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EPSON STYLUS PHOTO 2200 PRINTER
Jim Doty, Jr.

 

Introduction

If you read my review of the Epson 780, you are aware of the dilemma photographers were in who wanted to print their own digital files with a reasonably priced ink jet printer.

Epson has arguably led the pack for the last few years when it came to ink jet printers. The Epson Stylus Photo 1200 allowed photographers to produce digital ink jet prints with a quality very close to a traditionally produced print photographic.  Unfortunately, the life span of these prints was only a few years.

Color Gamut and Print Life

The introduction of the Epson 780 and 1280 gave photographers true photo quality with a rich color gamut, but dye based inks only allowed a life span of 10 to 25 years with Epson ColorLife or Matte papers.

The Epson 2000P used pigment inks which gave an estimated life span of over 100 years, but the color gamut was not as rich as the dye based inks.

I lamented on this web site that I wanted the color of an Epson 780/1280 and the longer life span of pigment based inks.

Epson 2200 Print Life

That time has come.  The new pigment inks that come with the newly released Epson 2200 provide a rich color gamut plus a longer life span. Print life is estimated at around 80 years with the right Epson inks and papers. While this is less than the life span of prints from the Epson 2000P, 80 years is still very significant.

To put this in perspective, most traditional photographic prints from the wet darkroom have an expected life of 20-40 years.  The longest life in a traditional print comes from Fuji Crystal Archive paper with an estimated life of 60 years. This means ink jet prints from the 2200 have a longer estimated life span than with any traditional photographic paper.

Print Quality

When the 2200 was released, I read carefully the reviews from early users.  Then I went to see one at a local dealer. It is a big and heavy printer and the box it comes in looks huge. The dealer had ordered 10 and a few days after they arrived, only one was left. Local cost was $695. I snatched the last one up.  I have now been printing with it for several days.  THIS IS ONE GREAT PRINTER.

The prints look every bit as good, in fact better than anything I could get from a standard (wet darkroom) photographic print. I am more than pleased with the print quality. And I can do it at home. With the naked eye, I can not tell that this is an inkjet versus a traditional photogrqphic print.

Ink Cartridges

The printer comes with 7 separate ink cartridges. This means you only have to replace the color you ran out of as opposed to a single cartridge with all the colors that you have to replace when any single color is gone.

The colors are photo black, light black, cyan, light cyan, magenta, light magenta, and yellow. There is also a matte black ink for use on Epson Matte papers.

I have made twelve 7x10s and two 13x18s (each 12x18 uses about as mucn ink as three 7x10s) so far and still have over 1/2 of the ink left in all seven cartridges.

This printer is much quieter than any other Epson printer I have owned.

Revised and Updated:  Epson 2200 Ink Usage

Print Times

It takes about 12-13 minutes to do one 7x10 print at the maximum 2880 dpi setting.  Photoshop uses about a minute to do its thing, then it takes another 11 to 12 minutes for the printer to do its thing. For a 12x18 print, Photoshop will take about 3 minutes to process the image for printing and the printer will take another 32-34 minutes to print it out (at the highest setting of 2880 dpi). THis printer is no speed demon. Fine for home use, but it may be too slow for significant commercial output.

Update: After reading several reviews, I have decided my print times are on the slow side, probably because I have an ancient computer that processes things more slowly.

Papers Choices

I have printed the same files on three kinds of paper and the color match between the three papers is excellent.  With my Epson 780, I had to tweak the colors a bit in Photoshop to get the same color on different papers.  I won't need to do this with the Epson 2200.

Paper choice is very much a matter of individual taste. You will need to experiment and draw your own conclusions. The Epson Premium Semigloss paper and the Epson Premium Luster paper look very similar to my eye. If I had to choose, I would give a slight edge to the Premium Luster paper as a bit more luscious. Both of these papers have a semi-gloss finish. The Enhanced/Archival Matte paper provides a nice matte finish look, but blacks are not as rich on the matte paper due to the use of the Photo Black ink. I am told the Epson Matte black ink gives the same rich blacks on matte paper as the Photo Black ink does on the semi-gloss papers.

Paper Sizes

The 2200 will print on any paper size up to 13x19 inches (13x44 for panoramic photos), and it takes roll paper and come with the necessary roll paper holder and an automatic paper cutter.

Conclusion

There are more detailed reviews that you can find elsewhere on the Internet. This is my two cents on one fine printer.

If you have been waiting for the day you could get true photo quality ink jet prints with a rich color gamut and a projected life span that exceeds traditional prints, that time has come! What a great day for the digital darkroom!!

Buy an Epson 2200 printer from Amazon.com with free shipping. Price as of March 24, 2005 is less than $650.

August 20, 2002
Updated March 24, 2005

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