Pro Printer Titans Clash in Vegas

Printers From Epson

Epson Stylus Photo R2400

The R2400 is Epson's 13" wide equivalent of the HP B9180 and Canon Pixma Pro9500. Retailing for $850, the printer uses Epson's newest ink formula, UltraChrome K3, in an 8 color configuration. Word on the street is that it produces very good images, rivaled only by those from Epson's Stylus Photo 3800, 4800, 7800 and 9800 all of which use the same K3 inks, but with higher precision head alignment and other image enhancing features.

Epson Stylus Pro 3800

My Epson 4000, which Epson replaced with the 4800, delivered very good prints, though black and white prints where less than stellar at times. So, I sprung for the 3800, with its newer K3 ink technology and Epson 4800 roots. I'm very happy with the 17", 8 color printer, which does black and white so much better. The 3800 actually holds 9 cartridges so that both Photo Black and Matte Black are on line at the same time, though only one or the other can be used (automatic switching), depending on the paper you're printing on. This is an improvement over the higher-end 4800, 7800 and 9800 Stylus Pros, which only have room for 8 cartridges and use more ink in (manually) switching between Photo Black and Matte Black ink. My only regret is that my 3800 doesn't support printing on rolls of media. The 3800 goes for around $1300 retail.

Epson Stylus Photo 4800, 7800 And 9800

Epson Stylus Pro 4800

All of these printers are quite similar and use K3 ink technology. The main difference between them is the maximum media width they can handle; 4800: 17" - retail price near $2000; 7800: 24" - retail price near $3000 and 9800: 44" - retail price near $5000. In my experience the 4800, 7800 and 9800 produce excellent prints.

Epson's Stylus Pro 7800 and 9800


There are a lot of pro level printers out there. Technically, HP's higher priced models with their automated DreamColor features, are the most advanced. Though less future-tech oriented, Canon's and Epson's pro printers offer high quality pro photo printing. For most people who are new to pro printing the entry level, $700 to $850, printers each company offers should be sufficient. Higher prices buy greater media handling width, roll media capabilities and some cool features to improve image quality. I can't wait until our printer evaluation lab is all set up and we can directly compare these and other printers side-by-side.

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