Get superb print quality fast, plus CD/DVD printing capability
By Rob Sheppard
A great print is something most outdoor photographers cherish. The Epson Stylus Photo R1800 offers superb printing up to 13x19 inches (13x44-inch panoramas), but, of course, when new printers come out today, many photographers wonder if it's worth upgrading to the new and improved. They accept the "new," but wonder about the "improved."
I've been working with the Epson Stylus Photo R1800 for a while now and I've been very pleased with the results. At a $549 street price it's a higher-priced printer, but it offers high-quality prints that are printed fast and rated for lightfastness as long as 100 to 200 years. It definitely has some excellent features that make it well worth the consideration of the digital nature photographer.
Three characteristics stand out for me: 1) outstanding print quality; 2) speed; and 3) print plus CD/DVD printing capability. Print quality is great, as would be expected from an Epson photo printer, and you can print true borderless prints at 8x10, 11x14 and 12x12 inches (the last is scrapbooking size).
When using the profiles that came with the unit and printing through Photoshop, my prints represented the monitor images beautifully.The printer uses eight ink cartridges for seven inks plus a gloss optimizer (for the best results on glossy paper). The seven inks include the standard cyan, magenta, yellow, photo black and matte black, plus two new colors, red and blue, to offer a wider gamut of printing colors. Ink droplet size (a better indicator of photo quality than resolution) is a very small 1.5 picoliters. Images look great at standard resolutions of 1440 and 2880 dpi (the 5760 maximum does little more than slow down the printer; printer manufacturers go to these high numbers for marketing purposes, not for real quality gains).
I love the unit's speed, too. I timed an 11x14-inch photo at one minute, 55 seconds, which is close to Epson's claim of one minute, 51 seconds. It's hard to believe that such a print once took 15 minutes with early photo printers! Less than two minutes is a time you can deal with (smaller prints are obviously faster). The unit connects to the computer via USB 2.0 and FireWire so that the transfer of data from computer to printer isn't slowed. As for desk space, the printer is about average in size for a printer that can output up to 13x19-inch prints—its dimensions are 24.2x12.6x9.1 inches and 33 pounds.
Finally, I love printing on CDs. I have many uses for CDs, including sending CD slideshows to friends and family, and in working on my books and workshops. Printing a quality image on a CD is such a classy way to go, and the Epson Stylus Photo R1800 does a beautiful job of it.