Monday, May 24, 2010

Shiny: Epson Artisan Printers and All-in-Ones

These are small, inexpensive printers and all-in-ones which use Epson's Claria six-color inkset. The quality of photographic prints from these printers is quite high; Adrian Buckmaster reviewed them at Boing Boing:
I was very impressed with print quality; the image referenced above would have shown up any deficiencies straight away. A close comparison showed a slight posterisation in the mid-tone skin areas which was corroborated by the gray test strip which showed magenta cast in the mid tone areas. Sharpness was excellent; there were no tram lines or banding, and the gray areas, with the exception of the above caveat, showed clean tones. ***
The Epson Artisan 800 also works well as an all-in-one, with the scanner and fax facilities simple, reliable, and of good quality. The device has a relatively straightforward touch-panel interface and less-straightforward but usable drivers. Supplies...ah, there's the rub.

The Artisan line comprises three units: the Artisan 50 printer ($100), the Artisan 710 print+scanner (all-in-one) combination ($180), and the Artisan 810 print+scanner+ fax modem combination ($300, currently discounted to $200.) One might reasonably wonder why it is that such high-quality devices are so moderately priced. One might however, find ones question answered when one realizes that a set of the printers six ink cartridges lists for $90 (Artisan 50 printer) or $80 (Artisan 700, 710, 800, 810 all-in-one) and that the cartridges contain at most two teaspoons of ink. Yes, Epson is making money on the ink, not the printer.

Still, excellent photographic printers, and useful in other ways too. Just don't do bulk printing with them.

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