The Epson Stylus Pro 4000 is improved in every way, shape, and form, albeit probably still has a healthy appetite for pricey ink. It is widely estimated that the Epson Stylus Pro 4000 will set sales records throughout the US and Canada . When a product is designed with the features that the niche market is looking for, and when a product is so skillfully "packaged" and presented, it deserves its success.
Unfortunately, so far practically every word about the Epson Stylus Pro 4000 on the Internet appears to be a direct copy of official Epson advertising. There is not much substantive outside independent assessment of anything. And the main portion of the Epson ad is to roast the competing printers in a kind of advertising blitz previously unheard of in the inkjet industry. Since the printer itself is not available to test in a real-world situation, all we have to go on is the blistering attack on other printers. This makes one ask what is it about those other printers that makes them such hardy competition?
Printing digital photos of Nicholas Hellmuth on the Epson 4000. We do not yet have this printer ourselves, so do not yet have test results, so do not have a formal opinion until we do testing in-house back at our university.
Very daring to attack competitor's head on because to do so you have to list where your printer is supposedly superior. This exposes and draws attention to precisely those points where actually HP and Canon may have advantages. Indeed the printhead design of Canon is good enough to already be causing positive commentary from a wide spectrum.
Considering that Canon printers have been chosen by leading New York publishers as a proofer of choice, it is daring for Epson to suggest that only their Epson printer can handle proofing. Yet Epson sold a dye-ink proofer for years. So the ad claims are very bold.
It would be so much easier to stick with the actual specs, find out which printer is ideal for the application at hand. The Epson 4000 will be great for many applications; the HP 130 will be appropriate for others; and people with a Canon copier in their office may prefer to select a Canon inkjet printer while they are at it. There is seldom a really bad printer, just the wrong printer for inappropriate applications. We would much prefer to itemize the nice features of the Epson 4000, since clearly engineers have done their homework. Thus it is unfortunate that the ads descended to a withering attack on the two main competitors, Canon and HP. If those two printers were as bad as claimed, then there would be no need to go to such noticeable effort to slander them. Besides, Epson did not compare themselves with the newer HP 30 or 130.
One result of Epson trying to compare the 4000 with the HP 120 and Canon counterpart is that Epson provides incentive for people to seek out our FLAAR report on that DesignJet 120nr and the newer HP 130. Indeed we have the Canon imagePROGRAF 7250, Canon W8200, Epson 7600, and HP 120nr in our university test lab (have 19 printers presently). Our review of the 120nr had been accomplished before the Epson comparison became available. So will be interesting to see which features we also found were lacking, and which counter-claims do not hold up in a fair comparison. We already have a preliminary report on the HP 30 – 130 and will update that in-depth when the printer itself arrives. The HP 130 is sufficiently revolutionary that we will test it at each university (in other words, two teams will evaluate it independently of each other).
In summary, Epson has come a long way since the days of their 1520 and 3000. Epson offers what the photographer and artist ask for:
Nice color gamut even with pigmented ink
Good grayscale with extra black
Ideal size for pro-sumer, second business, retirement business
As would be expected, options do exist. We like the idea of a free RIP with the Canon imagePROGRAF w8200. That we did not see in the Epson check-off sheet, but the free Canon RIP has not yet migrated to the desktop Canons, nor do we know if it will be available for the 24" Canon W6200 (the only pigmented ink available in 24" size other than Epson 7600).
Eventually an Epson 4000 printer was provided by Parrot Digigraphic. We have had this printer for two years with no major problems.
Curious about the FLAAR review process? Check out these real-world comparative evaluations. They are still on-going, but the first editions are out and can be ordered from www.wide-format-printers.net.
Every day we get tearful complaints from people who bought the a printer from a source incapable of providing support.
In reality the printer may have been okay, but they bought it low-bid on the Internet or from some friendly local hometown dealer... who could not pronounce giclée much less had the foggiest idea how to produce a giclée print.
Once you already take delivery on the printer, what can we do? Yet every day we get e-mail saying "I wish I had seen your web site and knew the downside of procurement from a supplier which suckered me into buying by slick advertising."
Every several years there is either a new Canon iPF printer or a new Epson or a new HP water-based printer that is made for giclee, decor, or fine art photography. It is hard to keep track of the advances in improved inks and color management features. FLAAR is keeping track by visiting giclee ateliers around the world that have these various brands. Each brand has its good points and a few issues and an occasional deficiency.
Since FLAAR itself does not sell printers, for you to find out information on prices and availability of each model that can print fine art giclee well, we suggest you contact a company that offers all three brands: Canon, HP, and Epson. This way they are not going to push just one brand because they offer all three. Plus you need a company that has plenty of experience with fine art photographs, photo labs, and giclee atelier.
One company that is known to many photographers is LexJet. Dr Hellmuth has visited their national headquarters twice. LexJet sells all across the USA and to Latin America as well. Contact
.to obtain more information.
Most recently updated July 25, 2007. Previously updated April 23, 2004, Jan, 7, 2004. Nov, 7, 2003, Oct. 29, 2003. First posted : Oct. 24, 2003
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