Dilema in Wide Printers (HP z3100 or Epson 9880)

Started Apr 14, 2008 | Discussions
Alfonso Bastias Contributing Member • Posts: 965
Dilema in Wide Printers (HP z3100 or Epson 9880)


I'd like to buy one wide format print (44") to print fine art (canvas mainly), I am thinking of two models,
HP Z3100ps (44")
EPSON 9880 (dont know if I need ColorBurst version)

I really don't know which one should be best for me. HP include 12 inks, but Epson only 8 (must change black if you use on matte or glossy paper)...

So far, Im trend to HP because more color, auto calibratio, webserver. But EPSON have a very nice output (very nice match with epson papers)....

Any help is really appreciate,


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Edgar Redmond Regular Member • Posts: 458
Re: Dilema in Wide Printers (HP z3100 or Epson 9880)
colourgeek Veteran Member • Posts: 3,589
Re: Dilema in Wide Printers (HP z3100 or Epson 9880)

You already know the important points there.

One thing is certain with the Z you don't need a rip at all. Switching from matte to photo K is going to make you think twice between your choices of paper.
Yet the output on the Epson is truly super on all media types.

There are certain images that benefit from the extended greens, blues on the Z that the Epson cannot attain. There are other times when you seek those rich saturated darks that the Z cannot attain.

Since in terms of image quality most of the time both will produce the images very close to one another, you'll want to look at if the added features of the Z are worth any trade offs between the Epson.

Hard choice. Look at my review if it helps.

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Robert Bedwell Senior Member • Posts: 1,304
Re: Dilema in Wide Printers (HP z3100 or Epson 9880)

Can't comment on the Z3100 but I purchased a Z2100 in December. The software is a nightmare. Using sheet paper is another nightmare. Extremely time consuming. As usual HP tries to take over your system with their interventions that create more problems. Prints are beautiful when the software works properly which is seldom. I have never been capable of getting a centered print on sheet paper. Never had the problem with past Epsons.

Probably should have purchased a Canon ipf printer and I am going to in the next couple of weeks.

chacha1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,539
I have to agree with Bob, plus...

I have experienced lots of frustration with HP drivers and software in their desk top printers when I use them at friends or my wifes HP. But, I have always owned epson desktops and the wide format 7600. My 24 inch wide prints from the 7600 are superb on Epson media, especially epson water resistant canvas. An added bonus is that you can make color and contrast adjustments using the advanced settings on the epson driver and save your settings per each media type. I do this with water resistant canvas, semi gloss photographic paper and premium luster and my prints match the colors on my monitor as good and usually better than any color profile that I have purchased or downloaded. This feature of epson was actually tested at one of the big tech convention in which four of the top selling wide format printers were tested for ease in matching the colors on the monitor image. Epson won.

Having said all this, keep in mind that there's lots of of people who love their wide format hps and canons. There's tradeoffs with all of them. The epson has great print quality and the 9880 series have fixed most of the buggy boos that I complain about my 7600.


OP Alfonso Bastias Contributing Member • Posts: 965
Thank you all...

Thanks, I read a lot, and there is no clear winner. My first intention was buy the EPSON, but then I figure out the problem with the interchange cartrige. Start to reading about the HP, and review like LL.com where pretty much clear.
At some point, is like canon v/s Nikon war.... (Im canon's fan)

I do have about two weeks from now to make the decision, if you have more info/advice, just let me know, I'll be glad with extra information.

So far, and I litte bit inclinated for the HP z3100 ....(but I can back to the 9880)


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guy catelli Regular Member • Posts: 472
why not the best?

At some point, is like canon v/s Nikon war.... (Im canon's fan)

so am i. so, the clear choice for me is the Z3100.

... if you have
more info/advice, just let me know, I'll be glad with extra

all printers, even the simplest ones, are potentially hellish experiences. no one can convince me that every single sophisticated Epson and Canon printer is an exception.

i recently got an HP B9180 (i've posted about it here). it has not been a trouble-free experience. but, the results vastly outweigh the minor difficulties.

based upon the results from the B9180, i will be getting a Z3100 in the not too distant future. (i got the B9180 in no small part in order to get a sense of the Z3100's output performance.)

if it turns out to be the printer-from-hades, i'll deal with it (just like i have dealt with MS OS's from DOS 6.22 thru XP.)

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Gene Kelly Regular Member • Posts: 248
Re: why not the best?
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G.Gene Kelly,

I have the plain version of the 3100/24". The prints are amazing, but having said that I have terrible problems with driver. From either Qimage or photoshop, it will not print without going thru some hoops(stopping and starting the spooler). I have tried several remedies but so far none have actually solved the problem, it is just a driver issue for me. Some others have not had this issue, wish I were one. A new issue hads popped up in that when using a custom paper size(24x11) the first set of prints come all squeezed to one side of the paper, (this from Qimage)with the same prints in que and hitting the print button it cames out perfect. HP is has no idea about that one. By the way I have talked to one of the tech people for over 8 hours total

Even with all of this I would most likely go with the 3100 again given the amont of wasted ink and supposedly a longevity issue with the Epson ink set.

chacha1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,539
Re: why not the best?

Hi, Gene,

You commented on wasted ink from the Epson. Wasted ink has never been a problem with my 7600. It uses the ink very economically and the cartridges seem to keep going and going and going. What I did waste at first was my expensive water resistant epson canvas. The driver has this problem with when you click cancel. There's a couple other not so minor paper handling problems that I learned about early in my usage. The good news is that calling epson tech support brought solutions. I learned how to cancel a print without loosing an inch of canvas. Epson tech support has always impressed me from my first purchase of an epson 800 printer over a decade ago. They still give me free tech help, even though my printer is no longer under warranty. Nothing is more important than the quality of tech support.


canvasman New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Dilema in Wide Printers (HP z3100 or Epson 9880)

Purchase Epson Stylus Pro 9980!


MasterOfGoingFaster Senior Member • Posts: 1,255
I just ordered an HP Z3100

I've had an Epson 4880 all year, and it has been a fine printer with no real issues. But it is a PITA to flush the lines when I want to switch between matte and glossy media. Plus, getting accurate profiles for third-party papers is a pain. The HP eliminates both of these issues, and has outstanding black and white output, so I'm going to try one. B+W output is extremely important to me, as is matte/glossy change over.

But I think you could get an Epson, Canon or HP and be happy. Each has its quirks and you'll need to figure out a way to get profiles. Using the OEM paper with OEM profiles works ok, but if you intend to use third-party papers, you either need a good profiler (est. US$1500+), a vendor who will supply profiles using a good profiler, or the HP. BTW, HP says a good profiler can give better results than the built-in system, but in my case it adds to the cost.

My advice is to ask owners of each what they love and what they hate about each printer. In my case, I'll give up the finer grid of the Epson (1440 dpi vs 1200 dpi) for the black ink issue. But someone else might prefer the greater third-party support Epson enjoys. Everyone seems to know of the Epson issues and possible work arounds. Canon and HP users have fewer users to draw upon and that might be an issue.

Good luck with your decision. I doubt there are any "bad" choices.
Ken Elliott
Equipment in profile.

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Gene Kelly Regular Member • Posts: 248
Re: I just ordered an HP Z3100
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G.Gene Kelly,

Didn't realize this thread was still going. As for the z3100, as I said it does a absolutely marvelous job when all the gears are turning in the right direction. I have had some serious issues with the drivers as stated above. Since that post there was a firmware update that was really a mess, it apparently did something to the formatter card, HP replaced that, then we found ou that the formatter was not compatible with the Motherboard, HP changed that. All the other issues are gone and it is printing flawlessly, but alas one issue remains, after all the changes in hardware and software updates I am now unable to monitor the ink levels. There is one way for you continue to use your 4880 and that would be to try Imageprint rip(expensive) but they use a system called Phatteblack that eliminates the swap out of black inks. http://www.colorbytesoftware.com/

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