Photos: Six-Color Printers
The i950 was compared with its forerunner, the S900, as well as with HP printers that are compatible with the photo cartridge that replaces the black one (Deskjet 5550 and higher, Photosmart 7150 and higher) and with Epson printers using T026 and T027 cartridges (or the Stylus 820 or 830, depending whether you are in the States or Europe), and the 925.
|Actual size original photo||Original photo enlarged 3X|
The original photo measured 10 x 15 cm. We printed it out on each printer with the default parameters, choosing only the type of paper and quality we wanted - the best possible. Then we scanned the results at 300 dpi on a Canon CanoScan 3000.
|Canon i950||Canon s900|
And yes, the i950 is better than the S900 it replaces. You can see straight away that the new colorimetrics are truer on the i950. But above all, the photos gain in detail, and there is a lot less noise. This must obviously be largely due to the new drop size.
|Epson Stylus Photo 820/ 830||HP Photosmart 7350|
Not only are Epson prints a bit pale, they are also the least clear of the four. This printer has four-picoliter drops instead of two, as on the i950. The advantage of the i950 is obvious in the scanned images, though fortunately less so when you look at the prints with the naked eye.
The HP photos printed with the new photo cartridge are clearer than the others. So much so that, notwithstanding their superb colors and absence of dots, you can tell they are scanned. Unless you are an image pro, you will be deceived by the Canon and Epson prints. This impression of "over-clarity" is no mere fancy. Scanning highlights the use of an effect like the Photoshop Accentuation filter. What's more, the driver heightens the contrast. HP photos will delight those who just want their prints to look magnificent, but pros, semi-pros and photo buffs will find them too unlike the originals.