A Product Review
A Little History...
In the early spring of '2000 Epson brought out the Stylus Photo 870/1270 printers. Their main claim to fame was inks and papers with archival properties better than most traditional photographic media. They claimed their heavyweight matt paper had a colorfastness of 30 years.
This was still not good enough for my needs. I wanted a printer that would obsolete the dye-sub prints of my Alps with the convienience and ink and media availability that an ink jet would provide. Then Epson introduced the 2000P, 7500, and 9500 models later that year. I snatched one up at the local computer store for $850 dollars.
The Epson Stlus Photo 2000P, 7500, and 9500 models all use the same print-head and pigment-based ink. These printers differ from most other ink-jets in that they print with pigments rather than dyes which allow Epson prints on archival media a colorfastness of around 200 years, as certified by Wilhelm Research. The only difference amongst the 2000P, 7500, and 9500 models themselves is that the 7500 and 9500 have larger carriage sizes and larger ink tanks for more commercial oriented large-format printing.
Dyes are inherently unstable and fade when exposed to heat, light, humidity, and air-born contaminants including ozone. Pigments, on the other hand, are much more stable and resistant to the assaults of the natural world. The problem has been to develop pigment based inks with a wide colour gamut and the ability to be sprayed though nozzles as fine as .1 microns.
From my experience, about the only drawback to printing with pigments vs. dyes is that the prints are required to dry for at least 12 hours before they should be framed or mounted as the pigment carrier must be allowed to completely evaporate from the media.
The prints from this printer are amazing. The color gamut, although not quite the same range as the Epson Stylus Photo 1270, is amazingly broad and rich with beatiful tonal transitions and saturation control. Although impossible to convey in this little write-up of mine, you would never know you were not looking at a photograph unless you looked under a loupe.
However, this printer is slow. It takes about twenty minutes to print an 8"x10". This could be a concern to you if you are a wedding photographer and you need to turn out a high volume of prints, but if you are a fine artist or hobbiest, no matter.
At the end of an hour-and-a-half long printing session, I had a wonderful 11"x36" panaoramic print printed off of the roll-sheet adapter. I love this thing. People ask me all the time where I had it done and how much it cost. I love being able to point to the little stylish printer sitting next to my desk.
One point that must be made is that this printer is not by any means a buisness or a home printer. It is simply not intended to print text and pie charts all day long. Firstly, the costs are prohibitive. The inks alone are 33% more expensive than other Epson Ink Jet printers. Also, you do not really want to be running anything but Epson media designed for this print head through it. The last thing you want is some fuzzy ink-jet paper clogging your $900 printer's nozzles.
I love this printer! I never need to get prints made of my work anymore at the lab. I just get the stuff scanned in, and I am ready to queue up a bunch of archival prints at home! Who could ask for more?