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Author Topic: Considering HP Designjet Z3200 Purchase  (Read 9595 times)
Mike Raub
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« on: January 21, 2012, 02:12:16 PM »
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My preliminary calculations suggest a large tax refund this year and I'm considering replacing my trusty DesignJet 130 with a HP Designjet Z3200 (24" model) to give more paper options. Reading reviews here and elsewhere indicate from a quality standpoint HP, Epson or Canon would serve my needs. I'm leaning toward the HP because of its inexpensive to replace printheads. Since I'm a just an amateur photographer sometimes a month or more passes between printing sessions and I'd hate to face the costs of replacing the much more expensive Canon or Epson printheads.

As far as cost goes, it looks like I can get the Z3200 for about $3K, perhaps a few hundred less than a comparable Epson or Canon. The HP's operating expenses seem to be perhaps slightly less than the competition, though that's not a deal breaker.

Most of my prints are 20" X 30" from Canon 5DII raw files.

Many here are much more familair with wide format ink jets than I am and I'd appreciate any comments or critisims of my proposed purchase. Also recommendations of good on-line dealers would be helpful. It's easy to find sellers and prices with search engines, but they don't always give you enough data to select an appropriate seller.

Thanks,

MIKE
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Rocco Penny
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2012, 04:22:55 PM »
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I only read what I am repeating here
May or may not be true according to who you read
HP is shedding its hardware production,
so maybe not specialized niche production,
but as a hardware producer HP is a dead end for now.
Canon & Epson seem the assured next generation printer manufacturers.
The 8300 doesn't seem to have as many clog complaints on this forum at least.
I suspect there are many more epsons, and the ink costs of the cleaning is what drives those complaints.
Seems like the printing experience can easily be made better by firmware updates and so on.
If HP isn't building a new LFP I'd personally choose Epson or Canon.
I had my mind made up on an Epson myself,
but with the experiences of so many weighing in my decision,
I'm going to have to say the Canon would be the clear choice today(if I was purchasing new)
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2012, 08:12:12 PM »
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This is the kind of request that will get a real p....g-match going between adherents to different printer models. All I am going to say is the following:

All pigment ink printers clog; they only differ in how they handle the clogs.
Epson print heads don't get changed. The print head is the printer; when it's gone, which has never happened to me in 12 years that I've been using Epson professional printers, [nor to many other people as far as I know], you buy a new printer, by which time there will be new and improved models.
All of them can make fine prints. More depends on you the user knowing how to work-up your files and get colour management right.
Epson and Canon are very robust companies that are apparently in it for the long haul. No rumours they intend to vacate this business.
HP is a late entrant to this segment of the pigment printing market and they are a very troubled corporation with senior management churning and uncertainty about their future direction, which means that their sustainability in this market niche may be at higher risk than for the other two - I say this because of the on-and-off we've seen about their future in the consumer computer business; but the future of their various hardware lines is not clear at this time. You need to do your homework on after-sales service and support. Epson has never let me down, and I understand Canon has improved, but I have no direct experience of it.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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chez
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2012, 09:22:26 PM »
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I have two z3100 printers, 24" and 44". Clogging is non existent. I leave them on all the time and they do their cleaning cycles. Very frugal with ink. The built in calibration system makes trying new papers effortless. who cares about what future models from HP will look like. You are purchasing and using the current model which continues to make great photos for me on different media without any maintenance issues.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2012, 09:43:05 PM »
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For clarity, the point I raised about the future for HP has nothing to do with new models; it's about the possibility of any differential risk of the company exiting that line of business, and if it were to happen, any conceivable implications for the longevity of future support to existing models.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2012, 04:36:03 AM »
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For clarity; HP's printer market share in desktop models is still the largest of all, the Designjet models in CAD and COPY environments probably too and the industrial printers, Scitex etc heritage, is way bigger than both Epson and Canon have in that segment. In the art and photography segment there have been new models the last two years like the Z6200 and Z5200, not 12 ink channels but very capable and fast machines. What this year brings is unknown but it is a Drupa and Photokina year, HP will be on both events. I do not see that company leaving the printing market and if it does the division has enough aboard to compete head on head with Canon which is the real competition in most market segments.

For someone that will not use a wide format often the HP Z3200 with its 130 ML carts is a good candidate. Bringing the print jobs to a good shop may still be wiser though. Replacing heads will not be needed for years considering the volume you print and the printer keeps the heads in good condition if kept powered on in a regular scheme. Some exceptions may exist but the 5 years of my Z3100 and the 3 years of my Z3200 counted two head replacements in total, sum less than 100 Euro. And banding or clogg issues can be counted on one hand. I can start a job on Monday of 300 2x3 feet prints and sleep well tonight, the printers will run like they did on a similar job two weeks ago. Keeping inks fresh (RGB hues for example) on 12 ink models may prove to be more expensive so do not order more than one cart in your case despite the lower price of twin packs. The other Z model features are well known and the price for all that integrated hardware and software is quite good. If your print volume would be higher then the Canon iPF8300 should be considered too.

met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst

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Dinkla Gallery Canvas Wrap Actions for Photoshop
http://www.pigment-print.com/dinklacanvaswraps/index.htm
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 07:31:01 AM by Ernst Dinkla » Logged
John Nollendorfs
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2012, 01:28:56 PM »
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Ernst has pretty much said it all regarding the Z3200.

One thing he didn't mention is sheet paper handling. The HP is not very user-friendly in that regard. Works really well with roll papers though!
Also, if you like doing B&W prints, the HP is champ.

I'm on nearly 4 years on my Z3100. One change of print heads.

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BarbaraArmstrong
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2012, 04:01:32 PM »
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Just how bad is the HP with sheet paper handling?  The great bulk of the printing I do is sheets.  I'm considering a large format printer (now have Epson 3880 and 4900 and formerly had two 2200's).  I've liked the Epsons, and loved the output.  Sheet handling is important to me, but I live on an island, and the stories about repair problems with Epson's larger units leave me thinking about Canon or HP.  So, just how bad is sheet handling with either of these alternatives? --Barbara
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Mike Raub
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2012, 04:19:23 PM »
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Thanks for the comments. I'm not too concerned about HP leaving the market, and even if they did and stopped selling the ink, I'm sure some third party supplier would step in. I've had to replace a number of heads on the DJ130 because of nonuse, but now leave the printer on at all times and haven't had head problems since I've done that. I use roll paper exclusively, so the sheet feeding problems are of little concern.

Can anyone recommend a good US dealer? Or does it make any difference and maybe I should search for the best price and buy from whatever soarce is cheapest.
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namartinnz
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2012, 07:28:50 PM »
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The Z3200/3100 only allows for individual sheet feeding. Every sheet has to be fed thru, then the  printer asks to align the sheet properly. As I only do occasional sheet feeds and mainly use rolls this hasn't been an issue.

I own the Z3100. The printer has been generally trouble free. When I did need to fix it (replace carriage belt and starwheel lifter motor) I had all the information I needed to fix it and easy access to purchasing parts. Saved having a tech travel two hours with associated charges for mileage and time.

Probably changed each head at least once over its near 5 year period and virtually no issues with head clogs. It may not have the best colour gamut of the latest printers but is perfect for my needs.

Neal
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abiggs
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2012, 09:12:55 PM »
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Just how bad is the HP with sheet paper handling?

Pretty bad, in my opinion. The king of the hill with regards to sheet paper feeding on a large format printer goes to the Epson 7900/9900 models. Simple and extremely easy to use.
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Andy Biggs
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KenBabcock
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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2012, 09:53:41 PM »
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I've got to agree with Andy.  Epson is king.  I've owned many professional Epson printers in my 10+ years and I would buy them all over again.  Canon may have challenged Epson with their 8300, but Epson still produces the best print and reigns supreme.

Buy an Epson and don't look back!
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Geraldo Garcia
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2012, 10:53:55 PM »
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Just how bad is the HP with sheet paper handling?

Terrible.
The loading is difficult, the precision (or lack of) on the alignment is awful and the exaggerated and uneven margins are a pain.
Donīt get me wrong, I love the printer! The image quality is superb, the print permanence is wonderful, the Black and whites are incredibly neutral, it never clogs, heads are inexpensive and easy to substitute, the built in spectrophotometer is everything I ever wanted... And the list goes on. If I needed to replace my printer today I would buy another Z3200ps 44".
But sheet loading is terrible.

Best regards. 
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Geraldo Garcia
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2012, 11:04:10 PM »
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Can anyone recommend a good US dealer? Or does it make any difference and maybe I should search for the best price and buy from whatever soarce is cheapest.

I canīt, as I donīt live on the US, but I would advise you to donīt do that.
Instead, search for the local/closest dealer that has the best customer service, even if you have to pay a bit more for it. Having someone close that can help you on simple problems or even intermediate a conversation between you and the manufacturer on more complicated problems is far more important than saving a couple of dollars, in my opinion. 
 
Best regards.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2012, 02:24:24 AM »
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Terrible.
The loading is difficult, the precision (or lack of) on the alignment is awful and the exaggerated and uneven margins are a pain.
Donīt get me wrong, I love the printer! The image quality is superb, the print permanence is wonderful, the Black and whites are incredibly neutral, it never clogs, heads are inexpensive and easy to substitute, the built in spectrophotometer is everything I ever wanted... And the list goes on. If I needed to replace my printer today I would buy another Z3200ps 44".
But sheet loading is terrible.

Best regards. 


I have two Z printers and their back is not against a wall, the left side is against the wall and I can go round both printers easily. That takes about the same space as two printers would take when placed against the wall.

It is not the best sheet loader around. You got two choices: load with a skew check and load without a skew check. The last is for papers with deckled edges but can be used for other sheets too if for example you want to print on two sides in register. I seldom use the sheet loading tray/lid. They should remove that part in my opinion. I keep a spindle with a paper roll at the back and have a siliconised paper sheet hanging over that roll, on that sheet I lay the sheet to be inserted and guide it along the left spindle flange. That goes quite well, the printer will accept 50% right away. If the rate is lower with thinner papers I will deliberately insert the paper at a wrong angle or too far to the right and the printer will ask right away, after pulling it in, to align it to the blue lines. That is also what I do when I align the sheets to tabs at the blue lines for registering.

More on sheet loading:
http://www.pigment-print.com/review/Z3200FirstPage_5.htm


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst

Shareware now:
Dinkla Gallery Canvas Wrap Actions for Photoshop
http://www.pigment-print.com/dinklacanvaswraps/index.htm
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Damir
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« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2012, 04:53:42 AM »
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As Ernst said, just load the sheet through the path in which you will normally load the roll. I use that whenever I need to load sheet, it works trouble free, most of the time.

I am using sheets only as samples when I need to decide will I or will I not buy new kind of paper. Last week I loaded 12 sheets with 100% successes. I needed to replace the roll, and decide to try samples I collected. As a new roll was loaded sheets of paper slip in printer effortlessly, over the roll, aligned to the left edge black plastic wheel.

When roll is not new, but at the end it doesn't work so good, obviously angle at which paper is going into the printer is different.
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artobest
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2012, 08:50:21 AM »
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Ernst's 50% doesn't sound so good to me. I use the standard rear tray to load, have Skew Check On, and get about an 80% success rate. It is all about practice ...


In any case, load failure simply means an annoying beep and the necessity of aligning the sheet manually to the (admittedly somewhat imprecise) blue line. Not so bad, and I have only ever had one (1) occasion where the manual alignment was rejected.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2012, 11:02:15 AM »
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Depends on the variety of papers you handle, most what goes as sheets into the printers here are waste pieces from the rolls for proofs, not always with a good square cut and often with some curl left. The rate goes up when I load offset paper sheets for book dummies. Art papers are basically rolls here. If the user buys HM Photorag papers in sheet boxes it will go much better but I do not think the Z's are then the wisest choice.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst

Shareware now:
Dinkla Gallery Canvas Wrap Actions for Photoshop
http://www.pigment-print.com/dinklacanvaswraps/index.htm

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Foto_Geek
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« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2012, 12:55:59 PM »
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I just replaced my HP Z3100 after three and a half years of light use.  After my experience with this printer and HP customer service I have vowed to never buy from HP again.

The printer worked flawlessly for the first three years of use.  Then the carriage drive belt started to crumble leaving bits of rubber in the print path.  The bits would get printed over and then later fall off leaving white spots on the image.  I had the belt replaced at considerable expense and the printer performed like new again.  For a few months.  It was a downward spiral after that with various obscure error messages that required calling HP customer support (they charge for support calls if you are out of warranty).  I ultimately decided that it was costing too much money to keep the printer on life support.

Other things I disliked about the Z3100 include difficult paper loading, ridiculous single sheet handling, and inks that expire.  WRT the latter, my dealer never told me about ink expiration and happily sold me a load of replacement cartridges, only to have them expire before they were ever inserted into the printer.  The Z3100 is frugal with ink, I will say that much.

I just replaced the printer with an Epson 7900.  I am impressed by the overall build quality of the machine.  It seems sturdier than the Z which would rock back and forth with the movement of the carriage assembly.  It is also faster and quieter than the Z, after the initial start-up period, that is.  The fine print detail clearly exceeds the capabilities of the Z as well.  And paper loading, both roll and single sheet is a dream compared to the Z.  Only time will tell how happy I am with the reliability of the 7900.

In any case, no matter what you buy, I would seriously consider an extended warranty.  So you may want to price that into your purchase decision.
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Garrick L
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« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2012, 12:57:04 PM »
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Thanks for the comments. I'm not too concerned about HP leaving the market, and even if they did and stopped selling the ink, I'm sure some third party supplier would step in. I've had to replace a number of heads on the DJ130 because of nonuse, but now leave the printer on at all times and haven't had head problems since I've done that. I use roll paper exclusively, so the sheet feeding problems are of little concern.

Can anyone recommend a good US dealer? Or does it make any difference and maybe I should search for the best price and buy from whatever soarce is cheapest.

Check out Atlex.com they provided the best package price with media and liftgate delivery.  I purchased an Epson 7900 which with two 24" rolls of media and liftgate delivery was $400 less than the HP Z3200 alone even with my HP employee dicsount.

The sheet feeding is superior on the 7900 over ANY of the competition and it can be placed up against a wall which you can not do with the Z3200

Cheers,

Garrick Liddell Photography
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 12:59:15 PM by Garrick L » Logged
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