Epson’s Stylus Photo RX620; An All-In-One Family Photo Center

The kitchen sink mentality these days is called a "convergence device," something that does many things wrapped up in one unit. With their Stylus Photo RX620 Epson has made such a device that can be used as a family photo printing, copying, downloading, photo restoring, scanning device, etc. In short, it does just about anything you'd like with photos and prints, film or digital. At about $299 it does not do double duty--it's more like quintuple duty for work on your prints, slides, negative film, digital media, etc. While necessarily it does some things better than others, it should meet the needs of many families for their archiving and copying needs. Professionals and demanding photographers will be better off looking elsewhere for their film and negative scanning needs or for creating digital files from prints, etc. In that, the RX620 produces what might be called "good enough" results, but good enough for less demanding amateurs and those who want a quick record is more like it.

Oh, did I mention all of the above can be done without a computer? Not only is the RX620 an "all-in-one" printer, copier, and scanner, it's also self-contained, which means that you won't need to tether it to a mother ship to get the work done. But you can if you want to. "PC-free" is the phrase Epson likes to use about the unit, and to me it's one of the best things about it. Indeed, every operation I did was "PC-free." While the functionality expands considerably when using the unit tethered to a computer, the charm for me was working without one, for once.

(Left) Pop a memory card into one of the many slots and choose Index Print from the LCD menu and out comes a "proof" of all the images on the card--JPEG and TIFF only. You can then mark the spots under the image on the sheet, pop it back into the scanner area and the printer will make prints of the order for you.
(Right) This photo is from the 1920s and is typical of the type of work the RX620 seems made for--functioning as a family photocopy and archiving center. Now, making quality photocopies is as easy as working with a copy machine.
Photos © 2005, George Schaub, All Rights Reserved

The first instinct with this device is to make copies of all those old family photos, especially those doing the big fade. At this it excels and is fast and uncomplicated. Indeed, the RX620 literally leaps at the task and offers an easy to follow menu and set of buttons that read-out on the unit's 2.5" LCD screen. You can print in color or black and white, make single or multiple copies and all sorts of layouts. For this alone it's probably worth the price, as it scans and prints in what seems to be a simultaneous operation.

I put the unit through its paces doing color restoration and copying an old print, scanning negatives and slides, making direct prints from negs and slides, making an Index print from a Secure Digital memory card in its on-board card reader slots (it takes just about every format), scanning to a memory card, and working on a whole bunch of old black and white photos.

My scorecard?

This print, made 8x10, came right off a memory card with no intervention. When you pop a card in you just toggle using the LCD to find the image you want and then choose the print size--it's very easy and the results from this unretouched shot made with a Kodak EasyShare DX7590 are very good.

· Black and white copies: Great job. You can use just about any paper for this--I even used "non-Epson" glossy and matte and it worked great. I did find that if I chose color copy for this work the prints came out a bit green--use the black and white button. The LCD menu guided me every step of the way, and I could make multiples of a single print on one letter-size paper with ease.