After years of being a photo (read dye-sub) bigot, I was impressed by MR's review of this printer.
and I have not been disappointed.
The printer is BIG and I had to take advantage of B&H 'white glove' delivery. This was offset by an additional $300 discount and of course the $500 rebate (which came thru fine, in spite of the fact that they 'required' the barcode from the external box; with 'white glove' they take that away! So I copied every barcode in sight-I guess they were convinced since the ck came thru fine
Now, with 5 min to set up the stand, and with 3 flights to go up, the printer was in place, withyout and damage to my spine, in 15 minutes.
It took another hour to assemble the print catcher (is there a word for it?) and yet another 1/2 hour to shake and injstall the inks...
...then you wait.
I first tried the free matte they sent (double weight) and it took a few readings to understand; however, the system is really simple and each part, from the roller caps to the indexing worked fine-a really professional design and seems robust.
The paper load is automatic and with a bit of wait (5 min?) it just gets everything register correctly.
SO, the one major past complaint, inks and paper load, is simple and automatic.
The software also takes a bit of reading; epson recommends usung USB to forstall issues with firmware (if network hiccups) I loaded on a local machine and it just did all again automatically, including updating firmware and drivers.
I made the first print matte, from PS. This was a mistake. Setting the paper size was the first problem; I just couldnt get it to give up the 8.5x11 for the 24" roll. Also the length you must specify (at least from PS-see below)
So, finally I made a print.
It did work, but was a bit bland as I used a mountain and forest scene, but the tonal balance was quite impressive, even here-and detail seemed fine.
But it was not what I would have written home about
I next took on network printing. After a few false starts, it is necessary to set up the printer port (as this was NOT on a print server, MS demands one use the "attached to local computer" button, even for network. I am sure you all here know that but my prior experience with network printers was that the setup is automated (e.g. Ricoh laser and my older Kodak 8660)
However, once you have your printer port as the TCP/IP it should be, the CD just found it and installed the Epson drivers on a further two computers.
Then I loaded Qimage. It found the printer, and I set up to do some printing with a middle line (but I understand from some pros) is a fine Glossy the Epson Luster 260.
Loading the paper, and setting up the length warning was again exactly as advertised. The paper load went smoothly (no pun intended) and I was ready for my first "test of inkjet as possible photo printer"
I took a rather large panorama from the latest Mont Blanc trek. It was large and wound up 24"x53"
I selected it, with 'fit image' in Qimage, hit the print button and crossed my fingers. The Qimage processed, and lo, the Epson screen came up to show me the inks and paper staus, while assuring me that , yes, it was going to print my image. I did of course set the highest qua.lity, and there was no difficulty in setting the paper component. I just stuck with sRGB and told the 7900 "use the ICC embedded"
It took a few minuites-paper adjusting, heads alighning, then....
whish, whish...back and forth
and very believable image started to emerge
about 8-9 minutes later, there was the 'swish' of the paper cut, and I was faced with handling a 24x53 glossy print.. bright, quite photo like and for a fussy 66 YO, more than acceptable.
Inkjets ARE more work than 8x12 dyesub Kodak, but not at all like the painful setup and frustrations of the Canon, epson and HP I have read here for years
You are better off printing from Qimage than from PS (but you knew that !
Image quality is really impressive; the ability to fill 10 sq feet of paper with near chemical quality (and more detail, much more detial).
There may be tweeking for skin tone and such but 'out of the box' I just don't see the need for RIPs and spectrophotometers (you can home in with a few test images.
The attached image is the result. (Taken with my wifes old Leica Digi, panasonic ripoff )
Yes I know this is no way to test, but with all the chances to mess up, I have give a close up that shows some of thye detail, contrast and color that can be produced. trust me; the clothes colors are spot on!
So, expensive? yes at 3100, but with thye size and quality of images, I hope to get years from this device. And for a pano fan the roll potential is impportant.
I hope this is not read as a plug for eposn; it is just what I bought. ythere are HP 3200 fans and the new Canon I am sure is similar. But as MR of LL says, this is an excellent (if not best) printer at this time. If it can satisfy an old lab bigot, it must be a new plateau, and a good one.
I also hope this helps those looking at upping to a larger printer (24 or 44)
I am happy to share my experiences as time goes by, but so far, so good.
PS The glare is just ambient room lights. The image is very professional looking (quality of print, not the photograher LOL)