ON TRIAL EP­SON EX­PRES­SION PHOTO HD XP-15000

ep­son’s ar­ti­san 1430 has been a pop­u­lar photo prin­ter with both new­com­ers and old hands for many years. It has now been re­placed by the ex­pres­sion Photo HD XP-15000, which Trevern Dawes be­lieves will fur­ther en­cour­age se­ri­ous pho­tog­ra­phers to get in­volved

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The ma­jor­ity of pop­u­lar photo print­ers user pig­mented inks, but the XP-15000 puts for­ward a strong case for dye-based inks, in­clud­ing longevity and print sur­face qual­i­ties. Bet­ter still, it’s very af­ford­able for an A3+ for­mat photo prin­ter too.

When it comes to mak­ing long-last­ing, durable and saleable prints the em­pha­sis has al­ways been on pig­ment print­ers. The Ep­son Ar­ti­san 1430 (re­viewed back in 2012) has been a no­table ex­cep­tion be­cause of its Claria dye-based ink set. Wil­helm Re­search has rat­ings for the Claria inks of 98 years of dis­play life un­der glass and greater than 200 years when in dark stor­age (these rat­ing re­late to the Ep­son Ul­tra and Pre­mium gloss pa­pers). In a nut­shell, what this means is equal­ity with pig­ment ink rat­ings. How­ever, there is much more to it than longevity rat­ings, as dyes on gloss and semi-gloss me­dia have a per­fect sur­face, un­like the gloss dif­fer­en­tial and bronz­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics as­so­ci­ated with us­ing pig­ment inks.

Although the new XP-15000 might be de­scribed as “en­try-level”, it goes a long way past “av­er­age qual­ity” and is, in fact, the top-ofthe-range model in Ep­son’s dye­based print­ers.

It’s a ded­i­cated A3+ photo prin­ter ca­pa­ble of han­dling print files from just about any photo de­vice and from any­where. It’s a lot more com­pact and much lighter (at 476x159x369 mm and 8.1 kilo­grams) than the Ar­ti­san 1340 (at 616x322x215 mm and 11.8 kilo­grams) and a tilt­ing 6.1 cm colour LCD con­trol screen is a wel­come new fea­ture. The noz­zle con­fig­u­ra­tion goes up from 90 to 180 per colour, a pre-in­stalled main­te­nance tank is in­cluded, there is a mo­torised out­put tray and a new mix of colours in lower ca­pac­ity car­tridges that can de­liver sim­i­lar – or bet­ter – print qual­ity us­ing less ink via a more ef­fi­cient print head. All of these changes have led to a mod­est price in­crease of $100 over the dis­con­tin­ued Ar­ti­san 1340. How­ever, the six inks sup­plied with the prin­ter are only start-up car­tridges and con­tain about three millil­itres of ink each. The ‘High Yield XL’ car­tridges con­tain about eight millil­itres and are, of course, far more cost­ef­fec­tive. Get­ting started with the XP-15000 is a straight­for­ward af­fair where the only in­con­ve­nience is likely to be re­mov­ing the heaps of blue tape lock­ing down the prin­ter to en­sure safe trans­port.

The eas­i­est ap­proach is to insert the CD soft­ware disc and fol­low the in­struc­tions that range from ac­cept­ing the li­cense agree­ment through sys­tem check, in­stal­la­tion, con­nec­tion set­ting, and ad­di­tional in­stal­la­tion to fin­ish. The User’s Guide is in­stalled with an icon on the desk­top and, al­to­gether, the whole process takes about 30 min­utes.

ep­son ex­pRes­sion photo hD xp-15000

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