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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 1999-06-10

Review of the New Epson Stylus Photo 1200 Printer
By Brad Mangin

I recently purchased the brand-new Epson 1200 Ink Jet Photo Printer (http://www.epson.com/printer/inkjet/styphoto1200/), the newest entry in this crowded line by Epson that replaced the Photo EX. The new printer will print photographs up to 13" x 19", and Epson has created new photo paper in that exact size (Super B) that allows you to take full advantage of your new printer.

I don't want to get too technical in this discussion of the new printer, because I became very confused myself when I tried to get accurate color with mine last week. I will try and tell you what tricks worked for me, as I am now producing some incredible prints that are beyond my wildest expectations.

Photo by
The tricky part of using the printer is trying to match your prints to your monitor. I have a Macintosh running Photoshop 5.0.2 and went through numerous combinations of RGB settings and monitor settings till I finally figured mine out. One key in matching things up is gettingthe newest Colorsync (www.apple.com/colorsync) control panel (Mac only) version 2.6.1. This upgrade has an amazing Colorsync TIFF import module that corrects your files you bring into Photoshop to help match them throughout the entire process.

Also important is to have the newest Photoshop upgrade (5.0.2) that has the new Adobe Gamma control panel that sets a perfect RGB setting in both Photoshop and the printer driver. The new Adobe Gamma control panel also runs you through an easy step-by-step guide to calibrating your monitor.

The new driver that comes with the 1200 has one amazing feature that makes it head and shoulders better than the old EX. That feature is the PhotoEnhance3 color adjustment setting that also has a sharpening feature that produces razor (I am not exaggerating) sharp prints beyond what you would get by only using unsharpen mask in Photoshop. I made some prints with and without this sharpen feature and the difference was pretty incredible.

In order to make a nice 8x10 you need to make your file 300 dpi, which translates to a file size of around 18 megs depending on the exact shape of your picture.

You will undoubtedly go through many sheets of photo paper trying to get your system up and running perfectly, but it is worth the hassle. If you are having problems one great place to go for help is the Digital Darkroom@Singapore website (http://come.to/digitaldarkroom). This incredible website has daily updates and tips on how to use your Epson printer, as well as links to many other key ink jet websites.

Photo by
Once you start cranking out good looking prints (8x10's take around 8 minutes or so printed at 1440 dpi) you might want to experiment with some of the great new watercolor papers that are available to give your work a different look. Luminos Corp. has a new line of archival papers and inks out that are fun to play with (www.lumijet.com). Their Lumijet paper comes in three different parchment-type watercolor varieties (plus traditional glossy and mat surface photo paper) that are really gorgeous. Coupled with their new inks (not available for the 1200 yet) they claim a print life of over 50 years.

The good news is the ink jet photo printer market is booming as more and more third-party paper manufacturers are waiting in the wings to introduce new products, which will continue to lower the current prices and increase the paper quality. It is definitely a buyers market right now, and for under $500 you can't go wrong picking up one of these new 1200's.

(Brad Mangin is a freelance photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His web site, and home to the Sports Shooter archives is at: http://www.manginphotography.com)

 


Related Links:
www.epson.com
www.apple.com/colorsync
come.to/digitaldarkroom
www.lumijet.com
www.manginphotography.com

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