Epson and Canon have several forums to vent.
* Several of you have mentioned other forums for Epson. Where? If someone wanted to read the record on Epson, where are the forums? Surely you aren't referring to Yahoo forums, since there is a Yahoo forum for HP as well. But for a multitude of reasons, including ease of use, I suspect that most of us use this forum rather than Yahoo.
I'm not aware of any forum on Epson LF formats that is utilized more than this one. Where is it?* There are several different issues under discussion, and it would be helpful to separate them out:(1) Can this forum or any forum be used to quantitatively measure satisfaction with a product?
No. Forums don't provide quantitative proof of overall owner satisfaction. I was the original poster to make that point, as fairness demands nothing less.
This thread also does not provide such a quantitative measurement. Even if a dozen Z3100 owners pile on to say they love their printer (some do so to justify their purchase), that doesn't prove anything. (I was also the person who noted that it would be more accurate to judge by the totality of all postings in this forum on the Z3100 and on HP than by only this thread.)(2) Forums are used to post problems and seek solutions, and to exchange general informaton, such as on use of papers.
That was my original point. It is valid for a potential buyer to read all the postings, and make a tally as to how many problems and complaints have been posted with regards to Epson, Canon and HP. That at least provides a basic measurement as to how many people are having problems.
To put it simply, reading all the posts alerts you to red flags.
My original point, that no one has disputed, is that Epson has considerably fewer posts related to mechanical problems and software issues. And Epson has very few posts that specifically complain about poor, unresponsive, or incompetent tech support.
HP has many by comparison. And my other original point was that the postings about poor and unresponsive tech support keep coming. HP has had over one year to clean up its act and improve its performance. Judging my this forum, that has not yet been accomplished.
(I can personally attest to the fact that HP has never solved the Vista issues that some Vista users suffer from. Some do, some don't. HP in Spain acknowledged the problems, even admitted that they can replicate them, but never solved them. As far as I know, HP simply gave up and walked away from those users suffering from Vista problems.)
The degree to which the original poster in this thread was jerked around is simply astonishing. All HP had to do was send him a couple of very cheap disposable parts by next day shipping to resolve the problem. HP tech support was either too cheap, or too incompetent -- or both -- to even do that.
Honestly, how many Epson postings do you read with these kind of complaints?
My original point was that Epson has a pretty good record in that regard on this forum. The same can't be said for HP.(3) The third issue that is being mentioned here is one of FEATURES.
This is a separate issue. I believe we can all agree that HP has the best set of features of any comparably priced large format printer on the market. Epson, by contrast, does not offer a similar set of features such as the spectro, and suffers from ink swapping. Canon, like HP, offers a wider range of inks and no ink swapping. I don't believe Canon offers a built in spectro. And the last time I checked, its model that is comparable to the Z3100 had a "locked" driver that in some cases would only allow for the use of Canon papers -- and for me, personally, that is a deal killer. I don't know if that is still the case.
The relevance of features to this thread is only this. Any fool at Epson knows what their shortcomings are in terms of features, and that Canon and HP are taking away market share by adding new features to address the shortcomings of Epson. Epson appears to be moving in the direction of releasing new models that solve ink swapping, include more inks, and may also include a built in spectro. It is almost inevitable that Epson will release new models in the next year or so that include these features, and at the same price level as the Z3100. (The new model under discussion in the forum is not an example, since I believe it is more expensive and is aimed at heavier industrial users, such as graphic shops. One interesting point is that the spectro for the Epson will be attached to the front, and will be removed when printing. At least that is my understanding. Epson claims this is superior, because the spectro can't be fouled and messed up by ink spraying from the heads if the specto is in the same head unit, as with HP. I have never read of any Z3100 spectro problems in that regard, but there are lots of postings about how to periodically clean the interior of the 3100 due to ink spraying. Users can't access the HP spectro or clean its lens. Or even see if it has ink on it. So it does make me wonder if Epson might not have a point, and a more robust design for the spectro, even if it is more expensive. )(4) What happens when two manufacturers offer same set of features at the same price price point? Then what separates the two, and what differentiates one manufacturer and one product from another?
If the features and price are comparable, then these would be the determining issues:
Which manufacturer -- Epson, Canon or HP -- has the best professional level tech support?
Which manufacturer -- Epson, Canon or HP -- resolves issues the fastest and is the most responsive, professional and courteous in dealing with customers?
And which manufacturer -- Epson, Canon, or HP -- has more reports of problems and red flags in this and other forums?
HP has, as I have said, had over one year to improve the performance of its tech support. After one full year that still hasn't happened, and the posting at the top of this thread is just one more bit of evidence in that regard. Again, I can personally attest to the fact that HP in Spain never fully solved all Vista problems for some users of Vista.
If both Epson and HP have the same set of features in one year at about the same price, which would you buy, based on reading all the postings in this and other forums? Which manufacturer has more red flags, more problems and more issues?
And which manufacturer has complaints about rude, unresponsive, and unprofessional tech support?
HP has MANY.
Canon has some, but it appears to be declining in recent months. Canon, unlike HP, appears to have improved its customer service and tech support.
Epson has almost none.
As I also said, any potential buyer of a printer must assume that he or she will have problems. When you do, the record of the manufacturer on mechanical reliability, software stability, and tech support is very relevant. Especially if the manufacturers offer similar features at a similar price.
That was my original question, and it will be very relevant at some point in the future.
My own bottom line, for anyone considering the purchase of a large format printer -- wait.
Wait to see what Epson, and Canon, offer in one year or so. Then make your decision.
And, based on the problem we had with HP, wait at least three months AFTER the release of a new model, and six months would be better, to see if the price drops by an astonishing $800 or $900 in only the first three months, as compared with what the suckers who bought the printer and the APS paid for it in the first three months when those were released and could only be purchased separately.