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Epson Redefines Desktop Printing with Stylus Pro 4000

(December 2003) posted on Fri Dec 19, 2003

Offers larger print size and two-up proofs


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The media cassette can handle up to 250 sheets of plain paper or about 100 sheets of photo paper. Art papers of up to 400 gsm can be fed through a manual slot feeder in the front of the machine. The printer also has a straight-through paper path that can handle 1.5-mm poster board and artwork that can't be bent.

For photographers and artists who like to output greeting cards or postcards, the Stylus Pro 4000 was engineered to print on both sides of the media without damaging what was already printed on the other side.

Smaller drop sizes for better image quality: Epson has also upped the image-quality ante with the Stylus Pro 4000 by delivering a 3.5-picoliter drop size, compared to the 4-picoliter drops used on the 7600 and 9600. Because drop sizes this small make it difficult to visually check head alignment and nozzle clogging, Epson has incorporated white-beam sensor technology that will automatically perform head alignments in both the uni-directional and bi-directional print modes. The sensor technology can also automatically detect if nozzles are clogged.

The good news, says Radogna, is that a head alignment/nozzle-check that might normally take a half hour to complete can now be done in about seven minutes. This type of procedure only needs to be done once every three months or so, but for photography pros who like to do it immediately before every important print run, the time savings should be appealing.

Faster throughput: The wider printhead on the Epson Stylus Pro 4000 makes it possible to generate prints at twice the speeds of the 7600. Using the 7-color inkset and different print modes, it can take anywhere from 1 minute 44 seconds for a graphic designer to output a comp-quality 13- x 19-in. proof to 7 minutes 49 seconds for a contract-quality final proof. An everyday, production-quality 720-dpi proof can be generated in 2 minutes 23 seconds.

Photographers can output a grain-free, 8- x 10-in. image at speeds ranging from 3 minutes 48 seconds to a 2880-dpi, high-quality image in 9 minutes 16 seconds. It takes the Stylus Pro 4000 anywhere from 101/2 to almost 25 minutes to output a 16- x 20-in. photograph without any visible grain.

Less reliance on custom profiles: Radogna believes that photographers who use Epson inks and media in the Stylus Pro 4000 can avoid the need to spend additional time and money to obtain custom profiles either through online services or with additional profiling software. The RGB ICC profiles Epson has developed are, he says, second to none.

"Custom profiles have certain flaws," he states, "They dramatically compress the gamut of the printer to ensure the accuracy of the profile. In creating the RGB profiles, we were able to use less compression to ensure a wider color gamut while still ensuring the accuracy of the profile."
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Other features: The high-capacity ink system on the Stylus Pro 400 can use either 110-ml or 220-ml ink cartridges or a mix of both types at once. Other features include cross-platform support for Mac or Windows users, and one USB, one FireWire?, and one Epson expansion slot for installing the optional 10/100 BaseT Ethernet card.

According to Radogna, about 50 different RIP vendors are developing RIPs for the Stylus 4000. But Epson will also offer an Adobe? PostScript? 3 RIP for graphic designers who want to print documents that include text and images.

Considering the price point of the Stylus Pro 4000, Radogna believes the printer will not only be a hit with freelance graphic designers, design studios, ad agencies, and photographers, but also with commercial printing companies that want to be able to send color-accurate proofs to their client's site for remote hard-copy proofing. (Epson America: www.epson.com)


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