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Author Topic: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?  (Read 14934 times)

Peter McLennan

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2016, 05:45:26 PM »

A very timely discussion for me.  My 9800 is in intensive care, having gone from several years of perfect printing to a nozzle check showing about 10% of the nozzles firing.  This happened virtually instantly.  I noticed a faint line on one margin, did a nozzle check and then, pffft!  Three channels printing nothing and the remainder operating at about 50%  I have some cleaning solution on order and I might install some cleaning carts and pump the cleaning solution through if manual cleaning doesn't work.  But I'm not holding out much hope.  An instant failure like that sounds like something more than clogging.

So, expecting that it might need professional tech service, I contacted the Epson wholesaler for British Columbia and was told that if the printer was more than about three years old (in other words, out of the extended warranty offered by Epson) then it wasn't worth repairing.  Besides, they said. "We don't do service here in Vancouver. If you want a tech to service your printer, you'll have to fly one in from the USA."

Are you kidding me?  No service AT ALL?  And a $6K machine has a useful service life of three years?  Really, Epson?

HP or Canon are both looking like a more responsible decision for me.
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deanwork

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2016, 08:06:14 PM »

Before you throw out that Epson try something. Start to do a nozzle check pattern and when the head moves, open the printer cover, pull the head out away from the capping station, where the head rests when not used. Unplug the printer. Now with a good flash light take a straw and pull some distilled water into the straw holding your finger over the end of the straw and deposit the distilled water on all the pads where the individual head nozzles rest. The put the head back into the cap station. Turn the printer back on. When depositing the water on the head I always put come cotton gloves or a wash cloth of something under the cap station so I don't let water drip down inside the printer.

I had this 9890 for 5 years and only the last 8 months or so have I had perfect nozzles every time I turn it on. This is not a coincidence.

My theory is that these LF Epson cap stations and inadequate to completely seal the print head from air over time because when they are not wet they loose their shape. When you do a head cleaning if the head is not completely sealed you get air in the head and lines , and that gives you bad nozzles and banding.

Now I'm not saying that this is the ONLY problem with Epson heads on the 24 and 44 inch printers, but it does account for the fact that people who use these machines all day everyday have much less problems with clogged nozzles. Back when I had the Epson 10K that head and cap station was so solid and robust that I never had missing nozzles or clogs, ever for 10 years. My opinion is that if they have not redesigned their cap station and the way it fits their heads on the new LF Epson's they are going have the same issues.



A very timely discussion for me.  My 9800 is in intensive care, having gone from several years of perfect printing to a nozzle check showing about 10% of the nozzles firing.  This happened virtually instantly.  I noticed a faint line on one margin, did a nozzle check and then, pffft!  Three channels printing nothing and the remainder operating at about 50%  I have some cleaning solution on order and I might install some cleaning carts and pump the cleaning solution through if manual cleaning doesn't work.  But I'm not holding out much hope.  An instant failure like that sounds like something more than clogging.

So, expecting that it might need professional tech service, I contacted the Epson wholesaler for British Columbia and was told that if the printer was more than about three years old (in other words, out of the extended warranty offered by Epson) then it wasn't worth repairing.  Besides, they said. "We don't do service here in Vancouver. If you want a tech to service your printer, you'll have to fly one in from the USA."

Are you kidding me?  No service AT ALL?  And a $6K machine has a useful service life of three years?  Really, Epson?

HP or Canon are both looking like a more responsible decision for me.
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Peter McLennan

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2016, 08:43:01 PM »

Okay, deanwork.  I'll try this.  I've cleaned the capping station with a swab and windex, but I think I see your strategy.  You want to effect a seal between the head and the capping station to enable the cleaning to work better.  Do I have this right?  I'll try this tomorrow AM. 

Thanks!

Peter
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deanwork

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2016, 09:33:49 AM »

Yes, I do this at least ever two weeks on Sundays. Since doing it I've never had a missing nozzle. I would totally avoid using Windex on the cap station. That ammonia will have the effect of actually drying out the pads and could eventually make them useless.

You see companies who have prints going through the printer all day everyday rarely see the problem because the area is constantly being soaked with ink.

Use distilled water because it has no sludge or minerals to build up there. The idea is the pads dry out and loose the shape and proper contact. You need perfect contact in all the nozzles to do a proper head cleaning.  My feeling is that at least half of the problems people have relate to this. Then they go in there and use windex or call Epson who always starts right off replacing expensive parts when the issue is often poor head/cap station sealing.

j





Okay, deanwork.  I'll try this.  I've cleaned the capping station with a swab and windex, but I think I see your strategy.  You want to effect a seal between the head and the capping station to enable the cleaning to work better.  Do I have this right?  I'll try this tomorrow AM. 

Thanks!

Peter
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Peter McLennan

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2016, 10:07:49 AM »

Use distilled water because it has no sludge or minerals to build up there.

What's your feeling about cleaning fluids like those advertised by American Inkjet Systems and others?

Thanks for your helpful advice.  My 9800 has worked perfectly for years.  I miss it greatly.

Peter
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iCanvas

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2016, 11:05:24 AM »

Before you throw out that Epson try something. Start to do a nozzle check pattern and when the head moves, open the printer cover, pull the head out away from the capping station, where the head rests when not used. Unplug the printer. Now with a good flash light take a straw and pull some distilled water into the straw holding your finger over the end of the straw and deposit the distilled water on all the pads where the individual head nozzles rest. The put the head back into the cap station. Turn the printer back on. When depositing the water on the head I always put come cotton gloves or a wash cloth of something under the cap station so I don't let water drip down inside the printer.

Hi John,

I have a 9900 and have pulled back the head and noticed that there are 5 pads on the capping station. Are these the pads you are referring to? Can a wet paper towel be put there to keep the head moist, or is it better to just put distilled water on the pads? Thanks for all your input.

Gar
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deanwork

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2016, 08:28:10 PM »

I assume soaking a paper towel and putting it there could do the trick. The reason I put the water directly on the pads is I don't want the head staying off of the cap station any longer than a minute or so. I soak the pads then put the head right on them to keep the shape tight. It's like molding the head nozzles to the pads.

Some people have had luck with using paper towels and also some people in the past have used a standard method of putting a sponge back in the carnage area soaked with distilled water when the printer wasn't in use to keep the humidity level high. I've tried that and it does a good job of humidifying when you have dry air conditioners  or heating systems drying things out. It is easy to forget the sponge is there though.... But I think dealing with the pads themselves to keep their shape might need direct fluid on the pads every week if one is not printing a lot every day.

john



Hi John,

I have a 9900 and have pulled back the head and noticed that there are 5 pads on the capping station. Are these the pads you are referring to? Can a wet paper towel be put there to keep the head moist, or is it better to just put distilled water on the pads? Thanks for all your input.

Gar
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2016, 09:50:29 PM »

Well I have three 44" machines. The Canon, the HP, and the Epson 9890, and use them for different projects and different inks. The HP Z has image stability that is off the charts and I bought it before the others and it has out performed the others in terms of reliability. But I use the Canon a lot more because it is much faster and the output at even bidirectional is excellent.  Also it takes the big ink carts and for production work that makes sense. I use the HP for monochrome work on matt rag media primarily, and for my own color work and for those who really want the extra image permanence. To be honest, not that many people these days care about prints lasting more than 100-200 years or so, but I do. Who knows, our species might even last 400 years more, you never know. And prints exposed to a lot of bright daylight will hold up better on the Z.
 
I do think that for someone who does a modest amount of printing and really cares about longevity, and bw on matte media, the Z is a good deal, and if you do need a head it is dirt cheap but very durable. It is also MUCH easier to set up and move around. It's so much lighter and takes up less space than the others.

john

I've thought about this ever since you posted this John, getting back on topic, and I have to say, that's quite an endorsement.  I feel the same way about the HP.  The color is incredible, the reliability is amazing, the parts are inexpensive, you can work on it like an old Chevy or Ford, and it is easy to move around.  They can be cantankerous sometimes though....

Probably the HP in your shop doesn't get nearly as much use as the other printers, and it is the one that can stand to sit there content with the micro drop technology and not clog.  For the price of the printheads (2 for 1) being about $35.00 for each printhead (x2) = $70.00 it's really hard to beat.  In a way, these printers have been so incredible, they're almost to good to be true and too good to last too much longer.  It's been a great ride though.  I keep telling myself thatI should just take off a month or so and just print the heck out of it and make the best portfolios I can and keep going until they discontinue it totally.  They're easy enough to fix, but the inks like the Chromata Red and the Blue and the Green possibly might not be there in the long run, but who can say really?  I shudder to think of getting other printers to replace the Z's.  Like Ernst said:  "I know this one and its habits, and not other".



Mark
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Mark Lindquist
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Peter McLennan

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #28 on: February 19, 2016, 08:23:07 PM »

Like Ernst said:  "I know this one and its habits, and not other".

Yes.  Precisely my feelings about my 9800.  I know what it can and can't do.

More research and testing have revealed that it's a head failure.  (Just like my 4800, which coincidentally uses the same head.)
I'll replace the head and capping station, even though it's gonna hurt my wallet badly.  There goes my 200-500 Nikkor. :(

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shadowblade

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2016, 06:31:13 AM »

You won't be sorry. They are the most trouble free pigment printer on the market and twice the longevity of both the new Epson and Canon. Excellent BW as well, much better dmax on matte media, and if your head dies, it costs you $70.00. I don't care about the future either. They legally have to keep selling ink and heads for like 10 years after they discontinue the printers, and they are still making them. Only downside for me is they are slower than the others, but I don't care. Probably the best product HP ever made ( not that they appreciate it ).

j

Is that true? Under which legislation (i.e. which country/state would they have to keep selling it in). You could make a much better case for a Z3200 if there was a guaranteed 10 year ink/parts supply for them. After all, they're still probably the best small-production-volume photo printer on the market and are dirt-cheap second-hand, with ongoing ink and parts support being the main downside to them.
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2016, 03:51:52 PM »

They legally have to keep selling ink and heads for like 10 years after they discontinue the printers, and they are still making them. Only downside for me is they are slower than the others, but I don't care. Probably the best product HP ever made ( not that they appreciate it ).

j

John, I'd be interested in where that information comes from as well.  If it's right, it's good news.  I've been investigating how long HP will continue to manufacture the printer and the inks, and hope to have a definitive answer in the near future.  (Can't talk about it right now). 

If you have a source for that info, please let us know, OK?

Thanks,

Mark
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Mark Lindquist
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deanwork

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2016, 05:35:20 PM »

I had some legal info on that years ago but I don't know where it is now.

It has to do with a whole realm of machines and products, and the US laws are not the same as Asian and European laws.

It would be good to talk to a good HP rep. directly and find out. Most of their inksets and parts function with multiple printers, but not all.

The one thing they can do to us for sure, which is more of a concern, is to raise the prices on the parts and inks to such a level that it has the effect of totally discouraging the user to continue using the device. There is no law that says they can't jack up prices at any time they want.

Last time I checked all the old Epson inksets were still available but the older the printer the higher the price.

Eventually things like the carriage motor, and gears wear out so the printers are going to have a finite life anyway.

john



John, I'd be interested in where that information comes from as well.  If it's right, it's good news.  I've been investigating how long HP will continue to manufacture the printer and the inks, and hope to have a definitive answer in the near future.  (Can't talk about it right now). 

If you have a source for that info, please let us know, OK?

Thanks,

Mark
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2016, 07:38:10 PM »

I hear you about raising prices on parts John.  Fortunately, many of the parts are off the shelf and relatively easily substituted.  It's surprising to me, that after all these years, and with the availability dwindling that the Z Series printers are still so highly regarded, and the inkset is so very respected.

Maybe it will just make economic sense for HP to continue selling the inks.  I would imagine that is where they make their money after all. 

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Mark Lindquist
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deanwork

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2016, 10:19:19 PM »

Damn, BH is selling the Z3200 44" for $3,995.00 and even more impressive the 3 year extended warranty is $300.00. Now that is amazing.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist.jsp&A=cart&Q=add


Yea, I think about the same thing.  No one can predict HPs motives. However, the one thing they did, or started to do, that really encouraged me was making the system components exchangeable in a modular way. Such as, you pop the heads in two minutes, you can slide in the main board yourself on the back with two little screws, etc. The maintenance tank lasts for many years and when you do need to remove it, it's not difficult. The tech guys can tear the printer down in less than an hour and replace anything. They seem to know what to exchange and it has always been an efficient design in that way. None of this exchanging this part or that part and hoping that would solve the problem caused by some error message. It was always very straightforward. And yes, if they can sell the ink and heads they will continue to make them.

I just talked to an international attorney tonight who is a client of mine. He told me that he was not aware of any law that "required" manufacturers to make available parts and service after such and such a time period ( after warranties are no longer available.) He did say that companies do have internal policies however, because without them their reputations would suffer. Their main goal, in this case, is to sell ink and anyway they can do that they will. I can't see where they make any money really with the print heads, not like Canon does. In the case of HP they have continued to allow users to extend warranties on a year to year basis, or a 2 year to 2 year basis, long after the initial warranties have expired. Canon and Epson don't do this, they seem to want you to buy the next version. So, for sure, as long as the HP z3200 sales team is providing those additional extended warranties they will have to provide the consumables and service.

In the future, maybe we will have parts on demand through 3D printing. Wouldn't that be nice? As far as I'm concerned I'd like to have my Z last forever if the cost of parts permitted it.

John








I hear you about raising prices on parts John.  Fortunately, many of the parts are off the shelf and relatively easily substituted.  It's surprising to me, that after all these years, and with the availability dwindling that the Z Series printers are still so highly regarded, and the inkset is so very respected.

Maybe it will just make economic sense for HP to continue selling the inks.  I would imagine that is where they make their money after all.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 11:31:15 PM by deanwork »
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shadowblade

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2016, 11:43:37 PM »

I had some legal info on that years ago but I don't know where it is now.

It has to do with a whole realm of machines and products, and the US laws are not the same as Asian and European laws.

Fortunately, you can order ink from anywhere and it's cheap to ship it halfway around the world, so if they need to keep on selling it in even one jurisdiction, the ink would remain available.

Quote
It would be good to talk to a good HP rep. directly and find out. Most of their inksets and parts function with multiple printers, but not all.

The one thing they can do to us for sure, which is more of a concern, is to raise the prices on the parts and inks to such a level that it has the effect of totally discouraging the user to continue using the device. There is no law that says they can't jack up prices at any time they want.

Last time I checked all the old Epson inksets were still available but the older the printer the higher the price.

You mean something like charging normal price for CMYKlclmlkllk (which are used by other printers) but charging ten times as much for RGB?

Quote
Eventually things like the carriage motor, and gears wear out so the printers are going to have a finite life anyway.

john

Fortunately, that sort of mechanical wear and tear is more dependent on volume of use (i.e. number of kilometres of paper printed) rather than how many years old the printer is.

Any idea what the team behind the Z3200 are up to now? I hear they are no longer with HP.
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2016, 09:13:42 AM »

I have a 44" Z3100, a 333" Z3200ps and  24" Z3200.  I use the Z3200 24" mostly for portfolio prints - single sheets 13x19, 17x22, etc.  I find it easier and more consistent to print on sheets instead of on rolls for portfolio prints.  No decurling, sheets exactly the same size, etc.  I've finally got the loading with skew check down so that every time, the sheet loads.  I use Ernst's trick of loading directly on top of the spindle whether there is a roll on the spindle or not.  Keeping light pressure against the spindle stop on the left side facing the front of the printer from the back side, the sheet pulls in unifomly and pretty much takes everytime.  It took a long time to get this down, but now it has proven worth the time and practice to acquire the skill.  I'd rather feed sheets than decurl and cut.  When it comes to special portfolio prints.

It still is time comsuming, but there is no other printer that compares in quality in my opinion.  I used to use the Epson 4800 Pro and it was fantastic with the cassette tray.  But I prefer the print quality of the Z3200.  The 4800 Pro is built like a tank and it's a good printer. 

That's what I'd like to see on a future HP - a paper cassette tray.  Oh well, everbody's got a dream, right?

Ultimately, it would be enough for HP to just continue making the printer and the inks.  I don't care how much they cost or if they raise the prices. 

Mark
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Mark Lindquist
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shadowblade

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2016, 09:48:43 AM »

That's what I'd like to see on a future HP - a paper cassette tray.  Oh well, everbody's got a dream, right?

An inbuilt laser cutter and decurler would be nice. A bit like the machines used to cut fabric patterns.

Sheet paper doesn't work when three-quarters of your work is in panoramic format - hence, my deep disappointment at the Canon Pro-1000.

I'd also like a wider platen gap and an easy way to convert it to a flatbed format, for printing on rigid substrates.

Quote
Ultimately, it would be enough for HP to just continue making the printer and the inks.  I don't care how much they cost or if they raise the prices. 

Mark

Not sure how sustainable it would be to keep a production line open just to make parts and consumables for an ageing printer, though. As long as other printers continue to share the same components it shouldn't be a problem, but HP's business-oriented machines are bound to be updated eventually to use different motors, pumps, etc. They're already having to source pigments and make inks that are used in no other printer, which can't be great from a profits point of view.

That said, if absolutely necessary, you can run HP inks through an Epson printer. I'd imagine you'd be able to get them working with a Canon printer, too, with some tweaking.
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2016, 10:22:05 AM »

They've sold a lot of these printers over the years, and since many of the parts are inter-changeable it will be easy enough to pick one up really cheaply or for free and use it for parts or just fix it.  This should last for a good long time, especially as people begin to start getting rid of them more frequently.  Not practical for most people wanting to use the printer however.  Would be for me.

Yeah I'd like the things you mentioned too Shadowblade.

A de-curler would be sweet.  Just a take up roll with an intermediary jack-shaft so that the print roll could be reverse-wound would do it.  I think the laser cutter might be problematic because of the smoke, but could be the answer to cutting canvas.  Since the ESP already scans targets, why not ability to scan images as well.  A cowl covering rolls would be nice....and add to that a vacuum system and soft brush for paper or canvas rolls going in.

A spray fixative for certain uses would be awesome.  Especially if the roll paper was reverse wound, or sheets could be passed through a second time.  Couldn't be used on Glossy papers because of the off-gassing, but for matte and canvas where the papers breathe through the back, it should be doable.

By the time we're finished redesigning the printer, we certainly couldn't afford it....

But it's a nice dream machine.  :-)

-Mark
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Mark Lindquist
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deanwork

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2016, 10:48:02 AM »

I don't have any idea what HP is up to. There was a guy who posted on this forum a year or two ago and he knew people who worked on that Barcelona team. He said they had been laid off a long time ago or transferred to other projects.

Maybe they feel like they invested all they wanted to on R&D for the art market. Like Canon their thing really is  Design graphics printers. It is possible that when HP designed and marketed a color inkset that is very close to the longevity of the carbon pigment transfer process (that costs a fortune and only has one guy doing it. ) that artists would be stunned and go crazy over it. Problem is I'd say 3/4 or more of the photographers out there don't even care. I have heard so many clients say, what do I care about 400 years on Canson media,  I'll be dead long before they fade and so will my children. Personally I just don't get that. Painters don't talk like that usually, and if I were a musician wouldn't I want my recordings to last longer than me?  As long as possible?

My fantasy is to take a Z and dilute the amazing gray inks in a base and create an 8 channel BW printer that could print on gloss or fiber and use the 4 other color channels for toning. You could do all that in Studio Print, partitioning the channels. There used to be refillable empty carts available for HP Z and Canon. I guess they still are.  It would be the greatest and most permanent bw printer ever made with the greatest dmax.  But I'll never do it. Life gets in the way.



Any idea what the team behind the Z3200 are up to now? I hear they are no longer with HP.
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shadowblade

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Re: Will HP make a next-gen Z Series Printer?
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2016, 11:06:08 AM »

I don't have any idea what HP is up to. There was a guy who posted on this forum a year or two ago and he knew people who worked on that Barcelona team. He said they had been laid off a long time ago or transferred to other projects.

Maybe they feel like they invested all they wanted to on R&D for the art market. Like Canon their thing really is  Design graphics printers. It is possible that when HP designed and marketed a color inkset that is very close to the longevity of the carbon pigment transfer process (that costs a fortune and only has one guy doing it. ) that artists would be stunned and go crazy over it. Problem is I'd say 3/4 or more of the photographers out there don't even care. I have heard so many clients say, what do I care about 400 years on Canson media,  I'll be dead long before they fade and so will my children. Personally I just don't get that. Painters don't talk like that usually, and if I were a musician wouldn't I want my recordings to last longer than me?  As long as possible?

Certainly event and sports photographers probably couldn't care less. But those shooting landscapes and fine art prints probably do, and, the bigger and more expensive the print, the more it matters. Trouble is, that's only a small segment of the photography market.

Quote
My fantasy is to take a Z and dilute the amazing gray inks in a base and create an 8 channel BW printer that could print on gloss or fiber and use the 4 other color channels for toning. You could do all that in Studio Print, partitioning the channels. There used to be refillable empty carts available for HP Z and Canon. I guess they still are.  It would be the greatest and most permanent bw printer ever made with the greatest dmax.  But I'll never do it. Life gets in the way.

Why not run Piezography Carbon, with a few coloured inks for toning?

Really, carbon, gold or platinum nanoparticles are the way to go if you want non-fading prints. Carbon doesn't fade. Gold and platinum barely corrode. By adjusting the size of pigment particles, you can achieve any possible colour, all using the same pigment. I believe there is a company which has produced inks based on that (not on a commercial scale), but can't find their website at the moment.
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