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 2: Sample analysis and comparison with Canon S900
Smoothly does it
We have also reproduced scanned selections of one of our standard printer test images produced by a Canon S900 on Canon (PR101) Photo Paper Pro glossy media. The original is a 7.5 inch wide print.
All portions of all three prints were scanned at 2400ppi using a Hewlett-Packard Scanjet 7450 flat bed scanner and reproduced below.
It must stressed very strongly that this comparison is of limited value. It will introduce some aspects of the Stylus 950ís print characteristics, but as we werenít able to print our own test prints on the 950, there is no direct comparison available.
The following are all small portions reproduced pixel:pixel (1:1 or 100%) at 2400ppi.
This (above) is actually a tiny portion of one of the girlís eyes from the Epson sample print. The individual dots are very difficult to distinguish, even at this magnification. Compared to the Canon S900 selection at the same magnification below, there is a lot less clumping of the dots, making the tone decidedly smoother.
It should be noted that there is actually more detail and sharpness in our own test image printed on the Canon S900 below, but the fine grain and smoothness of tone in the Epson 950 print is noticeable by comparison
Again, this time with Canonís S900, we zoom in on an eye, but remember this (above) is from a completely different source image to the Epson. But the dots are noticeably more conspicuous and the smoother areas of the image are noticeably more dimpled than in the Epson.
Immediately above is the Epson girlís eye reproduced at 1200ppi. This was achieved by down-sampling from the 2400ppi scan. Again, we are very impressed by the smoothness of the half-toning. But again we say, the Epson sample image is lacking in sharpness, which does help its cause.
The sharper and more detailed DPN test image printed by the Canon S900 is reproduced above. Even at the lower resolution, the dots remain very conspicuous compared top the Epson 950. The Canonís screened half-toning, with its vertical columns of dots, is very evident.
Immediately above, this time, is a selection from the second Epson sample. This one is interesting because it clearly shows rows of dots as opposed to the Canonís columns. However, the dots remain finer and the rows are less well defined. Again, the sample image does not appear to contain a great deal of sharp detail.
So what have we proved here? Not a tremendous amount without the ability to compare the same image printed back to back on the two different printers. However, the fine dots and amorphous quality of the Epson 950ís half-toning are very impressive.
When we get to test our own 950, we will be able to be more conclusive about the comparative quality of the half-toning and the dot sizes, as well as sharpness and colour reproduction quality.
UPDATE 11th April - click here