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 It has now been replaced by the expression Photo HD XP-15000, which Trevern Dawes believes will further encourage serious photographers to get involved
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