Epson unveils Stylus Photo R2880

May 31, 2008 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Printing 

This week, Epson announced the successor to its Stylus Photo R2400 large-format pigment ink printer, the Stylus Photo R2880. As our sister site Printerville notes:

The $800 printer, slated to ship in June, is a B-size (13″) inkjet that uses pigment-based inks, including two light-density black inks designed to produce optimal black-and-white prints on all types of media. And, while the R2880′s pedigree shows a clear link to the R2400, the new model takes advantage of Epson’s recent technology advancements from both the higher-end Stylus Professional printer line and the recently released Stylus Photo R1900.

In addition to some initial impressions relating to image quality and ink efficiency, Printerville also posted R2880 speed test results , compared with its predecessor and its immediate competition, HP’s Photosmart Pro B9180, and Canon’s Pixma Pro9500.

HP’s Photosmart Pro B8850 reviewed

April 21, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Printerville this week has a review of HP’s new Photosmart Pro B8850, an eight-ink photo printer that produces archival-quality prints for $550. The B8850 is based on HP’s B9180 printer, omitting a few features like Ethernet and an onboard status display, but using the same Vivera pigment inks.

The review compares the B8850 not only with the B9180, but also Epson’s new Stylus Photo R1900 and the older R2400.

The result is a strong, solid printer that produces very good prints, especially on fine-art papers and HP’s Professional Satin paper. By including innovative features that support third-party papers, HP is also recognizing that there is an ecosystem beyond itself. That said, we’d like to see HP work a bit on expanding the media options for the B8850 and the B9180. The company needs to come up with smaller print sizes for some of the Pro paper types, and, more importantly, they need to come up with a better glossy paper than Advanced Glossy. The paper is as important to the process as the ink and the print engine, and this is really the only place where the B8850 comes up short. But if you’re new to pigment printing – or you’d like an inexpensive printer that produces very good archival black-and-white prints – the B8850 is a very good printer at a good price.

Click here for the full review.

Epson R1900 reviewed

April 14, 2008 by · 13 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Our sister site Printerville has posted a review of Epson’s new Stylus Photo R1900, the company’s entry-level pigment-based photo printer. The R1900, priced at $550, was designed to produce stunning glossy photos with archival print life, and Epson appears to have succeeded. From the review:

“What‚Äôs astounding about the R1900 is that it is at the entry level for pigment printing. It‚Äôs not perfect: if you you print a lot of images, or, if you want the best possible black-and-white prints, you really will want a printer with higher-capacity ink tanks and light-density black inks. But, for $550, its possible to create stunning output on glossy or semigloss papers that outshine nearly any other printer in its class, and it does a great job on matte-based papers as well.”

Click here to read the full review, which includes specs, speed test results and more.

HP announces new pro photo inkjet

January 15, 2008 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Printing 

HP today announced the Photosmart Pro B8850, a $550 photo inkjet with eight pigment-based inks, including dual black inks for photo and matte papers and a gray ink for better black-and-white printing. The printer, which is slated to ship in April, looks like it will be a strong contender to Epson’s Stylus Photo R1900, a similarly priced photo inkjet that was announced last week.

If you want more info on the B8850, check out the specs and analysis over on Printerville; a first look at the printer should be posted later this week.

Should you use Lightroom or Aperture?

June 20, 2007 by · 13 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Over on Macworld.com, they‚ just posted my comparison review of Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture. Ben and I have been working on the two image-management and editing applications for quite some time, and it’s hard to say which one is the clear winner. Aperture is without a doubt the more polished and mature product: its organizational structure, with “smart” albums and Web galleries, are really hard to beat when you‚Äôre working with lots of different projects. Lightroom doesn’t have that core organizational strength, but it does have a wonderful editing module in Develop, both HTML- and Flash-based Web galleries, and slightly better printing flexibility (although it lacks Aperture’s great book-printing module).

We get asked quite a bit, “Which product should I buy?” but there’s no simple explanation. You can do the same tasks in both programs‚ really is more how you want to work. If you’re the type of person who works on multiple projects at different times, and you want to be able to jump in and out of them without losing your train of thought, Aperture definitely is a better choice. If editing is more important than how you organize your photos‚ you’re willing to be a bit more involved in how you store your images‚ Lightroom might work better for you.

Luckily both Apple and Adobe offer fully functional 30-day demos of both programs. If, after reading the piece, you’re still on the fence, we suggest downloading both programs. Put 100 or 200 images in each and work with them and see how they feel for you. (It’s also a good way to get a sense of how well they will perform on your system‚ it’s hard for us to come up with a clear-cut way to measure performance, given the wide array of Intel and PowerPC systems out there, especially when you factor in video cards, which also affect performance.)

Of course, if you’re a Windows user, you’re pretty much limited to Lightroom, which isn’t a bad thing.


Epson Stylus Pro 3800 reviewed

May 22, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Printing, Reviews 

Over on Macworld.com, I posted a short review regarding Epson’s latest professional-level printer, the 17-inch Stylus Pro 3800.

The 3800 is a funny beast Рit has the best print quality of any previous Epson printer, and it is priced in a place where it has no real competitor. There’s no roll-feed attachment Р17” by 22” is the largest standard size it will print on Рand it doesn’t have the whiz-bang features that HP and Canon are putting into their pro-level printers, like automatic addition of paper profiles, a Photoshop plug-in, and fancy calibration tools. And, while it fixes the physical ink swapping found in the Stylus Photo R2400 and the Stylus Pro 4800, it still does have to go through a purge cycle when you go back and forth between matte- and glossy-finish paper types.

That said, print quality and repeatability are often what pro photgraphers want most, and the 3800 has that in spades. If you read the review, also check out the comment thread Рthere is some great info in there as well, including comments on changes to Epson’s Premium Luster paper, recycling ink cartridges, and more.

Bruce Fraser dies at 52

December 18, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: General 

With great sadness, we heard this morning that our good friend, Bruce Fraser, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 16.

To many of us, Bruce was “Mr. Photoshop” and/or “Mr. Color Management.” He was the author or co-author of a number of the most successful computer titles of all time, including Real World Photoshop and Real World Camera RAW, as well as one of the founders of PixelGenius. To many people throughout the digital imaging industry, Bruce was an icon, but an approachable soul who was unstintingly fair in his criticism and generous with his time. Our thoughts go out to his family and close friends—he will be missed.


[Bruce and I worked together for more than 15 years, starting with my time at MacWEEK, and continuing through my recent tenure at Macworld. I've posted a remembrance of Bruce there, and Jason Snell, Macworld's editorial director, has also posted a note regarding Bruce's impact on him.]

First look at Photoshop CS3

December 15, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Image editing 

Ben’s first look at the Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta is up on Macworld.com. In it, Ben talks about the performance improvements found in the Intel-native application, and offers some insight into a few of the key new features, including the non-destructive, “Smart Filters,” the enhanced selection and Rubber Stamp tools, and the Camera RAW 4.0 plug-in.


“Upon first downloading the package, most Intel users will simply be glad to have a Universal version of Photoshop, and will probably be eager to test performance. If Adobe had done nothing more than release a Universal CS2, many users would probably be happy. Within a few days of playing with the new features, though, you‚Äôll probably forget all about your previous performance concerns.”

Adobe to release Photoshop CS3 beta

December 14, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Image editing 

Adobe today announced the availability of a beta version of Photoshop CS3, which will be posted early tomorrow morning on the Adobe Labs site.

The biggest news surrounding the beta is that it is Intel-native, which will thrill Mac users who have been using Photoshop CS2 in the Rosetta emulation mode on the new Intel Macs, but there are quite a few new features and interface changes that will make other existing Photoshop users happy, Mac or Windows.

To use the beta, you’ll need a valid Photoshop CS2 serial number; if you don’t have one, you can use it for two days before it expires. (You can also continue to use your copy of CS2, although obviously not at the same time as CS3.)

We’ve been playing with the beta for a few days now, and are pretty impressed with its overall stability and performance. Over the next week or so, we’ll be posting tips and tutorials about the new version.

Ben spoke about the Photoshop CS3 beta with Philip Michaels of Macworld.com; you can listen to the podcast here.

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HP Photosmart Pro B9180, Canon iPF5000 reviews posted

December 6, 2006 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Printing 

Just a quick note to let you know that Macworld.com has posted my reviews of the HP Photosmart Pro B9180 and Canon ImagePROGRAF iPF5000 fine-art printers. There’s also a side piece on pigment vs. dye inks, and why one should care.

While Ben and I thought the output from the Canon was quite good, the Photosmart blew us away. We really weren’t expecting to see a printer of this quality at a $700 price point. It is very well-made, prints quickly, has great ink efficiency, and a nice software bundle. There is no comparison with the Stylus Photo 2400, though — the B9180 is a lot better printer at a cheaper price. The only caveat I really have is that, with one less gray ink than the Canon and Epson pigment ink printers, it might not be the best printer for photographers primarily interested in printing black-and-white images. We thought the grayscale algorithms were quite good, but if that really matters to you, you should compare B9180 images with output from the Stylus Pro 4800/3800 and the Canon iPF5000.

The Epson Stylus Pro 3800 is due into the shop in about a week; they’ve started shipping in limited quantity. I’ve seen a few images from the printer that weren’t printed by Epson, and I have to say that they didn’t disappoint. Competition is good — stay tuned.

The Stylus Pro 3800 – Epson kicks it up a notch

September 25, 2006 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 
Epson today announced the Stylus Professional 3800, the latest in their growing line of large-format printers aimed at pro and advanced amateur digital photographers. The $1,295 printer – which should be available in December 2006 – doesn’t replace the $1,995 Stylus Pro 4800, although it should cause a number of potential 4800 buyers to rethink their plans. It also comes at a very good time for Epson, which has been facing new-found competition from HP and Canon in this sector of the market.

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