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The Three PIGs

Page 15



Epson Stylus Photo R2400, HP Photosmart Pro B9180 and Canon PIXMA Pro 9500 review.

It has been an interesting experiment comparing three printers side by side. Each one in turn has something unique to offer.

The Epson can also support roll media, but lacks the gloss optimiser which the R1800 has. Having said that, there is a High Point Shift which adds a very light grey to the entire image, thereby giving a similar effect to the optimiser ink - as long as you don't mind a dull white.

The HP has some very advanced technology built in, such as closed loop colour calibration and the print head will never become visibly clogged. This due to a large amount of nozzles, and when one becomes clogged up, the head will switch in another nozzle, so in theory you will never see a dreaded white line - well at least I have never seen any on all the prints I have produced over the last 18 months. This is the only printer that has a Network and USB connection as standard.

The Canon has a CD/DVD printing tray (well at least it has in Europe) and a PictBridge port. The Canon has a very large colour gamut and we have seen this in the sample prints. I love the ultra quite operation of the Canon, the stylish sleek lines and the smooth operation. I am still puzzled as to why the PictBridge port was added.

Pigment ink printers need to be used on a regular basis to prevent the ink from drying up in the print heads. If you don't intend printing a full A3 photo then just run a plain paper A4 sheet with colour text through the printer, make sure you use a good mixture of colours. The HP printer should be left in standby mode all the time as the printer performs a self service every six hours, this keeps the ink flowing - but according to our government it is not ECO friendly, we are encouraged to turn off appliances when not in use. I guess when they turn off the exterior lights on Big Ben, the House of Commons and other public buildings then we will turn off our printers.

Extra Features






The Canon printer is the newest printer in this test, so perhaps it was unfair to compare it to the Epson 2400 which has been around for two years plus. However, I think the Epson has held its ground and is more than capable of producing great quality prints. I know the HP printer inside out, and I can produce superb pictures on it time after time. However, in this review I have kept to the default settings (except for the skin tones section) and as it stands the HP is producing prints which are darker than the other two printers.

For Colour printing on gloss and semi gloss media, my choice is the HP B9180 printer, it has produced superb colours throughout this review.

For B/W printing, the Canon Pro 9500 together with the Easy Photo Print Pro plug in is a very hard act to beat.

The Epson is a steady performer which has excelled in one or two areas, mainly print speed. For B/W printing the Epson has turned in some excellent prints too. But the printer is nearing the end of its shelf life. Now if I had reviewed the Pro 3800 then the scores could have been different.

The bottom line

Each printer is more than capable of producing superb prints, each of the printers can be tweaked to give a better result that I have shown in this review. The samples displayed on these pages can only be a guideline for what you get out of the box. Knowing your equipment inside out will help you to produce higher quality prints. I would be happy to use any one of these three printers.

I am often asked if I were buying a printer, which model would I choose?

Rarely will I give a straight answer, just because everyone has their own personal taste when it comes to colour etc. But here is my shopping list of what I think are the top 10 printers, in order of preference - of course

1. HP Z3100
A superb large format printer with a built in Gretag spectrophotometer. I look at the prints in awe - can it really be this easy.

2. Epson Stylus Pro 3800
If you want to join in with A2 size Fine Art printing, then look no further. At £1000 it's not cheap, but then high quality doesn't always come in at a low price?
3. HP B9180
An outstanding printer at a bargain price - results will speak for themselves.
4. Canon Pro 9000
One of the best dye ink printers on the market. A great performer across the board.
5. Canon Pixma 6700D
Great value for money and the printer turns out very high quality photos straight from a camera.
6. Epson R1800
I love the gloss quality produced by this pigment ink printer, outstanding value for money.
7. Canon Pro 9500
Canon's latest printer, it's expensive but it is very good.
8. HP LaserJet 2600n
Not true photo quality, but I use it for all my letterheads and it will print photos on plain paper too. at £199 it's a steal
9.Epson Picturemate PM 280
I love it, we don't always want A4, A3, A2 prints - they don't fit into a family album, but the prints from this printer will. It's easy to use and the print quality is superb.
10. The printer that is sitting on ????? shelf
I caught a glimpse of this, but can't tell you about it.


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4 June 2007

© Vincent Oliver 2008
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