How many times have you complained that what you see on your Mac's monitor isn't what comes out on your printer, in terms of colour? That's all of us. Now that digital photography is such a popular hobby and so many people have good digital SLR cameras, the printers that we use are showing their age. We want colour fidelity, long-life prints and the option to print off black and white images that really are black and white.
Well, the answer to your prayers has arrived in the shape of EPSON's brand new Stylus Photo R2400. This A3 printer uses no fewer than eight inks. And these are no ordinary inks: they're what EPSON calls UltraChrome K3. These pigmentbased colours are resistant to fading and can reproduce colours with great subtlety and accuracy. And when it comes to black and white photos, the results are breathtaking. Not a hint of colour cast in sight and the promise of 100 years of lightfastness.
Now for those of you who think that pigment inks mean a narrow colour gamut and a dull finish are in for a surprise. The R2400 manages to do all that's asked of it and more. Colours are natural and faithful to a properly calibrated monitor thanks to the new colour profiles supplied with the printer. There's a facility for roll-paper printing as well as the ability to handle printable CDs and DVDs. This is a professional colour lab in a relatively handy 11.7kg package.
You can hook the R2400 up to a Mac using a choice of FireWire or USB 2.0 interfaces. The print speed is reasonable at around five minutes for a top-notch A4 borderless print. There's very little to criticise, but the only caveat we might even think of delivering is that this is a relatively thirsty and expensive beast to run. However, it's still cheaper and more convenient than doing your own colour photographic printing.
When you consider that the R2400 offers archive quality prints, a superb colour gamut and a glossy finish, it's not difficult to imagine this printer being snapped up by almost every keen amateur and professional photographer in the land. There simply is no need to persist with the smell and fuss of colour print processing once you have an R2400.
Of course, time will tell how durable the prints are, but we reckon that the images output by the R2400 Photo should easily give conventional silver halide prints a run for their money. The only drawback is that the detail of the prints is so good that your photography may not be up to scratch, and you could face the ignominy of your poor workmanship being ruthlessly exposed. You have been warned! Mark Sparrow