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All Epson’s Are Not Created Equal (cont'd)

Now we come to the fun part of this discussion- visually comparing actual printed samples (you know what they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words"). Dan Smith supplied us with a hi-res digital photo. Here is a cropped version of his photo shown actual size (@72 dpi):

ORIGPICT.jpg (18134 bytes)

Dan also supplied us with a print made from the Epson Stylus Photo 750. David Burkwall supplied us with a print made from the Epson Stylus Color 900. Our staff made additional prints from Dan's hi-res digital file using other Epson Stylus Color printers. All prints were made at 1440 x 720 dpi, using the "MicroWeave" setting, and printed on Epson's "Photo Paper." The resulting prints were then scanned using the Umax Powerlook 3000 (with an optical resolution of 3048 dpi).

Here is the first comparison, shown at 4X magnification:

Type 1 Printers
ESC 800, 1520, 3000
Type 2 Printers
ESC 740, 900 (900 output shown)
TYPE_1EP.jpg (34903 bytes) TYPE-2EP.jpg (18577 bytes)
Type 3 Printers
Photo 700, Photo EX
Type 4 Printers
Photo 750, Photo 1200
TYPE_3EP.jpg (22267 bytes) TYPE_4EP.jpg (15547 bytes)

Photo credit: © Dan Smith

Results with the naked eye: The four-color prints made with the Type 1 constant MicroDot (models 600, 800, 850, 1520 and 3000) exhibited a visual "graininess" when compared with the smoother dot pattern of the Type 2 (model 900) and the six-color prints made with the Type 3 constant MicroDot (models 700 and Photo EX). It's also quite easy to see the difference between the Type 1 printers and the Type 3 printers. (Note: the ESC 750 print we received from Dan was more saturated and a little darker -especially in the shadow areas- than our Photo 700 and Photo EX prints.)

However, it is harder to see the difference between the Type 3 six-color prints and the new Type 4 six-color Ultra MicroDot printers (models 750 and 1200) without looking really close (something that photographers do a lot). The Epson Stylus Color 900 has an incredibly small and crisp dot pattern that was almost as smooth as the older Type 3 six-color printers (models 700 and EX). Both Type 3 and 4 of the six-color printers had a little edge in smoothness in background areas such as "skies," where the extra ink colors (dots) add more smoothing (as well as color gamut).

 

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