If you are remotely interested in photography then it is likely you will have a digital camera. However, if you have been in the game for a while, you may even have a album or two, or maybe even a shoebox with some real photographs. You remember, the ones that are paper, that you hold. Well, if you want to bring them into the digital age, you could do a lot worse than the Epson Perfection V500 Photo scanner. Check out my review below and also check out TestFreaks which scored this scanner 7.6/10.
Something a little larger than an A4 printer can make for some very effective photos. The Epson Stylus Photo R2880 printer offers the ability to do larger prints and even produce panorama's. Check out the video review.
Product: Epson Stylus Photo R2880
Price: £499 (Amazon)
Contact Epson: +44 (0)8702 416900
In the age of digital photography, the work of a scanners seems to be a lot less. They still have their place in your computer set-up though. Scanning in high resolution photos is essential if you are reproducing anything in print. If you combine this requirement with the need to scan lots of documents, then you need to look at something a little more capable though. I was lucky enough to be sent an Espon GT-1500 scanner to review and this smart device sits in the business category, but could find its way as a very useful addition to the SOHO sector too.
The GT-1500 is not a lot larger than a regular flatbed scanner. The clue is in the height though, where you find a very useful and robust-feeling Automatic Document Feeder or ADF for short. The unit is made really nicely, it feels like a premium product. Even though it is primarily a plastic affair, it certainly feels solid. Setting up is really easy and installs Epson's suite of software, as well as Twain compatible plug-ins to the likes of Photoshop.
Using the unit as a standard flatbed scanner takes advantage of the full 1200x2400dpi optical resolution. I was impressed by the preview speed, as well as the actual final scan speed. For my tests I mainly used Photoshop, but using the EpsonScan software produced almost identical results. Colours in photographs remained true and had good depth and detail. Black and white photos were very neutral with a very slight green tinge. Scanning white sheets of text and business graphics resulted in crisp text scan, with hardly any shading.
The ADF on the top of the GT-1500 was my area of interest here, as this is what you are paying extra for. Using the ADF you can scan up to 600x1200dpi. The scanner head is simplex, so you can only scan one side at a time, but you can load up about 40 pages (though I did manage 50) and leave this baby doing its thing. It automatically de-skews wonky scans well, and a few that I noticed fed a little off-line wre fine in the resulting scan. I love the ability to scan direct to PDF files, as the results are easily filed and searchable, it is a very useful feature. Epson quote 12ppm in colour and 18ppm in mono, this is pretty accurate. The actual scanning I acheived was 10ppm in full colour and 17ppm when doing text based pages. This is only scanning time though, so if you have a really slow computer it'll take a little extra time to process the scans. My 2.4GHz iMac flew through them though, so I was very happy at the end of my testing.
At just over £200 you are paying about an extra £100 over a standard flatbed of comparable quality for the ADF function. Add to this that you get a one year on-site warranty. Throw into the mix all that added functionality and you can see that the GT-1500 offers very good value for money. The ADF really is the icing on the cake and gets my thumbs up.
If you are a keen photographer, then you will know how important it is not to lose your data, or to run out of space whilst out and about. The Epson P-5000 Photo Viewer allows you to free up some space on your compact flash and secure digital memory cards. It also plays movies and MP3 files, so you really should check out the review below.
There is a massive choice of multifunction (MF) printers on the market. Some try to do all things great (and fail) and charge a high price tag, others try to do too much and end up just a big disappointment. Epson have been making MF printers for a long time now, and their Stylus DX7400 offers a really good specification on paper, without a high price tag. A little shopping around can bag you the DX7400 for just £48, which gets you an inkjet printer, a scanner, a copier, and the ability to print direct from Pictbridge digital cameras. The only thing it lacks that more (much more) expensive offerings have is a fax machine, but in the age of the email, who uses a fax machine nowadays anyway?!
The DX7400 uses a four colour print system, with separate ink cartridges for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. This is great, as you only need to replace one empty cartridge at a time, with no wasted ink. This is only going to cost you around £6 per cartridge, so it is very cheap to keep this printer running. Many photo dedicated printers use six or more ink colours, to give you better tonal range, but to my surprise the photos from the DX7400 printed out very quickly and were great quality. When printing on normal inkjet paper (rather than glossy), large areas of flat colour did show some banding, but with careful use this could be avoided. For general full colour prints, like office documents, diagrams etc, not only were all the colours bright and vivid, with nice crisp text, but pages shot out at a great speed. Epson quote up to 32 pages per minute (ppm), in my experience I was getting an average of around 22ppm.
The fact that you also have a scanner bed on the DX7400 is a real boon. It might not sound much, but you will be surprised at how much you use the 'Copy' facility. Just pop your original on the glass, and push either the black copy of colour copy button. I tried some pages of text, which gave me nice crisp copies, with a white background, at around 22ppm. A full colour magazine page was slightly slower and did put quite a lot of ink of the page, things ended up a bit soggy. I changed over to some higher quality matte inkjet paper (100gsm) and then tried the magazine copy again. This time around things were hunky dory. A really nice copy, with good accurate colour reproduction.
Scanning is very simple. You can use Epson's own Scan Assistant software, which offers three different levels of scanning, from an auto-mode, through to a home mode, or a professional mode where you can control more or less every aspect of the scan. The DX7400 is also fully twain compliant, so you can scan from within your fave application (eg. PhotoShop). The scans were great, very fast to preview, and a pretty resectable speed for the final scan. Text was great, photos were very accurate, the only caveat was black and white photos which had a slight green tinge. This was easily corrected, so not really worth worrying about.
To say I was impressed with the Epson Stylus DX7400 is an understatement. The software included is easy to install, it even includes a version ABBYY FineReader for optical character recognition. The rest of the Epson suite of software really allows you to use all of the features easily and effectively. The printout quality is really good, for this price bracket it is hard to fault. Add to this the invaluable copy feature, then on top of that a really good scanner and you are onto a winner. If I had been told that the DX7400 was £99, I would still have to recommend it, but for half this price, it is a real bargain.
It brings me great pleasure to share with you the review of the Epson Perfection V100 Photo Scanner that I wrote over at MacNN.
"The V100 is a nice slim line off-white unit, with silver plastic on the lid. It sports four brushed metal quick buttons on the front that provide access to the Epson scan software, or to scan directly to print, email or a PDF file. A hinge opens the lid along the long edge, which is a little different from other scanners."
Head on over here to read the full review, enjoy !
Whenever I read about inkjet printers, more often than not, it is complaints about how expensive the ink cartridges are and that we live in a rip-off society. Over the years, I have come to learn (as some of you may have also experienced), that some manufacturers do in fact charge extortionate amounts for refills. Epson do not fit into this category, they have always touted how individual ink cartridges save you money and followed through with very good pricing. The Epson RX560 fits right into this category, using six individual ink cartridges, which can be replaced for as little as £6.99 each, so running costs for this all-in-one unit are going to be very good.
Now, I may as well admit it, but having reviewed many printers before, this is my first time to take a look at an all-in-one solution. The RX560 offers a six-colour inkjet printer, that fits into Epson’s ‘Stylus Photo’ range, it also has a flat bed scanner, so you can scan either in Epson’s software or in any twain compliant application, such as Photoshop, but wait, there’s more, you can also place something on the scanner glass and copy it, without even switching your computer on.
All this, plus there is also a memory card reader on the front of the unit, along with a 2.5 inch LCD screen for viewing settings and the photos stored on your memory card. So again, you can print out great looking photos without the use of a computer. There is also Pictbridge support, so you can connect you digital camera direct to the printer.
To top things off, the RX560 is also capable of printing directly onto CD’s and DVD’s that have a white printable surface. I have used an Epson R300 before and printing direct onto a disk is very handy. The RX560 delivers the sort of quality you would expect, with the only change here being the mechanism for sliding in the CD tray. Tucked away inside the paper output tray is a small blue lever, pop this down and the paper tray then adjusts to allow you to insert your disk in the supplied holder... it really is that simple.
So, the RX560 seems to offer a lot of features, but how good does it perform? I am hoping that it delivers the goods we have all come to expect from Epson, read on to find out…
First up, we will take a look at the printing quality. New inks in the form of Claria ink technology promise superior quality and up to 200 years durability when stored correctly. This sounds fantastic and is a great advance for keeping prints looking good for a very long time. The actual depth and vibrancy of the prints are astounding, the 5760x1440dpi resolution (when used) delivers so much detail that you will not be able to distinguish the Epson prints from lab photos.
The scanner offers an A4 size flatbed, an optical scanning resolution of 1200x2400dpi, with software supplied that is fully twain compatible, allowing you to use the scanner directly from within Photoshop. The resulting scans, as with the printouts are very details, have good depth and more importantly when scanning, they are very true to the original, with colour accuracy being very good. In use the scanner is a little noisier than a standalone flatbed, this is probably due to the noise of the scanhead being amplified by the cavernous printer underneath it. Don’t take this comment too seriously, as it is not obtrusive at all.
The menu system is superb, a nice bright 2.5 inch LCD screen which changes according to the mode you are in. A three-way mode button allows you to choose between ‘Copy’, ‘Memory Card’ and ‘Speciality Print’. When you have selected your mode, to the right of the screen you have four way arrow control buttons, with an OK button in the centre, plus a button at each corner of the screen. The main arrow control buttons allow easy navigation around the menu system and everything is laid out logically. With so many options and settings to choose from an intuitive menu is essential and Epson have done everything right.
Memory card support is good too, with compact flash, secure digital, memory stick and xd picture card slots hidden behind a smoked plastic panel. Navigating through the pictures is really easy and you can select individual pictures to print, all pictures, or go through selecting a different quantity of each one to print. You can even scan off the flatbed straight onto a memory card. The RX560 also acts as a memory card reader, so you can transfer your photos onto you Mac or PC from the printer. This is great as it means if you were previously using a memory card reader you regain one of your used USB ports. The printout of photos (I was using 7x5 glossy paper) is both quick and delivers stunning quality yet again.
The Epson RX560 offers so much to the end user and at a very reasonable cost. Think about it, if you were to go and buy a good quality inkjet printer, you are looking in the £100 range at least, add a scanner into the equation and to get a scanner of equal quality you need to splash out another £100, then add in a memory card reader at say £15, a colour inkjet copier at £100 and you can soon see where I am going with this. For under £150 you can have it all, great printouts, excellent scanning, all that extra convenience, wrapped up in a nicely designed, well laid out unit. The RX560 should be top of your list if you are looking for an all-in-one device. Now I just have to beg Epson to let me keep this one, I can feel the withdrawal symptoms already.
To download a printable PDF version of this review click here.
Product supplied by Epson UK
Retail price: £149.00
Contact: 08702 416900
Link to product.