Older wide format to get into photograph printing? 60" HP Z6100?


Well-known member
Ok ill preface this with I have exactly 0 experience with wide format printing other than ordering some prints from a local shop when our customers need something like that. I am thinking of getting a wide format printer to be able to do photographic quality pictures and posters for a photographer I know. I understand a Z6100 is an old machine. Theres one cheap locally that I could pick up for next to nothing (might be the first sign lol). But I looked up printheads and maintenance cartridge cost and it looks reasonable. If I bought it and put all new heads, ink tubes, etc in it would this be something that I could produce quality indoor prints with? Are there more things I will be looking at replacing? Also, would a newer Mac drive these or would I have to pick up an old OS to be compatible with it? Or is there something else I should be looking for altogether? Im wanting to spend as little money as possible on this as it might be something we end up throwing away if the photograph stuff doesn't pan out.
You'll need to drop a few thousand on RIP software or $100-$200/month for subscription. Vendors to look at are Print Factory, Caldera, EFI, Onyx. I'd recommend getting an Epson P series for photos and they are easy to find used and have much wider paper compatibility.
a single user with a single machine should be able get PrintFactory cheaper than that. But for photography printing, you don't need to spend that much money. You can get perfect results from the software the manufacturer supplies, or for more flexibility and ease of use upgrade to tools like QImage or Dinax Mirage, both of which are much cheaper than proper RIP software and will make printing easier.
As far as the machine is concerned though, I'd probably look for something new and under warranty rather than put in the risk and effort of getting something old up and running, but that's me.
@AP90 Adding photo lab type services to an exisiting print shop is very doable. I actually think it is a great opportunity for some small subset of retail facing quickprint shops. I have worked with a couple to do that. DM me if you are interested in that.


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