Two new large format Epson photo printers
By Ian Burley
Epson officially launches two new wide format printers today; the 24 inch wide Epson Stylus PRO 7600 and the 44 inch wide Epson Stylus PRO 9600. The two are cheaper alternatives to the existing PRO 5500 and PRO 10000 models.
Better quality and more affordable
Normally, we wouldn’t have featured these printers prominently here as DPN is primarily a site for amateur and advanced amateur digital photographers. However, the new 7600 and 9600 printers from Epson not only share the same new UltraChrome pigment ink technology (click here) as the recently announced Stylus 2100 Photo (click here), but make important strides in improving large format photo quality. On top of that, these new printers are significantly more affordable than the existing 5500 and 10000 models, both in terms of buying the hardware and in ink costs.
We took long-time 5500 and 10000 user, Danny Chau, of Chau Digital/DC Photolabs, to see the new printers at a special private viewing during the recent IPEX show in Birmingham.
The end for large format conventional printing?
Danny’s reaction was unequivocal: “These are the last nails in the coffin of conventional photography,” he declared, referring to large format silver halide wet process printing. “Metamerism (greenish cast often seen in black areas of previous Epson pigment ink printers) has been tackled well; it’s not gone, but it has been significantly lowered.” This and the inclusion of a mid-black for much improved monochrome printing make Danny think this is bad news for some third party ink suppliers: “It gives Lyson and Cone Edition inks a run for their money.”
Epson has the photo-quality large format printing market to itself
Epson has all but secured the large format photographic and fine art quality end of the market. There are other large format print players, like HP, Roland, Canon, etc., but their printers are more suitable for display printing that doesn’t require the photographic finesse that Epson now offers.
The 24 inch 7600 model is priced at just €3700 or about US$3300 or around £2285, while the 44 inch 9600 model is priced €7350 or about US$6616 - around £4540. Those may seem like big numbers, but they are significantly cheaper than the existing 5500 and 10000 models, respectively.
An aid it DIY professional printing
“More and more professional photographers will be able to justify buying one of these new Epsons now,” says Danny. Until now, the 5500 and 10000 models were almost exclusively the domain of professional print outsourcers, like Danny’s DC Photolab business. But photographers are getting Photoshop savvy and doing much more printing work themselves.
Recognising the change in the industry, Danny has moved to change with the times as well and has now become a printer hardware supplier and digital print consultant. His customers used to let him do their printing, but he’s now helping them to print their own.
Don’t be surprised to see these new printers installed in colleges and even photography clubs. Some more well-heeled amateurs may be tempted too.
Second opinion? Check out www.photo-i.co.uk