October 11, 2010
For the month of October, Red River Paper has 50-sheet boxes of the 8" by 11" and 13" by 19" Polar Pearl Metallic paper on sale for $30 and $80, respectively.
I’ve been using the Metallic for a few months now, and I really like it. It’s the first paper that I’ve found that approximates metallic photographic papers from Kodak and Fuji. It’s not an analogue to a paper like Kodak Endura Metallic VC; Polar Pearl Metallic doesn’t feel (to me) like it has as much depth as the Kodak paper. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: Endura Metallic was always an “extreme” photographic paper, and I’ve had to tell a few photographers that the Red River Metallic is more subtle than that.
Polar Pearl Metallic isn’t a paper you’re going to use every day for all your photos, but it is definitely worth playing around with, and October’s sale is a nice way to get a chance to do so.
October 10, 2010
- The Stylus Pro 4900, a 17-inch printer incorporating the 11-ink UltraChrome HDR ink set found in the Stylus Pro 7900 (Printerville review);
- The Epson Stylus Pro 7890 and 9890, updated versions of their 24- and 44-inch printers, respectively, which incorporate the 8-color UltraChrome K3 Vivid Magenta inksets, and are priced at $3,000 and $5,000; and
- The Stylus Pro 7900CTP, a 24-inch, computer-to-plate, version of the Stylus Pro 7900 that produces aluminum lithographic printing press plates that can “produce up to 20,000 impressions each with image quality that’s superior to polyester solutions available today.”
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March 28, 2010
More than a decade ago, I tested Epson’s first wide-format, photographic-quality, inkjet printer, the Stylus Pro 9000. At the time, there were a number of companies that offered wide-format proofers and signage printers, and the 9000 competed well in that space, but Epson was as interested in the nascent fine-art printing market, which was dominated largely by Scitex’s Iris printers.
Today, the Scitex and Iris lines are long gone, having ultimately been subsumed by Kodak, and Epson dominates the high end of the fine-art and photographic printing market, despite half-hearted attempts by HP and Canon. The company’s latest wide-format printers, the Stylus Pro 7900 (24") and 9900 (44"), represent a gradual, deliberate evolution of the line, not a sharp detour. Over eight months of testing the 7900, I found few surprises (good or bad), but that’s to be expected in a product line with more than 10 years of development (and success). What I did find, is a printer that is at the top of the heap with regard to photo quality, performance and paper handling, with a handful of negative issues that will matter only to few people. (While I did not test the 9900, most of my comments will apply to the wider model.)
|Stylus Pro 7900/9900 specifications|
|Type||Wide-format, pigment-based inkjet|
|Inks||11 UltraChrome HDR (10 printing)|
|Ink colors||Photo Black, Matte Black, Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Light Vivid Magenta, Orange, Green, Light Black, Light Light Black|
|Ink cartridge costs||$90 (150ml); $160 (300ml); $280 (700ml)|
|Ink cost per ml (est.)||$0.60 (150ml); $0.54 (300ml); $0.40 (700ml)|
|Maximum resolution||2880 by 1440 dpi|
|Minimum paper size||8.27" by 11"|
|Maximum paper size||24"/44" wide; length variable by operating system|
|Thick paper support||Yes|
|Straight path||Yes; media up to 1.5mm thick|
|Interfaces||USB 2.0; 10/100Base-T Ethernet|
|Operating systems supported||Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7; Mac OS X (10.4.9 and up)|
|Weight||187 lbs./256 lbs.|
|Dimensions (W, D, H)||54" x 27" x 48"|
November 18, 2009
BlueCubit has released version 2.0 of ImageNest, its Mac-only PostScript 3 RIP for Epson, Canon and HP photo printers. The update—which is free for registered users—adds support for Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6), 64-bit processing support, annotations (including metadata), and quite a bit more.
Pricing starts at $99 for a version that supports 13-inch printers (like the Stylus Photo R2880), going to $199 for 17-inch printers, $399 (24 inches), $599 (44 inches) and $799 (64 inches).
August 31, 2009
Epson America today announced a modest upgrade to its 17-inch professional photo printer line, with the Stylus Pro 3880.
On the surface, the 3880 offers a few incremental improvements over the Stylus Pro 3800, adding the Vivid Magenta inks, an improved printhead, and new screening algorithms. The case design, print engine, and ink system (with its spacious 80ml cartridges and 8-channel head that requires switching of matte and photo black inks) are identical to the 3800, which is testament to that printer’s design and its success in the market, as well as the relative maturity of the photo printer industry.
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March 11, 2009
Jon Cone’s Inkjet Mall is now shipping the Piezography K7 continuous ink system (CIS) for Epson’s Stylus Photo R2880. The system, which is designed solely to print black-and-white images on matte-finish papers, comes in three distinct toning combinations—neutral, sepia and selenium—as well as a special edition mix, which produces “a gentle split-tone featuring crisp neutral highlights, melding into selenium, which melds into sepia shadows, and finally into black.”
The Piezography K7 inkset is optimized for Roy Harrington’s QuadTone RIP software, and comes with profiles for a number of papers from Epson, Innova, Hahnemuhle and more.
The kit is priced at $508, and includes everything you need to get started, including inks, cartridges and profiles. Inkjet Mall is offering $75 off through March 17 – use the code ‘BEST2880BW’ when checking out.
March 9, 2009
Canon has announced “Mark II” versions of its Pixma Pro9000 and the Pixma Pro9500 13" by 19" photo printers. The updated models are identical (even in price) to their predecessors; Canon says that the sole improvement in each unit is better print speeds:
- The Pixma Pro9000 Mark II is an 8-ink, dye-based printer priced at $500. It reportedly offers three times the print speed of the first-generation model.
- The Pixma Pro9500 Mark II uses 10 pigmented inks—including matte and photo black inks and a gray ink for neutral black and white output—and is priced at $850. Canon says that the 9500 Mark II’s print engine is 1.5 times faster than the earlier version.
Both printers have USB 2.0 and PictBridge ports; a top-loading paper tray that will hold up to 150 sheets of paper; and a straight-through paper path that can handle fine-art media up to 1.2 mm thick. They will include Canon’s Digital Photo Professional and Easy Photo-Fix software, as well as Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 6.0. The printers will run on Mac OS X, Windows XP and Vista, and Vista users will be able to take advantage of Canon’s Ambient Light Correction software in the print driver, which “optimizes print color for the lighting conditions where the final print will be shown.”
January 6, 2009
The free application lets you print photos wirelessly to any local networked HP Photosmart printer from an iPhone or iPod Touch. It is limited to 4" by 6" prints, and will automatically choose the appropriate tray if your printer has a dedicated photo paper slot`.
iPrint’s interface is simple. It lets you browse all of the installed photos on your iPhone. Selecting one displays a Print button, which sends the image directly to the printer when pressed. There aren’t any extra options, other than a “chooser” for multiple printers. I downloaded the program from the iTunes App Store, and, upon launch it instantly found the Photosmart C7280 on my network, and printed borderless photos without any hiccups.
All-in-all, a pretty slick implementation/proof of concept. And, while iPrint Photo is limited—at least for now—to photos, you can use the iPhone’s built-in screen capture feature in a pinch if you want to print a map, email or other iPhone data.
December 18, 2008
Epson currently has a $200 rebate for the Stylus Pro 3800 that expires on 01/31/2009, and a $480 rebate on the Stylus Pro 4880 that expires on 12/31/2008. The 3800 is currently $1,169 through our Amazon store, and the $200 rebate also applies, dropping the price to $969, so there’s little reason not to buy a 3800 if you’re sitting on the fence (especially against the R2880—see our previous post for more on that).
The Stylus Pro 4880, which is another great printer, is currently $1,808 at Amazon. With the rebate, it drops to $1,328, which is an amazing price for such an industrial-strength machine. (Our pal Duncan Davidson is testing our Stylus Pro 4800, and I think his first impressions have been pretty good.)
B&H and other online outlets also have the 3800 and 4800 at similarly low prices, in case Amazon isn’t your thing.
You can find the rebate info for all of Epson’s current promotions on their Pro printers at Epson.com (There are also rebates for the R1900, R2880 and other consumer-level printers, which can be found on this page.)
Just note that you have to submit your form within 30 days of purchase.
December 9, 2008
In my Stylus Photo R2880 review, one of the biggest questions I get is not about the quality of the printer, or even comparisons with HP and Canon printers in the same price range. No, it is: “How does it compare with Epson’s Stylus Pro 3800?”
This is understandable: while the R2880 is a very good printer, it does suffer from a few issues, notably the smaller ink tanks and the necessity to swap the matte and photo black ink cartridges when you want to move between matte and glossy papers. The 3800 also requires a switch, but the process is automatic and requires no user intervention. The 3800 does waste a few dollars of ink per switch, which is troublesome, but given the rarity with which people change paper type—and its high-capacity (80ml) cartridge size, this is a lesser issue for many pro users.
Right now, the Stylus Pro 3800 is under $1,200 at Amazon (a savings of $100 or so), while the R2880 is priced around $650 ($150 off the list price). If you’re looking at the two printers, how do you choose between the two? I think it’s pretty straightforward: what follows are some of my thoughts, based on fairly heavy usage of both printers (and nearly every other photo printer in the $300 to $5,000 price range).
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