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Epson Photo Printers Cross the Atlantic! (UPDATED)
By Kim Brady, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 10:36 EST)

You read about them here in early January: Three new Epson printers with high-resolution borderless printing, priced for the consumer and prosumer markets! First announced by the European and Japanese press (with slightly different designations), now they've made their American debut, and we have the full scoop.

Epson America announced its official U.S. launch of three new printers this week, featuring the company's patented BorderFree print technology for creating photorealistic borderless prints on the desktop. The Epson Stylus Photo 780, 890, and 1280 printers provide 2,880 x 720 dpi resolution, six-color ink, and Epson’s advanced Micro Piezo ink-jet technology for virtually continuous-tone quality that is virtually indistinguishable from traditional photographic prints.

Epson's Stylus Photo 780 printer at the DigitalFocus 2001 press event, shown with borderless print in tray. Copyright (c) 2001, Michael R. Tomkins, all rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

The Stylus Photo 890 and 1280 feature a new roll paper accessory that enables consumers to output multiple images in standard photographic print sizes, with up to seven different types of continuous roll of papers to choose from. Employing a print delivery method similar to that used in commercial photo labs, the roll paper is fed through the printing mechanism, depositing ink to the very edges of the paper, and producing borderless snapshots with no perforations and no wasted paper. Among the paper sizes available are two panoramic rolls (8.3- and 13-inch) for printing banner signs and panoramic images up to 44 inches long.

Targeted at the home printing market, the Stylus Photo 780 is the most flexible and easiest to use of the trio, producing borderless 4x6-, 5x7-, and 8x10-inch prints on Epson's specialty photo papers, as well as traditional letter size papers. The 780 is bundled with several complementary software programs, including ArcSoft PhotoImpression 3.0, a project-based image editing application; Epson Software Film Factory, a photo management tool for organizing, enhancing, and printing your images; and QBeo PhotoGenetics TE, an image retouching tool for fixing imperfections in the photos. The Photo 780 has an estimated street price of $199 ($149 after a $50 rebate).

The Stylus Photo 890 is designed for imaging enthusiasts and photographers who want maximum photo quality and ultimate printing versatility. In addition to making professional looking borderless prints on 4x6- and 5x7-inch cut paper, the 890 outputs in letter and panoramic sizes, on regular- or heavyweight photo paper, and prints up to 44-inch long panoramas using continuous roll paper. Bundled software programs include: ArcSoft PhotoImpression 3.0; ArcSoft PhotoStudio 2000, a complete photo enhancement and retouching application; Epson Software Film Factory; and Qbeo PhotoGenetics TE. Estimated street price is $299.

Epson's Stylus Photo 1280 printer at the DigitalFocus 2001 press event, shown with numerous print samples. Copyright (c) 2001, Michael R. Tomkins, all rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

The high-end model of the group is the Stylus Photo 1280, which features a wide 13-inch carriage for larger printing capability. The 1280 can be used to print enlargements, portfolio prints, duplicates, soft proofs and match prints for professional printing applications, as well as standard size photographic prints. BorderFree printing is possible with 4x6-, 5x7-, and 8x10-inch prints; letter size papers; as well as 11x14-inch enlargements and 13x44-inch panoramas (using the provided roll paper holder). Bonus software and upgrade options include: Adobe Photoshop LE installed (with a special upgrade price of $299 for Photoshop 6.0); a discount price ($199) for MonacoEZColor color management system; as well as QBeo PhotoGenetics TE and Software Film Factory installed. The Stylus Photo 1280 has an estimated street price of $499, with an optional external Ethernet card for $179 and Epson Stylus RIP PostScript software for $99.

All three printers feature fast printing speeds and quick-drying inks. According to Epson, 4x6-inch photo prints in less than a minute, an 8x10-inch photo prints in less than two minutes, and an 11x14-inch print is output in approximately four minutes. The new printers are available for purchase through Epson authorized dealers, mail order, resellers, computer superstores, and photo specialty stores. Or you can order them through the Epson retail website, at: www.epsonstore.com. For more information, visit Epson's website at www.epson.com.

UPDATED 2001-02-11 10:51ET:Exclusive images of Epson's Stylus Photo 780 and Stylus Photo 1280 from the DigitalFocus 2001 event last night added.

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