epson.

I'd be reluctant to even consider a printer without a substantial track record. I want to make a choice before the Epson rebate runs out at the end of the month.


I didn't include the Canons. If I needed a fast machine I would go for a Canon. I'm not familiar with the latest Canons iPF8300 but it must be even a better machine than the model it replaces. The Canon heads are however more expensive and with the older iPF9000 there were wear problems on the flat cable connection to the heads. I suppose that it is less a problem on smaller machines and probably solved with the newer models. If HP launches a faster machine it will probably have more expensive heads too, There is a price for more nozzles, the Z6100 heads are more expensive.
Service stories exist for all manufacturers, I have no experience with HP so far, the machines print. I do the maintenance. Clean the capping station side, oil the carriage rod. etc. When I ordered spindles I got them fast and at a good price.
That calibration is needed on the HPs because they are not consistent is an old tale meanwhile. My two Z models have been very consistent, I skip a calibration request of the machine guite often and do not notice differences in repeat jobs. That it can calibrate/linearise is a feature in my experience. Takes little time too. On top of that is the profiling with a full solution included.
If you are a low volume printer then cart sizes should be small. The twin packs are at most 7 Eurocents per ML more expensive than +700 ML carts.
I agree it isn't a sheet machine but feeding sheets over the roll insert makes it easier in my experience. I have space enough to place the printers with their short side to a wall and make access from both sides possible.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/

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stillekracht
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2010, 04:22:14 AM »
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Quote from: Onsight
Epson has had a number of issues with this generation but I'm hopeful that they are behind us.
Sorry to say, but this issue certainly not.
So maybe you should run a test on the 9900 you're going to buy....

Hartelijke Groet van Matthijs.
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Curtis Miller
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2010, 06:09:41 AM »
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Well, this discussion has been helpful! Lots to think about.

There seems to be very little first hand experience with the Canon. I guess it's just been released. I haven't seen thorough reviews so I'm hesitant to consier it. Does anyone know of a good review? How is paper loading and handling on the Canon? I see from the Canon web site that it appears to come with 330ml ink tanks. This would be a significant savings if "tanks" means full cartridges. Anyone know about that?

I like the front loading papers, no spindles on the Epson and the media cutter. I have very limited space and getting behind the machine could be an issue. Paper handling is significant to me. I've had some challenges feeding individual sheets manually into the 4880 so I know how challenging and frustrating that can be.

The nozzle clogging scares me a bit. I have a couple of other Epson printers and I have occasional clogs but they're easily cleared. I lose an occasional print because of it but I also use at least one of the printers only every few months and it doesn't take more than a nozzle cleaning or two to get back in action. I can't imagine the 9900 would be worse than these machines (4880 & 2200). But "a lot" of clogging would be a pain. And the prints would be bigger and more expensive to lose.

Speed is good, though not a deciding factor for a solo photographer. The banding issue that Stillekracht has had is scary, but I have not seen other reports of this kind of problem. Has it been more widespread or only the one machine?
Image quality is really the number one consideration for me. After that, it would be reliability and ease of use, including issues like paper handling and head clogging.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2010, 06:24:01 AM by Curtis Miller » Logged
Mulis Pictus
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2010, 07:30:34 AM »
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Quote from: Curtis Miller
The nozzle clogging scares me a bit. I have a couple of other Epson printers and I have occasional clogs but they're easily cleared. I lose an occasional print because of it but I also use at least one of the printers only every few months and it doesn't take more than a nozzle cleaning or two to get back in action. I can't imagine the 9900 would be worse than these machines (4880 & 2200). But "a lot" of clogging would be a pain. And the prints would be bigger and more expensive to lose.

Clogging still might be an issue. I am fighting more than a year with excessive clogging on 7900 and EPSON support seems to be quite clueless. I am waiting few weeks already for 4th repair of the same issue. They replaced nearly everything in the printer and it still happens and is getting worse. (clogs after nearly every start, one color channel completely missing - happens even between 2 jobs, cleaning after black ink switch, ...) As already mentioned in this forum, in EU you are quite unlucky if product doesn't work. I asked EPSON to replace the printer, but they insist on repairing it again and again. Lot of time and material lost.

I am happy to see this thread as I am planning to buy wider printer soon too. It would be convenient to have 9900 because they use the same ink and can have same papers in stock, but after my experience with 7900 I am leaning towards getting one from another company. I am still undecided though.
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2010, 09:55:10 AM »
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Quote
The Canon heads are however more expensive and with the older iPF9000 there were wear problems on the flat cable connection to the heads.
The new heads (PF-05) are now more affordable, have a longer warranty than the printer itself and have proven to have a much longer lifespan than the earlier head designs (PF-01, PF-02).

Quote from: Curtis Miller
There seems to be very little first hand experience with the Canon. I guess it's just been released. I haven't seen thorough reviews so I'm hesitant to consier it. Does anyone know of a good review? How is paper loading and handling on the Canon? I see from the Canon web site that it appears to come with 330ml ink tanks. This would be a significant savings if "tanks" means full cartridges. Anyone know about that?
I like to recommend the Epson x880 generation for my proofing clients that need simplicity, reliability and RIP support. The Canon's are the underdog that's been a surprisingly good fit for my fine art and photography related clients over the past few years. The first generation of x000 printers were so-so and their support was terrible but they've come a long way and the x100 and now x300 printers are really fantastic. They are priced to sell and Canon has turned their support system around to a first class service. The 44" and 60" Canon's do come with a full set of twelve 330ml cartridges. Prices for the 8300 are around US $3500-$3700 right now with the rebates and incentives. I hear the 24" printers are coming with a free second set of inks. So hard to keep track of all the rebates and incentives for all these printers...

For users who don't print everyday I like to encourage Epson users to print a nozzle check on plain paper before every printing session. That way you'll never waste a sheet of good paper due to clogged nozzles. On the Canon printers this step isn't necessary as it monitor's itself. You can leave a Canon off for 6 months, crank it up and make a print without manually having to check the heads. The Z series are somewhere in between, in my experience. All of these printers should be left on so that they can maintain themselves in and out of sleep mode, and regular printing is a good idea that will prevent clogging and increase print head life.

Paper handling is pretty straightforward on the Canon printers. Rolls are actually loaded from the front bottom of the printer so you don't have to lift a heavy roll far off the ground. Sheets are loaded from the front. The large iPF printers have a one inch margin on the bottom of sheets which is notable if you, say, want to print an 8x10 on a letter sized sheet. Epson's paper handling is a tad nicer, especially on the x900 printers. I love the ability to place a sheet on the top feeder and hit the pause button to load on any large format Epson. The x900 printers are very quiet! Epson has followed Canon's lead buy producing very heavy, rigid and well made large format machines with the x900 printers. HP's Z series rear roll loading is a pain, IMO and means you can't just leave it up against a wall. The Z printers are nice to have in the center of a room if possible. I have one client that takes advantage of this setup by purchasing huge rolls of paper on a large 6" core (less curl!) that he's adapted for his Z. See the photos at: http://www.on-sight.com/2008/11/21/real-pr...se-large-cores/ The Z series are really nice for those that don't want to think about color management, and for those that want to take advantage of the gloss optimizer. I wish the GO would work on matte papers so we could simulate the look of an offset coffee table book printed with a spot varnish...

Lots more to discuss but all of these printers have their place and market niche! Even the older Epson x880 and Canon x100 printers have their place despite the presence of the newer models. You've got to feel you way towards the right one for you.
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stillekracht
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« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2010, 12:28:03 PM »
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Quote from: Curtis Miller
The banding issue that Stillekracht has had is scary, but I have not seen other reports of this kind of problem. Has it been more widespread or only the one machine?
I am affraid my 9900 is not the only one.
I know of an other one here in Holland.
In this tread you can read about others having the same issue.
On this forum there are others also.

So this is not an isolated issue.

Hartelijke Groet van Matthijs.
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Curtis Miller
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« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2010, 02:10:25 PM »
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I just checked with Canon about the ink before I came to the forum. It's true. Full 330ml ink tanks. That may be enough to tip me in that direction. The prices I had seen were around $4,000 after the rebate. The epson is just a bit more, but you have to buy $1,500 worth of ink in order to use it. That's a big difference!

Anyone have recommendations on a place to buy the Canon?
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abiggs
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« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2010, 02:11:37 PM »
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Quote from: Curtis Miller
I just checked with Canon about the ink before I came to the forum. It's true. Full 330ml ink tanks. That may be enough to tip me in that direction. The prices I had seen were around $4,000 after the rebate. The epson is just a bit more, but you have to buy $1,500 worth of ink in order to use it. That's a big difference!

Anyone have recommendations on a place to buy the Canon?

Shades of Paper is my place, and I highly recommend Jason Adams over there. 856-787-9200.
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Andy Biggs
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« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2010, 07:58:58 PM »
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After having used large format Epson's for nearly 10 years I wouldn't dream of going back, despite the fact that they FINALLY, only after being left behind in the dust in this regard, offered a unit that didn't require major flushing to change from a matte to a gloss media ! How kind of them.  I'll never forgive them for all that wasted ink and time.

The gamut on the 9900 is excellent and the gray output very neutral. It is also very fast and sturdy. The two big things that would keep me away are:  it being an ink hog, like all the Epsons, and ANY printer that requires you to STILL, after all these years have to do a friggin nozzle check before every rag paper print is a no go for me. That's absurd and there is no excuse for that. Both Canon and HP have software that constantly monitors the nozzles and ONLY cleans when absolutely necessary, not randomly and huge gulps of expensive pigment down to the wast tank, leading many people to surmise that this design is no accident.  There are also a multitude of horror stories about the 9900 banding uncontrollably in both the black and cyan channels at these great speeds they are promoting. You might get lucky and buy one that actually works, but  it seems to be a crap shoot right now. Meanwhile lots of Epson techs are going out of their minds trying to solve these banding dilemmas. This isn't an isolated situation and something to carefully look into before buying anything.

As to the Z3200 having an onboard spectro to make excellent profiles in 20 minutes or linearize in 5 minutes for monochrome, I think it is fantastic, hardly a disadvantage and I don't know how I lived without it. These Z machines do not require re profiling often at all. I can go at least a year without any drift on my standard media linearization ( which takes 5 minutes). My Z does a great job on all media. It can profile all kinds of canvas, strange fabrics, gloss fiber, or alternative uncoated media automatically, while I work on another job on another machine. The gloss enhancer coat for gloss media is excellent,  with gloss differential non existent on most gloss papers. The speed is fine unless you are doing tons of production jobs, with massive print runs. One of the primary reasons I use a Z is because of the permanence that is twice what Ultrachome and Lucia exhibit. For my work longevity is important and more important than speed, but I realize I may be in the minority here. I used to have to spray Epson prints with toxic uv sprays to justify making portfolios or gallery work with them.  I don't do a lot of volume and never pre press work. If I did I'd buy a Canon in a second. Neither the Canon or the Z printers waste ink the way all the modern Epsons do and they are workhorses. When a Z3100 cart says its empty, its empty. Heads are cheap and can be popped in in 5 minutes and they don't require that very often at all. Printing monochrome with the Z on gloss fiber media is a dream. The grays are not brown like Epson and no color inks need be used. If however they are used for monochrome work you know the hue added to the gray inks is going to fade at the same rate as the gray inks because they were designed to, which often isn't discussed in these comparisons. That is no small thing either. The Z sucks for sheet media at 8.5x11 size unless it is cut square on all edges, like out of a box. Sheet 11x14 and larger I never have an issue with,... but I use rolls for 90% of the work anyway.

Any machine you buy these days is going to produce excellent prints but for God's sake, keep it in warranty. They are just getting to complex to work on yourself.

j
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« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2010, 03:12:53 AM »
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Quote from: deanwork
After having used large format Epson's for nearly 10 years I wouldn't dream of going back, despite the fact that they FINALLY, only after being left behind in the dust in this regard, offered a unit that didn't require major flushing to change from a matte to a gloss media ! How kind of them.  I'll never forgive them for all that wasted ink and time.
In real, at least on my machine, it often does additional cleaning after black ink switch, consuming additional 10-30ml of ink and 10-20 minutes of your time. What looked like a minor issue at the time I was deciding which machine to get, became bigger issue in reality. So if you don't want to loose time and ink you still might need to have 2 machines. Or one which doesn't have to switch inks.

Mulis
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