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Epson Stylus Pro 9800 Printer - Product Review

The Epson Stylus Pro 9800 is a professional wide format printer that prints on various media from 10" wide as much as 48" wide. For all of this, it's very compact. The printer is 67" wide and only 20" deep. Perhaps you could set it through to a desk, but Epson offers it with a custom stand that offers up a "drop" area for the prints to slide into, plus a'catch'bin made from a smooth material and held in place by two simple rods that snap into place on the custom stand.

Set through to the stand with the catch bin it stands 46" high to the top of the printer, and from the rear of the feet of the stand to the leading of the catch bin it's 43 ½ ".

This printer uses eight separate inks including black, light black, and light-light black. This provides for excellent shading and gradual transitions form shadow to highlight. Another inks are yellow, magenta and cyan. Magenta and cyan likewise have a light version for a total of eight ink cartridges.

The proprietary Epson inks are what they call Ultrachrome, pigmented inks, and have as much as 200+ years colorfast rating on Epson media in archival conditions.

The print heads spray out ink droplets at 3 picoliters, that will be extremely small, and produce the smoothest, almost unbelievably sharp prints.

I run a top end portrait studio in Honolulu, Hawaii, and am very particular about the caliber of the merchandise I deliver to my clients. So particular actually that I held on changing to digital capture service epson and output until I could see with my own, personal eyes, and with my own, personal images that digital could at the least match what I was getting with a medium format negative and wet lab process prints. That happened in 2000.

So in 2000 I switched from film to digital capture, but nonetheless had nearly all of my work printed by wet lab process. Only canvas prints I would have printed on an Epson pro printer, and those I also had done by an outside printer service. Back then a model was 9600 or 7600, and whilst the inks were pigmented, they weren't Ultrachrome. That came later.

My first Epson pro printer was a Stylus Pro 1700, which printed as much as 17" wide. Like it's big brother the 9700, and now the 9800, the 1700 also printed on a variety of media and would handle sheets or rolls.

It's easy enough to appear up most of the technical data for these printers, so allow me to inform you about the product quality, reliability and service.

After less than the usual year the 1700 developed a trouble with the print heads that couldn't be solved by the Epson technician over the phone directing me in running cleaning and then "power cleaning" cycles. So the perfect solution is was to displace the printer.

To facilitate the replacement, Epson Fed Ex'd a new printer if you ask me right away. All I'd to accomplish was to pack the faulty printer into the box the brand new one shipped in, and have Fed Ex pick it up. The replacement didn't cost me one dime! Epson paid everything including shipping.

The new 1700 ran perfectly for over per year and a half before I decided to purchase the brand new 9800. In fact the 1700 is still going strong now, another two years after I bought the 9800.

I've had the 9800 now for two years, and while it is past the warranty period, Epson still provides tech help over the phone any time I want it...weekdays and business hours.

Primarily I print on Epson's Ultra Premium 260 gm satin finish photo paper, and Epson's Premier Art Canvas, but the Stylus Pro printers will even print on a wide variety of papers and even vinyl and backlit material.

To state that I am pleased with the printer is a major understatement! I enjoy the prints I get with it, and so do my clients. It's simple to use and has required no maintenance at all provided that I've had it.

The inks are rather costly, but the paper is reasonable once you match up against light sensitive photo papers and chemicals for wet lab process. And once you compare the expense of materials, (ink and paper), from what you've to pay a lab to make prints, it's a bargain.

To me, the greatest advantage is that I have complete control over my images and final prints. I no further have to deal with uppity photo lab personnel and declining quality control. Yes, it will take more of my time, but being an artist the caliber of the merchandise I deliver is paramount, so it's really worth the small additional time I have to put in.
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