Seems like any post that centers around an "issue" will always turn negative. First let me say that I resent the statement that anybody who owns a printer will automatically defend it. I think there are enough other posts to contradict that. Of course cognitive dissonance drives a lot of irrational behavior, but I would like to add that many people have perspective enough to comment on their own purchases in a positive manner without being naive.
Here are a few simple rules of the road when driving a Z printer.
1. Calibration does make a difference. It is much like setting the total inklimit for a paper, when using a rip. The calibration will affect the maximum ink allowed on paper, but not the inkmixing. There is a correlation between maximum ink and gamut, however "more is more" will only take you so far, at which point more can mean less. This also functions very differently on matte vs glossy papers. So the calibration is an important step.
2. Papers that work well for the Epson may not work as well on the HP. All the BS about different coating is actually not as much BS as one would imagine. Epson papers are in fact tuned to Epson ink and, this should come as no surpries, HP papers are tuned to HP inks. Your mileage with third party papers will vary.
3. The media type that you choose when creating a custom paper loads an ink mixing formula that more or less controls how ink is mixed and how much to use. There is not always a logical correlation between the Hp media types and a third party paper. Selecting HP Super HW coated paper, which is very similar to the Epson Enhanced mate, seems like a good choice for profiling enhanced matte. However you will find that if you use the matte litho setting, or the HW fine art paper setting you will increase your gamut. Go figure. In the next firmware there will be an option for fine tuning the amount of ink used for each of these media settings, allowing you to better fine tune the ink limiting for finicky 3rd party papers. The correct setting here makes a huge difference.
4. ImagePrint is not magic. I owned and used a 9800 powered by IP for some time and while they make very good software for photographers, they do not have a unicorn locked in the basement that can grant them powers from which to modify the proprieties of the inkís interaction with the paper to perform better then the multi billion dollar resources of HP. BTW there are a few good RIPs for working with the HP. EFI(not designer edition), CGS Oris, and Onyx. Onyx also allows for overriding the HP ink limiting, and the results are good, but not leaps and bounds better. Also I donít know if anyone has ever tried to perform their own ink limiting for 11 color channels, but itís a tinsy bit tricky. The reason Onyx offer a bit better results, in terms of gamut, is that the linearization and profile are fine tuned to a specific paper. IP produces does the same thing for you, (they also use their own screening) and sell it as a complete turn key package, which is very appealing. I doubt that you will see significantly expanded gamut on HP specific papers. But surprise me.
5. So after taking everything else into account, the profiling parameters and software make a huge difference. I can generate a profile on the Pro satin that ranges from 740,000 total volume to over 850,000. All of the profiles produce ďgoodĒ results, and all are different. Some deliver better shadow detail, some are more saturated in the red but produce a more purple blue. Itís a balancing act. The easy color profile are good. Iíll stand by that. However different targets and different software does impact how the red is rendered. I think right now Monaco is producing the best results on matte paper. Sorry to say it but the 5k software package actually ears itís money.
6. PerspectiveÖ. I refuse to post more gamut comparisons, Iíve beat that horse to glue. Here is the bottom line- The gamuts are DIFFERENT. If the Hp had been out for years and Epson had released the 9800ís in the last year we would have people up in arms about the Epson blue issue. Look the HP red is not going to be as vibrant as the Epson red on matte papersÖ.DONE. however it will be quite close if done right. On the other hand Epson Blues, and Greens will not be as saturated as the HP on any media. Let me make a bold statement. If I were to buy one printer for only printing on matte paper it would probably buy an Epson. The HP looses a lot of its advantages if the criteria are reduced to this one type of output. If I was going to buy a printer that printed on both media in equal parts it would be the Z3100. If I was only going to print black and white, on matte media it would be the Z3100. If I was only going to print on Photo Paper it would be the Z3100. If I was looking for a SWOP proofing printer it would probably be and EpsonÖ..See where Iím going with this? The printers have their strengths and weaknesses. If you buy a tool and it doesnít suit your needs even after you learn how to use it so that are milking every bit of performance from it and doing everything correctly then you made the wrong decision in purchasing it. Doesnít mean the product is defective or that you are a beta tester, just means that itís the wrong product for your needs. The iPhone is great for calling people, looking at lewd sites on the internet, and seeing what the whether is like in Meford, Oregon (its hot). If you want to be able to sync up all your exchange calendars, while voice dialing from Barcelona (it also canít cook an egg, however that would have been useful) then itís the wrong product for you.
But I digressÖ..
The printer is capable of producing an acceptable red to my eyes(and many others). It takes some work to get there however. You need to play around with different media types when using a third party paper. I would also suggest checking out the HP matte-litho and Smooth FA papers they are actually quite nice. (The SFA is PhotoRag but with an HP coating) The new FW in a few weeks will help this. You need to calibrate that media set. The new FW will also allow you to export your paper types to share with others. If that still doesnít get you where you want to be then I would be happy to help in any way I can. I think that you will be able to get the printer to a happy place.
Color Workflow Solutions