Digital Photography Now Printer Reviews
Printer preview: Epson Stylus 950 Photo
By Ian Burley
UPDATE 11th April - click here
Itís the most feature-packed Epson photo printer yet.
Page 1: Introduction
The ultimate consumer photo printer?
To date, we donít yet have one of Epsonís interesting new Stylus 950 Photo printers to test, but we have had a detailed briefing with Epson personnel, plus a hands-on demonstration of a unit at Epson UKís HQ in Hemel Hempstead, coincidentally just a couple of miles from the Digital Photography Now office in the Hemel Hempstead Old Town. We have also been analysing some print samples provided by Epson.
To see some high resolution selective scans of the provided 950 samples, plus some comparison with Canonís new S900, click here.
The new Epson Stylus 950 Photo is not just another routine turn in the model update cycle. In the couple of years, since the Stylus 870 Photo was launched, Epson has steadily added a number of features to its consumer photo printer models. These include roll paper support and borderless printing, direct printing from memory cards on some models, an increase from 720x1440dpi to 720x2880dpi resolution printing with droplet sizes as small as 4 picolitres.
Some much more dramatic enhancements have been made to the new 950. Hereís a few of them:
The Japanese version of the Stylus 950 Photo is supplied with two shades of yellow ink, making seven colours in all. Usually, only lighter magenta and cyan inks are required for enhanced photo printing. Epson in Europe and the US apparently didnít get on with the yellow bias of the Japanese configuration.
The colour perception of Japanese and other non-European people has been the subject of debate for a long time. There is some consensus that Western Europeans have a different preference to photographic colour balance than people from other parts of the world.
So, if the extra yellow was not required, the obvious move was to include a second identical black ink tank in place of the extra yellow.
There has been speculation abbout an intermediate black option, but we can confirm there are no such plans for the Epson Stylus 950 Photo.
In our original CeBIT photos of the lone printer being demonstrated at the time (click here), the unit was beige in appearance, with darker smoked plastic lid and panels. We can confirm that for the European market, the colour will be metallic silver instead of beige.
The 950 Photo does require a substantial amount of desk space. The roll paper holder extends some 10cm or so from the rear and the suspended cloth catcher for use with the paper cutter needs to hang beyond the edge of the desk.
If you are familiar with the general look of the Epson C80 printer, the 950 Photo will have a familiar look about it. Itís not a particularly stylish or svelte looking design, but it looks very purposeful.
To print directly onto a CD, you need to use a CD that has a printable surface. These are available now and you can also pre-attach a CD surface sticker from a kit. You canít simply print onto the bare plastic of a standard CD as the ink is water based and will easily smudge, even after drying.
A CD holder is provided and you can also use an adapter for the standard smaller CD size commonly available. The holder and CD are mounted from the front of the printer, after removing the paper cutter unit, if present.
Epson provides some easy to use and flexible software for designing your CD art work. This allows variable size borders, fonts and the addition of graphics. Text can be manipulated to follow the rotation of the CD.
UPDATE 11th April - click here