Epson has introduced the Stylus Pro 7600 and Stylus Pro 9600, new photographic inkjets with a seven-color UltraChrome ink system.
The folks at Epson said that the Stylus Pro 7600 and Stylus Pro 9600 use an entirely new Epson photographic driver for Mac and Windows, allowing for complete density control even when the driver color management feature is turned off. This standard driver also gives users the ability to set up a Mac or Windows PC as a dedicated network spooler. As far as MacCentral can ascertain, the printers are for the traditional Mac operating system only. The new printers offer a variety of printer interfaces, including USB and FireWire.
The Stylus Pro 7600 replaces the Stylus Pro 7000 and 7500 for printing images as wide as 24-inches, while the Stylus Pro 9600 replaces the Stylus Pro 9000 and 9500 for printing as wide as 44-inches.
The Epson Stylus Pro 7600 and Stylus Pro 9600 are capable of printing at 2,880 x 1,440 dpi resolution. They also use variable droplets up to three different sizes per line and as small as four picoliters to greatly decrease print time while optimizing photographic quality. And they offer BorderFree printing, a feature that lets you print over both left and right edges of the media while automatically cutting top and bottom edges for full-bleed prints on all four sides of the paper, depending on media type. A built-in cutter is included to trim prints faster and with greater accuracy and safety than manual techniques.
Depending on the print mode being used, speeds vary from eight square feet per hour to a maximum of 192 square feet per hour.
UltraChrome is a new archival system that uses seven individual colors to create exhibit-quality output on a wide selection of media in color and black and white. It retains the advantages of high resistance to water and light, plus the largest color range ever for pigmented inks, according to Mark Radogna, senior product manager, professional graphics, Epson.
The color level is close to that of Epson’s six-color, photo dye-based inks. The end-result is more vibrant and saturated reds, oranges and yellows, Radogna said. The printers also offer lightfastness ratings for color images up to 100 years under glass, and over 100 years for black and white prints under glass, on specific Epson papers, he added.
Besides their color capabilities, both printers can also print black and white photographs with the addition of a new lower density black ink — Light Black — that helps produce more neutral grays with no color casting and crossover, Radogna said. The Epson Stylus Pro 7600 and Stylus Pro 9600 offer three black ink modes that can be changed by the user.
The Photo Black ink has been optimized for glossy, semi gloss, luster, etc. and also supports virtually any type of paper, while the Matte Black ink has been optimized to support a wide range of matte papers, such as fine art papers. The Matte Black ink mode also yields higher density and contrast on matte papers and is meant for fine art photography printed on matte media types.
If you buy one of the printers, you have the option of configuring your Stylus Pro 7600 or Stylus Pro 9600 for use with six-color Epson Photographic Dye rather than the new seven-color pigment-based UltraChrome ink. When printed on Epson ColorLife media, Photographic Dye prints offer a lightfastness rating up to 26 years in color when displayed under glass, as well as a slightly wider color gamut and D-Max rating as high as 3.0. Who would want it? Professionals working in color comping, general purpose graphics and other applications that don’t demand achievability or for those who require the lowest possible operation cost.
An optional Fiery Spark Professional 2.0 Adobe PostScript 3 Software RIP (Raster Image Processor) with Pantone color matching from Electronics for Imaging (EFI) is also available for the Epson Stylus Pro 7600 and Stylus Pro 9600. The RIP is designed to help maximize several of the printers’ advanced features using applications that are engineered around the needs of graphic artists, advertising agencies, fine arts studios and other professionals who create color composites and proofs for press runs. Additional RIPs for these printers will also be available from other third-party manufacturers.
The Stylus Pro 7600 and Stylus Pro 9600 have, respectively, estimated street prices of US$2,995 and $4,995. They’re due in June. The optional Fiery Spark Professional 2.0 Software RIP is priced at $1,995.