What surprises me is the apparent acceptance of the HP flat assertion that the new red ink could not have been made available for the Z3100. I'd like to ask Neil and others to respond to a few questions:
Just to be clear, I'm not looking for the usual gung-ho PR defense of HP and the Z3100 from those who will defend their purchase, and the Z3100, to the bitter end. (That does not include Neil, who offers candid assessments of where Canon and Epson are superior to HP or vice versa.)
Nor am I looking for quotes from HP or what the HP salesman are telling us.
I'm asking for those of you, like Neil, who understand the operation of printers, to explain why the new red ink could not have been released for the Z3100 along with new firmware.
Of course, that would assume that HP can actually release the PC version of firmware on their own web site, and not expect us to use the Mac version as was recently the case.
My assumption is that HP found a way to get us to buy the new model, especially if you have an issue with the reds. Like the auto makers, HP turns out a slightly improved model, and forces us to buy it rather than offering a reliable model with honest and reliable upgrades.
There is no specific reason why the Z 3100 couldn't have been upgraded. One thing is sure, as the others did Epson and Canon with the small upgrades, they made it an obligation to replace the printer rather than just update.
There was quite a bit of discussion at HP on whether to do the same or respect it's early adopters and freshly created user base.
It seems that marketing won out, but that is the way it has to go with someone like Mark Hurd running the show.
HP thus are indifferent than the others, something I thought and suggested would prove their mettle if they were to honour their current user base. In the same vein they had said they were listening to users and suggestions of specific groups of imaging specialists (myself included). After many years of taking in everything said so little was heeded, and then changing the people which the exploited as their fathoming pole removes any notion of loyalty for these people, the people they let go in their own ranks , and their users.
With such a small upgrade do you really think that changes anything in the way of QA, image quality, or innovation enough to launch into a system with spotty support?
PS if it wasn't clear enough; the new Z3200 PS I used was a disaster. An embarrassment, as I saw the same flaws that were there before as it seems they just don't know how to make color maps. So they change the reds and screw up in the same areas that were poor in the beginning. It can only be one of two things: the current testers do have models that are working which says the QC is just as poor as it was before with many discrepancies between units, or two: the new users are NOT or have not done enough evaluation and have not seen problem areas, or are not reporting them.
When I had a Z3100 on their media I was able to print my images without problem with very good image quality. The shadows always lacked colour, still do, but overall in gamut colours printed well. It was other users that spurred on and discovered non-resolvable deficiencies on mostly third party papers. Now that I prefer to use more and more third party paper ( okay I admit I have thing with Hahnemuhle PhotoRag Baryta) the defects are glaring. In fact the defects are amplified with other third party media, only to be hidden behind GE.
So a little change in red is not the answer. Much more was needed. Z3300 perhaps?
In the meantime I'd look elsewhere.