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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gadget Bag: Make Your Best Fall Prints

You can create rich, vivid prints of fall color when you have the right printer for the job

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Epson Stylus Pro 2880
The Epson Stylus R2880 model is a moderately priced printer that’s capable of brilliant reproduction in print sizes up to 13x19 inches. The nine individual UltraChrome K3 ink cartridges (with Vivid Magenta) are laid down with 1,440 nozzles. Print speed for a high-quality 8x10 print is a fast one minute and 36 seconds. The color quality, especially in the warm tones, is impressive, thanks in part to the light color inks that the R2880 utilizes. You’re sure to appreciate this as you print those multihued autumn landscapes. And your prints will be around for many years for people to admire. Epson states that, with its archival papers, fading won’t occur for over 100 years. While not designated in Epson’s Pro series, the results are excellent with this printer. Estimated Street Price: $599.

Epson Stylus Pro 3880
With the Stylus Pro 3880, Epson advances its printer-head technology. Its MicroPiezo® AMC™ print head produces print resolutions up to 2880x1140 dpi with incredible color quality and detail, even at high speeds. An eight-ink cartridge printer, with a maximum paper width of 17 inches, the Stylus Pro 3880 also can produce stunning black-and-whites with software-driven, user-selectable black inks (versus manually changing cartridges as you do with the R2880). As does the R2880 model, the Stylus Pro 3880 employs Epson’s UltraChrome ink with Vivid Magenta technology to produce its seemingly unending array of color. In addition to USB 2.0, the 3880 also features a built-in 10/100 Base-T Ethernet port for easy networking. Estimated Street Price: $1,495.

The Stylus Pro 4880 kicks things up a notch. In addition to the specifications of the 3880, the 4880 adds border-free roll printing and a 2.5-inch LCD control panel for printer control and monitoring. Ink cartridges can be replaced in the midst of a print job, so you never have to slow down the workflow. Like its 3880 sibling, the printer uses a unique driver technology that allows the user to maximize the three levels of black to print truly stunning black-and-white and grayscale prints. For Mac users, Epson includes 16-bit print drivers to take full advantage of the 16-bit data files, which can produce more accurate color prints, a real bonus for printing vivid, striking fall colors. Estimated Street Price: $1,995.

HP Designjet 111
Hewlett-Packard has a legacy of producing superior printers for all types of uses and at various levels. The HP Designjet desktop image printers are no exception. Do you want to make large, poster-sized prints of your “turning leaves reflected on the water’s surface” images? Then the large-format HP Designjet series deserve your consideration.

The HP Designjet 111 can produce prints up to 24 inches wide, and using the manual feeder, you can load sheets up to 64 inches long. You also can use a roll feeder to print 24 inches wide by the length of the roll paper (a built-in auto cutter automatically trims the paper when the print is done). The printer features a four-ink system that seems like it would hamper print quality compared to some other modern printers, but the image quality is actually quite good. HP claims print life of 80-plus years given proper display parameters. Estimated Street Price: $895.

HP Designjet 130
The HP Designjet 130 features a six-pigment ink system to produce prints that yield good details in shadows and excellent color. A unique feature of the Designjet 130 is the built-in color-calibration feature. Using the provided HP driver software, the printer prints a test pattern, sucks it back into the printer and scans it. When calibration is completed, it prints a check mark on the page to indicate successful calibration. Like the Designjet 111, the Designjet 130 can print up to 24 inches wide, and it can print on sheets up to 64 inches or you can make prints on roll paper that are limited only by the length of the roll. Estimated Street Price: $2,315.




Budd Riker is a nature and underwater photography with over 30 years of experience. To see more of his work, visit www.buddriker.com. Follow Riker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/buddslight.


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