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Author Topic: Best 44" printer for fine art  (Read 2864 times)

I.T. Supplies

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #40 on: September 26, 2018, 06:42:41 PM »

It's not that we don't do our own testing here, but the reason I was asking is because our color specialist (G7 certified, GRACoL certified, GMG certified and others) doesn't think that the HP Z series is any better than Epson or Canon (quality based); and they think Epson and Canon is better as far as quality and they've owned their own Z3200.

I was asking them on why so many mentioned that HP's inks were so much better, and he wasn't sure why they thought that theyíve tested it with color management and in their opinion that the black tones weren't that great (especially for photography).  They'd say to go with Epson or Canon for photography.

Wilhelm doesn't state anything about how accurate quality the color is testing; just the ability of how long it shows on the media before it either fades or has color issues.  Of course, it may last long, but the accuracy on the print vs screen is different.  Lightfastness is determined "in" a photo album or box for longest duration (or longevity) vs being in a frame and what not.
http://wilhelm-research.com/Canson/WIR_Canson_2018_09_20.pdf

So, the reason I was asking that question is to find out why everyone is stating HP ink is better.  And if certain users are getting this info from just printing on it, are we doing color management and the best profile (or custom ICC) to determine if the "quality that matches the screen accurately" is done to compare to the Epson or Canon series?  Also, our color specialist said that even the Spectro on the HP isn't the greatest for doing custom ICC profile for photography and doesn't recommend that option anyway.  If you are doing custom profiles, they recommend using a 3rd party unit like X-Rite where it provides more patch options upfront, along with other very useful features.  Of course each profiling process will operate differently, but a Spectro isn't a great option for the best custom profiling due to some disadvantages.

So, I'll ask this in a more specific way...why do so many say that their ink is so great aside from the longevity testing?  I want to pinpoint this continued comment/review as opposed to what our color specialist (who also does photography with high end equipment) comments towards these reviews against Epson and Canon's inkset.  And I'm not saying others are wrong, but when we sell tons more Epson and Canon, we want to figure out the reasoning for the other comments/reviews.  Can we also see literature about the "QUALITY" results from HP that is compared to the other 2 brands?

Mark- I spoke to our color specialist and they've done extensive testing between the 3 brands and HP wasn't as great as Epson or Canon from their results.  They did say the blacks weren't the greatest either on HP's end in general.  Are you using a RIP to achieve 6000 patches since you can't do it from the drivers themselves?  And we've rarely had any clogs with our Canon's.  Canon and HP have the exact same print head technology aside from Epson's Piezo head.

I'm not trying to start any issues against anyone, but we want to get the information (or literature) about these results to confirm this outcome properly.  It could very well be from user preference (which is completely fine), but the actual tested results can be different with all accurate color set up and if the printer is printing properly with no clogs.
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enduser

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #41 on: September 26, 2018, 08:56:52 PM »

Why listen to a reseller's opinion rather than real expert printing people.  The retailer has many objectives that the user doesn't have such as variable selling margins, bonus payments, event attendances etc etc. Mark L and MMHG are beyond compare when it comes to experience in inkjet printing.
If you want unbiased, dead-set genuine advice never ask the guy selling something.
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #42 on: September 27, 2018, 04:14:03 AM »

I'm not trying to start any issues against anyone...

Really?  I question this as youíve hurled some pretty wild assertions that seem themselves largely based on hearsay and innuendo.
I am surprised by your remarks and that you would be threatened by a printer that is near end of life and is on its way out. And so are the Vivera inks that have had an amazing ride for over 12 years.

To be clear, my colleagues and I are not selling HP Z3200ps printers, and apparently neither are you.

No one among us in this thread has disparaged either Canon or Epson printers.  If anything, it is about extolling the virtues of all printers equally, and admitting that each printer makes equally good initial prints.
We have been extolling the virtues of the HPZ3200ps printer, and if anything are lamenting the fact that sooner or later, the printer that we as practicing professionals have come to know and love is on its way out.

The only person who has dissed the HP printer has been you, while at the same time you question why ďeveryoneĒ is stating HP Vivera ink is the best:

So, the reason I was asking that question is to find out why everyone is stating HP ink is better.

Is this your sales approach going forward with the new HP Z6 and Z9+ printers?  Have you done in-depth side by side comparisons made by practicing professionals who understand how to put the printers through their paces?  Iím not talking about running canned samples through the printers, Iím talking having the printers run through extraordinary workflow by professional fine art printers who understand the potential for pushing the printer through showroom floor mediocrity to amazing heights of museum worthy prints they (Canon Epson, HP) are all capable of.

It's not that we don't do our own testing here, but the reason I was asking is because our color specialist (G7 certified, GRACoL certified, GMG certified and others) doesn't think that the HP Z series is any better than Epson or Canon (quality based); and they think Epson and Canon is better as far as quality and they've owned their own Z3200.

This is rather subjective, it seems: ďThey don't think the Z is up to the level of the others?Ē  And I submit that although they may have for a time owned and used the Z3200 they havenít begun to put the printer through the kind of professional paces that we have, not even close.  I can safely say this, because itís only been of late that the secrets to unlocking the amazing potential of this printer have come to light.

So, the reason I was asking that question is to find out why everyone is stating HP ink is better.  And if certain users are getting this info from just printing on it, are we doing color management and the best profile (or custom ICC) to determine if the "quality that matches the screen accurately" is done to compare to the Epson or Canon series? 

Really?  Do you think youíre talking to casual users who donít understand a carefully managed color workflow?  How insulting and underestimating of you.

Also, our color specialist said that even the Spectro on the HP isn't the greatest for doing custom ICC profile for photography and doesn't recommend that option anyway.  If you are doing custom profiles, they recommend using a 3rd party unit like X-Rite where it provides more patch options upfront, along with other very useful features.  Of course each profiling process will operate differently, but a Spectro isn't a great option for the best custom profiling due to some disadvantages.

Well of course they and you recommend using a 3rd party unit like an X-Rite - all the more money your customers must spend on sophisticated equipment when the embedded spectrophotometer comes as standard equipment on the Z3200 (and apparently, now, the Z6/Z9 as well).  This is a wild claim that the Zís ESP canít do the job, when in fact, we have proof that it can, with side by side comparisons. In fact the Z can take any reference file from i1Pro or whatever, and is equally capable of scanning the resulting targets as closely and with the precision of the X-Rite, particularly when it comes to high patch count targets in the 4357 - 6000 patch realm.  That is the area we are currently testing, and several professional printers, John Dean of Dean Imaging in Atlanta, is currently using the high patch target profiles, while he has both Epson and Canon printers in his studio as well.

Hereís the problem.  Any use of the Z3200ps using the standard 368 patch target profile will yield simple, basic results. I guarantee your color specialist didnít get to know the printer the way we have (even if using the long since obsoleted APS system) or have found out what it can really do.  I submit that to this day, they do not now even know what the Z is fully capable of, nor is there any interest in finding out, which is fine.  But it looks like thereís not much of a future for the Z6 and the Z9 going forward based on how you and your color specialist have trashed the Z3200.  Just saying.

I guess you haven't really followed this thread that carefully.  No one has said the Epson and the Canons are inferior - we have only discussed how great the Z is based on new information that has unlocked its full potential.

So, I'll ask this in a more specific way...why do so many say that their ink is so great aside from the longevity testing?  I want to pinpoint this continued comment/review as opposed to what our color specialist (who also does photography with high end equipment) comments towards these reviews against Epson and Canon's inkset.  And I'm not saying others are wrong, but when we sell tons more Epson and Canon, we want to figure out the reasoning for the other comments/reviews.  Can we also see literature about the "QUALITY" results from HP that is compared to the other 2 brands?

Aside from the fact that weíve all been barraged by HPís own in house testing results in their sales brochures with their longevity claims, there is Aardenburg's colorimetric testing environment and the I* process that Mark McCormick Goodhart invented. 
Come to the party.
Most of the information regarding print longevity and fade curves comes from his methodical highly ethical practice.
For your own information, (and your "color specialist's") Aardenburg imaging has published results for years:

Aardenburg Imaging & Archives

Mark McCormick worked for seven years at the Smithsonian implementing their cold storage archives before working with Henry Wilhelm, after which he went on to establish Aardenburg Imaging with I* as the test engine.  He is not a color specialist, he's a color scientist and he achieves the most critical scientific results-based free service for photographers who rely on his information which is beyond reproach.  If you question this, that's your right to have your own opinions.  He simply presents the information and users of his website can draw their own conclusions.  If you want to draw down on a source of side by side comparisons, I urge you to join Aardenburgís free service and scan and study the results for yourselves.

Questions of Gamut and D-Max are easy to solve.  Obviously you canít because you apparently donít have a Z3200ps in your showroom, and I assert that if you did, you would not be able to make the high patch count targets we are using in-house, using the Zís embedded spectrophotometer.  You can put this question to rest by yourselves by making your best prints on both Canon and Epson machines on a known quality paper such as Moab Entrada Natural 300 Gsm or Canson Platine, then send us the same file you are using and we will print it using our workflow and ICC Profile generated in-house and you can have the prints evaluated by a third-party using a standardized metric to determine what the measurements actually are.  Weíll find out whose blacks are blackest, if thatís the way you judge quality in an image. 

Mark- I spoke to our color specialist and they've done extensive testing between the 3 brands and HP wasn't as great as Epson or Canon from their results.  They did say the blacks weren't the greatest either on HP's end in general.  Are you using a RIP to achieve 6000 patches since you can't do it from the drivers themselves?  And we've rarely had any clogs with our Canon's.  Canon and HP have the exact same print head technology aside from Epson's Piezo head.

Well youíve just called into question the new HP machines that have yet to undergo any third party testing - seems like a mis-step for future customers.  But since you sell predominantly Canon and Epson, and your minds are made up, I guess that doesnít matter.  And really?  Youíre saying that when one printhead of 6 goes bad in an Epson or Canon you can simply replace the bad head for less than $80 (for two colors)?
You mean you donít have to replace the entire print head set for thousands?  This is news to me.

I'm not trying to start any issues against anyone, but we want to get the information (or literature) about these results to confirm this outcome properly.  It could very well be from user preference (which is completely fine), but the actual tested results can be different with all accurate color set up and if the printer is printing properly with no clogs.

Well now that weíve received a slap across the face, that information will be forthcoming, and you may not like what you see.  It wonít be user preference, although there is that, of course. but rather scientific data and studies that clearly document these issues. Meanwhile, youíll just have to rely on Aardenburgís longstanding test results if you have the patience to go through them.

I was asking them on why so many mentioned that HP's inks were so much better, and he wasn't sure why they thought that theyíve tested it with color management and in their opinion that the black tones weren't that great (especially for photography).  They'd say to go with Epson or Canon for photography.

Oh please.  Spare us.  Again, I question why you are so threatened by a printer that is on itís way out, and is being off-loaded nearing the end of itís run.  The fact that several professionals who make their living printing prefer the look, feel, and test measurements of an ink that is amazing continues to surprise me.  Of course your color tech guy says theyíd go with Canon and Epson - youíve already stated you sell tons of them, and obviously you steer your customers in that direction.  Aren't we talking about bottom line sales here, really?

On the other hand, Iím glad you are such a staunch advocate for Canon and Epson printers.  I have had them and used them, with their waste tanks and clogs, and they are built like tanks, for sure and they do make beautiful initial prints in the hands of professionals.

I wish you and I.T. Supplies the best and hope some of your questions have been addressed, even if you disagree with my answers, which is your right, of course.

Best,

Mark Lindquist
LINDQUIST STUDIOS

http://marklindquist.photography
http://lindquiststudio.us/About_lindquist_studio.htm
http://lindquiststudio.us/History_of_lindquist_studio.htm
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Ernst Dinkla

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #43 on: September 27, 2018, 05:02:40 AM »


While doing some reproduction prints from acrylic paintings with some vivid colors I did hit a gamut limit of the K3 inkset and had to resort to significant massaging of the file to make an adequate reproduction print. So, having additional gamut cannot hurt!:)


Two week ago I made a (one print run) proof for a customer who wondered whether I could do several print runs to get close to a silkscreen print made with several overlapping transparent spot colors, so not the CMYK raster screen variety. He was pleasantly surprised by what the 11 inks on matte paper do in saturation with a Z3200. I added a dual run print as well to show that register for that geometric design would be more difficult and the surface more delicate than with a silkscreen print. Which is understandable given the difference in ink layer thickness. Matte silkscreen inks suffer however of the same problem when a nail polishes a certain spot though ......    On glossy papers the Vivera inks are as good if not better in scratch resistance than the competition inks.

I usually calibrate the Z3200 for every repeat job if that has not been done 2 months before. Takes little time and little media. Repeat jobs count to 40% of my work I estimate.  Calibration set on the printer panel so it is not interfering with any prepress work on the desktop that I can do at the same time. That the Z's thermal heads need calibration more often than piŽzo heads is a tale that appeared soon after the Z models with integrated spectrometers appeared. The competition simply had not an integrated package like that available and brought solutions later, mainly for print proofing practice, that were way more expensive and still needed optional profiling software.

Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
March 2017 update, 750+ inkjet media white spectral plots

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MHMG

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #44 on: September 27, 2018, 10:44:48 AM »

OK,...the title of this thread is "Best 44" printer for fine art" :) Judging by almost any objective and/or subjective metrics, I think we can all agree that "fine art" printmaking is an incredibly small market niche, so small indeed, that Canon, Epson, and HP all address it more in terms of how it helps them place their latest WF printer models into the commercial print shops and larger photo labs where print speed, ease of roll handling (sometimes cut sheet as well), reliability, cost per print are the key selling factors.  From a sales perspective, the marketing of print quality and print longevity becomes a simple sales pitch like "oh, and you can also use this printer for fine art printing as well because the output quality is so good and long lasting enough that you won't get any customer complaints". That's a low bar to jump over from where I'm coming from :)

IT supplies, when you speak of color specialists who are G7 certified, GRACoL certified, GMG certified and others, it's a different graphic arts commercial market that cares about those certifications. Those quality control standards are intended to keep big printing presses under day-to-day calibration control and smaller inkjet and digital proofing printers matched to that output. Those QC specs are just a piece of a calibrated graphic arts workflow and do not impart the skills necessary to make a great print which will please the customer. The most talented fine art printmakers I know who push the latest inkjet photo quality printers to the highest peaks of image quality don't really care what those certifications mean. They and their clients by and large wouldn't even have any idea what those certifications mean. I do, but it doesn't inform my choice of what 44 inch printer I"m going to buy next for my own personal use!

IMHO, the Printers, Papers, and Inks forum here on LULA is where those of us who truly fall into the niche market "fine art" printmaking category come to hang out, so this is indeed a great place to ask "What's the best printer for fine art".  I think it's also great that the printer manufacturers and dealers lurk here and sometimes are willing to post comments here.   In that regard, I hope this thread informs everyone that the very ancient Z3000PS does indeed still have state of the art qualities especially well suited to small volume high end printmaking studios whose clients tend to be the most demanding of all with regard to both initial print quality and print permanence. In low volume usage scenarios, the Z3200 sits unattended in a corner, happily running small nozzle maintenance checks periodically without dumping a lot of ink down a waste tank, is almost always ready to print after long periods of non use without insisting on a nozzle unclogging procedure right when you hit the print button, hits the sweet spot, IMHO, on ink cartridge capacity for the low volume user, ie. not too little and not too much to consume in a reasonable period of time respecting shelf life, and thermal head replacements when they eventually become necessary are far more cost effective than the competition... all fantastic practical stuff for the small-volume high-end print quality printmaker.  It's just that HP's default profiling feature does not lead to the highest quality prints, so a more skilled enduser must know how to coax max quality out of the Z3200 with knowledge not supplied by HP as to how to do that.  For example, HP documentation does a very poor job revealing all the hidden spectrophotometer features its engineers built into the Z3200 such as the ability to import any reference file for custom target sizes that the Z3200 can easily print and measure, and its tiff file export capability such that other WF printer brands can print the target and the Z3200 can then measure it.

When you buy a Z3200 you are getting a very competent automated spectrophotometer with a great photo printer thrown in for good measure 8) IT supplies your color specialist is misinformed. The Z3200 spectrophotometer is made by Xrite and has the same M2 illuminant measurement accuracy as an I1pro UVcut version, plenty adequate to make great measurements to build profiles with. What it doesn't have is much profiling capability built in, so I turn to modern profiling apps like i1Profiler, BasicColor RGB drop, or the very excellent (and free) Argyll profiling software. And I create the large patch count reference files with a combination of i1Profiler and BabelColor patch tool, but those files can be freely distributed to other Z3200 users (which Mark L. and I hope to post on his excellent Z3200 resource website Z3200.com, as soon as we both coordinate our efforts in our mythical spare time). 

I'm hoping the Z9 is a formidable successor to the Z3200, but to be that good, it has to meet or exceed the Vivera Ink set on print longevity merits, B&W print quality (i.e. grayscale neutrality and smoothness into the highlights) must not be compromised, and it has to still retain all those hidden spectrophotometer features that currently reside in the Z3200 Color Utility software. I've inquired with both HP reps and dealer reps (including someone at IT supplies) and I simply can't get even basic questions about the Z9 answered. I could answer them myself if I had about an hour alone with a Z9, but I'm nowhere close to a dealer. So, the Z9 is a real sleeper in the market place at the moment. HP, are you still listening to the fine art printmaking community?

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: September 27, 2018, 11:51:46 AM by MHMG »
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jmemije11

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #45 on: September 27, 2018, 06:03:08 PM »

Hello everyone,

I felt a need to respond to these posts.  It seems there is a lot of misperceptions on what Chris was trying to propose to the group here. 

Let me preface with saying I am the lead color consultant that works with Chris.  I am also an Avid photographer, full Sony gear hound with an A7RIII and multiple G Master lenses.  I have visited this site for countless hours in the past reading Michael R.s articles as well as many others.  I have been working with RAW files prior to Lightroom coming out using RAW Shooter Essentials which became RAW Shooter Premium.  So I am not just a Color Consultant for the print industry but I edit tons of photographs and print my own work.  How I started in the industry actually.  Enough credentials.

One thing I will say, is we do not sell one brand over another.  We sell the best tool that fits that customers workflow.  Let's be clear.  We sell plenty of HP printers and not just in the Aqueous space. We sell the HP R Series $150,000 and $220,000 photo quality flatbed printers as well for hard substrates.  Point here is we are not in bed with one manufacturer over another.  in fact our CEO prior to opening our business was one of HPs top salesman for many many years.  We love HP. 

Ok, so Chris brought this topic up to me the other day and asked my opinion.  Well, I said in terms of the Z3200 printer I did not feel the "quality" was as good as the Canon or EPSON equivalent offering.  Chris mentioned that members on this forum had mentioned they felt the quality was better and had literature to prove it.  Well it does not appear anyone has sent any literature that speaks to the quality being better than the competition other than some longevity tests put out by Wilhelm.  This is not about quality and about lightfastness basically stating within a certain amount of time the print would have faded by half.   Again no quality testing information. 

When Chris asked me why do I think the quality is not as good, I stated it is really good, just in my testing not as good as the other two guys.  I did extensive tests of color targets, Gamut mapping comparisons, and visual color targets.  In all my tests, the Canon and EPSON slightly beat out the EPSON in all those areas at least on the Z3200 printers. 

The comment about the black ink not being as good came from me as well.  If anyone has ever heard of or printed the 28 Balls file from Bill Atkinson, you would know this is a torture test file used to analyze the quality of the inkset.  Well in my tests the HP Black sphere and light Black Sphere had excessive ringing in it which basically shows a problem with that ink.  The Canon and EPSON did not exhibit anything but a couple light rings.  Very smooth spheres.   This is not an objective test.  It was very clear that the Canon and EPSON black ink were superior.

The other comments regarding the inline spectro were not to say the spectro is bad as it is the same exact spectral unit I use in the i1 Pro and i1 ISIS.  Those are the original units that do not do M! measurement conditions which basically measures with UV and without UV and averages them together.  The old Z3200 only does one measurement condition as it is based on the old i1 Pro spectral unit.  Not the new i1 Pro 2.   So when Chris is saying there are limitations in comparison to a stand alone it was not to sell units.  They sell themselves if needed.  It was to describe you are using an older spectral unit not sold in the last 5-6 years.   Also the HP profiling software at least the last time I used it has the largest color patches I have seen on an inline spectro.  The HP Latex printers have the same limitation.  So to print 6000 atches must use feet of paper.  We print 1914 patches on 2 8.5x11 pages.  Lot less media to build a more modern and perfectly adequate icc profile. 

I nor Chris have nothing against the convenience and ability of the inline spectro in the Z3200 other than those two points.  It does not make it bad, but there is better.  Sorry but its true.

So I want to end this post by saying this is not an argument on our side.  We are just trying to better understand the findings in literature another poster mentioned regarding the quality of the 3 printers.  I have never read anything that shows me this kind of information so I am also curious to read it myself. 

I know this forum has always been one about good discussions based on other photographers findings in photography and in printing.  I know Chris frequents these forums not to sell things but to see what the industry is doing and to also gain more knowledge from the leaders in the Fine Art photographic print world.

Hopefully we can have a civil discussion and not an us against them or them against us kind of discussion.

Cheers!

Jim M.
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Stephen Ray

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #46 on: September 27, 2018, 09:02:07 PM »

The comment about the black ink not being as good came from me as well.  If anyone has ever heard of or printed the 28 Balls file from Bill Atkinson, you would know this is a torture test file used to analyze the quality of the inkset.  Well in my tests the HP Black sphere and light Black Sphere had excessive ringing in it which basically shows a problem with that ink.  The Canon and EPSON did not exhibit anything but a couple light rings.  Very smooth spheres.   This is not an objective test.  It was very clear that the Canon and EPSON black ink were superior.

Perform this same test again but be sure to turn off all ICC profiles this time.
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MHMG

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #47 on: September 27, 2018, 09:23:33 PM »

Hello everyone,

... The comment about the black ink not being as good came from me as well.  If anyone has ever heard of or printed the 28 Balls file from Bill Atkinson, you would know this is a torture test file used to analyze the quality of the inkset.  Well in my tests the HP Black sphere and light Black Sphere had excessive ringing in it which basically shows a problem with that ink.  The Canon and EPSON did not exhibit anything but a couple light rings.  Very smooth spheres.   This is not an objective test.  It was very clear that the Canon and EPSON black ink were superior.


Nope, if anything Bill's target shows problems with the quality of the printer calibration and especially the corresponding ICC profile's treatment of out of gamut colors, not much about the inks really.  And as I noted before, any serious enduser of the HPZ3200 today will use the Z for it's measurement capabilities but not for building the profile because the modern profiling algorithms have indeed improved since the Z3200 hit the market. Furthermore, Bill's "28 balls" target is being totally misused in ways that Bill never intended by many so-called color experts. It can have imaginary colors in it depending on how it's used, so it's typically about the ICC profile algorithm's ability to map totally out-of-gamut fake colors into gamut, not really a great way to assess ink qualities and Dmax performance, IMO. When used correctly in non color managed mode it can spot flaws in the Printer driver ink channel ramps, but otherwise I don't place any stock in what people do with it.  Let's just leave it at that. We can agree to disagree.


The other comments regarding the inline spectro were not to say the spectro is bad as it is the same exact spectral unit I use in the i1 Pro and i1 ISIS.  Those are the original units that do not do M! measurement conditions which basically measures with UV and without UV and averages them together. 


Again, no. Newer Spectrophotometers capable of M1 illuminant compliance with the more recent ISO 13655-2009 standard do not merely average the UV and UV excluded measurements together. Xrite does combine two measurements together in its newer ISO 13655-2009 compliant instruments to meet the M1 specification which as you note the Z3200 can't do, but it's not a simple averaging technique. Furthermore, I researched the M1 condition very carefully and actually bought an I1Pro2 instrument to start measuring both the M0 and M1 illuminant condition with the idea that I would eventually transition the Aardenburg light fastness testing protocol to this "latest and greatest" standard. After a lot of study, I concluded M1 is too aggressive in its UV fluorescence measurements, particularly with moderate to high OBA content papers, thus better suited to printmaking for product to be displayed in outdoor sunlight conditions or very direct sunlight falling on a print indoors and thus far less suited to typical indoor museum and gallery conditions where this doesn't happen. Since this forum usually does not address outdoor signage or indoor environments with direct sunlight falling on the artwork, the M1 measurement is largely of academic interest to the fine art printmaking community.  Hence, I decided to continue publishing the Aardenburg test reports using primarily M0 illuminant condition even though I'm measuring with an i1Pro 2 instrument. Duly noted and already addressed in my earlier post is the fact that the onboard spectro in the Z3200 is measuring the the UV excluded M2 condition, which indeed essentially matches both M0 and M1 conditions when OBA-free papers are used. And the M0 versus M2 measurement difference is quite manageable without OBA compensation heroics when the printmaker chooses low OBA content paper. No serious fine art printmaker should be choosing high OBA content papers. So, again, for fine art printmaking, the Z3200 is still state of the art in terms of making measurements that will lead to a great ICC profile. What the Z3200 color utility didn't do is keep up with the advances in profile algorithm which have taken place over the last decade. But not to worry. Use the Z to make the measurements. Use modern ICC profiling software to crunch the data.


... you are using an older spectral unit not sold in the last 5-6 years.   Also the HP profiling software at least the last time I used it has the largest color patches I have seen on an inline spectro.  The HP Latex printers have the same limitation.  So to print 6000 atches must use feet of paper.  We print 1914 patches on 2 8.5x11 pages.  Lot less media to build a more modern and perfectly adequate icc profile.

Sure, the individual patch size printed with the Z's honeycomb array of printed patches is quite large to accommodate the full non contact scan of the HP Z's spectro. However, on the 44 inch Z3200, 6000 patches take less than 3 linear feet of paper which may be $10 or $20 worth of media when more expensive fine art media are considered. And yes, an Xrite iSis spectro or the like will do 6000 patches with much less paper wastage if cut sheets are used, but it's also an additional $3K capital expense, thus the added expense of an Xrite iSis probably won't match the cost of ICC profile target measurements on the Z until you've made over 300 ICC profiles give or take. Most fine art printmakers won't make that many profiles in a decade. Color management consultants will, but not endusers. And then, there's the convenience. Cueing up those smaller cut sheet target files to a 44 inch printer is an extra step in the process. If you cue them up on roll paper, guess what, you are wasting more paper! So, all and all, the bigger patches needed by the Z3200 spectro are a really trivial issue. Lastly, 2000 patch count targets are still falling short of maximum Z3200 print quality. I have come to this conclusion from studying the process and doing some round robin print testing with Mark L and John Dean, two guys who are master printmakers. I haven't published the results yet, so, sorry, you will have to take my word on that for now. Also, I can't speak for extended patch count goodness for other 44 inch printers from other manufacturers because I haven't run any extended patch count tests on them, but it's definitely true with the Z3200.

 

Hopefully we can have a civil discussion and not an us against them or them against us kind of discussion.

Cheers!

Jim M.


Yes, agreed. Welcome to this forum :) And feel free to contact me offline if you have any technical questions. Contact info is on my website.

thank you,
Mark McCormick-Goodhart
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: September 27, 2018, 10:01:59 PM by MHMG »
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Stephen Ray

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #48 on: September 27, 2018, 09:25:57 PM »


Is HP or Canon worth considering instead?

My priorities:
1. Printing quality
2. Archival Ink properties
3. Printer Efficiency (I am printing in ad-hock small batches, need to avoid clogging)

After a look through of your images with their smooth gradations and subtle tones, I recommend you get at least two sample 40 x 60 prints from any machines you're considering printed on your media type. Preferably, the two samples from two or three weeks apart. I'm not a fan of printing editions in ad-hock small batches. In fact, it makes no sense to me. However, I recommend the sample test above because of your particular work and plan.
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Doug Gray

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #49 on: September 27, 2018, 10:18:39 PM »

Hello everyone,

I felt a need to respond to these posts.  It seems there is a lot of misperceptions on what Chris was trying to propose to the group here. 
...
The other comments regarding the inline spectro were not to say the spectro is bad as it is the same exact spectral unit I use in the i1 Pro and i1 ISIS.  Those are the original units that do not do M! measurement conditions which basically measures with UV and without UV and averages them together.  The old Z3200 only does one measurement condition as it is based on the old i1 Pro spectral unit.  Not the new i1 Pro 2.   So when Chris is saying there are limitations in comparison to a stand alone it was not to sell units.  They sell themselves if needed.  It was to describe you are using an older spectral unit not sold in the last 5-6 years.   Also the HP profiling software at least the last time I used it has the largest color patches I have seen on an inline spectro.  The HP Latex printers have the same limitation.  So to print 6000 atches must use feet of paper.  We print 1914 patches on 2 8.5x11 pages.  Lot less media to build a more modern and perfectly adequate icc profile.  Hopefully we can have a civil discussion and not an us against them or them against us kind of discussion.
....
Cheers!

Jim M.
To expand on Mark's comment, the z3200 spectro is not based on the older spectros including the I1 Pro 2 which use tungsten illuminants. It actually uses white LED tech circa ColorMonki and i1iSis designs. The I1 Pro 2 is a hybrid that uses a tungsten source and uV LED to get M0 (base line single pass w/o the uV LED) and derives M2/M1 by using the uV LED on a second pass and either subtracting or adding an adjusted response from the uV LED pass.

i1iSis and i1iSis 2 models both use white LEDs for M2 specific measurements as does the ColorMunki and newer X-Rite printer spectros.

As for Bill's Balls, Andrew Rodney has a communication from Bill Atkinson noting the intent of the Balls was to check the smoothness of the printer's intrinsic drivers in device RGB space and was not intended to be used with a paper profile. That is they should be printed with color management disabled.

They can be useful with profiles but that use is largely an evaluation of the profile's generation software rather than the printer driver's intrinsic smoothness. There is considerable variation between profile vendors for the same printer/paper.
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #50 on: September 27, 2018, 10:28:23 PM »

Hello everyone,
I felt a need to respond to these posts.  It seems there is a lot of misperceptions on what Chris was trying to propose to the group here. 

Let me preface with saying I am the lead color consultant that works with Chris.

Jim M.

Welcome to the forum Jim M.  Itís a pity your first post after lurking here for a decade had to be about damage control.  In just about every aspect of what you and Chris have written, I and others utterly and completely disagree.  In fact your claims regarding the Z3200ps (which now we see are being somewhat slightly tempered) are so outrageous that from my perspective there is no point in discussing it with you or with Chris any further.

What this does do for me, or rather what good I find in the few recent posts from the I.T Guys, is a warning to steer widely clear from using I.T. Supplies as a source for purchasing printers, inks and papers, and particularly seeking any kind of support.

We all have our opinions, positions and perspectives. 
Good to know yours and Chrisís.

Kindest regards,

Mark L.





 
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MHMG

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #51 on: September 27, 2018, 10:50:37 PM »

... What this does do for me, or rather what good I find in the few recent posts from the I.T Guys, is a warning to steer widely clear from using I.T. Supplies as a source for purchasing printers, inks and papers, and particularly seeking any kind of support.

We all have our opinions, positions and perspectives. 
Good to know yours and Chrisís.

Kindest regards,

Mark L.

My dear friend Mark L. That's a bit harsh ;)

I do occasionally buy from IT supplies, and I think the company is top notch. (As an aside, I do wish you guys had kept the Atlex price on 44 inch roll Moab Entrada natural 300 gsm :). It was way better than the competition, but not anymore)
 
I'd buy more often from IT supplies, but due to my location proximity to NYC, shipments from B&H tend to reach me much faster. Other than that, both companies are great and typically free shipping in USA although IT supplies has a somewhat higher minimum purchase value to secure the free shipping. That said, IT supplies guys, I recently enquired with you about the Z9 because your website claims you have it in stock. However, as I noted earlier, nobody at your company (nor anyone else for that matter) seems to know much about this new printer. Given what you say about Canon and Epson printers outselling HP in this particular market demographic, perhaps it's time for you and other dealers to get more acquainted with the new HP Z9 product. Just sayin...

all the best,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
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Stephen Ray

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #52 on: September 28, 2018, 04:38:47 AM »

As for Bill's Balls, Andrew Rodney has a communication from Bill Atkinson noting the intent of the Balls was to check the smoothness of the printer's intrinsic drivers in device RGB space and was not intended to be used with a paper profile. That is they should be printed with color management disabled.

They can be useful with profiles but that use is largely an evaluation of the profile's generation software rather than the printer driver's intrinsic smoothness. There is considerable variation between profile vendors for the same printer/paper.

Another use is to quickly make an initial observation of a particular ink brand from another. Some commercial printers will purchase a machine knowing they will switch to a third party ink as soon as the setup ink set runs out. (Or even immediately.) With the balls, it's usually easy to see if the new ink differs much from the factory ink. The trends I have noticed is black ink may have a different tone and be weak. Cyan, on the other hand, may be much heavier than the OEM.
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Ernst Dinkla

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #53 on: September 28, 2018, 06:12:02 AM »

As long as Fogra certifications include the Z3200 printers I think there is no reason to doubt their consistency in printing over time. Proof printing is more demanding on that aspect than other applications require.

Mark McCormick put the finger on the arguments of the M1 profiling and the media waste in profiling due to larger patches, these are non issues in the art and photography printing we do here. I actually was surprised that this M1 condition was introduced and not a warning to reduce OBA content in papers to create more color constancy under different conditions and over time, both in practice. Despite the claim that M1 offers more color constancy in changing light conditions it does not in practice due to the actual OBA content. In general for the offset printing market, packaging included, it has hardly any meaning for the actual products. It covers the pre-press proofing conditions better if all cooperating in that workflow are actually using that standard and have the corresponding equipment.  About the outdoor use one may question the M1 condition too. https://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=101518.0  Display conditions vary and most OBAs do not last long either outdoors, even for short campaigns.

BTW, the M1 related new Fogra/ISO or Gracol "color spaces" are still not available in Photoshop CC. They exist since 2012/2013, the old ones of 2004 are still the default profiles.

The M2 condition for non OBA content media should be more suited for prints without OBA or low OBA content that is preferred for long lasting color constancy in different display conditions. The choice that goes along with inks that have the best fade resistance. So the UV cut spectrometer of the Z3200 is suitable then, LED light source without UV output.

Non hexagonal patch targets can be used on the printer with a command line tool. Whether that reduces media waste is another thing. More instruments used hexagonal patches as in theory the optical system copes better with anything approaching round patches so that shape might actually reduce media waste that way without compromising the measurements. On the Z3200 the patch size is more a result of the distance between the spectrometer and the media to measure. Media waste on the Z3200 has been way better reduced by the on the fly adaption of the target to the media roll/sheet width on the printer.

Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
March 2017 update, 750+ inkjet media white spectral plots



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jmemije11

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #54 on: September 28, 2018, 09:52:49 AM »

I agree Mark,

no sure after a decade why even bothered to chime in.  Seems like it is difficult here to find a voice of reason. 

funny though that my HP rep 3 years ago sat me down with one of the heads of the Aqueous printer divisions to ask me personally and one of my colleagues what we thought HP should do to improve the quality of the output and get back some market share from EPSON and Canon.  So even the company that provides the best 44" Printer in most opinions here, they know they need to catch up to the EPSON and Canon offering. 

There has been very little talk about the new HP and we do not even have our demo unit yet.  But I will be testing the 28 balls torture test on it to see if the black ink is improved.

Unfortunately I do not think it is worth the time to share my results here so if anyone wants to find out I guess they will have to call into IT Supplies :-)

Enjoy the Z3200s you have and I encourage the "photographers" here to not worry too much about which printer is the best and focus on how to edit your files so that the prints can be optimal because any of the high gamut offerings from the 3 main print manufacturers are pretty darn good.

Cheers.  Looks like another decade to come :-)
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Doug Gray

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #55 on: September 28, 2018, 10:54:42 AM »

I actually was surprised that this M1 condition was introduced and not a warning to reduce OBA content in papers to create more color constancy under different conditions and over time, both in practice.
I believe M1 was pushed for both a technical reason and a market reason.

The market sells the higher "brightness" and lower cost of high OBA papers. And the larger part of the market could care less about longevity or yellowing over time. So more papers are out with higher levels of OBAs though not for fine art of course.

The problem with the widely used M0 is that it includes a significant, but unspecified level of uV. As large parts of the graphics/paper industry increased levels of OBA, variation between soft proofing and hard proofing increased.  Also increased was differences in hard proofing using proof papers with OBA. OBAs are used in most proofing papers because non-OBA papers simply can't do a good job of hard proofing papers containing high levels of OBAs. OTOH, OBA proofing papers work just fine for proofing non-OBA papers. But hard proofing with OBA papers requires consistent levels of uV. Hence the change to M1 and view booth uV D50 specified levels.

However, you are quite right about M1. It generally overstates uV levels actually encountered as most signage is displayed behind glass or indoors and M0 is likely a better match, unspecified though it be.
Quote
Despite the claim that M1 offers more color constancy in changing light conditions it does not in practice due to the actual OBA content.
Curious where you find that claim being made. I'm unaware of any technical basis for that claim and I doubt the claim.
Quote

The M2 condition for non OBA content media should be more suited for prints without OBA or low OBA content that is preferred for long lasting color constancy in different display conditions. The choice that goes along with inks that have the best fade resistance. So the UV cut spectrometer of the Z3200 is suitable then, LED light source without UV output.
M0/1/2 are all the same for media without OBAs. For media with low OBA content they are effectively the same for all intents except Absolute. Absolute will only be the same when the media has no OBAs and no uV active natural materials like residual starches.
Quote

Non hexagonal patch targets can be used on the printer with a command line tool. Whether that reduces media waste is another thing. More instruments used hexagonal patches as in theory the optical system copes better with anything approaching round patches so that shape might actually reduce media waste that way without compromising the measurements. On the Z3200 the patch size is more a result of the distance between the spectrometer and the media to measure. Media waste on the Z3200 has been way better reduced by the on the fly adaption of the target to the media roll/sheet width on the printer.
I'm curious if the larger, hex, patch size on the z3200ps doesn't provide much better profiling results with heavily textured canvas. The larger optical aperture should produce more consistent profiling results as it averages over larger areas than products like the i1 collection. 
Quote

Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
March 2017 update, 750+ inkjet media white spectral plots
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Ernst Dinkla

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #56 on: September 28, 2018, 12:02:12 PM »

I believe M1 was pushed for both a technical reason and a market reason.

The market sells the higher "brightness" and lower cost of high OBA papers. And the larger part of the market could care less about longevity or yellowing over time. So more papers are out with higher levels of OBAs though not for fine art of course.

The problem with the widely used M0 is that it includes a significant, but unspecified level of uV. As large parts of the graphics/paper industry increased levels of OBA, variation between soft proofing and hard proofing increased.  Also increased was differences in hard proofing using proof papers with OBA. OBAs are used in most proofing papers because non-OBA papers simply can't do a good job of hard proofing papers containing high levels of OBAs. OTOH, OBA proofing papers work just fine for proofing non-OBA papers. But hard proofing with OBA papers requires consistent levels of uV. Hence the change to M1 and view booth uV D50 specified levels.

However, you are quite right about M1. It generally overstates uV levels actually encountered as most signage is displayed behind glass or indoors and M0 is likely a better match, unspecified though it be.Curious where you find that claim being made. I'm unaware of any technical basis for that claim and I doubt the claim.M0/1/2 are all the same for media without OBAs. For media with low OBA content they are effectively the same for all intents except Absolute. Absolute will only be the same when the media has no OBAs and no uV active natural materials like residual starches.I'm curious if the larger, hex, patch size on the z3200ps doesn't provide much better profiling results with heavily textured canvas. The larger optical aperture should produce more consistent profiling results as it averages over larger areas than products like the i1 collection.

Doug, I am aware that in the "other" markets the media with OBA content is the common one and I understand that for accordance in color proofs there had to be a standard for suitable proofing conditions. Fluorescence measured, viewing conditions with the same effect. It solved an issue at the proofing stage of fluorescent papers and inks.

However it can not predict or influence the viewing conditions for the real products that come off the presses later on. In that sense the M0 or M2 conditions were as good.  That the viewing conditions for outdoor signage more likely has UV light included for 2/3 of 24 hours sets it apart. And even there it is all not so easy to get it right if lamination or glass is used or the same image gets light reflected or transmitted from LEDs during the night.

That was my claim, just common sense.

Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
March 2017 update, 750+ inkjet media white spectral plots

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Doug Gray

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #57 on: September 28, 2018, 12:45:38 PM »

However it can not predict or influence the viewing conditions for the real products that come off the presses later on. In that sense the M0 or M2 conditions were as good.  That the viewing conditions for outdoor signage more likely has UV light included for 2/3 of 24 hours sets it apart. And even there it is all not so easy to get it right if lamination or glass is used or the same image gets light reflected or transmitted from LEDs during the night.

That was my claim, just common sense.

Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
March 2017 update, 750+ inkjet media white spectral plots

Ernst, I totally agree. Didn't mean to come across as differing on your point.  I was addressing some of the forces that were propelling M1 measurements and uV included D50 in viewing illuminants.

It's sad really, because it's an obscure area of color science and mindless use of M1 is likely to produce more chaos than clarity.

I find almost all the printing I do with M2 profiles even though all are readily available.
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Remko

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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #58 on: September 29, 2018, 02:08:47 PM »

I was at the Photokina yesterday and spoke with the people from HP about their new Z-Series. They had both the 24 and the 36 inch of the Z9 on the booth, with the 24 being used for making A2 sized prints.

A couple of things I learnt.

I asked if they were aware that some people in the US had received bad sample prints that were printed on the new Z9 Series. They were and learnt about it via LL. They were surprised as HP was not involved in this and started an investigation to learn what images had been printed and by whom. They found out that a distributor in the US has sent those sample prints. But unfortunately used images that were edited and optimised for brochures. And these edited images were printed on a beta version of the Z9 Series.

Both the 24 and the 36 inch Z9 will have the option of the GLoss Enhancer. They themselves only have the Gloss Enhancer on there machines in their demo center in Barcelona since a couple of weeks. I was shown the difference the gloss made as the friendly lady pointed out the slight bronzing that was apparent on the print without the Gloss Enhancer. Honestly, I found it difficult to see the bronzing. But on another B&W print I did see it. The same image printed with the Gloss Enhancer eliminated the bronzing.
The Gloss Enhancer btw can be printed on the whole image.

According to HP the longevity is at least as good as with the Z-Series. The color gamut is more or less the same.

I find it difficult to judge a print when it is not one of my own images. But from what I have seen, I am very impressed! Beautiful tonality and very sharp prints!

cheers,
Remko
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Re: Best 44" printer for fine art
« Reply #59 on: September 29, 2018, 02:23:47 PM »

Glad to hear this, Remko. I'm curious if better scuff resistance was a part of their in booth sales pitch, and if so, were you able to make any direct observations about it?

Did you witness any media loading to be able to compare it to previous models?

The fact that you mention beautiful tonality without mentioning the ink changes directly is, I suppose, a good sign that no visible artifacts from giving up the light inks jumped out at you. If it is a non-issue to the naked eye, it means HP succeeded in their objective.
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