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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Epson Stylus Photo 1400

Big, beautiful, cost-effective prints, up to 13x19 inches

Short Report: Sigma APO 50-150mm ƒ/2.8 EX DC HSM

For several years now, I’ve printed most of my images with the Epson Stylus Photo 2200, and it has been very good to me. When I had an opportunity to use the large-format Epson Stylus Photo 1400, I found it delivered colorful, archival-quality prints, with the added bonus of direct printing on CDs and DVDs—all at a list price of $399. Remarkable.

The Epson Stylus Photo 1400 features a new DX5 Micro Piezo print head, with a maximum resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi. It delivers five different droplet sizes, the smallest at 1.5 picoliters. A wider range of droplet sizes is a significant advantage for printing ultrasmooth gradations and transitions between the light and dark areas of your photos; it’s arguably more important than maximum resolution. The human eye can only perceive around 1440 dpi, so anything beyond that is more than adequate.

Each of the prints I made on Epson’s Premium Glossy and Ultra Premium Luster paper was very good. The printing speeds for 13x19-, 11x17- and 8x10-inch prints were noticeably faster compared to printers from a few years ago.

Also impressive are the new six-color Claria Hi-Definition dye-based inks. The colors are so vibrant, they truly pop in Epson’s Vivid mode. Additionally, Epson claims the printer has three times the ink yield and improved archival qualities. The inks are rated to be smudge-, water- and fade-resistant for up to 98 years under glass and 200 years displayed in an album.

Mac users will appreciate the three different color-management controls on the Print menu. Selecting the Color Controls option lets the printer drivers do the color matching and adjustment. The ColorSync option matches the print colors to the colors you see on your computer screen. Selecting No Color Adjustment, which is recommended for Photoshop CS2 users, will let the editing program determine the colors.


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