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Epson Stylus Photo R1900 review

By Rick LePage | April 13, 2008

R1900 smallEpson’s Stylus Photo R1900, which was announced in January to quite a bit of fanfare, is now readily available (Amazon link). We’ve been working with a shipping unit in the Printerville labs for about a month now, and overall, we have been quite impressed with this $550 photo inkjet.

Epson bills the R1900 as the ultimate archival printer for printing on glossy media, and the company’s claims are not unfounded — it produces the highest quality glossy images we’ve seen on any pigment-based printer under $2,000. But the R1900 is also surprisingly adept at printing on matte-finish and fine-art media, making it a highly versatile printer for photographers with modest printing needs.

Setup

Getting the R1900 up and running is easy; it’s simply a matter of unpacking the printer, snapping the included ink cartridges into place, connecting it to your PC or Mac and installing the drivers from the included CD. The printer has two separate USB ports, designed to let you connect two computers to the printer simultaneously. There is also a PictBridge-compatible USB port on the front, which lets you print directly from any digital camera that supports the PictBridge standard. It doesn’t come with a USB cable, so you’ll need to dig one up or purchase one when you buy the printer.

The R1900 has two top-loading paper feed trays; one handles up to 30 sheets of standard photo paper, while the other is designed to feed single sheets of fine-art or other thick media. Like the R2400, the R1900 also can accommodate roll-fed papers, up to 13" in width. There is also a front-loading slot for the included CD tray, which lets you print on both matte-finish optical discs, a nice enhancement found in many of Epson’s lower-priced printers. Both the top-load paper tray and output tray fold up into the printer, which helps reduce the R1900′s footprint when it’s not in use (and also helps keep dust inside the printer to a minimum).

Epson includes the standard Windows and Mac drivers that it has been shipping for years. They’re serviceable, especially if you’re content to use Epson’s stock papers. Epson includes a good set of ICC color profiles for all of the media supported by the printer, and has been posting premium profiles on the R1900 support site. To be honest, we noticed little difference between the premium profiles and those included with the printer, although there are separate profiles for media at each of the three different print settings: Photo, Best Photo and PhotoRPM (the highest quality setting).

Stylus Photo R1900 specifications
Type B-size pigment-based inkjet
Price $549
Inks 8 Ultrachrome Hi-Gloss2 (6 printing)
Ink colors Photo Black, Matte Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Red, Orange, Gloss Optimizer
Ink cartridge cost $13.29 (replacement cost: $106.32)
Ink cost per ml (est.) $1.16
Maximum resolution 5760 by 1440 dpi
Minimum paper size 4" by 6"
Maximum paper size 13" by 24"
Thick paper Yes
Straight path No
Interfaces USB 2.0 (2); Pictbridge
Operating systems supported Windows XP, Vista; Mac OS X (10.3.9 and up)
Weight 26.9 lbs.
Dimensions 24.3" x 12.7" x 8.4"
Other features Roll support; CD printing tray; dual USB interfaces allow two computers to be connected to printer simultaneously

 
One thing we would like to see in Epson’s print drivers is a little more flexibility for accommodating third-party papers. With the wide variety of excellent media available in the market, and the increased availability of ICC profiles for those papers, it would be nice to see Epson including a mechanism to add new paper types directly to the print driver. As it stands, if you use a non-Epson paper, you need to choose the Epson paper type that comes closest to your paper. This isn’t horrible, but HP has done a better job in its Photosmart Pro driver, letting you add third-party papers on the fly, and Epson should follow suit here.

Because the R1900 can also print on optical media, Epson includes an application, Epson Print CD, that lets you create CDs using simple layouts with photographs and text. It’s not a terribly polished program, but if you’re printing the occasional disc, it’s fine. If you want more, there are plenty of good shareware CD printing apps for both PCs and Macs.

Second-generation Hi-Gloss inks

The R1900 follows Epson’s successful Stylus Photo R1800, which was introduced in 2003. At the time, the R1800 was the company’s lowest-priced printer to offer both pigment inks and B-size (13" by 19") printing capabilities (a letter-size version, the R800, was also introduced around the same time; it is still available for $400 from Epson). The R1800 had a unique inkset, called Ultrachrome Hi-Gloss, which was designed to produce an optimal print on glossy papers, and included an overcoat spray called a gloss optimizer. This optimizer, which was simply another ink cartridge installed into the printer, helped remove the unsightly phenomenon known as gloss differential (often mistakenly called bronzing), where a print would display reflectivity artifacts between areas of white (where no ink was laid down on the paper) and color. In a high-key image, or one with severely blown highlights, gloss differential can create quite an ugly print.

The R1900 builds upon its predecessor and uses a new inkset, UltraChrome Hi-Gloss 2. Epson claims that the Hi-Gloss 2 inks offer a slightly wider color gamut and better quality on glossy papers than that of the R1800 (which was already quite good). There’s one change in the color line-up: Epson swapped the first generation’s blue ink for orange, a change that’s designed to produce better reproduction of skin tones.

While the R1900 has eight ink cartridge slots, at heart it is a six-color printer, like most photo printers in the $100-$400 range. There are five color inks — cyan, magenta, yellow, red and orange — one black (photo or matte, depending upon the paper type chosen in the print driver), and the gloss optimizer, which is used only when printing on glossy or semigloss paper types. Unlike the pricier Stylus Photo R2400 and HP’s Photosmart Pro B8850 and B9180, the R1900 lacks any light-density black inks, which means that it’s not really an ideal printer for producing black-and-white print. On the flip side, however, you don’t have to swap the matte and photo black cartridges when you change paper types, which you have to do with the R2400: the R1900 automatically uses the correct black ink when you print.

In conjunction with the new inks, Epson is using a new color technology called Radiance, developed in conjunction with the Rochester Institute of Technology, that purportedly provides more efficient ink usage, higher quality images, and improved color constancy when viewing prints under different lighting conditions. (If you’re interested in a bit deeper discussion of Radiance, we recently covered some of the technology behind it.)

Improvements under the hood

There are other feature enhancements in the R1900 that are neither readily apparent to the eye, nor will they necessarily be noticed when you start printing, To reduce the possibility of ink clogging the printer, Epson has added two features: one is a ink-repelling coating on the printhead, and the other is the addition of tiny glass beads to the ink cartridges.

Clogged heads is a problem that has dogged Epson for years. Although the company claims that the issue is overblown, we do know plenty of people who refuse to buy Epson printers because they think they tend to clog more than other vendors. Our experience has been mixed; in our testing we’ve had sporadic problems with printers from HP, Canon and Epson, but we’ve also had a few bad experiences with clogs on at least two R2400s. Regardless of the past, the new printhead and the glass beads should go a long way towards reducing these problems in the future, however endemic they really are. (We’ll also add that we’ve rarely had an issue with Epson’s professional printers.)

Epson also added an ink-collection technology, designed to reduce the ink buildup that occurs in every inkjet printer on the market. If you use an inkjet printer long enough, you’ll notice that ink deposits and tiny amounts of paper fuzz can accumulate underneath the printhead’s carriage. This can often lead to paper jams and ink smudges on prints, and Epson representatives say that the R1900’s mist collection system, which uses a special electric charge to capture any ink overspray, is one more little feature that will help reduce printing problems over time. It won’t reduce the tiny amounts of paper dust that slough off a page as it goes through a printer, but it should reduce the sludge that builds as a result.

Gloss to the max

One of the big differences between pigment- and dye-based inks is the way that the ink bonds to the substrate of the paper. Dyes are absorbed by the paper’s substrate, while pigments sit on top of the paper, often causing the paper’s finish to be obscured by the ink. Epson’s early pigment printers produced poor glossy output, but over the years, the company (and its competitors) has refined the technology — by adding glossy-specific black ink, reducing the pigment size, encapsulating the pigment particles in clear resin, and developing improved substrates — to the point where pigment printers can produce a very good glossy prints. The problem of gloss differential or bronzing has diminished greatly, but even high-end pigment printers that lack some sort of gloss optimizer can produce poor prints on glossy paper, especially if there are large areas of pure white in your image. (HP’s wide-format Designjet Z3100 is the only high-end pigment printer that uses a gloss optimizer.)

With the R1800 and the original Ultrachrome Hi-Gloss inks, Epson specifically chose to optimize its printer for glossy output, and they succeeded: the R1800’s glossy prints rivalled the best dye-based printers in the market. With the R1900, Epson has kicked it up a notch; the refined Hi-Gloss 2 inks and the improved gloss optimizer let the printer produce glossy prints that are unequalled on any printer under $2,000, in our opinion. Nearly every person who viewed our test prints picked the R1900’s glossy photos as the best of the bunch, better than Epson’s B-size, dye-based Stylus Photo 1400 and Canon’s dye-based Pixma Pro9000. Even when we tossed in prints from the $1,300 Stylus Professional 3800 (which we consider the top photo printer in the under-$2,000 market) viewers still generally chose the glossy output of the R1900 as the best.

One of the areas where Epson’s choice of red and orange inks seems to help is in skin tones; again, the R1900 produced the most lifelike images of people of all colors. While competitive printers like the Pixma Pro9000 and the B9180/B8850 do a very good job of reproducing skin tone, it appeared to our jury that the R1900 produced slightly better images over all.

The glossy output of the R1900 is so stunning that it’s easy to overlook the fact that the printer also does a great job on matte- and fine-art paper types. It produces deep, rich blacks and vibrant colors, and, despite the fact that it uses red and orange in place of the standard light cyan and light magenta inks found in most comparable photo printers, we detected no discernable difference between R1900 prints on matte paper and the same prints with the Stylus Photo 1400, HP’s B8850, and Canon’s Pixma Pro9000. There are subtle differences between the printers’ output, but for the R1900′s target market — advanced amateurs — they will be of minimal concern.

The only weak spot we found in the R1900 is in its black-and-white output. Lacking any light-density gray inks and light magenta (which most pigment printers use in black-and-white printing), the R1900 produces monochrome prints with slight color casts. In our view, this is an entirely acceptable compromise, given the thrust of the printer. For us, it comes down to a simple point: if you have to ask, this isn’t the printer for you. Most users rarely print in black and white, and for them, the occasional R1900 black-and-white photo will look fine. If you think that more than 20 percent of your photos will be black and white, then look at the HP offerings or at the R2400 and Stylus Pro 3800, which offer the best-possible monochrome printing.

Performance and efficiency

As we noted recently, the R1900 is quite speedy, trailing only Canon’s Pixma Pro9000 among comparable photo printers. After print quality, speed is a secondary consideration when you’re looking for a photo printer, but it is important to some, and, compared with both the R1800 and HP’s Photosmart Pro B8850, the R1900 is a speed demon.

In the standard Photo mode, the R1900 spit out a 4" by 6" print in 36 seconds, and a 12" by 18" photo in under 3 minutes. At the highest-quality setting, the R1900 printed the 4" by 6" photo in 39 seconds, and required only 5 minutes to print the 12" by 18" image. In all our tests, at both the default and the highest print settings, the R1900 was significantly faster than the B8850 and the R1800. (Click on the images below to view a full-size PDF of our speed tests.)

r1900-speed-tests-best.png

R1900 default quality speed tests

There have been some complaints on the Web about the fact that the R1900 has smaller-capacity ink cartridges than the R1800, although it wasn’t noted that the R1900 ink is also $1 cheaper per cartridge than the R1800. Epson counters those complaints by saying that the focus on cartridge size is misplaced: increased ink efficiency is what’s important, and that is one of the benefits users will see from the Radiance technology.

At a basic level, Epson appears to be correct. In our tests, we had to replace an ink cartridge in the R1800 after approximately 90 prints, most of which were letter-size or greater. With the R1900, we printed nearly 120 photos before we had to replace any ink at all (photo black), and nearly 160 before we had to replace a second cartridge. Ink usage also seems to be a bit more even than it was with the R1800; the R1900 does a much better job of using all six inks when printing, based on our experience. This is one of the tangible benefits of Radiance, where the print driver is using more efficient mixing when choosing which color to print at any given moment.

While we laud Epson for doing a better job at ink efficiency, we do think that any B-size printer should have larger ink tanks. If you choose to use the R1900 to its maximum potential — creating 13"-by-19" prints — you’ll find that you’re changing inks more than you’d like. We don’t understand why Epson doesn’t provide larger-capacity cartridges. Again, HP’s B8850 cartridges have a capacity of approximately 28ml, while those of the R1900 are reportedly about half that. It’s not a question of cost (although many people will grouse about the high cost of ink), but one of convenience: we would much rather have to change inks as infrequently as possible.

The archival question

While both Canon and HP have made big strides with their printers in the past few years, Epson continues to be the primary choice among photo professionals. This preference is not unwarranted: Epson has mastered the screening algorithms, the ink processes and the paper technology required to produce gallery-quality, archival prints. While its not a printer aimed at professionals, the R1900 gets the benefits inherent in Epson’s history. Chief among those benefits is archival print life.

Epson has done a great job at providing a broad selection of papers, that, when used with Epson’s inks, will produce prints that have a print life of 85 years or more, according to preliminary tests done by the print-permanence experts at Wilhelm Research. Wilhelm’s initial tests show R1900 print life ranging from approximately 100 years (for Premium Glossy and Velvet Fine Art) to 200 years (for Watercolor Paper Radiant White).

One paper that isn’t recommended for use with the R1900 is Epson’s new Exhibition Fiber media (Amazon link), which is unfortunate, because it’s one of the finest papers available. We did do some test prints with fiber-based papers from Harman and Ilford, with decent results, but it’s clear that the R1900 is truly optimized for traditional glossy inkjet papers.

Conclusions

While the R1800 showed that it was possible to get high-quality glossy prints from a pigment-ink printer, the Stylus Photo R1900 raises the bar to the point where we believe that a pigment printer can produce better glossy prints than a dye-based printer.

What’s astounding about the R1900 is that it is at the entry level for pigment printing. It’s not perfect: if you you print a lot of images, or, if you want the best possible black-and-white prints, you really will want a printer with higher-capacity ink tanks and light-density black inks. But, for $550, its possible to create stunning output on glossy or semigloss papers that outshine nearly any other printer in its class, and it does a great job on matte-based papers as well.


Epson Stylus Photo R1900

 
Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
Price: $550 (currently $514 on Amazon)
Epson’s R1900 product page

Pros:

  • Excellent print quality, especially on glossy paper types, but matte and fine-art printing is also superb.
  • Gloss optimizer eliminates gloss differential issues found in comparable pigment-based printers.
  • Handles thick media via manual-feed tray.
  • Fastest pigment-based printer in its class.
  • Includes number of features designed to reduce clogging, including ink-repelling coating on printhead.
  • Efficient ink usage overcomes smaller cartridge size.
  • Can print on optical media.

Cons:

  • Black-and-white output has slight color cast.
  • Print driver doesn’t include mechanism to add third-party papers.
  • No straight paper path (although rear manual feed slot minimizes paper bending).
  • Small cartridge size, considering the B-size printing capabilities.

 

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Topics: Reviews | 75 Comments »

75 Responses to “Epson Stylus Photo R1900 review”

  1. Review: Epson R1900 Printer at Imaging Insider Says:
    April 14th, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    [...] Read More… [...]

  2. Easy Photo Gifts: Blog » Blog Archive » Epson’s Stylus Photo R1900 Says:
    April 16th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    [...] the photos from it are amazing.  Printerville has a great review of the  printer which is being talked about as the ultimate archival printer for [...]

  3. Mon prochain printer « Photo GCB Weblog Says:
    May 29th, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    [...] Mon prochain printer http://www.printerville.net/2008/04/13/epson-stylus-photo-r1900-review/ [...]

  4. William Wright Says:
    June 1st, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Output is superb for this printer.
    Roll and fineart paper handling is abysmal. Correcting a roll paper feed jam is a nightmare and in some cases you have to feed the whole paper role through the printer to get it cleared.
    Really poor for a printer at this price.

  5. Rick LePage Says:
    June 1st, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    What sort of problems are you having with fine art feeding? I haven’t run into any issues there, although you do have to make sure you gently slide the paper in until the paper grabs it.

  6. ANITA Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    I am just wondering if anyone knows how I go about checking how much ink costs when I do a print out so I can price my prints of artworks to sell. I would love help with this. Thank you in advance.

  7. Rick LePage Says:
    June 4th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    It’s a really hard question to answer reliably, given the fact that everyone prints different types of images and at different sizes.

    That said, keep an eye out this week for a blog post on this very topic. It won’t be specific to the R1900, but depending upon the response, I might be looking into ink cost on that model as well.

  8. Rich Stokes Says:
    June 4th, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    from ConsumerReports:

    CR’s take. It¹s costlier to buy and operate than most inkjets, but it¹s also faster. (Including the cost of Epson Premium photo paper, a 4×6 costs 70 cents and takes 1 minute; an 8×10 costs $2.40 and takes 90 seconds; a 13×19 costs $6.75 and takes 4.2 minutes). It printed excellent photos that were as sharp as Epson¹s more expensive Stylus R2400 and Pro 7880. Color accuracy can be excellent, but that requires a lot of setup

  9. Joe Mammino Says:
    June 9th, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Hi, Due to your good review I wil now replace my aging 1280 with an 1900. Question? I am often away from my home , sometimes for a month at a time. I live in Arizona and do experience hot weather. When I am away for an extended time how should I handle the cartridges in the printer to prevent them from driiiing out aat the nozzle? Can I take themn out and refrigerate them?
    Your answer please

    Joe Mammino

  10. Karen Says:
    July 26th, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    I am wondering about the waterproof quality of the UltraChrome inks on matte paper. I read a review somewhere that mentioned the ink is only waterproof on glossy papers? I make handmade books and would like to have print quality that is water-resistant. Does anyone have any information?

    Thanks very much…

  11. Rick LePage Says:
    July 27th, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    The inks are waterproof on both matte and glossy papers. This is according to Epson, and we’ve corroborated it with our own tests.

    Rick

  12. Maegan Says:
    August 11th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Fabulous and specific review. Thank you! My question is:
    At an estimated $.70 a print, is it worth it to buy this printer for mostly 4×6 printing? Is there a difference between the quality from this printer compared to a commercial printing company that charges under $.20 a print?
    Also, is this printer ok to print regular documents on computer paper, or would that be a total waste?
    Thanks,
    Maegan

  13. sharon Says:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    How can I get the blackest blacks on matte paper……..
    nothing is as rich as the epson 1280……is there a way?

  14. Rick LePage Says:
    August 27th, 2008 at 9:56 am

    We’ve found that the best results are with Epson’s papers; we haven’t found anything that comes close to the Enhanced Matte or Velvet Fine Art papers. That said, we haven’t found the blacks in the R1900 to be less than optimal, although we do understand that some people have more demanding requirements.

    The 1280 was a dye-based printer, which gave you better blacks since the ink seeped into the paper. For that printer, the biggest problem was fading, but some of the newer dye printers, like the Stylus Photo 1400, are much better with regard to print longevity. You might want to look at that printer.

    Rick

  15. Rik Myslewski Says:
    August 29th, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Hey, Rick, great, thorough review — it convinced me that I most likely don’t need to spring for an R2880 to replace my ailing ol’ 2200. (Or should I pop for the pricier R2880? I print both black and white and color art photography [very low duty cycle], which I occasionally frame and am thinking of soon selling — what’s your opinion?)

    One quick question though: My 2200 has seriously clogged heads — three of them, in fact — and the Printer Utility is of no use anymore. Do you know of any way to get them unclogged, or am I simply S.O.L. and in need of a replacement printer? I have a full set of 2200 replacement cartridges, and I’m loath to just dump ‘em. (I also have a large inventory of Epson media, but I assume I can still use that on an R1900 or R2880, right.)

  16. Rick LePage Says:
    September 5th, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Rik,

    You can try the old ‘Windex on a Q-Tip’ technique to try and de-clog the printheads – for me, it’s worked on some, not on others.

    Here’s a good place to start: http://www.inkjetart.com/tips/cleaning.html

    If you really think that you need drop-dead beautiful black and white, the R1900 probably isn’t for you, although it’s not bad. I’d look at the HP B8850 or the R2880, although the latter printer has it’s own issues (ink swapping, primarily).

    The media is the same for all the pigment printers – you can use it no problem.

    Rick

  17. D. Boone Says:
    September 21st, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Hi Rick,
    It’s a helpful review and I’ve been tracking for months to make sure no love was lost on this printer over time…
    I’ll use the R1900 for illustrative/art/photo, but I also need to print a vast quantity of text manuscript style…given some of the concern for the black text issues raised, do you think I could get by solely on the 1900 or would it be better to get a separate cheap but good printer for the volumes of text only stuff? If so, do you have any recommendations for that that wouldn’t set me back too horribly after said purchase of R1900?
    By the way, is there any love lost on this printer these months later after its release? Thanks…DB

  18. D. Boone Says:
    September 21st, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    oops…I should add that I currently have an (old) HP that has the pet peeve of only accepting paper as a manual feed, single page at a time, which is dastardly annoying if there are 300+ pages to print(so speed is a concern, as is anti-jamming). Is this an HP problem or simply an old printer problem of parts wearing out? I do remember it being rather finicky feeding in its younger years, too. It’s something I definitely want to avoid in the future. Thanks, sorry for the extra long PostScript…just tired of pulling my hair out! DB again

  19. Rick LePage Says:
    September 22nd, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    I generally recommend an inexpensive monochrome laser printer for people who want photos and text, and plan to print a fair amount of both. The economics of laser, especially for black-and-white printing, are so much better than inkjet.

    And, given the small sizes of many personal lasers these days, they’re easy to deal with when you’ve got a lot of other equipment kicking around.

    I have the Brother HL-2140, which is about $107 at Amazon, and I’ve also seen good reports on the wireless model, the 2170W, which is about $140 on Amazon.

    There are a few lasers that are under $100, but I generally stay away from the really low-cost stuff: you usually end up paying more one way or another.

  20. boonedm Says:
    September 22nd, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks, Rick, much appreciated. As for that Brother, is it happy to work with both Mac and PC equally well? [i.e. will little Brother play nicely with others? :) ]
    OK, now I’ll leave you alone!

  21. Rick LePage Says:
    September 22nd, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    It works nicely with my Macs and PCs, and I haven’t seen much negative traffic on the Web about issues with one platform over another. (Brother has been pretty good about interoperability for a few years now.)

  22. Dick Says:
    October 3rd, 2008 at 4:13 am

    R1900- Single sheet feeder ad Fine Art Paper

    I purchased an R1900 – I am using it with a Mac – OS 10.5.5 Leopard – and Photoshop CS3.

    When I use the single sheet feeder (attached to the rear) – the Fine Art paper choices are grayed out under page setup when printing. After 2 hours on the phone with Epson (not toll-free) the tech said it was a glitch in the R1900 Mac driver.

    Has anyone printed on Velvet Fine Art paper with an R1900 under Mac’s Leopard )10.5) ?

  23. Rick LePage Says:
    October 4th, 2008 at 11:50 am

    I’ve printed a bunch of VFA with the rear feeder and Leopard; I have no idea what Epson’s tech is talking about.

    You need to choose “Manual – Roll” in the Page Setup dialog to be able to print on Velvet Fine Art. That (and the “Manual – Roll (Borderless)”) options are the only ones that will let you select VFA.

    As I noted in the review, I was pretty impressed at how well the R1900 did on the fine art papers. For a device largely billed as a glossy printer, it prints very well on matte papers.

  24. Caryn O Says:
    October 15th, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Rick,
    Hopefully you can help me!
    I’ve been searching and searching for a new inkjet printer but have not found one that I love.
    I have been using the Epson Photo R1800 for the past 2 years at my stationery store, and for the past couple months have been experiencing a lot of frustration. The rollers are shot and paper refuses to feed on its own, the ink bleeds on the back of the paper, and the nozzles keep getting clogged – results in streaks on my full color invitations. I was thinking about getting another Epson, perhaps the R1900 or 2400 but if it is only going to last me another year and a half is it really worth it? I need the top-loading/back-feed option for my invitation stock and I haven’t been able to find anything substantial anywhere. Any ideas or suggestions? I do have a laser jet which is fine for some printing but I really need an inkjet for some of the full-color printing and finer jobs. Let me know what you think!

  25. Michael Says:
    October 31st, 2008 at 8:26 am

    I am interested in printing panoramas with the R1900. Based on your tests, what is the best estimate for the number of 13″ x 44″ panos from a set of cartridges (assuming average distribution of colors). Would a pano this size be roughly equal to 6 8×10′s?
    I am trying to compare print cost here versus sending prints to the lab. Thanks for your help.

    Michael

  26. Stan Says:
    November 6th, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    I am novice at photo printing but, do not want to buy too cheap and have to buy up in two years. I was first sold on the Epson 1400 and now I have started checking reviews for the Epson R1900. The glossy finish is not a big selling point for me. For anything other than snapshots(4×6), I think I would prefer the sublety of matte print. My question is, can the gloss on the R1900 be turned off and if I will not use the gloss much, is there a big enough difference in print quality from the 1400 to justify the cost difference. I know cost and value are relative but, I could use the advice of those of you that have gone down this road before.

    Thanks.

  27. Stan Says:
    November 6th, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    An amendment, I also would like your input on the different types of inks used in the 1400 and the 1900 and if per print cost of either adds to the overall long term cost or should I expect the inks are different but, long term costs per print are not significantly more for one or the other. Thanks again.

  28. gray Says:
    December 4th, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    thanks for all the helpful info. I’m a studio artist (painter) and have been selling Giclee canvas prints for so time.
    Hiring the job out to a printing company. I’m looking to start printing to canvas for myself. Would this Epson R1900 do the job? If not which printer would you recommend. Many thanks!

  29. V Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 7:57 am

    great info everyone!

    where’s the paper handling dialogue box now?
    i upped it from the 1800 to the 100 and
    went to leopard…

    any help out there?
    thnx

  30. V Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 8:20 am

    1800 to 1900 sorry

  31. Rick LePage Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 9:43 am

    V: What do you mean by the paper-handling dialog box? In the print dialog, there’s still a Paper Handling section (via the pop-up).

    The one big difference between the R1800 and R1900 is that all of the color controls are in a single pane – you can set the paper type and color settings in one place, instead of requiring a trip to a second window.

  32. Rick LePage Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Gray: If you could be more specific about your canvas-printing needs (size is the most important one), I could help a bit more. Drop me a note (rick at printerville dot net) and we can talk further.

  33. Rick LePage Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Stan: The differences between dye (used in the 1400) and pigments (in the R1900) are much less of an issue than they used to be. Dyes in general will give you a more vibrant print, although the advances in pigment inks over the past few years have lessened this quite a bit.

    One big knock on dyes was print longevity – they tended to fade after only a few years. With respect to Epson, their dye and pigment printers have very similar life spans when framed under glass, although dyes still generally tend to fade sooner when pinned to the wall, for example.

    I like the Stylus Photo 1400 quite a bit – it’s inexpensive, has decent-size cartridges for a printer in its class, and prints in a nice variety of media. While I haven’t performed my ink-life tests on that printer (I plan to in conjunction with my Artisan 800 tests currently underway), I would imagine that it would be comparable to other printers in the $300-$500 price range.

    The R1900 is my favorite printer overall right now – I think it offers the right mix of features, image quality and cost. It gets overshadowed by the R2880, but, unless you are printing black and white in large numbers, I think the R1900 is the better buy. (It’s currently $450 through Amazon.)

  34. Dinah Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    I have just bought a large imac (changed from Dell) and have downloaded Photoshop CS4. I now find that printing on my H.P. psc 950 is dreadful – all dark and murky! Have tried to update the drivers but with no luck. I’m now looking at buying the Epson R1900. Can anyone tell me if this is compatable with the imac and CS4?

  35. Rick LePage Says:
    December 12th, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    You shouldn’t have any problems with the imac, CS4 and the R1900. I would check the videos mentioned here (click on the one for the 3800 – it’s the same principle, just a different printer).

    You’re probably running into a double calibration issue that’s easily fixed.

  36. Dinah Says:
    December 16th, 2008 at 1:44 am

    Thanks Rick, I haven’t got the new printer yet so will look at the videos and see what I can do. I’m quite an amateur at all this – Did you mean the issue could easily be fixed with the HP psc 950 or when I get the R1900?

  37. Phil Says:
    December 18th, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Rick, Gray asked a question on
    December 4th, 2008 at 12:19 pm feed #28
    I’m also studio artist (painter) and have been selling Giclee canvas prints for so time

    Like Gray, I Hire the job out to a printing company. I’m looking to start printing to canvas for myself. Would this Epson R1900 do the job? If not which printer would you recommend.

    resonse #32
    Gray: If you could be more specific about your canvas-printing needs (size is the most important one), I could help a bit more. Drop me a note (rick at printerville dot net) and we can talk further.

    Well, like Gray, I would like to do a gilclee on canvas 13×17. I would appreciate if you could send me the same dialoque or advice you had with gray.

    Many thanks in advance, Phil

  38. bev hadland Says:
    January 9th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Having just purchased the 1900 i’m disappointed to say the least.The problem i’m having is banding on the print,in colour mode it shows up in the shadow area and in mono it’s right across the whole print.
    I spent a whole hour on the phone talk through with the Epson expert clearing the program off an started again just in case I messed up on the initial loading but nothing changed in fact it got worse. I am on a Mac OSX 10.5 PRO UNIT,any thoughts on what is wrong before it’s shipped back Rick.
    Rgards. Bev Hadland.

  39. DocJim Says:
    January 9th, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Bev Hadland, I feel your pain.
    I have had similar troubles with the older R1800. I found that head-cleaning a couple of times got rid of the banding, but carefully check your printer setup also. Some “features” in the printer driver may contribute to the banding. I’m sorry I cannot be more specific, it occurred a more than a year ago and I have forgotten the details—but I do remember the banding.

  40. bev hadland Says:
    January 11th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Many thanks and thoughts DocJim but alas it’s being returned to the retailers on Monday, having spent $200 on 2 lots of ink and paper enough is enough and may order the R2880 or Canon 9500, one other gripe is the 1900 does not produce a good mono print,the blue/green cast it produces falls well short of it’s expectations and nowhere near all the advert blurb of Epson so it’s between the R2880 or the Canon 9500 I’m off on the web for other folks opinions on both printers.
    Best regards. Bev Hadland. in the UK

  41. Rick LePage Says:
    January 11th, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Bev,

    It definitely sounds like you got a bad unit, and should be returned. Regarding the color cast on black-and-white prints, as I noted in the review, if you really want drop-dead neutral monochrome prints, the R1900 isn’t for you. (Epson doesn’t appear to be really selling that printer as a black-and-white machine here in the states, pushing folks (rightly, in my opinion) to the R2880.)

    I don’t know if there’s a Stylus Pro 3800 sale going on in the UK right now, but if there is, I’d look at that printer. For the price, there’s nothing that beats it, and you’ll get plenty more ink than you would with 5 full sets on the R2880. (See this post for more about the 3800/R2880 equation.)

    The Canon 9500 is a decent printer, but you really have to tweak it to get the best prints out of it, and I don’t like their manual-feed mechanism for heavier-weight papers. You can get great prints out of it, but, with 10 small-capacity ink carts, you’re also going to pay more over the long haul for ink than you would with a printer like the 3800.

    My .02.

    Rick

  42. Rich Says:
    January 16th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Great review, the most helpful out of seven that I have read on the R1900. I’m almost convinced to go with the R1900 for my “display prints on a budget” needs, except for one concern mentioned in a few reviews, including this one.

    That concern is that I want to use non-Epson papers for which I generate my own color profiles (w. Spyder3Print). If I do my color management from Photoshop utilizing these profiles, and even with color management turned off in the Epson driver, will having to select an Epson equivalent paper in their printer dialogue settings adversely affect my existing paper/printer/ink profile? Thanks for any insight on this.

    Rich in New Mexico

  43. Fredy Ross Says:
    February 3rd, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I am also lost as to why r1900 got 4.5 rating and the r2880 only got 4 rating. I haven’t bought one yet but next week hope to upgrade from an epson 1290 so would appreciated an answer from you.
    Your reviews are great by the way.

  44. Rick LePage Says:
    February 3rd, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    When I rate a product, I weigh the company’s claims with the the product’s implementation, and factor in price, usability, design and the like. In my opinion, the R1900 is more successful than the R2880. It doesn’t mean that the R1900 is a better product for your needs, however.

    The R2880 mainly lost on the ink-swap issue: the print quality is excellent. If you don’t need to swap inks, it’s pretty darn close to perfect (as I noted in the review).

    Rick

  45. Rick LePage Says:
    February 3rd, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Rich:

    There’s no problem using custom ICC profiles made with the Spyder and using them with the R1900. You just select the profile in the Print dialog box, and make sure you don’t use the Epson color options (turn it off in the print driver).

    You do need to select an Epson paper type, but that’s just to get an ink type (matte/photo) and thickness for the printhead when printing. When I profile the printer with the Spyder, I just put the corresponding Epson paper type used on the test chart. That way I know what to use in the print dialog box.

    It’s second nature, once you’ve profiled a bunch of papers.

    rick

  46. Fredy Ross Says:
    February 4th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Thanks for your quick reply.

  47. Chris Randalls Says:
    February 25th, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Hey Rick,

    I recently purchased the R1900. I do graphic design and some photography. The photos are turning out great; however, when I try to print something like a poster, flyer etc (basically anything with text or vector shapes) both the text and the shapes come out looking horribly jagged. Any idea why this may be happening?

  48. Chris Randalls Says:
    February 26th, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Scratch that, figured out my problem shortly after posting.

  49. Roger Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Have not had any problems using the R1900……..until now. Reading the comment made by Chris Randalls, the only problem I have is when printing from Adobe Illustrator (v12.0.1). My troubles started after buying a new iMac – the iMac Intel running OS 10.5.6. Now instead of clean, sharp vector prints, I am getting jagged bitmap text and graphics. Previously I used an iMac G5 running OS 10.4.11 and had no problem printing from Illustrator CS2. Vector images remained vector – clear, clean and crisp. Trying to figure out if this problem is the result of the new OS or Illustrator CS2 or the Epson printer driver (which I downloaded the newest driver for OS 10.5.6)…..or a combination of all three.

  50. Danielle Says:
    April 2nd, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Does anyone else have any experience with this?

  51. Dean Says:
    April 3rd, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I just bought an R1900 and received it yesterday. I set it up and played around with it. WOW!!!!!!! Unbelievable prints. I was using Epson Premium Glossy and Inkpress Luster. I downloaded the icc profiles for both. I did my test printing through Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, dont have elements installed yet. Anyways, there is a lot of color differences between printing just default, photo enhance, color control or using the ICM profiles. I seemed to get the best result by choosing color control and adobe rgb and got amazing prints on luster 11×14 even. When I chose ICM and picked an icc profile as the input and something else as the printer profile it could not match the accuracy of color or depth and saturation.

    My question is how do the input profile and printer profile work together and what do the affect? I tried every combination of icc (for my paper) and printer profile but could not better the results from choosing color control and adobe rgb.

    I know when you pick EPSON Standard as the printer profile it picks the input profile for you.

  52. Dean Says:
    April 3rd, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Can anyone point me to a good guide for how to profile papers for this printer?

  53. Rich K Says:
    April 8th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Re: Chris (47 & 48), Roger (49), and Danielle (50) – I have the same problem printing anything vector from Illustrator CS3 using OS X 10.5.6 on an Intel iMac.
    Oddly, if I either save the Illustrator file as a PDF and then print from Acrobat, or place the .ai file as a graphic into ID CS3 and print from InDesign, the image prints vector components full resolution.

    Chris – what exactly was your problem, and what was your solution?

  54. Brian Says:
    May 22nd, 2009 at 7:37 am

    I’m in the same boat with the comments made on printing vector based images from Illustrator CS3. Any remedy would be greatly appreciated!

  55. Noah Says:
    May 23rd, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I’m also having the jagged edges with vector files with OS X Leopard 10.5 and Illustrator CS4

  56. John Says:
    May 29th, 2009 at 8:03 am

    For several years now, I too get jagged edges when printing from Illustrator (CS1 and CS3). This happens using an old Epson R200 and Canon iP4000 with 10.3 and 10.4. Since this problem still exists with newer printers, me thinks Illustrator is the culprit.

    Saving as PDF and printing is the only work around i know of.

  57. Rick LePage Says:
    May 29th, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Unfortunately, because Illustrator is an application designed around PostScript, and none of the photo printers natively support PS, you’re not going to be able to really use it as an accurate proofing/illustration device without either a PostScript RIP, or by saving files as PDF documents, and then printing them from an app like Preview or Acrobat.

    Even then, I’ve seen some weirdnesses over the years.

  58. Guido Says:
    June 1st, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Im going crazy!!!
    I started printing just fine… awesome prints! and now suddenly I’m getting banding!!! can someone help me?! Why? Is it the profile Im using?

  59. maclectron Says:
    June 19th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    bought r1900 as epson spec claimed it could print on canvas believe me it doesnt. machine has screwed up 1 out of 3 sheets. prints well when it doesnt patronise with “load paper correctly”.For me i’m going back to trusted canon

  60. Sandra Says:
    June 24th, 2009 at 10:17 am

    I need to get a printer for high quality prints of photographs of artwork, some of the works are black and white drawings, and some have color. Could you please recommend a printer that is good for both b/white and color prints? Thanks a lot for your help

  61. inarges Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I just hooked up my R1900 today; was delighted with the photos, but then horrified by the bitmapped text I printed from Illustrator. InDesign does not seem to have the same problem, but not being able to print layouts from Illustrator is going to be a problem.

    Like the other commenter, I was also able to place the problem illustrator file in an Indesign doc and get a perfect print, even of 5-point type at 25% gray.

    I’m on OS 10.5, btw, Intel mac, Illustrator CS3.

    I have NOT had this problem with my old Epson 1280 or with the Epson 2200 that I was hoping to retire upon receipt of the R1900.

    ARGH.

  62. disegno Says:
    August 24th, 2009 at 10:08 am

    “I just hooked up my R1900 today; was delighted with the photos, but then horrified by the bitmapped text I printed from Illustrator”

    Inarges,
    I am debating between the R1900 & R2880. I am more of a graphics than photography guy, so text and “linework” are of huge importance. Are you really printing bitmapped text out of Illustrator (why not vector), and do these printers not handle vector artwork well?

    (General question): Anyone know if Epson is about to announce or already announced new upgrade models from the r1900 or r2880

    Thanks,
    disegno

  63. nik Says:
    August 30th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    I replaced my 2200 with the 1900. I was looking for quality prints and crisp, accurate type design from vector and from Indesign. The 1900 delivers on both fronts. I also use Enhanced Matte media and it looks perfect. The skin tones are quite beautiful. And I will note, B&W also looks excellent with darks and mid tones. I didn’t notice any casting of color.
    Easy set up. Just follow the directions on the enclosed disk.
    Thank you to this web site for helping me be informed when making this purchase.

  64. Dean Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Guido, I too just started getting banding after awesome print results. I had not used the printer for a while and my kids seemed to have removed the printer from my pc. I re-installed the software for it. I do not think I re-downloaded the profiles for it. Not sure what is causing the banding either, have not had time to troubleshoot mine.

  65. Jim Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 9:05 am

    My 1270 has finally given up the ghost (bulletproof clog), so I’m looking at the 1900…I like the idea of no-fade prints. However, I have a whole pot full of Epson’s Ultra Premium Luster paper. So…1) will the 1900 give me archival results with this paper? and 2) does the 1900′s included software have a profile for this paper? From my reading of your review it sounds like the quality on even this paper will be first class, no?

    Thanks.

  66. GCB » Photographie Uncategorized » Mon prochain printer Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    [...] http://www.printerville.net/2008/04/13/epson-stylus-photo-r1900-review/ Post Published: 29 May 2008 Author: admin Found in section: Photographie, Uncategorized [...]

  67. enko Says:
    October 23rd, 2009 at 12:48 am

    I just purchased an Epson R1900 for my digital photography classroom – with a plan to print on 13×19 Epson Velvet fine art paper. I am using an Intel Mac with Leopard (OS 10.5.5). I downloaded the latest Epson driver for Leopard.

    But – there is a problem. If I try to use the rear-mounted single sheet feeder – the media choice for Epson fine art papers is grayed out when printing from photoshop CS3.

    After 2 hours on the phone with Epson (for which I had to pay the phone cost) – the tech concluded that there is a “glitch” in the new Leopard driver for the R1900.

    Has anyone used the R1900 single sheet rear feeder with Fine Art paper and a Mac running Leopard and Photoshop CS3 ???

  68. RBD Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 6:37 am

    My R1900 has been fantastic…until last night. I was printing and the “change ink” light came on for my Cyan and Red cartridges…so I changed both and the machine keeps telling me tht the Red cartridge is not installed or not compatible…AAARRGHHH!

    Is there a way to do a hard ‘reset” of the machine or override this?

    Help Please!

  69. Blazor Says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Has anyone found a fix for the Illustrator CS3 issue for the 1900?

  70. JAC Says:
    January 1st, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I have an R1800 which has never once given me a satisfactory print with any of the recommended workflows. All too dark and virtually unadjustable even with gamma increases, printer manages, Photoshop manages, etc. So I’m leaning towards the 1900 or 2880. Running 10.6.2, CS3 and/or Aperture. Because of the problems with the 1800, I’m looking at a lot of web comments – some very favourable for either, some not so good, particularly with SL. Seems to be driver problems that have not been resolved. Anyone downloaded the most recent Epson batch of drivers (December ’09) and having problematic results? Or having no problems for that matter?

  71. TadMoore Says:
    February 2nd, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Just wanted to thank you for such a succinct review of the printer I have purchased. Haven’t used it yet….was, in fact, doing a little research to assure a successful print 1st time out. Bought it from B&H Photo and the paper that was sent(recommended)is in fact Ilford smooth pearl. Until I find the conversion for this in Epson speak I think I’ll hold off…..thanks again for your informative writing style….resp;T

  72. simon wu Says:
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:20 am

    do you have epson R1900 printhead , P/N F18600

    Thanks, if Y have please give me price!
    thanks

  73. alex Says:
    June 4th, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Great help here! Thanks Rick!
    hope you can help me too.
    I’ve got a very strange problem with my 1900. Since my first test print i get a very stange mark (about 1.5cm wide and 6cm long) in the top left corner of every print. it’s always in the same place of the paper, not the printer. So weather i print on A6 or A3+ it’s the same.
    I thought it was a mechanical and tried feeding the paper through the roll feeder, which actually got rid of it, but isn’t good for small prints. besides i want my printer to work properly. It’s brand new.
    I usually use Fuji Hunt Satin, but tried other semigloss papers too. I print from CS3 on an i Mac running OSX 10.4.11. I also tried printing from other software to rule PS out as a reason. Same problem.
    The last thing I just tried was using original epson paper. Just had heavyweight matte so set the printer profile(before printing in PS) to epson matte heavyweight and what a surprise, I get the same line going vertically now!
    Just leaves me with the conclusion, that it must be a software issue.
    To double check I printed on the old semigloss paper, using the matte profile and ended up with the same effect as on the matte paper (well almost the same, it’s not as visable…)
    Basicially I’m lost!
    Oh and to make the whole thing even more peculiar: I took the printer back to the shop and had it replaced, just to get the same thing with the new one!

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Alex

  74. Miles Says:
    June 25th, 2011 at 9:49 am

    in specifications…ink cartridge cost $13.29 (replacement cost: $106.32) don’t think so, I got replacement at eBay real genuine inks 9 sets no more than 60 bucks no shipping, for real…106 is a total rip off.

  75. Alan Leder Says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I recently lost my “printer settings’ option when I am prepared to print on my R1900. Disappeared, gone, vanished. Without that option, I have no option to turn off my Gloss Optimizer, nor to select high speed or slower printing. How could that happen and how might I recapture those options when I’m ready to print?