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Author Topic: Best 44" printer currently available  (Read 18352 times)

deanwork

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #40 on: December 28, 2016, 10:39:29 am »

Personally I think all this tit for tat about color gamut, resolution, image quality, is irrelevant these days with the three companies. They are all so close.

My concern is how reliable is the printer, how often do I have to replace parts, does it waste ink, and when it does need to be worked on are the techs reliable and affordable. I have all three brands and the only image quality issue I ever think about is when I use the HPZ for black and white work on matte media I'm getting a much darker 1.8 dmax which is noticeable, but not reason enough to buy the printer.

j
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Royce Howland

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #41 on: December 28, 2016, 12:48:46 pm »

I hope to comment at some length on the Epson P10000 (and P20000) at some point in the future. Time is never sufficient to do everything I want to do.

For now, a couple of brief comments on the P10K that we've been running for a few months now. As background, we're a large format digital print shop that strives for the highest quality we can achieve, without implementing processes that would cost more than 95% of our customers could afford. :) We run multiple elderly 9880's, only a single remaining 7900 (having disposed of our other x900's), multiple 11880's, some other random stuff. And now a P10K, plus a P20K that we just took delivery of.

First, these new models increase the trend towards electronic "fly by wire" controls for everything. Gone are the days where you can just load or eject media by a manual lever control and a single electronic button press in a matter of a few seconds, for example. These new printers suffer from an increasing issue I find with many modern high tech products. I call it nagware and "verbing instead of working". The printer takes a lot more button pushes to get common things done -- invoking a function, then confirming we want to do it, then confirming we really want to do it, then confirming that we actually want to start doing it, etc. And we spend more time standing at the control panel while the printer says "waking up", "preparing", "waiting", blah blah blah -- verbing of some kind, instead of actually working.

Once the printer is actually doing something, it's really fast and smooth. The new head is massive, but the printer feels more solid than ever while that giant head is moving around. It's also much quieter than before. The rotary cutter is fast and solid. We're not finding any feed or head strike issues so far, except with really aggravating papers that always used to cause issues, such as Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, Hahnmuhle Fine Art Baryta, and the like.

I've made a bunch of custom profiles and the new inkset is a welcome update. Much better Dmax and colour gamut compared to our stalwart 11880's. I'd say more or less as good as the x900 inkset for gamut, but with better colour gamut in the deeper shadow tones. The 4th grey ink is a win, I believe. I haven't tried any hard core B&W testing yet, but in routine printing we're seeing good things that I attribute to having that extra shade of grey. I anticipate good things from the reformulated yellow ink, if independent testing confirms the improved yellow longevity that Epson is claiming. The shift to a 300/600 PPI head design instead of the traditional 360/720 PPI Epson has used for everything else has brought no downside that I can see. Things still look as detailed and smooth as ever, absent a controlled test with a loupe.

The new print area in the hardware is arranged horizontally, as opposed to at an angle like all previous Epson large format models of the past 10+ years. This means paper is fed in & down through the loading slot, then goes through an angled bend to get leveled out under the print head, with prints feeding straight out the front still on a horizontal orientation. This cause a bit of difference in handling some papers, but doesn't seem to have a significant plus or minus in operation, so far. A minor downside is that it appears 11 inches is now the minimum length of media that can be printed, probably because of the feed mechanism changes. On the upside, large rigid plates or heavy card stock can be dealt with more easily since they load & print completely horizontally, given sufficient space in front and in back.

Bugs -- there have been a few. For the first time in I don't know how many years, we had multiple incidents where the printer got confused while trying to load media with multiple jobs queued up, and started printing when no paper was actually loaded. This liberally sprayed ink all over the interior until the job could be killed. This happened several times until we narrowed it down to one specific situation for sure -- queuing up multiple jobs on cut sheet stock, something we don't do any more now. When we need to print on cut sheets, we run the jobs one at a time. We've already had one or two driver updates for the P10K, I'm betting there will be a firmware update before long as well. One example of a more benign bug is that on Windows, the Epson printer driver enforces the 11 inch minimum media length I mentioned above, changing any smaller dimension entered to 11 before commencing the print job. On Mac, the driver will let you enter a smaller dimension and submit the print job, but the print is then oddly rotated and truncated. It's impossible to get a correct print until you put at least 11 inches in for the media length. These things demonstrate the continued decline of vendor QC, and the role of paying customers as beta testers.

Ink supply was a bit of an issue to start. We took delivery of the P10K with its pathetically small starter ink cartridges, which lasted about 24 hours. That was how long it took before one cart was depleted far enough that the obligatory head clog couldn't be cleared. The printer was then unusable as it appeared that Epson Canada had no supply of P10K / P20K ink anywhere in the country. So our brand new device sat collecting dust for over a month while we raised hell weekly through our vendors, trying to get ink. When we ordered the P20K, we told everybody involved that if a full ink set didn't arrive conjointly with the printer, we would refuse delivery. :)

My final comment for now is on clogging. Yes, the P10K continues to clog as much as any Epson we've ever run. I've disabled as many of the auto-cleaning functions as possible, because if we didn't, our initial observation is that the machine would spend an enormous amount of time trying to run self-cleaning cycles, many of which would prove to be ineffective anyway. Even with everything cut to a minimum, the printer constantly tells us that it has detected a clog that automatic cleaning couldn't clear up, and so the printer stops to give us the chance to clean again or continue printing. This requires manual intervention on the control panel. If we cancel the job and run a nozzle check, I'd say about 80% of the time there's no clog in evidence. But quite frequently, whether the auto-clog detect has found something or not, a clog will develop. Often it linearly spans 2 - 3 contiguous nozzle slots. Rather frequently, multiple channels will clog at once. At least now the paired channel cleaning function allows us to select one, several or all channels for cleaning, which speeds up cleaning with less wasted ink than before, where it was either clean all channels, or only a single channel pair. Clogging happens pretty regularly, so we run manual nozzle checks with the requirement for manual head cleanings all the time. We manage environmental dust, temperature and humidity as well as we reasonably can without running a clean-room type of environment.

Time will tell whether the new 600 PPI head is more reliable than the disastrous x900 heads. If it is, and if Epson can work out some of the driver and firmware bugs soon, then on the whole we'll consider the P10K / P20K printers a worthwhile upgrade. The most significant benefit we see on day 1 is from the new inkset. But the printer currently is not without its annoyances, and on the clogging front it appears to be no better than any other past model. Based on what we're seeing with these, I don't know that we'll ever bother to try the P9000 or other smaller models, but we'll see. We print a lot, and we print large a lot, so the production throughput that the P10K / P20K are designed to deliver make them the natural fit for us.

I will say that we do plan to evaluate the Canon PRO-4000 in the new year...
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 10:36:47 am by Royce Howland »
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #42 on: December 28, 2016, 02:08:26 pm »

I have now read the BLI Report in some detail and I have quite a few comments sprinkled throughout written-up as "stickies" in the document. My comments are on matters of fact, approach and relevance and have nothing to do with who paid for the work. I have written to BLI asking whether there would be any copyright implications to my posting a resaved copy of the document containing the stickies. From auto-responses I see they are all on holiday till January 3rd, so I may not hear back until then. It would save me a lot of writing and referencing, because it is not possible to copy extracts of the report. I shall therefore wait until I hear back from them before posting, out of abundance of caution.

For now, let me say I am not prepared to condemn the whole report because I have queries, quandaries or possible issues with this or that aspect of it, nor am I prepared to say it is necessarily a flawless piece of work despite the large effort they obviously devoted to it. 
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Czornyj

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #43 on: December 29, 2016, 04:50:31 am »

I will say that we do plan to evaluate the Canon PRO-4000 in the new year...

Royce, thanks a lot for the informations about SC-P10/20K!
I think you may actually like PRO-4000 ;)
Absolutely ZERO clogs ever. The most beautiful effect on baryta papers that I've ever seen, plus it makes fragile surfaces (like IGGFS) much, much more robust, so framing is safer and easier. No head strikes nor feeding problems, even with the thickest, most curled media.
There's also a "fly by wire" tendency with massive know-all touch panel trying to organise your life, but the good news is you can ignore it completely, load or change the paper the old fashioned, manual way, with only one press of the button.
You also get reasonable, 190ml ink carts with the printer (we had a promo in Poland, so I had also received additional set of 160ml carts).
Good luck with the tests, and please let us know your findings!

Mark Lindquist

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #44 on: December 29, 2016, 12:21:32 pm »

After looking over the specs and features of the Canon PRO-4000 it is a very nicely designed printer - robust, for sure.
The printhead assembly works by re-mapping clogged nozzles which is great.  Only problem is if one of the 3 printhead units in the main assembly fails, the whole assembly must be replaced.  Basically that's about $525 US.


If and when a printheads fails in the Z3200ps you replace one printhead that has two colors:


One printhead has two colors, for example matte black and red:


One printhead for the HP Z3200ps costs about $70.00.

So you fix the failed printhead, not the entire printhead assembly.

The OP said:
I don't print often, sometimes going for 2 weeks at a time...

I'm hoping to get some advise on a new 44" printer, and the one I've been looking at is the proGRAF 4000, but welcome other suggestions. I print mainly on glossy paper, mostly vibrant, highly saturated colors, so I'd like to have the widest gamut possible. The other very important factor is being able to replace the head manually...

The HP Z3200 delivers some of the richest most saturated colors out there, especially when tweaked in the profile during a custom profile using the embedded ESP.

The cost of the Z3200ps on sale is easily 1/3 less than the price of the Pro 4000.

Just saying, I believe the Pro 4000 is a great machine, but the Z3200 is lighter, easier to move, has many features that are great for the occasional user.

I was gone for 2 1/2 months on a shoot and came back and the printer picked back up without a hitch.

For the money, it's probably the best value for quality out there.

The two issues the OP stated are the Z3200's strong points.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 01:13:04 pm by Mark Lindquist »
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jrsforums

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #45 on: December 29, 2016, 01:30:20 pm »

After looking over the specs and features of the Canon PRO-4000 it is a very nicely designed printer - robust, for sure.
The printhead assembly works by re-mapping clogged nozzles which is great.  Only problem is if one of the 3 printhead units in the main assembly fails, the whole assembly must be replaced.  Basically that's about $525 US.


If and when a printheads fails in the Z3200ps you replace one printhead that has two colors:


One printhead has two colors, for example matte black and red:


One printhead for the HP Z3200ps costs about $70.00.

So you fix the failed printhead, not the entire printhead assembly.

The OP said:
The HP Z3200 delivers some of the richest most saturated colors out there, especially when tweaked in the profile during a custom profile using the embedded ESP.

The cost of the Z3200ps on sale is easily 1/3 less than the price of the Pro 4000.

Just saying, I believe the Pro 4000 is a great machine, but the Z3200 is lighter, easier to move, has many features that are great for the occasional user.

I was gone for 2 1/2 months on a shoot and came back and the printer picked back up without a hitch.

For the money, it's probably the best value for quality out there.

The two issues the OP stated are the Z3200's strong points.
That Canon head is one head.  Price I have seen is $675...but a only need one.
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John

Mark Lindquist

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2016, 01:48:58 pm »

Right - when one of those ink printhead components there on the Canon fails - you pay for the whole thing. $675.00

When one print head fails on the Z 3200ps, you replace it for $70.00

There are 6 print heads on the Z - each with 2 colors.  Usually only 1 fails at a time.

There is a huge difference there.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 01:55:47 pm by Mark Lindquist »
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nirpat89

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2016, 02:38:25 pm »

Right - when one of those ink printhead components there on the Canon fails - you pay for the whole thing. $675.00

When one print head fails on the Z 3200ps, you replace it for $70.00

There are 6 print heads on the Z - each with 2 colors.  Usually only 1 fails at a time.

There is a huge difference there.
Hi, Mark:

I have the B9180 and over the almost 10 year period I have replaced 2 heads.  I am not a professional so my printing is limited to my own work and most years I turn off my printer for 2-3 months at a time when I travel. 

I was wondering, what is the status of HP in terms of being in this business. In the next year or so I am going to be looking to buy a bigger 17" to 24" printer.  Are they going to pull a B9180 on the z-series printers?  I would disregard them as a choice if that were to be true...don't want to repeat the B9180 experience.  Based on how good these are, I wonder why they would want to discontinue.
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Ernst Dinkla

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2016, 03:06:47 pm »

Right - when one of those ink printhead components there on the Canon fails - you pay for the whole thing. $675.00

When one print head fails on the Z 3200ps, you replace it for $70.00

There are 6 print heads on the Z - each with 2 colors.  Usually only 1 fails at a time.

There is a huge difference there.

To be fair, the Canon is at least 2x faster, if not 3x. For production the price difference of the heads is  no obstacle. I do not have that production volume so am happy with the Z3200.

Ernst, op de lei getypt.
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Czornyj

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #49 on: December 29, 2016, 03:22:53 pm »

When one print head fails on the Z 3200ps, you replace it for $70.00

There are 6 print heads on the Z - each with 2 colors.  Usually only 1 fails at a time.

There is a huge difference there.

New Canon PF-10 print head is simplified, stuffed with many additional thermal sensors, carefully protected against head strikes with protective floats and massive, protruding screw for additional protection. It is the result of ~10 years of experience with PF-2, 3 and 5 print heads (that were virtually the same), should be robust and reliable. For some reason it only costs ~500$ where I live. I don't think there will be much of a cost difference in a long run, but time will tell ;)
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 03:26:13 pm by Czornyj »
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howardm

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #50 on: December 29, 2016, 03:56:23 pm »

Does the PR0-1000 also use the same PF-10 head or does it use a 'simplified' version (read: less $$)

Mark Lindquist

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #51 on: December 29, 2016, 03:59:00 pm »

To be fair, the Canon is at least 2x faster, if not 3x. For production the price difference of the heads is  no obstacle. I do not have that production volume so am happy with the Z3200.

Ernst, op de lei getypt.

To be Fair, also, an occasional user doesn't need the speed necessarily.  The OP stated his uses were occasional. 
I do a lot of printing and I'm fine with the Z3200 as well.
If that changed, then maybe another Canon would be added to the shop.  As it is, I'm fine with what we have.
Speed vs. output, then.   I guess.  Quantity vs. Quality.  Fast and Good vs Slow and good.  They are all good printers, what can we say? 
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #52 on: December 29, 2016, 04:06:59 pm »

Hi, Mark:

I have the B9180 and over the almost 10 year period I have replaced 2 heads.  I am not a professional so my printing is limited to my own work and most years I turn off my printer for 2-3 months at a time when I travel. 

I was wondering, what is the status of HP in terms of being in this business. In the next year or so I am going to be looking to buy a bigger 17" to 24" printer.  Are they going to pull a B9180 on the z-series printers?  I would disregard them as a choice if that were to be true...don't want to repeat the B9180 experience.  Based on how good these are, I wonder why they would want to discontinue.

Given that you are still using your B9180 after 10 years, I'd say that that is pretty good longevity for a printer.  Plus you can still get inks for it, right?
HP is the leader in Large Format Printing in..  the..  world. They've been working on technology in several other areas lately, particularly with their high production printers.  Their Z Series printers are still going strong.  Our most recent Z series printer we just got was manufactured in July of this year.  They have not yet replaced the Z3200ps because apparently sales are still strong.  How and what comes along next is anybody's guess.  I stressed to HP your sentiments that I share: that since the printers are so good, why would they discontinue them.
Truthfully, I think you've answered your own question.
-Mark
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Czornyj

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #53 on: December 29, 2016, 04:22:02 pm »

Does the PR0-1000 also use the same PF-10 head or does it use a 'simplified' version (read: less $$)

PRO-1000 use exactly the same PF-10, LUCIA PRO ink set, and multisensor (spectrodenistometer)

Czornyj

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #54 on: December 29, 2016, 04:26:20 pm »

Speed vs. output, then.   I guess.  Quantity vs. Quality.  Fast and Good vs Slow and good.  They are all good printers, what can we say?

As John mentioned HP is better on matte papers, but I believe that on photo paper (baryta, PE glossy-lustre-silk etc.) nothing can beat Canon iPF PRO ;)

Mark Lindquist

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #55 on: December 29, 2016, 05:34:28 pm »

As John mentioned HP is better on matte papers, but I believe that on photo paper (baryta, PE glossy-lustre-silk etc.) nothing can beat Canon iPF PRO ;)

You know, I haven't had the opportunity to put glossy/lustre-silk images from the IPF PRO side by side with the Z3200ps, so I can't really say.

I'm wondering if you have had that opportunity to do a side by side comparison?

If you are basing your statement on evidence, I'd like to see it, mainly because I just don't know.

What I do know is that glossy prints from the HP Z3200ps are stunning - absolutely breath taking.

I imagine the prints from the IPF PRO are too.

At what point are we splitting hairs - your yellow is better than mine, or Greens or blues or reds?  Different shades, better gamut?

When it comes to side by side comparisons, I think it's going to be tough, but it will probably be like comparing Nikon glass to Canon glass.
All great, but subtle differences between the two.

Glad you like your Canon gear.  I like Canon too.  Great gear.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #56 on: December 29, 2016, 05:53:16 pm »

Does the PR0-1000 also use the same PF-10 head or does it use a 'simplified' version (read: less $$)

Same printhead for Pro1000/2000/4000
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Czornyj

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #57 on: December 29, 2016, 06:24:06 pm »

You know, I haven't had the opportunity to put glossy/lustre-silk images from the IPF PRO side by side with the Z3200ps, so I can't really say.

I'm wondering if you have had that opportunity to do a side by side comparison?

If you are basing your statement on evidence, I'd like to see it, mainly because I just don't know.

What I do know is that glossy prints from the HP Z3200ps are stunning - absolutely breath taking.

I imagine the prints from the IPF PRO are too.

At what point are we splitting hairs - your yellow is better than mine, or Greens or blues or reds?  Different shades, better gamut?

When it comes to side by side comparisons, I think it's going to be tough, but it will probably be like comparing Nikon glass to Canon glass.
All great, but subtle differences between the two.

Glad you like your Canon gear.  I like Canon too.  Great gear.

Mark, I'll try to prepare some comparison photo samples as soon as I'll have the oportunity, but I'd also encourage you to give Canon a try - it's extremely difficult to show all differences on photos, but very easy to see on prints ;)

deanwork

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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #58 on: December 29, 2016, 06:48:09 pm »

The gloss prints on both are outstanding, and both are very smooth. The Canon inks are a lot more scratch resistant, at least on the Lucia inks of the 8400 series. The Hp Z's use of the gloss overcoat is a lot more vulnerable, but they look great, bw and color. I spray both matte and gloss with the Hah spray.The Wilhelm permanence on Canson rag media is twice what the old Canon inks were acand we still don't know about the new ones. Some people don't care about that.

Everybody it talking about what revolutionary dmax their new inks are producing. The HP Vivera has had a 1.8 dmax for almost 10 years now. I just did a test print today and I'm still amazed at how much difference that makes on a paper like Canson.  I can do very nice neutral bw prints on the 8300 Canon with TBW rip, but they never have the authority of the Z prints.
 
I'll be interested to see how the new Epson inkset is working out. There is not much talk about those printers yet that I've heard.

john
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Re: Best 44" printer currently available
« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2016, 07:04:25 pm »

PRO-1000 use exactly the same PF-10, LUCIA PRO ink set, and multisensor (spectrodenistometer)

IMO, that really hurts the total cost of ownership of the -1000.  Having to replace the same $650 head on a $1100 printer is a much bigger wallet hit vs. that head on a $2500+  PRO-2000 or more for the -4000
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