But the spectro really should NOT be a factor in the decision on these printers...get yourself ProfileMaker & an i1iSis (even if you DO get an HP) because these will be far better (and more useful) than an onboard spectro. Seriously, this is NOT a factor you should be weighing...
Again, I really think a person should buy a printer based on the merits of the printer, print quality and one's return on the investment. Not what "accessories" are optionally available.
We agree with regards to your important point. Our fundamental agreement on the most important point apparently got lost in my long posting.
In my long posting, a few sentences may have been overlooked: "Is the Epson superior enough in all other areas, as compared with the Z3200, to justify buying it even when it does not include automated paper profiling? Or is the Z3200 pretty close to being as good as the Epson in all other areas, so that the added bonus of automatic paper profiling tips the balance in its favor? Each of us will have to make that judgment call, and it is a personal decision."
I therefore agree with you. The core qualities of the printer -- the merits of the printer and print quality -- must shape any decision on a printer more than whether it has an on-board spectro and software. A bad printer with an on-board spectro will always be a bad printer. It might make great profiles and do so accurately, but it would still be a bad printer.
As I said above, if the Epson is superior in the areas that matter -- as a printer -- we'd all buy it and that is true regardless of whether it has a spectro that can do paper profiling.
To illustrate that we agree on this point, I also modified my original posting at the top of this thread, and moved the spectro to the bottom of my original posting. I agree with you that all of the other qualities of a printer are more important -- and the spectro is icing on the cake and should be on the bottom of the list.
Our only disagreement comes down to this. In your earlier posting you asserted that having a spectro that can automatically produce printer profiles is not important at all and, based on your earlier post, should not even be a factor deciding what printer to buy. (Those who own a Z3100 would, I believe, strongly disagree with you that it should not be a factor at all.)
I am simply saying that is a great feature, and should be a factor in making a decision about what printer to buy, although print quality and the other issues I listed in my original post clearly should take priority. We do agree on the latter point.
The question will come down to whether the Z3200 is equal to, or pretty close to, the standards of the 7900, if the 7900 spectro can't do paper profiling. Then some consumers might feel that the addition of the spectro and APS is an "added bonus" that "tips the balance" in favor of the Z series.
My basic point is that if Epson is producing a spectro, that sells for same price as high quality profiling packages, it would be great if the Epson spectro included software to produce printer profiles. Those who want to purchase that option could then do so.
Surely, we can all agree that Epson is better off to be able to advertise that option -- automatic creation of printer profiles with the accessory spectro -- than to not be able to do so?
Even if the price is higher for the printer plus spectro as compared with the HP Z series, Epson would then have the option and can compete directly with HP Z series. To produce and market a spectro, but not include profiling software to drive it, would seem to be an illogical marketing decision by Epson. Epson would be handing that sales pitch and feature to HP and the Z series. On the hand, if they include a spectro with profiling software, it is certainly plausible that Epson will be say that BOTH the printer and the spectro are of higher quality and meet higher standards -- and that justifies the higher price for the package of both combined.
Common sense says that Epson is better off to be able to make that argument, and to at least be able to compete with HP with regards to that feature, than not at all. That is my point, along with the obvious observation that if the 7900 and Z3200 are about equal as printers, consumers might opt for the one with the very nice additional feature -- a spectro with software to profile papers. The Z3100 provided tangible proof that it is an important consideration for many consumers, all other things being equal.