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Accessories Reviews

EPSON Stylus Photo R1900 Review

Ernesto Santos (esantos)


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INTRODUCTION

R1900-HO_noIn

EPSON Stylus Photo R1900

Epson has earned a stellar reputation in the inkjet photo printer market with their series of excellent printers aimed at both the professional photographer and the enthusiast. A perennial leader in inkjet technology, they have continually set the standard by which all other manufacturers are fairly, or not so fairly judged. This position as leader in the market has given them the advantage of having a very influential hand in which direction the technology will move. To Epson’s credit they have rarely taken the wrong path. So it was with some surprise that a few years ago they took a bold step with the release of the R800, an 8.5-inch wide printer with a unique set of inks. For the first time we had an inkjet printer that was specifically designed and optimized to print on glossy and luster resin coated (RC) photo papers. The colors in the ink set were a little different too. Instead of the usual magenta and light magenta, cyan and light cyan shades, this printer came with a red and blue ink to compliment the magenta and cyan shades. This promised vibrant color prints at a level we had not seen before from pigment inkjet printers.


 

Additionally, this printer came with one other ink cartridge that really wasn’t filled with ink at all. Epson calls this new substance “Gloss Optimizer”, a clear laminate designed to provide a coating over the entire print even in areas of the surface where no ink is present. This optimizer coating makes the print surface more durable and resistant to scratching but it also serves to coat areas in the image that is represented as white; or absent of color and thus ink. This new approach was incorporated to reduce gloss differential, a phenomenon where these areas without ink exhibit a different level of reflectance than the ink coated areas creating artifacts that resemble splotches. This optimizer is only effective when printing on glossy and luster papers and has no benefit when printing on matte papers.

Soon after the R800 release the R1800 came along, a 13-inch printer utilizing the same UltraChrome Hi-Gloss inks. For the first time Epson was now offering two models in the 13-inch class using archival pigment inks, the R1800, and the R2400, a printer designed to produce gallery quality prints on fine art matte papers as well as on traditional photo papers. Yet, the R1800 continued to gain a following particularly with photographers looking for the high gloss look in their prints. By this time it was becoming evident that Epson had again tapped into a niche in the market and was again driving changes in technology.

UltraChrome-Hi-Gloss2-logo

 


FEATURES

Today we now have the replacement of the R1800, the R1900, and this is the subject of this review. With the R1900 Epson is building on the success of the R800/R1800 with a few advancements and notable changes to the ink set. The R1900 uses the new generation UltraChrome Hi-Gloss 2 inks. The blue ink is gone - now replaced with an orange ink and the red ink has been improved. The addition of the orange tone and improved red tone produce much better skin tones and expands the printers color gamut creating the subtle gradations on prints that we see in real life. In addition to this the Gloss Optimizer has also been improved to provide even more protection for the printed surface while virtually eliminating gloss differential artifacts. Finally, Epson continues to include the convenient auto-switching of black inks from matte black to photo black allowing the use of either glossy coated media or fine art matte papers.

Radiance-Logo

 

While improving the inks is always a good thing there are other important upgrades under the hood of the R1900. Epson color scientists have teamed up with researchers from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to jointly develop their new Radiance Technology which optimizes how the inks are mixed to take full advantage of the increased gamut creating more consistency in color in a variety of print viewing lighting environments and to reduce grain and improve color transitions resulting in seamless color gradations.

Other improvements in the R1900 include faster print speeds, increased media handling, the ability to connect the printer to two computers simultaneously, more accurate printer calibration at the factory for print consistency, and a built-in sensor to automatically align the print heads, conduct nozzle checks, and correct any clogging .

Lastly the printer can handle a wide variety of papers in many sizes from 4x6 inches up to 13x19 inches. There is a separate attachment for rear feeding heavy, thick papers as well as attachments for roll papers, and a tray for printing directly onto printable CD/DVDs.

(0 Votes )
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Originally written on September 7, 2010

Last updated on June 7, 2016

13 comments

User on July 17, 2011

Can you comment on how the color and printing of the R1900 compares to the older P2000? Thanks.

Ernesto Santos (esantos) on February 13, 2011

Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Winner of the Best of Nikonians Images 2018 Annual Photo Contest

Daniel, Generally lab prints are a little cheaper than DIY inkjet prints. The advantages you gain are the total control over the process and the choices of paper available compared to your local mini-lab. Plus, you don't have to drive to the lab and you can pretty much print on demand. Although the R1900 is a great printer if you plan to do any amount of volume for sales you may want to consider the Epson Stylus Pro 3880 which I just reviewed recently and is posted here in our Resources page as well.

User on February 12, 2011

Thanks Ernesto for the review. I see B&H has a $200 rebate at this time. I am inclined to buy the R1900. One question, I am close to retiring and my wife and I would like to do some local art shows. Do you know if the cost of printing with the R1900 would be cost effective compared to having them done at a lab? Thanks again.

Ernesto Santos (esantos) on February 8, 2011

Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Winner of the Best of Nikonians Images 2018 Annual Photo Contest

Steve, We get this asked alot. At the end of the day it always seems to be that the cost of ink compared to media (paper) is about 50%. Spending months collecting ink usage data that is highly dependent on so many variables it is easier to just use a multiplication factor of 1.5 to the per square foot or inch or meter or centimeter cost of the paper you are using.

Ernesto Santos (esantos) on February 8, 2011

Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Winner of the Best of Nikonians Images 2018 Annual Photo Contest

David, That is a tough call, but if you were to pin me down I would have to say the R1900 beats the R2880 by a hair when it comes to super vibrant and richly colored glossy and luster output.

David Voss (SoCal Dave) on February 6, 2011

Ernesto: I have the R1900 and I never print on anything but glossy and luster which obviously avoids it's weakness. That said, I cannot find an answer to this simple question: If using just glossy and luster, which makes the better print? The R1900 or the 2880? Thanks!

User on January 23, 2011

My question was answered with a bit more reading! Found our calculation model in another thread...Thanks again!

User on January 23, 2011

Great review!! Any info regarding ink yield for photo printing...Epson uses a yield model more applicable to "business" page print than to photo print. Thanks!

Jeff Wong (Captain Bly) on December 3, 2010

Wonderful review! This type of information is why I joined the forum. Thanks very much for your honest and expert knowledge. Happy trails,

Stephen W Burnes (in4apenny) on October 25, 2010

Appreciate your work, Ernesto Thank you

Ernesto Santos (esantos) on September 8, 2010

Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Winner of the Best of Nikonians Images 2018 Annual Photo Contest

Thanks gentlemen, I appreciate the feedback.

Mick Klass (mklass) on September 7, 2010

As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Ribbon awarded for his most generous donation in 2017 Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the 2017-2018 fundraising campaign

Ernesto: a great and in-depth review. I've used this printer for almost2 years now, and am very pleased with its output. You're right about the roll paper, it just doesn't flatten out enough. In fact the curl can cause the prints to look banded. That's about my only disappointment with this printer.

Hal Becker (HBB) on September 7, 2010

Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Ernesto: Very nicely done! I recently retired my R1900 in favor of the Pro 3880, but agree with all your observations and conclusions.

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