The Epson RX580, a photo-inkjet all-in-one printer, uses six inks to produce excellent looking photos. It incorporates a 1,200 dpi scanner, which enables stand-alone copy functionality as well.
Although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some MFPs (such as wireless networking, fax capabilities, or transparency adapters), the RX580 does have card slots that accept a range of camera memory card types (CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SD, xD), as well as a PictBridge direct-print USB port, allowing the printer to be used without a computer to print photos directly from your camera or camera media cards.
This medium-sized printer’s setup is quick and straightforward. After snapping each of the six color-ink cartridges into place underneath the scanner, just plug in the USB cable, install the software, and you’re ready to print.
Scanning with this MFP is a breeze. Unlike many MFPs that give you only minimal control over your scans, the RX580’s software lets you choose between beginner, intermediate, or advanced user modes. The beginner Full Auto Mode consists of a single Scan button, which scans, crops, and sends your image to the computer. The intermediate Home Mode performs a preview scan of an image and allows you to choose from automatic image adjustments, including color restoration and backlight correction. The Professional Mode gives you a preview and then provides a wide range of tools for you to take full control over color and quality settings for your images.
The RX580 has a versatile control panel. Four arrow keys allow you to smoothly navigate through options displayed on the unit’s 2.5-inch LCD screen. For example, you can use it to copy or print from a camera’s memory card or to center or tile images for printing on CDs or DVDs—something most other printers can’t do.
While it’s not the fastest printer we tested, the RX580 did turn in respectable print times-about 20 seconds to print a one-page Word document at Normal quality and a little over two minutes each to print our 22MB Photoshop test file and a 4-by-6-inch photo from a memory card, using the best quality setting. Scanning times were a little sluggish; the unit took three minutes and 30 seconds to digitize a 4-by-6-inch photo at 1,200 dpi and 24-bit color (millions of colors).
The RX580 is part of the recently introduced high definition color printing family, using Claria Hi-Definition inks. This new ink is dye based, but has many of the characteristics and fewer of the drawbacks associated with pigment inks: It gives you long-lasting prints with smudge, water, and scratch resistance, but without the bronzing and metamerization (color shifting) on glossy papers. A jury of Macworld editors rated the RX580 photo’s prints as Superior. Other inkjets do better at printing text on plain paper, but the jury still rated Epson’s text as Good.
Scans of both the resolution test (an image that contains a lot of fine lines and detail) and photographs earned a Good rating as well. The photo scan was a bit dark and a little too red while other MFPs were able to capture more detail—like fine lines and text—in the resolution test.
Timed Trials: Print
|10-page Word test||3:15|
|1-page Word test||0:21|
|22MB Photoshop image||2:04|
timed trials: scan
|8-by-10-inch Photo, 600 dpi scan||1:07|
|4-by-6-inch Photo, 1,200dpi scan||3:31|
Scale = Minutes: Seconds
jury tests: print
|Graphics: Fine Lines and Gradients||Good|
|22MB Photoshop Image Quality||Superior|
|Text Quality||Very Good|
Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor
jury tests: scan/copy
Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor
|Print Resolution||5760x1440 dpi|
|Scan Resolution: optical||1200 dpi|
|Max Scanning Bit Depth (output)||48 bit|
|Paper Sizes||Letter, Photo: (borderless 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, 8.5x11), Ink jet printable CDs and DVDs|
|Cost to Replace Ink/ Toner Cartridges||$120 ($20 each for black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan, light Magenta|
|Weight (in pounds)||18.3|
|Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches)||11.2x19.3x18.2|
|Paper Capacity||120 sheets|
|Special Features||Claria Hi-Definition Ink (smudge, scratch, water and fade resistant); Prints on CD/DVDs|
Macworld’s buying advice
The Epson Stylus Photo RX580 may not have all of the features that some multifunction printers offer, but if you’re looking for a great photo printer that happens to have a good quality copier and scanner built in, then consider the RX580.
[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. Brian Chen is Macworld ’s assistant editor. ]Epson Stylus Photo RX580