Epson Stylus Photo R800
- Prints RGB very well
- CMYK prints are distorted, prints text slowly
If you plan on printing a lot of snapshots, you'll appreciate the R800's roll feeder; and as long as you stick with RGB files, the R800 will reward you with great-looking photo prints.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
Using separate ink cartridges for each colour, the Epson STYLUS PHOTO R800 adds red and blue inks to the standard set of cyan, magenta and yellow inks; but it omits the light photo cyan and light photo magenta found in many six-colour photo printers. Other cartridges supply photo black, matte black (for text), and a gloss overcoat.
During our testing, the matte black cartridge helped the R800 produce text that looked bold yet clean even at small sizes. While greyscale photos exhibited punch that other printers' output lacked, they also displayed precise detail and realistic shading.
The R800 made a mess of narrow parallel lines. And when we tried to print our CMYK-format test photo with this model, we ran into the same problem that we did with Epson's STYLUS PHOTO R200: the photo sometimes printed too dark and appeared severely underexposed. Even when it did print correctly, the image was a little duller than when output from other printers we tested. Images printed on the R800 in the more-common RGB format looked gorgeous, with realistic textures, sharp detail, and strong, rich colours.
The printer applies its gloss overcoat to photos in areas with light-coloured ink to prevent dull patches. Epson's driver allows you to turn the gloss cartridge on or off; we didn't detect any difference in quality between prints that used the overcoat and those that did not.
Epson claims that prints made with the R800's pigment-based colour inks won't fade for 80 years if placed behind glass. Ink costs for this A4 printer are somewhat lower than the average for other photo printers released around the same time as the R800.
The R800 doesn't win any medals for speed. In our tests, text pages emerged at sluggish 2.1ppm, and photos take a more ordinary 0.4ppm.
The R800 can print on rolls of photo paper either 4" or 8.3" wide. The printer has a button that pushes finished photos out to be cut off, and then retracts the excess paper to avoid waste. You don't have to remove paper from the main tray before feeding in a roll--an improvement on Epson's previous roll-printing models.
The R800 carries a tray for feeding a CD or DVD through the paper path, and Epson provides a bare-bones utility for designing labels. One minor inconvenience: to print on a CD or DVD, you must reposition the output tray.
The R800 doesn't have a control panel or a direct-to-camera port, but it does provide USB 2.0 and six-pin FireWire ports.
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GGG Evaluation Team
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