Epson’s latest top-of-the-range flatbed/film scanner may be large and relatively pricey but you get plenty of bangs for your buck. The Perfection 4990 Photo combines 4800dpi resolution with a bit depth of 48, and Epson claims its high 4.0 optical density produces scans with smooth and accurate colour and subtle grey gradations. Features of the new model include a MatrixCCD scanning head with microlenses that ensure even light coverage. A blue-toned lamp compensates for the base masking in colour negatives, providing faster scans with better colour accuracy.
HP’s Photosmart 8750 inkjet printer is the most affordable A3 printer on the market that produces long-lasting, prints that are good enough to exhibit or sell. Initially, its sheer size is daunting, although its weight is similar to the Epson R2400. However, you can’t fairly compare these two printers as the Epson is twice the price of the HP model. Not surprisingly, the 8750 is slightly noisier and we had more problems with paper jams and incorrect loading.
A compact, portable printer that is easy to use and produces long-lasting snapshot-sized prints.Despite its resemblance to a pop-up toaster, HP’s Photosmart 475 printer is a surprisingly capable and versatile device. Lift the handle and you can take it anywhere. Plug it in, switch it on and it’s ready to print. Connect it to a TV set via the supplied video cable and you can watch a slideshow of images stored on the 1.5 GB internal hard disk drive or a memory card from your camera (all popular cards are supported). A remote control lets you drive the slideshow from your armchair.
Promoted as a ‘total photo solution for home users’, Epson’s Stylus Photo RX530 supports direct printing from PictBridge enabled cameras and most popular memory cards as well as computer-based printing from editing software. It also sports a high-resolution flatbed/film scanner that doubles as a copier for both photos and documents. Stand-alone users can scan, copy and print with one-touch simplicity and the bundled software provides easy integration with image and document editors and email utilities when the RX530 is connected to a PC.
Epson’s Stylus CX4700 is an affordable multifunction printer for home and small office users who want top quality document printouts plus scanning and copying facilities and the ability to print photos. It uses four individually packed DURABrite Ultra pigment inks, which promise prints that will last up to 120 years and offers an ‘optimized’ resolution of 5760dpi with Resolution Performance Management (RPM) technology.
The first desktop printer with Epson’s new UltraChrome K3 ink set, the Stylus Photo R2400 produces long-lasting, exhibition-quality colour and monochrome prints. This latest set of pigment inks delivering much richer colours and a wider colour gamut than Epson’s previous ink sets and can match – and on some papers, better – the performance of printers with top-quality dye inks.
Epson’s new PictureMate 500 rectifies the two main deficiencies we noted in the review of its predecessor, the PictureMate, in issue 19: a colour preview monitor and battery support. The new model’s flip-up 2.4-inch QVGA colour LCD screen lets users view image files before printing them. You can also zoom in on a displayed photo and print a selected area without cropping the original image.
The Pixma iP8500 is Canon’s top A4 printer and features a special print head with with 6144 nozzles and FINE (‘Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering’) technology. This makes Canon printers faster than most of their competitors. The 8-colour ChromaPLUS ink system includes additional red and green ink tanks that expand the colour spectrum. Dual paper trays allow different papers to be loaded simultaneously. A USB port on the front panel supports direct printing from PictBridge cameras and camcorders.
Canon’s Pixma iP6600D is designed for digital photographers who want an easy-to-use home printer that produces sharp, detailed and colour-accurate prints with above-average durability. Designed for use with Canon’s new ChromaLife 100 inks, the iP6600D can produce prints that last up to 100 years in albums, up to 30 years in a glass frame displayed away from direct sunlight and up to 10 years unprotected – provided the prints are made on Canon’s recommended papers.