In my review of Epson’s Stylus Photo R800 printer ( January 2005 ), my only complaint was that it wouldn’t print on paper larger than 8.5-by-11 inches. Voila! The R1800 is here and it will produce borderless prints up to 13-by-19 inches and panoramic prints up to 13-by-44 inches, which is very impressive for a desktop printer. Featuring the same eight-channel ink set and individual replacement cartridges as the R800, the R1800 is a steal at $549.;
Tiny but Mighty
Thanks to its 1.5-picoliter print head, which delivers minute droplets of ink, the R1800 has a maximum resolution of 5760-by-1440 dpi, offering professional photo-lab quality. The R1800 uses Epson’s UltraChrome inks, but in a different configuration than its Stylus Photo 2200 (; October 2002 ).
Whereas the Stylus Photo 2200 uses a CMYKlclm (CMYK plus light cyan, light magenta) ink set, the R1800 uses red and blue instead of the two light colors, offering a broader gamut range and a bit more saturation of extremely bright colors. Thanks to Epson’s accurate color profiles and easy setup, you should making great prints within about 10 minutes of opening the box.
Versatile Print Options
The R1800 has both the Photo Black and Matte Black cartridges and switches between them automatically depending on the type of paper you choose. The eighth cartridge is a gloss enhancer (which you can choose in the Print dialog) that adds a semi-matte coating on glossy prints, giving them a bit more durability. The gloss enhancer increased print drying time by about three minutes.
For added versatility, the R1800 will print on 4.3-inch, 8-inch, and 13-inch paper rolls and, with the enclosed adapter tray, on printable CDs and DVDs. The CD image quality is very good, and you won’t have to wait long; it takes one minute to print a CD on the highest-quality setting and three minutes to dry.
The R1800 is one fast printer. It took 4 minutes and 5 seconds to complete a 13-by-19-inch borderless print on the Photo setting (second-best quality mode), using a 1.42GHz Mac Mini. It took about 10 minutes to print the same image in Photo RPM mode, the highest quality setting. Macworld’s 22MB, 8.5-by-11-inch test print took one minute to print in Photo mode and three minutes in Photo RPM mode, the same as the R800. I used Epson’s Premium Glossy and Enhanced Matte paper to produce the test prints.
The back panel of the R1800 has a USB 2.0 port and a FireWire port, which makes it easy to share the printer with another computer, even a Windows system. Unlike the R800, which prints slightly faster with the FireWire port, the R1800 has identical print speeds with both ports.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
The Epson Stylus Photo R1800 sets the standard for versatile, high-performance, large-format desktop photo printing. It’s speedy and it produces beautiful prints. It doesn’t get any better than this, and certainly not for this price.
[Jeff Dorgay is a professional photographer who lives in the Pacific Northwest.]Epson Stylus Photo R1800