Colorful printers from PC Expo
by Rick Smith (June 30, 2000)
Color printers are becoming better with increased resolution, speed and quality, while also becoming more affordable.
Here are some of the standouts we found at PC Expo 2000:
New Epson Printer
Stylus Photo 2000P
The Epson Photo 2000P will be shipping in mid-July 2000 and boasts high quality output capable of lasting 200 years before fading (if mounted in a glass frame under fluorescent lighting). Intended for the professional market, this printer can truly be considered an archival photo reproduction printer and is priced at $900. This large format (13"x 44") printer has a 1440x720 dpi output resolution and can print the entire 13” width, without any borders.
The output I saw at DigitalFocus looked more like the photographic prints made in a darkroom, instead of being output from a computer. In fact, color printers are getting so good, it seems like I will now have to take a loupe with me, to critically evaluate color printer output at trade shows since they are getting so good.
New printers join Lexmark's product line
Lexmark has completed the updating of their color inkjet product line which started in May 2000 with the shipping of the Lexmark Z52. Shown here, the Z32 (left) and Z42 (right) both feature Lexmark’s Accu-Feed paper handling for printing reliability and fewer paper jams, BOTH USB and parallel ports for compatibility, easy open cartridge install and software ink level indicators for ease of use, both PC & Mac driver software for greater adaptability and a next-business day warranty exchange for peace of mind. The difference between these two models are speed and resolution. The Z32 is only 1200x1200 dpi (remember when this was a description of a $2,000 printer?) and can print at 7.5 ppm in black and white and 3.5 ppm in color and retails for only $99. The Z42 is a 2400x1200 dpi printer and has a 10 ppm black and white and 5 ppm color speed. It retails for $149. If that’s not enough, Lexmark has also announced the Z12, a 1200x1200 dpi printer which retails at a mere $59.
Now, Lexmark has an updated line of four new printers, that all retail for under $200 gives consumers plenty of choice in both price and feature set. These high quality, inexpensive color printers each have quality output that I expect from Lexmark. Reviews OnLine reviewed the Z52 last month and felt that Lexmark had raised the bar when it came to inexpensive, high quality color printing.
Lexmark Optra C710
Fast, Economical Color Laser Printer
Lexmark is out to make color laser printing affordable with the new Optra C710.
For around $1,899 the compact printer will deliver 1200x1200 dpi resolution in color at a rate of 3 pages per minute.
Monochrome printing is rated at 16 pages per minute. In addition, the printer comes standard with 32MB and is expandable to 384MB.
Olympus P-400 Color Printer
Affordable, stand-alone, photo-quality
Just when we were starting to believe ink jet printers were achieving a pinnacle of personal printing art, Olympus has come along to remind us that ink jets aren't the only (or best) game in town.
The newly introduced sub-$1000 P-400 puts dye-sublimation printing in the reach of serious amateur digital photographers or pros that need print-service quality without print-service expense. This printer brings the continuous tonal range and 16.7 million colors of high-end printers down to earth at a tenth of the cost of previous dye-sublimation printers.
What's more, the P-400 offers stand-alone print processing features that might inspire you to bring it out of the photo-lab and into the field. For instance, it can print digital images directly from SmartMedia or PC Cards without the need for a PC. The included LCD panel controls then allow a wedding or other event photographer to specify trimming, framing, and background images. Several available print modes let the printer produce everything from proof sheets to full-sized, photographic-quality prints on the spot.
On the road or in the office, Olympus' P-400 could make satisfying demanding users (and their discriminating customers) an affordable proposition. Even better, The P-400 extends the instant gratification of digital photography to include uncompromising, photographic quality.
- full size, postcard (2 or 4 per page)
- photo-album (1 to 6 images w/ with background)
- index (45 - 260 images per page)
- Colors: 16.7 million (8 bit/color)
- Print Size: 8.25" x 11.7"
- Photo Size: 8" x 10"
- Speed: 90-second per page
- Interface: parallel port and USB
- Media: SmartMedia, PC card
- LCD Panel
- Dimensions: 30" high x 17" wide x 17" deep
- Effects: black & white and sepia filters
- Functions: trimming, framing, background image, stamp
- Print up to 50 copies at a time
- Cost per print: $1.90 (50 sheets per cartridge)
- List price: $999
Newest Xerox Printers
M750 & M760
Xerox teamed with Sharp Corporation and Fuji Xerox of Japan to create this latest business quality inkjet printer offering. The M750 shown here, will be priced at $149, while its networkable big brother, the M760 will retail for $199. Both printers offer a 1,200 dpi resolution.
What makes these printers different is that they have an “eXpress Mode” which allows them to print 100 percent of the ink color in a single pass, instead of requiring a forward and backward pass and thus making them faster than other inkjet printers. They also feature individually replaceable ink tanks for each color.
Want to see all this page in a more compact form? View the linked version of this article. It's a smaller download than this page, and each product's information is only a link away.
© 2006 Rick Smith All rights reserved.