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HP Designjet Z3200 with HP Artist Software, BetterLight ColorSage software, and Nikon D3 digital SLR camera Print E-mail

Color management and custom ICC profiles will never be the same. HP has been working on their HP Artist Software for many many years. I have seen this already years ago at HP San Diego and at BetterLight as well as at many fine art trade shows two and three years ago. But this color management system was not available to the general public. Now it is, launched at Photokina 2008, where I just received an introduction by the key people in the HP booth, both from HP, BetterLight, and ErgoSoft StudioPrint, DFA solution, version 2008.

Everything you previously had to learn about spectrophotometers, RIP software, ICC profiling, color correcting: all is made easier now.

As with any product, we can only write about a project at first; no recommendation is appropriate until we have the system in-house. Our BetterLight camera is stationed in Guatemala (due to all the art available in this country). We use it primarily for panoramic photography. But BetterLight is ideal for giclee digitization as well (of oil-paintings and watercolor paintings).

Our Nikon is only a D300, so we lack the Nikon D3 digital SLR camera. Actually we tend to use a Phase One P25+ since Phase One sent us one. But I can understand that featuring a Nikon is an excellent marketing concept for getting the entry-level market. BetterLight is the high-end. We have ordered a Nikon D800 and also the new high-end Canon camera (we have the 21 megapixel Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III).

HP Designjet Z3200 printer evualuations
HP Designjet Z3200 printer was showed at Dubai trade show 2009.

How will Epson and Canon react to the HP Designjet Z3200 with HP Artist software with Nikon D3 digital SLR camera?

Since Nikon is arch-rival to Canon, the question is how will Canon react? What relationships will Canon open up?

And Epson? Epson has to do catch-up, since Canon came out first with a "12-color" giclee and fine art photography printer already years ago. Then HP came out with first eight colors (HP Z2100) then "11 or 12 colors" with the HPZ 3100 (depending on how you count colors!).

Unfortunately all other reviewers pointed out problems with the HP Z3100 and its red when printing on matte material (it turned orange). But HP has plenty of resources and it updated the entire system, plus added HP Artist Software.

In effect HP blew away Epson's Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900 (until Epson can recuperate).

The situation for giclee workflow in 2012

Long ago HP dropped its focus on a full-scale giclee solution. The key manager moved to other tasks. Today HP still makes an excellent printer for giclee (as does Epson). But today you need to build your own system. The HP Artist Software has not made much news in several years now.

Most recently updated August 3, 2012

First posted Sept. 25, 2008. Updated June 27, 2012. March 14, 2012.

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