1a. Even the basic info has been hard to come by. For example, in terms of the Z3100ps, I haven't even been able to get a consistent answer as to what the "ps" stands for. Is it "postscript" (like other HP monikers) or "profiling solution" or "photo smart"? A silly point, but illustrative of having to stoop to read tea leaves to try and get clarification about this product.
1b. What's the difference between the three (3) models HP has on their site: Z3100, Z3100 GP, Z3100ps GP? (eg, see support drop down at https://h41186.www4.hp.com/country/us/en/su...pageseq=388287)
2a. At a high level, it is really unclear what the Advanced Profiling Solution (APS) does and doesn't offer. On one hand, it's a separate option with its own SKU ($800 Q6695A), on the other it's been included as part of Z3100ps. Is it hardware, software, combo; integrated into printer, PC, standalone?
2b. Is it an exclusive choice (ie, either default or APS circuitry) where you have to give up something to get the APS? If so, what?
2c. Beyond a monitor colorimeter (which most people at this level already have), what's its advantage?
2d. Some have said APS provides "integration" with the built-in spectrophotometer; what is integrated? (how/why would they tie together a monitor profile and a printer profile)?
3a. Seems like the new Z3100ps includes the "APS" (profiling solution) AND a built-in Photoshop RIP. Are they separate items?
3b. Is the RIP really built-in to the printer or just client-software (that can be added at will or subsituted for ImagePrint) or is it just the addition of the elusive "HP ProPrint Plug-in" (http://h30267.www3.hp.com/country/us/en/products/large_format/Z2100/solutions/adobe_proprint_plug.html?pageseq=342077) which HP has said they'll be releasing for free?
3d. on their website, HP says that the ProPrint Plugin is for CS2, but elsewhere they say CS3 on April 23rd - wonder which it is(?).
3e. Why would HP be promoting (and selling) ColorByte's new ImagePrint 7 for Z3100 as opposed to it's own APS and/or the PS RIP?
From HP's site (http://h30267.www3.hp.com/country/us/en/products/large_format/Z2100/solutions/image_print_rip.html?pageseq=342077) about ImagePrint...
3f. to get 16bit printing, one of injket printing's true technical advantages over Lightjet/Chromiras for photo-paper based printing(as I understand it?), does one need the APS and/or RIP -- or will it be the same/good enough with the free ProPrint PS plugin?
4. does the Z3100ps fix any of the reported hardware limitations, particularly using "Pizza Wheel" paper transport rather than vacuum suction? head crashes/zebra printing? color mixing/gamut problems?
4b or are they the same hardware device with different software?
4c. same or diff firmware (ie, addressing the gamut issues)?
4e. ie, is there any downside, except saving $'s together in the bundle vs. buying add-ons, from getting the now shipping Z3100?
5. ...or, should we just skip the HP Z3100 all together and get the Canon IPF6000 with an XRite handheld spectrophotometer that can manually do monitor, printer, and lcd profiling (which is seems that many of hte Z3100 owners and/or HP are having to do anyway)?
1a ps is definitely Postscript. GP is Graphics Package. Which graphics package depends on the printer. In the case of the Z3100 ps GP it is a i1D2 colorimeter and the Advanced Profiling Solution.
I find the information on the HP site and elsewhere unclear. On the end of the Z3100ps doc it states that the APS comes only with the GP both 24 and 44".
I don't have the actual HP GP, but the i1D2 works with the APS. An i1D2 must be present to run profiles through APS.
1b See above. Z3100 is the driver only model. PS versions have additional language options such as PS, PDF, PCL(HP GL2) , Cals G4, and direct printing of Tiff, JPG.
The Z3100ps GP is the ps model with the colorimeter and software APS which is a modified and adapted version from the base of XRite/Gretag Profile Maker 5.07.
2a See 1a. Stand alone host based software both PC and Mac. Hardware keyed within firmware of the colorimeter for software licenses.
2b No. The built in profiler continues to work as all the line of Z printers do.
Biggest difference is the built in profiler is rgb only , whereas APS is both rgb and CMYK.
2c. Surprisingly not all users actually calibrate their monitors, nor apply correct color management. HP tried to make the color matching as foolproof as it could be, simplify , insist on trying to get all users to a common base. For those who do already calibrate their monitors, the monitor side is not imposed, but by having the colorimeter keyed it at least insures user awareness of importance of having any chance of screen to print match, the monitor cal and profile is paramount. I don't actually use the monitor profiling side, as I use Color Eyes and am very happy with the level of calibration beyond what most hard/software bundles included before...
The advantage is the profiles in what testing I did are in fact built around the same base that I make my normal hand read charts in PM5.07. You can use the TC 9.18 charts or ECI 2002 which are in many cases better approaches for the 11 color inkset.
You do have the choice of viewing light, although not as exhaustive as PM .
For production printers the editor is a great tool to adjust the profile on a one off or client wide basis. By doing so you leave the original intact and create a custom adjusted profile per job or per client demand. The UI is simple yet efficient. Profile editing with the common tools are not for the timid, but the APS makes it as simple as creating a profile in the Z printers.
2d Integration is simply the application communication between the app and the printer. All functions are achieved from the APS UI , printing and measuring, creating the profile, and or editing.
3a Yes the PS version is a hardware embedded rip. It is lodged on a board that slots in to the mother board where the Ethernet cable goes in. It is a full Adobe PS motor, hence Postscript level 3 , PDF, etc. There is software of course but it's transparent to the user and is Adobe's property I imagine, on the card , probably upgradeable ( well I have already upgraded firmware ). It's not a Photoshop rip, it's just an embedded rip. I still print through the driver from Photoshop, yet it's a driver/ that sends PS or PCL to the printer. Some of the options are worthwhile for photographers, saving jobs to the printer hard disk, previewing jobs , managing the print queue, nesting, and drawing cut lines.
3b IF you will use Image Print you don't need the ps version. IP is a software rip, and a darn good one. The PS version is really suited for installations where all sorts of users send all types of jobs with different levels of expectations, and or knowledge in sending jobs. The Ps version can be administered and full accounting functions add to it's features for larger installations.
It isn't however a full feature rip that has much if any user interface for layout, nesting options, color bars etc etc etc. For that EFI, Image, Print, GMG, Postershop and a few others provide these options.
3d Last time I heard they were working on it. There is a Print Preview already in the driver which covers most of the plug in. I'd like to see the plug in soon as I find it quite nice on the b9180. The b9180 plug in was written in a big part by Adobe. They've been busy readying CS3 , so I will guess that their priorities were decided already.
3e +4a See above. Aps is still great to have. If you opt for a third party rip you don't need the ps carded Adobe rip onboard, in the printer. No the rip doesn't change the transport functions or any other mechanics.
Seems that the zebra stripes where caused by users missing a media setting in the driver. I don't have the paper that some posters reported on so can't say. n Hahnemuhle and HP media, I never have had any surface imperfections ever.
4b The card that plugs into the mother board is different, but the rest of the printer is the same. The card slots in easily but there are some very precise codes to program to make the cards talk unix together, so you can't simply swap out the ps and non ps cards.
5 While the option of the ps version may not be a necessary for photographers, the choice of a Z 3100 with automated calibration and profiling is a very good choice.
Once you've used a remote profiling tool , you'll not want to go back to anything else. Once you've used a printer that calibrates itself automatically, and profiles with on board or third party kits it is such a joy that looking at anything else is looking much less interesting.
So I hope this helps. I do recommend looking into ImagePrint, as a full function rip that is for photography. I do highly recommend APS for all Z users. I've only printed a few days on the ps version so I need to learn more about it, help squash some bugs too.