Overnight, Epson announced a major refresh to its SureColor printer line, with the SureColor P700 and SureColor P900 printers. Set to replace the P600 and P800 printers — released in 2014 and 2015, respectively — the new printers bring the latest technology to ensure the highest accuracy possible when printing.
The P700 prints up to 13 inches wide, with the P900 printing up to 17 inches wide. They are the smallest professional 13 and 17-inch printers in their class, and feature a 30 percent size reduction from the previous generation.
“Fifteen years ago, Epson stunned the industry with the Stylus Pro 3800 that provided unprecedented creative control for photographers, allowing them to print up to 17 inches wide without a darkroom,” said Reed Hecht, senior product manager. “With the introduction of the SureColor P700 and SureColor P900, a new generation of photographers will experience another breakthrough in printing technology — truly defining not only the photographic print but also the printing workflow.”
The world of color
Both printers has a new 10-channel MicroPiezo AMC printhead to increase productivity and reduce nozzle clog.
But that’s not all — one of the biggest requests Epson received was about the switching of black ink types. With the P700 and P900, there are now dedicated channels for both Photo and Matte Black ink types, meaning there’s no switching necessary. It also helps to reduce ink consumption.
The printers also feature a new UltraChrome PRO10 pigment ink, Violet, which increases the color gamut by six percent. The Violet ink channel helps to improve blues, violets and purples in images.
Also new is a Carbon Black Driver mode, which dramatically increases Dmax by 11 percent for better black density, contrast and reduced bronzing when printing on glossy papers. The Chroma Optimizer and Gloss Optimizer ink channels have been removed, and will now use the existing Light Gray ink only when necessary.
“We believe [the inks] will equal the ratings achieved by the current UltraChrome PRO12 inks of up to 200 years for color prints and up to 400 years for black and white prints,” said Henry Wilhelm, director of research at Wilhelm Imaging Research.
The ink cartridge size has also been reduced, to 25 mL for the P700, and 50 mL for the P900. Epson states the reduced size will allow the company to sell ink at a more affordable price.
As I mentioned above, the new SureColor printers feature a 30 percent reduction in physical size, making for a significantly smaller footprint on a desk or table.
Dimensions for the P700 are 7.3″ tall and 20.8″ deep, which expands to 32.1″ when the paper tray is opened. The P900 is 8.4″ tall and 23.11″ deep, with that expanding to 37.6″ when opened. The P900 is the same size as the previous generation P600 printer.
The P700 comes with an included rear roll media feed, while the P900 has an optional enclosed roll media adapter.
Additionally, the secondary fine art feeding tray has been removed, making it easier for photographers to prepare their papers for printing. The top load tray has a maximum capacity of 10-30 sheets (depending on paper thickness). The single-sheet front fine art and poster board media slot has been improved, allowing for media up to 1.5 mm thick.
New technology to make printing easier
From the forefront, users will immediately see an updated touchscreen which is more customizable. It also gives you a live preview of the image you’re printing, with a metadata screen.
The touchscreen also gives an option to print a job status sheet, so you can keep track of your settings for future use.
Wireless connectivity has also been upgraded to include 5GHz connections, and an interior LED light has been added to watch the progress of a print.
But that’s not all. Epson is in the process of developing a new iOS app exclusive to the new printers that lets you take advantage of the technology built into the company’s Print Layout software. This makes it easy to set your printer settings through your device without having to rely on a computer or the printer’s touchscreen. Included will be the ability to color manage your photos and adjust complex settings like width, height and margin, as well as Black and White mode settings.
For those that do rely on computers, the Epson Media Installer will be included, allowing you to easily install ICC profiles and add the driver setting for any new media that is introduced.
Epson has been one of my favorite companies for a while. When I first got to review my Epson SureColor P800, I was simply blown away … and continue to be whenever I use it. While the focus today is so much on social media, having a reliable photo printer is a tool that any photographer can benefit from.
I’m pretty excited to test out the SureColor P900, for three reasons. One, the black ink switching was a minor annoyance of mine, as it took up to five minutes to switch that ink out. With that process being gone, I can print much faster if I choose to print on multiple different types of paper at once.
Two, I’m excited for the ease of installing new media. The process with the P800 was never super straightforward for me, and I often relied on guessing what paper was closest to the one I was using instead of going to the Epson website and downloading the new profile.
And finally, the reduction in size. While this might not seem like a big deal to some, it definitely is for me. While the P800 fits on my shelf in my office, putting the paper roll adapter on was a bit of a challenge. With the 30 percent reduction in size, it should fit much easier.
Pricing and availability
The SureColor P700 ($799) and SureColor P900 ($1195) are now available for pre-order, and will be released beginning in May. Stay tuned to Photofocus as I get a review unit to compare with my current P800.