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Large Format Photo Printer

October 2, 2009 - Dave Hecei
I am a Mac user and an avid photographer. When I was shooting film it was mostly slides. I either had them printed directly, or later on, used film scanners to digitize them for use on my computer and could print them digitally. Now I use a DSLR and don’t need to bother with buying film, processing, and scanning. Printing photos at home has been possible for some time now with Photo printers from the likes of HP, Lexmark, and Epson. Over the years I have owned several Epson photo printers, which many professional photographers have recommended. To this day, I still use an Epson inkjet for photo printing.

My first photo printer was the Epson Stylus Photo 700. What made this a ‘photo printer’ was the fact that it had more than just the standard 4 ink colors. From there I went to the Epson Stylus Photo 780 and then the 875DC, which used 6 colors. Recently I upgraded to the Epson Stylus Photo R200 since it replaced the large single color cartridge with separate ones, plus it could print onto printable CD/DVD recordable discs.

All of these Epson models worked great and with the proper Epson photo paper would produce outstanding photographs. The all these models had a limitation in print size. The biggest photo was only 8x10 (letter size - 8.5x11).

For some time now, Epson has had models that could print on paper up to 13-inches wide. These ‘photo’ models have, until now, been priced well above the 8.5x11-inch models (letter size). One of their latest models, the Epson Stylus Photo 1400, is capable of printing on 13x19-inch paper (Super B-size), and has a price that even casual photographers can afford.

The 1400 uses Epson’s Claria Hi-Definition ink, which is stated to be archival – 98 years under glass and 200 years in an album. The R1400 can print on photo paper from 4x6 inches up to 13-inches wide by up to 44-inches long (panoramic paper). Like the R200 I had before, the 1400 can also print onto printable CD/DVD discs.

Photos print fairly fast on the 1400. Epson states that a 4x6 takes 46 seconds and an 8x10 is just under 2 minutes (1 min 51 sec). Of course your times may vary due to image content and speed of your computer. My times are just under 2 minutes for a 4x6 and just over 4 minutes for an 8x10.

Super B-size printers are not small and the 1400 proves it. It weighs about 25 pounds and measures about 24 x 12 x 9-inches. Of course, this is not quite the true size since it has trays and holders that fold out. The 1400 needs much more space depth-wise than just its footprint.

Ink use is another matter. The 1400 does use individual ink tanks so if one color is out you only throw the one cartridge away. The ink cartridges for the 1400 are bigger than the ones for my R200 so they do last a bit longer. What the actual print capacity is I don’t know. Ink runs about $15 to $20 per color so it costs around $100 to fill it up.

Prints made on any inkjet based printer are going to be a bit more expensive than say a ‘Mart’ store, but you don’t buy one of these printers to save money, you buy it for control. A Mac with an Epson 1400 and Photoshop becomes your custom darkroom. Having a photo printer allows you to print whatever and whenever you like. By using software like Photoshop CS x or Elements you now have total control over color, contrast, cropping, etc.

The 1400 is Epson’s entry level wide-format photo printer. The 1400 is normally priced around $250 to $300, though I have recently seen the 1400 on sale for as low as $199. Epson also has the R1900, R2880, and the Stylus Pro 3800 – priced at $550, $800, and $1295.


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