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All Epsons Are Not Created Equal
Each Type Prints Photos Differently

by Royce Bair

People constantly call us at Injet Art Solutions to ask us what brand of inkjet printer they should buy. We recommend the Epson (although we do not sell Epson printers- only consumables for the Epson). The first Epson Stylus Color printer in 1994 was a major technological breakthrough in photo-realistic quality. Other printer brands have made improvements since then but Epson has always stayed several steps ahead of the competition and continues to remain the number one choice of graphic artists, fine artists and photographers. The current Epson line has four types of "Stylus Color" desktop printers:

Type 1. Those printers using four ink colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) and having a consistent MicroDot size. The MicroDot is produced by an ink droplet of about 12 picoliters (pl) with the exception of the 850, which produces a 10 picoliter drop. One pl = 0.000 000 000 001 liter). Some of the printers using this technology are the Epson Stylus Color 800 (replaced by the 850), the Epson Stylus Color 1520, and the Epson Stylus Color 3000

Type 2. Four-color printers with "Variable Dot Technology" (variable size ink droplets). The droplet sizes usually vary from 19 pl to 3 pl. The Epson Stylus Color 740 has droplets that range from 19 pl to 6 pl while the Epson Stylus Color 900 can produce a dots down to 3 pl in size. When dots get to 6 pl and smaller, they are close to the limit of resolution for the human eye. Called Ultra MicroDots, they are among very smallest sizes of ink droplets available today. These new, incredibly small dots, lead to much finer detail with smooth gradations and less graininess, enhancing print quality considerably.

Type 3. Those printers using six ink colors (cyan, light cyan, magenta, light magenta, yellow, and black) and having a consistent MicroDot size of about 10 picoliters. The use of two extra colors (light magenta and light cyan) greatly enhances the color gamut and tonal smoothness, giving print output that has almost true photo quality. Epson's 6-ink technology is called the "Perfect Picture Imaging System," and is used in the Epson Stylus Photo 700 and the Epson Stylus Photo EX.

Type 4. Six-color printers with "Variable Dot Technology." These include the Epson Stylus Photo 750 and the Epson Stylus Photo 1200.

The Epson Pro 5000 printer and the new Epson Pro 9000 wide-format printer are a different "breed" than the above four Epson Stylus printer types. These two printers have Epson's Micro Piezo Dual Density Droplet (DX3) Print Technology which offers precise 11-nanogram dot size for very small, clean, sharp dot placement, which achieves remarkable photographic clarity. They also cost about $8,000.00 to $14,000.00 (way beyond the price range of Epson's four other printer types which run between $250 to $1500).

EPSON Stylus Color printers 4 ink
colors
Constant
MicroDot
6 ink
colors
Variable
Ultra
MicroDot
Type 1 - ESC 600, 800, 850,
1520, 3000
YES YES no no
Type 2 - ESC 740, 900 YES no no YES
Type 3 - ES Photo 700, Photo EX no YES YES no
Type 4 - ES Photo 750, 1200 no no YES YES

 

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