HP Z3100 Review

January 12, 2007 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 32 Comments | |

HP Z3100First unveiled at the Photokina show last year, the new HP Z3100 large format printer offers a 12-ink HP Vivera pigment ink system, embedded spectrophotometer, advanced profiling solution and 200 year print life. Jon Canfield puts the Z3100 through its paces and finds out if it achieves HP’s bold claim of “changing the way graphics professionals create large-format images”.

Website: HP Z3100 Review

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#1 Jeffrey B. Miller

Terrific review of the Z3100! As an enthusiastic, long time Epson user, this printer reminds me that my ultimate loyalty is to print quality, not to a particular manufacturer. I'm about to place my order!

In your review, you say "On average, the printer uses 2.12 ml of ink per square meter of paper." Don't you mean "square foot"? That's how the math works out.

Thanks for the great work you do for digital photography!

8:14 pm - Tuesday, January 16, 2007

#2 Jon Canfield

Thanks for the comments Jeffrey. You're correct - the 2.12 ml number is per square foot not meter.


8:14 pm - Sunday, February 4, 2007

#3 Juan

WARNING with this HP Z3100 problems. Go to http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/

9:50 pm - Wednesday, February 7, 2007

#4 Jon Canfield

This isn't a common problem, although I have seen a couple of reports. I've tried to duplicate on my printer but can't reproduce the problem. My personal feeling is that it's due to selecting the wrong media type when using heavy papers. I'm using 460 gsm Hahnemuhle paper with no marks.

4:00 am - Thursday, February 8, 2007

#5 Lenny Blue

I just sent my Manhattan client a Z3100 44" for an e-val. The colors right out of the box are some of the best I have ever seen!! The colors are clean, bright and some of the "hard to reach Pantone colors " are hitting. I'm not a gambling man, but I already threw away the box!! If this printer is not sold by end of next week I would be SHOCKED. I concure with your review.

4:09 pm - Sunday, February 11, 2007

#6 Param Hariharan

Has anybody experienced any gamut problems with red color on this printer. There is a discussion about this on the luminous-landscape.com forum. I am so ready to buy this printer but this it the only think holding me back.

3:34 am - Sunday, February 25, 2007

#7 Lenny Blue

Oh yeah, that "Coke red" everyone seems to want to get, what is it Pantone 185? Why would a 12 color printer have problems with a color gamut and not a Epson 8 color printer. Are you going to be using a rip? Making your own ICC profiles? Needing SWOP colors, doing proofs? All important questions when trying to achieve certain colors. There are colors out of range that ALL printers can not achieve, even the new generation HP Z printers. Some people think all you have to do is press a button and 1,2,3 great colors. The pros know it takes a little effort, like tweaking &calibrating; to get great colors. Where are you located? I have a greatcertified color management guy who can speak to you. If you haven't seen the output from the Z printers , let me know . I have several different variations from this printer w/ and w/o a rip and on different media.
Lenny Blue : .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

10:49 pm - Sunday, February 25, 2007

#8 Renato

Great review and great printer.
Thank you

3:33 pm - Tuesday, March 20, 2007

#9 David M Walton

I'm interested in the z3100 (24) but LL comments are a concern (especially apparent unconcern of hp for user problems). My main concern is paper sizes it uses.
LL review says all sizes, and on one hp site it uses both letter size and only larger than letter size. I talked to one of their reps and he said only larger than letter size but other reviews also refer to letter size prints. So you're using one, can it load letter sized papers?

Thanks for your time.

6:27 pm - Monday, March 26, 2007

#10 Jon Canfield

Hi -

The printer will accept letter or A4 paper sizes. You can't go smaller than that without some tricking of the printer though. But, if you want to print on 8.5x11, you're good.

As for the LL comments about support, HP has been very agressive in trying to correct problems that have been reported. The new firmware takes care of the issues people have had with undersaturated reds as an example.


9:20 pm - Monday, March 26, 2007

#11 Mark Goldstein

HP have just released a new firmware update for the Z3100:


12:51 pm - Wednesday, March 28, 2007

#12 ianh_c

HPz3100 48" printer. Can anyone confirm to me that this printer will print on canvas ie. picture portrait canvas.
Look forward to your expert comments.

8:13 pm - Sunday, April 1, 2007

#13 Jon Canfield

It's actually 24" or 44" for the Z series, and you can print canvas - HP has 4 options for canvas, and other 3rd party canvas can be profiled and used as well.

12:17 am - Monday, April 2, 2007

#14 Harry

Great review. I am just about to buy a LF pinter. The store I am talking to is pushing the Canons over the HP in respect of printing to canvas, final print quality and running costs of ink and paper. Do you have any views on these points so I can decide between the two.

10:33 am - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

#15 Brad Bonesteel

I have had nothing but trouble with my z3100 since I purchased it in April. You name it, and I've had it! Most recently, I tried to print a long panorama (24x200). I get an error screen in PhotoShop CS and a print that is 8" wide instead of 24" using Qimage. Support told me I have software issues and that it's not their problem. They will find out different when I give them this printer back and demand a refund!

2:57 am - Sunday, July 1, 2007

#16 Harry

Brad, Qimage can be a complete pain to use. Try setting the Print spooler preferences in Qimage or the HP driver to print via raw rather than EMF and ensure that when you create a paper size that you tell it your precise image size or choose fit to page as otherwise it does its own thing. The HP is a good printer but it does have some annoying issues. For me it is the awful star wheel marks that make me want to throw it back to HP. Hope this is some help.

9:04 pm - Sunday, July 1, 2007

#17 Brad

Thanks Harry,
I went into printer properties under advanced and then print processer. It is set on raw. Couldn't find anything else about printer spooler. Tech support at Qimage thinks I have a driver problem, which I do too. I also getting very poor red output.
I haven't had any star wheel problems since I quit using paper that wasn't compatable with pigment ink. I also have a small fan that I use to speed along the drying process.

1:15 am - Monday, July 2, 2007

#18 Peter Horner

Excellent review. I've used the Z3100 quite a lot and am using Shiraz V6 to drive it. I think it's the best quality printer I've used so far. I can't recommend it enough really.

5:02 pm - Tuesday, August 19, 2008

#19 Alvaroz

I love this printer. Got it since may 2008.

I read on a forum that some printing specialists in Canada sell a replacement ink for half the price. That ink is their own.

On dpreview.com, many people have left very nice comments on quality and support, but I would like to know if someone here has tried this ink ?


Temptation is high...


7:46 pm - Friday, September 19, 2008

#20 Alvaroz


I forgot to mention...

The ink is sold by Hefger media, on eBay...


7:50 pm - Friday, September 19, 2008

#21 ofer

I was wondering if anyone cares to share their thoughts on the differences between the z3100 and the Epson 9800 when it comes to color printing, more specifically luminescent, iridescent, brilliant gold, silver and platinum colors on white canvass.

I work for a Mexican non-for-profit entity that consults to the national museums and there is a project underway to reproduce some of the artwork on giclee; many of the art pieces contain unique brilliant colors.. and this could prove challenging.. needless to say any input would be appreciated on which of the printers would be more suitable and where to source such brilliant inks and canvas.

Gracias !

Mexico City (DF)

2:26 am - Monday, March 23, 2009

#22 Kublix

I have used Hefger ink for near one year and now I am using their new XL ink... WOW ! Half the price of HP and can't see any difference after hundreds of prints on a B9180.

The difference between their standard ink (no more available) and their XL is obvious on any type of prints (B&W or color), simply astonishing !

They sell on eBay and on their website http://www.hefgermedia.ca

2:54 am - Friday, November 6, 2009

#23 Mike

Hi Kublix,

I used to use Hefger 'standard' ink in my B9180 and it seemed as good as HP ink to me! I print mostly B&W on satin pro paper. Simon at Hefger tells me the XL ink is much better for B&W. Given I could not really tell the difference between HP and Hefger original, would you say the Hefger XL ink is better even than the HP?? I am keen to try it out but taking shipping costs to UK into account, it is not much cheaper than HP unless I buy a whole load. Thanks!

12:17 am - Thursday, November 19, 2009

#24 Kublix

Hi Mike, I copy here the answer I left on dpreview, just in case...

If this an help...

Hefger now ship to most countries (European Union) for 40$, including cutoms duties. Not bad at all.

Comparing their XL ink with HP's, I would say that it is a perfect color match, not only to the eyes, but analysed with an X-Rite spectro, and with a little more intensity (to the eyes). My surprise was precisely with the balcks : the light grey appears more neutral than HP and the Photo black & Matte black have a maximum darkness better than HP : 2.3 fot hte PK instead of 2.6 - and 1.5 for the MK compared to 1.8 for HP. Overall, it gives a better look on B&W pictures because of better grey tones.

Where are you from ? How much do you pay for your HP ink in your area ?

12:30 am - Sunday, November 29, 2009

#25 Mike

Hi Kublix,

Great - many thanks for this. It's just the answer I was looking for and concurs with the claims made by Hefger themselves. I can get HP carts for £27 each in the UK. A 100ml bottle of Hefger XL is £37, and the shipping is about the same again. So if I buy individual colours it works out about £18.50 per refill. Obviously the cost goes down if I buy more than one colour, but as I rarely print colour I probably won't get through a full set of inks. Maybe I should just get the three blacks for now and stick with HP for the colours.

Anyway, thanks again - you've certainly persuaded me it's worth trying this ink.


5:42 pm - Sunday, November 29, 2009

#26 Thomas

Are there any test about the lightfastness of Hefger inks from institutes like Wilhelm Research or Image Engineering from Germany?

8:01 pm - Monday, November 30, 2009

#27 micro usb cable

I was wondering if anyone cares to share ideas on how the differences between the Z3100 and Epson 9800, when it comes to color printing, in particular, luminescent, iridescent, bright gold, silver, platinum and white to get.

10:44 am - Tuesday, June 1, 2010

#28 Katja

I've had the z3100 for over a year now, and have had one problem after another - everything from being unable to profile papers, to the printer not accepting even a 13x19 sheet of paper, to streaks accross the paper - I think I've spent over 50 hours on tech support, and to their credit, they have fixed most of the problems. At this point I just want to get rid of it, but have not been able to find a printer of this calibre that does not waste so much in black ink and $$. Please, does anyone have a recommendation for a RELIABLE 24" printer?

(Note: I bought the z3100 on a sale at 1/2 price - is it possible that this particular batch were inferior?)

9:03 pm - Sunday, August 29, 2010

#29 Jon Canfield

Sorry to hear you've had so many problems. The Z3200ps has been more problematic for me on the Mac, but I've never had problems approaching what you've. It sounds like you ended up with a lemon.

If you're looking at new printers, take a long look at the new Canon 6300. Very impressive.

12:21 am - Monday, August 30, 2010

#30 Katja

Thanks for the tip. Any idea how the 6300 compares to the earlier 6100?

At this point I am so dismayed I hardly dare put out a lot of money for something that may have great specs, but could as easily be a lemon.

9:50 pm - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

#31 UV Printer

thanks for the Share Because this Photographyblog Helps people to Know about the latest technology of all the features in Printers and More ...

7:02 am - Friday, January 18, 2013

#32 PhotographyBeginnerVideos.com

Any reviews on the hp z3200?

3:40 pm - Thursday, February 7, 2013