Epson delivered another blow to the photo developing store with its latest round of ink-jet photo printers aimed at photography enthusiasts. The company announced today three new printers that combine improved technology and inks with special papers to create high-quality reproductions as durable as lab-produced photos.
The entry-level Epson Stylus Photo 870 will sell for an estimated street price of £180; the Photo 875DC includes a built-in PC Card reader for £240; and the Photo 1270 offers wide-format printing capabilities for £300. The 870 and 1270 should ship to stores in early March, and the 875DC should ship in early April.
Each printer uses Epson's Advanced Micro Piezo ink-jet technology to achieve hardware resolutions of 1440-by-720 dots per inch, says Fabia Ochoa, product manager for the Stylus Photo line. Utilizing Epson's latest six-colour dye-based inks, the printers create smaller drops than previous printers for a more continuous, photo-realistic tone.
The new printers also address an ongoing problem with ink-jet photo printers: fading. Most photos produced this way tend to fade in the space of a few years when left exposed to light, she says. The new technologies and inks, when used with the company's two new photo papers, can create images that will last upwards of ten years.
"That brings our output up to par with what you get from a photo lab today," Ochoa says. And the cost is lower than you might expect.
The 870 and 875C also include a special adapter that lets you load a 4-inch-wide roll of the premium glossy photo paper for continuous, edge-to-edge printing of 4-by-6-inch photos.
Epson is targeting all three printers towards photo enthusiasts, but the 875DC's built-in PC Card reader should appeal specifically to digital camera owners who use removable storage, Ochoa says.
You can use the card reader slot to quickly access your digital photos for printing, or for relocating to your hard drive. The unit will ship with a special adapter for reading Compact Flash storage, and additional adapters will also let you access photos on Smart Media or Sony Memory Stick.