With all of the comparison testing I have been doing on the z3100 it was decided to use two measuring systems, the internal Eye one Spectrophotometer and the PrintFix Pro. Looking at the measurement data, I would say that the Eye one is better but only marginally as the readings from both devices are very close.
The Z3100 gamut/profiling discussions on LL intrigued me for several reasons. First of all that people were comparing the Z3100 prints with Epson prints based on different profiling solutions for the last. The Z3100 I have for two weeks now got its firmware upgrade right away so I can not comment on the old firmware. It works for me because I did read all the discussions as well. I have to thank you and Julian Mussi for that. Using the Litho-realistic media choice for HM Photorag (+ Bright White) and a tweak to the profile I made in Kodak's Custom Tools profile editor to get sky color correct to my monitor, they are very, very close to the Epson 4000 prints on EAM they have to match this time.
While reading the discussions I noticed you use the PrintFix Pro profiler as the reference. I had seen Gerard's review of PFP and Gamutvision before (good review Gerard !) and wondered whether there was relation between that observation and the Z3100 issue. There's more going on in theory though with all the profile creation packages and hardware used in the discussions but I will keep it limited in this thread. Between the PrintFix Pro Colori/Spectro hardware and the Z3100 spectrometer hardware: the Z3100 uses one white light LED as the lightsource that doesn't go beyond 380 Nm so in practice a UV filter is on the light source (there are also Spectrometers with a UV filter on the sensor, there are ones without any UV filtering like my SpectroCam). The PrintFix Pro most likely isn't adding UV light either with its 6 colored LEDs. What I'm more concerned about is whether the 6 color LED readings it performs cope well with N-Color printers like the Z3100, like the iPF9000. Apart from the wider gamuts it has to cover in some cases, there's also the three extra hues/pigments in the mix that may not be measured like the CcMmYK mixes the PFP solution probably was still based on when in development. Then there's the drying time of targets, HP is quite correct that the color is stable very fast after printing (all the printers and inks I have used in the past didn't show that behaviour) but I will test for any shifts that drying time could add. There's another thing, the HP solution measures with the black tablet behind the paper, that's theoretically correct for many uses but for art reproduction and photography the use of two or three extra layers of the same paper behind the target to be measured is now common practice. The Z3100 uses a patch reading system instead of rows and the black/dark patches reading is taken longer than the lighter patches. The patch reading happens with the Datacolor/PFP hardware too but I guess no extra time is taken for the darkest patches. Then there's the classification of the Eye One in the HP Z3100, it is closer to another GM model with its white LED light (can't recall the name) than to the normal Eye One spectrometer so even there some differences in measuring internally and externally could occur.
While we would like to get matching prints at the end of the day there's a lot that has to be compensated or matched in software and user's routines to get to that goal. In the end there still is a difference in color mixing, the Z3100's mixes are cleaner in most mixes compared to any Epson target patches I have gathered here. A good observer will see that difference while the spectrometer has to take an average of the area measured and the different gamut 3D renderers add their different routines to shape the data: there's no web equivalent for comparing two prints on a table. Matching the Z3100 prints to the Epson 4000 under different Kelvin light sources is a revelation too. If they are equal in 5500 K light I call it a day, the Z3100 prints behave far better in the rest of the light sources. I don't think the discussions will end soon and I am very happy with what I get right now from the Z3100.
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