In this section, we look at the dot structure that makes up the picture. The first two images show a highly magnified section scanned at 2400 pixels per inch (below). Further down, we look at 600ppi scans (reduced from 2400ppi originals) of prints from the Epson 950, Canon S900, Epson 895 and HP psc 950.
The 2400ppi scan of the Epson 950 print shows just how small the 950ís 2 picolitre dots are. The half-toning makes dot-spotting pretty difficult. Horizontal micro-banding at this intense magnification is characteristic of the 950.
We were originally highly impressed by Canonís ability to hide its dots, but the S900 evidence above simply reinforces the remarkable feat of the Epson 950. While the Epson lays down horizontal micro-bands, the Canon S900ís half-toning clearly makes vertical columns. These are much more discernible than with the Epson 950 and visible, if you squint, to the naked eye, especially where there is solid dark colour.
At 600ppi, we get a more general view of the fine detail. The lack of dot visibility remains a significant feature in the Epson 950 print above. Unlike the Epson 895 (see further below), there is no clumping of the dots. Detail preservation is very good. The horizontal structure of the half-toning is just visible here.
Here (above), the S900 scores well in preserving detail, but the half-toning is more evident. Itís a good result, but the Epson is better.
The Epson 895 (above) does a good job of hiding its bigger (4pl as opposed to 2pl with the 950) dots, but the price paid is some obvious clumping. The result is also slightly softer.
Here is a scan from a Hewlett-Packard psc 950 all-in-one scanner and printer. It shares the same Photoret III engine as other HP photo ink-jet printers (our tests with a Photosmart P1218 printer produced virtually identical results). Here you can see the dots clearly, the detail is blurred and the result is too red.
Overall, Epson really stamps its authority over its competitors with the 950 in this test.
Our first preview of Epsonís new A4 flagship photo printer - click here