Musings on Photography

Elucubrate

Posted in equipment, hp z3100 by Paul Butzi on September 21, 2007

5D-070905-4625

Due to my diligent work ethic, much progress here.
On the z3100 printer front: more papers profiled and test printed. First paper: Crane Museo Max, which is fabulous stuff. One job for today is to make a couple of toned B&W prints on this stuff and see what they’re like. I suspect/expect/hope they will be fabulous. Also profiled and test printed (after some encouragement) HP Professional Satin Photo Paper, which I was fully prepared to dislike (I thought it would be like Epson Premium Luster, with a sort of surface finish like Kodak’s E surface RC papers) but it is delightfully nice looking stuff. Almost but not quite like air-dried glossy. My first color print on this stuff blew me right out of my sneakers. Ok, they weren’t sneakers, they were ratty old pair of Merrill Jungle Mocs, but you get the drift.

This weekend I’m hoping that I will get time to select and order a few other papers to evaluate. Evaluating papers on the Z3100 is fun and easy and not at all like doing real work.

More news on the Z3100 front: apparently the next round of Z3100 firmware/drivers will allow the user to directly specify some of the printer settings when creating new paper types, instead of forcing the user to use an arcane HP document to look up the morally correct lie to give the printer (in other words, you’re profiling a matte surface paper, so you tell the driver it’s really profiling “Matte Photo Paper” or “Fine Art Paper > 250 gsm”, and give the printer a knowing wink, so that it will use ink load, etc. that are what you want).

HP were, as far as I know, the first printer manufacturer to give users the information about what the various paper selections actually did in terms of ink load, etc. And now it appears that they will be the first to give the users more direct control of these features. This should make it a lot easier for people to get the best results from various third party papers, although it will also increase the complexity for the end user. In the end I hope this is the direction the printing world goes, because it’s the direction that gives the user the most complete control. Kudos to HP.

Also rumored to come with the new driver/firmware is the ability to print on deckle edge paper – something that isn’t possible with the current z3100 because the paper skew detection is driven crazy by the deckle edge. Apparently this support will consist of allowing people to turn skew detection off – which might well go a long way toward making paper loading less cumbersome.

It’s worth noting that so far HP have been delivering frequent updates to the drivers and firmware, and in the process have been steadily improving the quality of output and usability of the Z3100 even for those customers who bought one many months ago. I’m pretty confident that over the lifetime of the printer I will continue to see steady improvements. That’s a big contrast to my Epson 9600, which has received exactly ONE firmware upgrade since I bought it.

Also on the work slate here is evaluating the Canon PowerShot G9, which arrived late yesterday afternoon. This is the camera I will be taking on a trip soon, so I’m hoping that I will find no showstopper problems. So far (after a mere 60 odd exposures) I’m pretty happy with the camera.

One Response

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  1. Simon Minshall said, on September 22, 2007 at 8:13 am

    Paul,

    Does HP or your rep know you’re writing about your experiences about their product? I’m about to buy a 17″ printer and really only considered Epson since i’ve seen it’s output.

    As direct result of your writing and the type of experience you’re having, i’m now looking into HP as an viable alternative. The fact that there are a number of negative comments serves, to my mind, to reinforce the validity of your opinions and earns my trust as a reader.

    Now this blog could, and i’m not saying that i think it is, but it could be seen by the more cynical among us as a clever marketing scheme.

    In any case, I’m enjoying following your story. If HP do get new business as a result of your publicity then YOU should be compensated.

    Simon
    Strathmore, AB


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