Wide-Format Devices Revisited, Part 1

7 May, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

In this follow-up to Cadalyst's recent round-up of printers and scanners, we look at the latest from Epson

Epson America
Price: $4.995 Stylus Pro 9800; $2,995 Stylus Pro 7800
The April edition of Cadalyst magazine featured a round-up of the latest tools for wide-format printing and scanning. A few vendors missed the deadline to submit products for that review, so we're taking a closer look at those in Cadalyst Daily. Today we'll feature the Stylus Pro 7800 and 9800 printers from Epson.

The Stylus Pro 9800 sells for $4,995 and accommodates sheets to 44" wide. The 7800 is a 24" model with a price of $2,995. Both accommodate cut and roll-fed sheets of virtually any media type, according to Epson. All media is front-loaded, and the adjustable spindle handles either 2" or 3" rolls. The printers

Stylus Pro 9800
Epson's Stylus Pro 9800 accommodates sheets as wide as 44".
handle sheets as thick as 1.5mm. An automatic cutter is built in, and a manual cutter is optional for thick media. Also optional for the 9800 is an automatic takeup reel system for unattended batch printing.

Epson's UltraChrome K3 inkjet technology uses eight separate color pigments, including three levels of black -- black, light black and light light black, for those of you wondering. In addition, the printers offer two black modes: photo black and matte black. The photo black mode works with any media, while the matte black improves optical density on matte and fine arts materials. The printers use 110mL or 220mL ink cartridges, and both sizes can be used simultaneously.

The printhead is 1" wide to accommodate the eight ink channels, and each channel has 180 nozzles. A built-in sensor reads nozzle-check patterns and

Stylus Pro 7800
Epson's Stylus Pro 7800 accommodates sheets as wide as 24".
automatically cleans any that appear clogged. Top resolution is 2880x1440dpi. For both models, Epson reports that in draft mode, a 16" x 20" image prints in 1 minute, 18 seconds, and in normal mode, 6 minutes, 41 seconds. A 24" x 30" image prints in 2 minutes, 12 seconds in draft mode and 14 minutes, 18 seconds in normal mode. With the Stylus Pro 9800, a 44" x 60" draft takes 5 minutes, 6 seconds to print, and a normal-mode print takes 42 minutes, 30 seconds.

The Stylus Pro 7800 and 9800 come with one USB 2.0 and one FireWire (IEEE 1394) connector, as well as an expansion slot for the optional 10/100 BaseT Ethernet card. The printer's memory tracks print job statistics such as ink and media use and file and user names. Printers come with Epson Photographic drivers for Windows and Macintosh operating systems. A SWOP-certified and PANTONE-licensed RIP from ColorBurst is optional. The standard warranty covers one year of Monday-through-Friday telephone support and next-business-day onsite service (usually).

Editor's note: Be sure to consult the Cadalyst article "Big Prints" by Ron LaFon (April 2006) for general tips about buying a plotter or scanner, as well as a run-down additional models from other vendors.

Click here to read Part 2 of this series.

About the Author: Sara Ferris