Best Buy
  • Price: 339

  • Company: Epson

  • Pros: Large-format printer that excels at high-quality photo prints on a variety of media – prints up to 13-x-44 inches, plus CDs or DVDs.

  • Cons: Slower than standard inkjets when printing day-to-day documents, large footprint, and high price.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

If you want to produce your own high-quality photo prints, especially on large-format paper, the new large-format inkjet Epson Stylus Photo R1800 is worth its price. Offering high-resolution and enhanced fade resistance, it’s a good choice for photographers who want to produce high-quality archival prints.

Like its smaller cousin, the Epson Stylus Photo R800 (reviewed in Digit 83), the R1800 uses the Epson UltraChrome Hi-Gloss pigment ink set, which includes eight individual cartridges. In addition to the traditional cyan, magenta, and yellow inks, the set uses red and blue inks, photo black and matte black inks, and a gloss optimizer that applies extra gloss and produces prints that almost match developed film.

Both printers can issue tiny 1.5-picoliter ink droplets (for smoother, continuous-tone prints with crisp details) and both can print at a high resolution of up to 5,760-x-1,440dpi.

But what separates the R1800 from the smaller R800 (and many other regular photo printers) is its media-handling flexibility. In addition to small prints and standard-size paper, the R1800 supports larger paper sizes up to 13-inches wide. It can also use wide panoramic roll paper (a roll-holder accessory is provided) with a maximum 13-x-44-inch printable area.

 border=0 /><p>You can even print directly onto inkjet-printable CDs and DVDs using a special tray, also included.
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The test prints didn’t disappoint. The superb image quality – featuring accurate colours and saturation, realistic skin tones, and crisp details – in these huge prints, scanned from 35mm film, was very impressive. The R1800 did a fine job of accurately reproducing the contrast, brightness, and shades of grey in B&W test photos, too.
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Although the R1800 is designed primarily for glossy and matte photo prints (including borderless printing), it can also handle everyday printing tasks. However, I found it a bit slower than standard-size inkjets in some informal print tests. For instance, the R1800 clocked about three pages a minute for text (monochrome) documents, compared with four pages a minute (or more) for most inkjet models.
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The R1800’s speed was decent when printing large-format glossy colour prints – it took less than two-and-a-half minutes to knock out an 11-x-14-inch print and only a minute more to churn out a sizable 13-x-19-incher. Small 4-x-6-inch prints took the R1800 under a minute to print.
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The R1800 takes up 12-x-24 inches of desk space, and its output tray adds another foot to its depth. The unit features both USB 2.0 and FireWire ports, and it comes with a few print software utilities, such as a labelling application (for printing on CD or DVD) and colour profiles.
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