Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Red River sale on Polar Pearl Metallic

Monday, October 11th, 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.

Epson announces a fleet of new high-end printers

Sunday, October 10th, 2010


At Graph Expo in Chicago recently, Epson announced a group of new printers for the pro photography and graphic arts market, including:

  • 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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ImageNest 2.0 RIP released

Wednesday, November 18th, 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).

Epson announces the Stylus Pro 3880

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Stylus Pro 3880Epson 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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Piezography K7 B&W kit available for Epson R2880

Wednesday, March 11th, 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.

For those of you interested in a color-based CIS for the R2880, Cone isn’t yet offering a version of its ConeColor system; you can send an email requesting one on this page.

Canon preps Mark II updates to Pixma Pro printers

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Pixma Pro9500 Mark IICanon 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.”

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HP debuts iPrint app for iPhones

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

iprintHP appears to be the first manufacturer to offer a printing application for Apple’s iPhone, announcing iPrint Photo today at Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

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.

$200 rebates on Epson 3800, $480 on Epson 4880

Thursday, December 18th, 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.

Epson announces Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900 printers

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Epson America today formally announced the Stylus Pro 7900 and Stylus Pro 9900 wide-format inkjet printers, which were originally announced outside the U.S. in May (click here for our original item on the printers).

The 7900 and 9900, which have maximum print widths of 24 inches and 44 inches, respectively, use Epson’s new 10-color UltraChrome HDR inkset, which adds two new ink colors—orange and green—designed to give the printers the widest possible gamut available in inkjet printing today. According to the company, the new inkset, in conjunction with improved screening algorithms, will produce “greatly enhanced photographic print quality with exceptionally fine photographic blends.”

Both units incorporate a 10-channel micropiezo printhead with an ink-repelling coating (also found in the Stylus Photo R1900 and R2880) designed to reduce clogs and improve ink efficiency. The 10-channel head also lets you switch on the fly between matte and photo black inks.

Another first for Epson is the inclusion of an optional spectrophotometer from X-Rite, the SpectroProofer, designed to provide a streamlined color-management process for prepress and proofing situations.

The Epson Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900 will be available in November for $3,995 and $5,995 respectively. We hadn’t received pricing for the optional spectrophotometer at press time; we’ll pass that information along as we receive it.

Epson is billing the 7900 and 9900 printers as the ultimate inkjet printers for packaging, signage, and other commercial applications, as well as the top-of-the-line photographic printer on the market today. From the limited number of prints we’ve been able to see, we think that the company has once again taken a leap ahead of the competition in terms of print quality and performance. We’re hoping to get our hands on a unit to test: we’ll keep you posted.

First look: HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

At Photokina in Germany, HP today announced the Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer, a
wide-format inkjet printer for professional photographers and designers, with a new ink formulation, speed and paper-handling improvements and other enhancements over previous models.

The Z3200 is the successor to HP’s the Designjet Z3100 Photo Printer, which, when it first shipped late in 2006, was one of the most innovative photo printers we had seen in a long time. The Z3100 utilized 12 pigment-based inks (including a gloss optimizer) to produce high-quality, gallery-ready prints, but it was the printer’s embedded spectrophotometer (from X-Rite) and seamless integration with networked Macs and PCs that set it apart from competitors like Epson and Canon. HP spent considerable effort streamlining the process of printing: everything from unboxing the device to profiling and adding new paper types had been thought through by HP’s hardware and software engineers. The result was a printer that created top-quality prints and was a joy to use, day in and day out.

We’ve had a production version of the 24" PostScript model, the Z3200ps, for about three weeks, and have tested it fairly thoroughly with a variety of papers and applications. Overall, we’re very impressed with the printer’s performance: HP is obviously determined to keep the pressure on Epson—the market leader—in the pro photo space. As was the case with the Z3100, we think that the Z3200 should be looked at by anyone seriously evaluating a wide-format device to create salable prints.

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