Epson Stylus Photo 750 Ink Jet Printer

This fall photo of Aspens in the Colorado mountains, originally a 6x4.5 Ektachrome, was scanned with the Expression 800 and printed with the 750 faithfully replicating the original film image, using my new Mac G3 with both Epson products running quite nicely on it.
Photos © 1999, David B. Brooks, All Rights Reserved

Epson has consistently led the way in popularity among photo-realistic ink jet printers, and is staying ahead with this new model Stylus Photo 750. The shape is the same as the original Stylus Photo, but now it's in charcoal and black. Under the surface the 750 performs with an even smaller ink drop size of 6 picoliters down from 11. This defines detail more sharply and makes smooth tones look smoother. Also in the physical performance department, the printing speed has been increased. In addition, the 750 now has a USB port which also accelerates printing getting the data to the printer faster. On the software side of the package there are now new options from which to select to get just the kind of image interpretation desired. Backing this up are new and more effective color management profiles, which are now combined in a single ICC or ICM file. All of this advanced photo-realistic performance in a letter sized printer will have an estimated street cost of $299.

Printing With The Epson Stylus Photo 750. It was a particular advantage to have the Stylus Photo 750 to test and evaluate in the same time frame as the Expression 800 scanner. First, the printer provided hard copy proof of what the scanner did. Second, it provided the opportunity to fully evaluate the functioning of the Monaco Profiler Lite software bundled with the 800. Finally, and I didn't know this going in, it provided a demonstration of the advantages of color management on Windows 98 when it works--which has been pretty hit and miss until now.

Very clean, neutral whites are effectively contrasted against strongly saturated flower colors and natural looking green foliage in a print made by the Stylus Photo 750.

In addition to images scanned with the Expression 800, I also printed 35mm scans made with a Nikon Super CoolScan 2000 with SilverFast, as well as some of the images scanned with the Imacon FlexTight Precision I recently reviewed. In all instances these images were originally opened and tweaked if necessary in Photoshop 5.0.2 and saved with the colorspace profile embedded. Then with a now calibrated monitor and using the Epson Stylus Photo 750 to print out of Photoshop, the entire workflow was effectively color managed. For the first time with Windows 98 I was fairly sure of the image file I was printing, and that the output qualities truly reflected the attributes of the printer, and were not the result of hidden inadequacies in the image file, or influenced by a monitor setup that displayed the image values inaccurately. Why was I so sure? I was able to duplicate the process and workflow with the Expression 800 scanner and the Stylus Photo 750 printer also connected to my new Mac G3, and obtained almost identical results.

The Stylus Photo 750 software driver interface has been streamlined for easier use while new and more powerful photo printing options have been provided.

Evaluation And Recommendation. Epson has built solidly on the qualities which have made their printers photo-realistic ink jet favorites with photographers in this new Stylus Photo 750 printer. It is as claimed faster; it produces sharper smoother print images; and its software provides more printing options as well as reliable color management function with Win-dows 98 and the Mac. The results I obtained were uncannily consistent, a shock after so long experiencing unpredictable, hit and miss print successes. So even if you have an Epson ink jet that has satisfied you, is it worth trading up to the latest? The answer is a very definite yes.

For more information, contact Epson at (800) 463-7766, or visit their web site at: www.epson.com.

Pictorico Ink Jet Media

Although ink jet printer manufacturers like Epson offer printing media specifically for their printers, none offer much variety of base media or surface texture. Pictorico is a new brand with a wide selection of media types and different surface textures that was developed by Asahi Glass Company of Japan and is made available in the US by AGA Chemical by direct sale from their web site.

I obtained some samples, and took particular interest in respect of this Epson Stylus Photo 750 test, in the Pictorico Photo Glossy paper. This paper has a monodirectional, transparent layer of uniform, ultra-fine ceramic particles. Minute regularly shaped pores in this surface provide ink absorption promoting quick drying and minimal bleeding. In addition, images printed on Pictorico Photo Glossy are water-resistant. Appearance wise, compared to many glossy ink jet papers I've tested, there is no change in the very fine surface texture when an ink jet image is applied. The application of printer ink does not change the shine of the surface, nor cause the surface to swell proportionally to the density of the image making the print surface look like the emulsion of an old-style film. In addition the ultra-fine texture of the Pictorico acts like anti-glare glass reducing surface light reflections while maintaining the deep, rich saturation associated with glossy papers.

To obtain more information about Pictorico Ink Jet Media, including other media for printers like the Epson Stylus Photo models, or to place orders, visit their web site at: www.pictorico.com.

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