Over on Printerville, I posted an item about Epson’s new cartridge-free ‘supertank’ photo printers, the EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and ET-8550. Although they use six-color, dye-based inks — which some folks will dismiss — I still think they’re an important entry into the printer market, especially with regard to keeping the cost of printing affordable. The post can be read here.
It’s a bit long, but if you’re interested in printing your photos, especially at the desktop level, I think it’s worth reading.
[Post updated May 2021 with link to Printerville review.]
Since writing about Epson’s new photo inkjet line back in April, I’ve gotten a lot of email, mostly from readers curious about the SureColor P900, the 17-inch version (and its 13-inch sibling, the P700). I’m happy to say that the first shipments of the P900 appear to be dribbling into the States. Both models were supposed to be available by early summer, but it does seem that the pandemic wreaked havoc on manufacturing and shipping channels.
All that said, I’m not sure about how full the channel actually is at the moment. I have a P900 arriving today, but it was ordered five months ago. I also know of a few other folks who’ve received P700s in the past 60 days, but Adorama and B&H have both the printers back-ordered. My advice to anyone looking for these units would be to order one from your preferred source, to get into the queue. I believe that a big part of the reason they’re back-ordered is that most arriving units are being sent right back out to folks who preordered theirs.
Epson this week announced the SureColor P700 and P900 printers, updates to their SureColor 13- and 17-inch, pro-level photo printer line. The new desktop printers offer a smaller footprint; a new pigment-based inkset with 10 inks; improved color gamut; and enhanced connectivity and paper-handling options. In addition — and possibly the most important enhancement for many photographers — the P700/P900 printheads have dedicated channels for the matte and photo black inks, eliminating the previous generation’s ink- and time-consuming process of switching black inks when moving between glossy and matte paper types.
Speaking about photo printing, Epson is currently having a mail-in rebate sale on their SureColor P400, P600 and P800 photo printers. The rebates range from $200 to $350, depending upon the printer, for any of these models purchased between November 1 and November 30.
The rebates are good when you purchase a new printer, but Epson is adding $50 for folks upgrading from any 6-ink (or more) photo printer, from any vendor; to get the additional rebate, you just enter the printer serial number and model on the rebate form.
The specifics on the rebates are:
- SureColor P400 rebate: $150 (new); $200 (upgrade); P400 rebate form (PDF).
- SureColor P600 rebate: $200 (new); $250 (upgrade); P600 rebate form (PDF).
- SureColor P800: $300 (new); $350 (upgrade); P800 rebate form (PDF)
(The links above are to Amazon—which has the cheapest online prices (in the US)—but you can also find out more on the Epson website. The rebate forms are PDF files.)
Why you should care
I’ve used both a P600 and P800 for a few years now, and love both of them. They have bigger ink cartridges than older models, with a better paper feed and excellent print quality—and are pretty much always been ready to print. I will say that Canon is doing a pretty good job in the desktop photo printer market these days, but it’s hard to pass up these prices (and rebates) if you think it’s time to start printing—or upgrade.
(If you’re thinking, “Why print?”, check out my chat about printing with the great guys of the PhotoActive podcast.)
Last week, I was a guest on the PhotoActive podcast, chatting about photo printing with the hosts Jeff Carlson and Kirk McElhearn. We talked about such things as “Why print at all?” (heresy!); why printing today—whether online or with your own printer—is better than it has ever been; and how learning about printing is no different than learning about your camera (practice, practice, practice!). It was a lot of fun, and if you are interested in the state of photo printing today, I humbly think it’s well worth taking time to listen in. It’s short—my segment is only about 30 minutes in length.
I’m not a huge podcast guy—especially ones about such a visual medium as photography—but I’ve really enjoyed PhotoActive since Jeff and Kirk started it up earlier this year. The episodes are brief, with minimal chit-chat, and they find interesting guests (who mostly don’t talk about gear, which I also love). If you want to get a taste, but don’t care about printing, I recommend the recent episode with photographer and author Michael Rubin, who spoke about how his family collected fine-art prints when he was growing up, and how it has informed his photographic life.
PhotoActive is subtitled, “A Podcast about Photography and the Apple Ecosystem,” but the Mac angle is fairly low-key. If you’re a Windows user, don’t avoid it; I’ve found most episodes are focused more on photography than the Mac, and I almost always learn something. It’s worth checking out.
You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Spotify, or download it directly from photoactive.co.
[When it rains, it prints: Epson has great rebates this month on their SureColor photo printer line.]
The last step of any photo workflow is to sharpen and output. If your final goal is an image for the web or email, then output simply means resizing and saving your image. If your final output is to print using an online printing service, then you’ll need to follow their size, resolution, and format specifications very carefully. Similarly, if your final destination is your own desktop printer, you’ll also need to set size and resolution before you print. While choosing size is pretty simple – you just resize the image to the printing dimensions that you want – choosing a correct resolution is a little trickier. In this article, we look at exactly what you need to consider when choosing a resolution for desktop inkjet printing.
Over on Macworld.com, I posted a short review regarding Epson’s latest professional-level printer, the 17-inch Stylus Pro 3800.
The 3800 is a funny beast—it has the best print quality of any previous Epson printer, and it is priced in a place where it has no real competitor. There is no roll-feed attachment—17 by 22 inches is the largest standard size it will print on—and it doesn’t have the whiz-bang features that HP and Canon are putting into their pro-level printers, like automatic addition of paper profiles, a Photoshop plug-in, and fancy calibration tools. And, while it fixes the physical ink swapping found in the Stylus Photo R2400 and the Stylus Pro 4800, it still does have to go through a purge cycle when you go back and forth between matte- and glossy-finish paper types.
That said, print quality and repeatability are often what pro photgraphers want most, and the 3800 has that in spades.