Four new medium to large format printers from Epson herald improvements to UltraChrome archival inksEpson announce most advanced colour and black & white A3+ photo printer
Epson announce the availability of UltraChromeTM K3
Epson announce new range of Stylus Pro printers
Epson new printers for the POS, CAD and GIS markets
Today Epson officially announces the introduction of a new generation of medium to large format photo inkjet printers, including the true successor to the popular Epson Stylus 2100 (aka 2200) Photo A3 model. But today's announcements aren't just about hardware; all the new printers use a much revised UltraChrome pigment archival ink set, now called UltraChrome K3 – K3 standing for three black inks.
UltraChrome K3 inks
Instead of gloss optimiser, you get a third photo black inks shade
Epson say the formulation of its UltraChrome inks, first introduced in April 2002, has been improved to offer a wider gamut, especially in darker print areas, a shorter time to colour stability from initial printing and better monochrome photo printing with the help of an additional 'light light' black ink, making three shades of photo black, which gives this new UltraChrome generation its K3 tag.
Gloss finish is also said to be improved, but without the benefit of a gloss optimiser, as seen in the Epson Stylus R800 and R1800 printers, which use a variation of UltraChrome inks dubbed 'High Gloss'.
Better colour gamut in dark areas of a print, plus improved dynamic range are claimed for UltraChrome K3
The true successor to the 2100?
This is a pre-production R2400 shown at the UltraChrome K3 launch event in Paris last month
When the original Epson Stylus 2100 Photo was introduced just over three years ago, the prayers of many serious amateur, as well as professional, photographers were answered. In the 2100 Epson had come up with a high quality, archival quality photo printer that was affordable and relatively compact. Epson quickly faced the fact that it had underestimated the demand for its new medium format baby. The 2100 was the first Epson model to utilise the new UltraChrome pigment inks.
Earlier this year we thought the 2100's successor had been decided upon in the form of the Stylus R1800, an A3+ version of the successful R800 model. Both use a specially updated variation of UltraChrome ink, developed to produced better glossy finish prints – something the 2100 wasn't very good at doing.
The R2400 sports no less than eight ink cartridges and they all contain ink this time
But today's announcement of the Epson Stylus R2400 Photo reveals the true successor to the 2100, not the R1800. While the R1800 is a formidable printer in its own right, its performance has been optimised with consumers' general preference for glossy printing. Instead of light 'photo' shades of cyan and magenta inks to smooth tonal gradation, The R800 and R1800's UltraChrome High Gloss ink set is made up of medium density inks that include red and blue, plus an optional clear gloss optimiser.
Epson's stated claims for UltraChrom print longevity
The new Stylus R2400 sticks with light cyan and magenta and replaces the gloss optimiser for that third low density black – grey to you and me. This strategy indicates an emphasis on the type of printing professionals prefer, on non- glossy papers, reproducing subtlety in tone and a wider dynamic range.
All the differences are in the inks; the Stylus R2400 and the R1800 actually share the same basic printer mechanics and chassis. The good news is that the R2400 is faster and prints more dots per inch than the old 2100, though there are fewer fancy features like an integrated paper cutter and print catcher originally found on the 2100.
The Epson Stylus R2400 Photo is expected to ship in June and with a price tag in the region of UK£599, half as more again than its R1800 sibling (£399). Our guestimate for US pricing is $850 and in Europe – EUR€800.
The rest of the new range
Epson is predicting steady growth for the medium and large format photo printer market in Europe
Although much of the focus will be on the new R2400, there are three other larger models to whet the appetites of professional photographers. These include the A2 Stylus Pro 4800, replacing the Stylus Pro 4000, the 22 inch Stylus Pro 7800 and the 44 inch Stylus Pro 9800. These larger models employ pressurised ink cartridges with a higher ink capacity than before. Versions of these three printers, incorporating just three ink colours plus black are also available, targeted specifically at the graphics industry.