Buyer's Guide 2009: Fine-Art Printers
Don’t call them desktops—the latest generation of inkjet printers produces gallery prints at impressive sizes
The Epson Stylus Photo 1400 offers a lot for its low price. It's a fast printer that uses a set of six lively dye-based inks called Claria Hi-Definition inks. Epson lists the speed for an 8x10-inch borderless print at one minute, 51 seconds. This printer allows you to print directly onto CDs and DVDs. List Price: $299 (often less with rebates).
The Epson Stylus Photo R1900 is a pigment-based printer that provides a liveliness to colors that's nearly identical to the best of dye-based prints by using what Epson calls Radiance Technology, codeveloped by RIT. It uses a set of eight UltraChrome Hi-Gloss 2 pigment inks, including the use of orange and red for better renditions of those colors. Epson gives a printing speed of one minute, 32 seconds for an 11x14. List Price: $549 (often less with rebates).
The Epson Stylus Photo R2400 is Epson's classic pro model, a pigment-based printer using eight UltraChrome K3 inks. It was the first 13x19-inch printer to include three levels of black and truly set a new standard for inkjet black-and-white printing, plus it has a special black-and-white mode unique to Epson. This printer will do borderless printing at all standard sizes, including a panoramic 13x44 inches. Epson says it will print an 11x14 in one minute, 57 seconds. List Price: $799.
The Epson Stylus Photo R2880 is a pigment-based printer that uses UltraChrome K3 inks and includes Epson's new Vivid Magenta ink set for improved reds, blues and purples. The printer includes the Radiance Technology introduced with the R1900 and the advanced black-and-white mode of the 2400. Epson says it will print an 11x14 in three minutes, 55 seconds. List Price: $799.
The HP Photosmart Pro B8850 is a pigment-based printer using eight Vivera inks and four printheads to speed up printing. HP gives a printing speed for a 13x19-inch print at 90 seconds. This printer also has a built-in, four-color sensor to automatically calibrate printer color. HP always has been known for technology, and this printer has an interesting print-management system, Electrostatic Drop Detection, which monitors print nozzles to minimize cleaning cycles. List Price: $549 (often less with rebates).
The HP Photosmart Pro B9180 is a pigment-based printer using eight Vivera inks and four printheads. HP gives its speed at under 90 seconds for a 13x19-inch print. Like the B8850, this printer includes a built-in color sensor for calibration and Electrostatic Drop Detection. A front bypass tray lets you print multiple sizes without changing the paper in the main tray. The B9180 also allows the use of thicker media than the B8850 and has an Ethernet port for networking. List Price: $699 (often less with rebates).