My first question is what are some of the top paper choices from B&W and the Z3200?
I print mostly with Ilford GFS (when gloss wanted), HP SFA or Hahn. Bamboo for smooth matte, and HP TFA or Hahn. William Turner for smooth textured (fantastic for images from scanned film especially!)
I guess first would be profiling my Z3200PS with the included APS software, is there anything special I should be doing or just create a regular profile?
I always profile with the largest target; I can then use the profile for either color or B&W.
In regards to workflow this is where I get confused.
Starting with a RAW image then converting to 16bit RGB then convert to B&W using photoshop or one of the many 3rd party plugins ie. Nik Software?
This is a matter of taste and patience. I have found that I get much better results treating the orig. RGB image as three B&W images, optimize each channel separately, then combine with Channel Mixer. I get much more control this way (especially look for the channel with the least contrast and optimize it (thanks to Dan Margulis for this approach)). This is more time consuming, but yields (depending on the image) great results. Finally converting to GS (QTRLAB) for the detailed work.
Then the proper way to send the B&W image to the Z3200PS.
I have recently switched to converting my GS images to sRgb, applying any toning, then printing through Qimage with Qimage doing the conversion to the z3200 profile. I find that the shadows get much better separation this way; if I convert in PS, the shadows get very blocked up; I have also seen severe shadow posterizaion with some files.
Hope this helps.