alan little’s weblog

epson r800 notes

10th September 2004 permanent link

These are really just working notes for my own purposes. I used to have some separate blog pages for that purpose, and might do that again one day. Meanwhile, here they are in case anybody else might find them useful too.

I just bought an Epson R800 photo printer. I already have Epson’s previous flagship photo printer, the Stylus Photo 2100, which does A3+ whereas the R800 is only A4. So why switch? I actually found I hardly ever made big prints. The 2100 is capable of producing great results but it’s been a pain in the arse to use. Epson’s Mac drivers two years ago when I got the 2100 were useless, so I ended up buying expensive ImagePrint software to try to actually get useful results out of the thing. Which worked until I upgraded to OS X 10.3, at which point the makers wanted more money from me to upgrade. I could, at that point, have tried the latest Epson driver so see if they’ve improved in two years – but then the R800 came out costing less than the 2100 sells for used on ebay, and with one killer feature that the 2100 doesn’t have. The 2100’s achilles heel was that it printed superbly on matte and semigloss paper, but not on glossy paper that actually looks and handles like chemical photo prints. So, no big prints with the R800 but great small prints that we can send to grandmothers, and I should be able to sell the 2100 for at least as much as I paid for its replacement.

That was the plan. Impressions of the reality so far: Epson’s Mac support is still slightly second rate. The driver installation requires a reboot – how pathetic is that? This is a real operating system, we don’t shut down three times a day. And Firewire doesn’t appear to be supported. But installed on USB, and having rebooted, it works first time. There seem to be some peculiarities printing borderless: a 6"x4" picture on 6"x4" paper either shows slight margins in the Photoshop print preview that aren’t on the actual print, or if you select “Scale to fit media” so that no margins show in the preview in Photoshop, then you lose quite a lot of the edges of the picture. But with a bit more trial and error I’m sure I’ll be able to work out what’s going on here. Niggles apart: it’s fast, and prints using Epson’s standard paper profiles look great with very accurate colour. Looks like being much easier to live with than the 2100 ever was.

Useful R800 links:

related entries: Photography

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