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Epson Debuts UltraChrome K3 Inkset and Four Printers

Designed for high-resolution photographic printing

Big Picture

Epson has released its next generation of inks"?UltraChrome K3"?for high-res photographic printing. In addition, the company has designed four new printers to use these inks.

Epson worked with a team of wellknown photographers to develop the inks, including Greg Gorman, Jay Maisel, and Stephen Wilkes. The resultant pigment-based aqueous inks offer CMYKcm plus Light Black, Light Light Black, and a Matte Black that can be switched out with the normal Photo Black. Epson reports that this new inkset offers a wide color gamut due to the high density of the pigments. The inks also offer high scratch-resistance, stable color immediately after printing, and a black density up to 2.44 (L* value of 3.17).

By using black, light black, and light light black simultaneously, repor ts Epson, photographers can achieve: an improvement in gray balance; the elimination of color casts; impressive midtones and highlights for a smoother tonal scale; and a reduction in metamerism, gloss differential, and bronzing. In addition, the inkset allows photographers to produce salable neutral or toned blackand- white prints from a single inkset. Plus, the availability of both a photo/standard and matte black allows users to print with standard photo black onto a wide variety of standard media, or switch to matte black for better results on Epson media such as Velvet Fine Art, Enhanced Matte, and UltraSmooth Fine Art.

Preliminary longevity tests performed by Wilhelm Imaging Research indicate that UltraChrome K3 ink users can expect prints to last from 76 to 310 years under standard display conditions. With professional UV display conditions, users can expect a print life of 100 to 300 years or longer. Both results are dependent upon substrate.

The four new Epson printers include the Epson Stylus Photo R2400, Epson Stylus Pro 4800, 7800, and 9800. All of these printers use the UltraChrome K3 inks and feature variable-droplet Micro Piezo DX3 technology. The Stylus Pro machines also offer Epson Colorimetric Calibration technology, automatic head alignment and cleaning technologies, Epson PrintJob information system, FireWire connectivity, and a built-in media cutter. The two smaller printers are shipping now, and the larger printers will ship this fall. Full specs on the printers were not yet available; we'll provide these when released.

The 44-in. wide Epson Stylus Pro 9800 features resolutions up to 2880 x 1440 dpi, and 110- and 220-ml cartridges with pressurized ink technology. Price: $4995; shipping fall 2005, replaces the 9600.

The wide-format Epson Stylus Pro 7800 is a 24-in. printer that offers a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1440 dpi, 110- and 220-ml cartridges with pressurized ink technology. Price: $2995; shipping fall 2005, replaces the 7600.

The 17-in. Epson Stylus Pro 4800 replaces the popular Epson Stylus Pro 4000. The new printer can handle rolled and sheetfed media and features 110- and 220-ml cartridges, and a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1440 dpi. Price: $1995; shipping now, replaces the 4000.

The Epson Stylus Photo R2400 is a roll- or sheetfed 13-in. printer which features eight ink cartridges, maximum optimized resolutions of 5760 x 1440 dpi, Epson RAW print software, nik Multimedia Efex Pro 2, and an X-Rite color guide. Price: $849; shipping now. (Epson: www.epson.com)

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