Good and bad News!
The bad news first. Epson have retained the InteliEdge
ink cartridge technology (the chip from hell). They are also using the
same ink cartridges as are already used by the
earlier Photo 1270 and 1290.
So what about the good news?
Specifications and Features:
Epson provide the following "at a glance" list of
features on their UK page:
- Borderless prints on 100mm, A4, A3 & A3+ media without the need for over sizing or the use of a guillotine
- 2880 x 720 dpi Perfect Picture Printing
- Advanced 6 colour printing for true photo reproduction
- Print speeds of up to 9.4ppm black text and 9.0ppm colour
- EPSON Ultra Micro Dot™ 4pl with Variable Sized Droplet Technology
- USB and Parallel connectivity for Windows® and Macintosh®
Provided free of charge with the Stylus Photo 1290S is EPSON's
PhotoQuicker 3.2 software, which enables edge to edge printing. Also
provided is a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements.
The price of the new printer is comparable to the Epson 1290, as are the costs for consumables. In fact the
consumables are shared with the Photo Stylus 1270.
1290S printer is based upon the Epson 1290
with only cosmetic differences (i.e. S = Silver).
More importantly there aren't any obvious changes to the hardware. The case design
shows a few subtle changes, the most obvious being the darker
silver finish to the base unit. There has been no reduction in "ink
droplet" size nor any real jump in speed.
following diagram shows that Epson have retained the variable ink drop
technology and it still remains at a minimum of 4 picolitres.
Epson first announced the earlier Photo 1290 printer, a small splash was made of
the improved colour rendering. The claim being that through
enhancements within the colour engine, etc it had been possible to
improve the colour space beyond that of the previous models (sRGB),
especially in blues and greens. Epson call this new technology - Natural Image
Color. It extends the visible color range that cannot be completely presented by colour monitors or digital cameras.
The following diagrams from the Epson web site in Japan and Hong Kong
show this clearer than my words.
Epson Natural Colour
According to Epson, this new colour technology enables the printer
to better differentiate the different hues of greens and blues evident in images taken of the sea, sky, water, forests and general greenery.
Epson Comparison Image
So the question is: - does reality agree with Epson's
claim? Well, in my view, it does! The differences are not earth
shattering, but they are clearly visible, particularly in blue skies.
The 1270 images showed a red bias compared to the 1290, at least in
the transition from blue sky to white cloud. Using a custom printer
profile with my 1270 meant that I
could easily better the colour gamut
achieved by the 1290's default profile. This is because all the
internal colour processing that the driver does is by-passed.
The 1290S doesn't offer any visible improvements over the earlier
Black and White Printing
Up until obtaining my Epson 2100 printer I had
been printing all my Black and White work using an
Epson 1200 and Jon Cones PiezographyBW system. I even wrote a review
expressing my delight with the quality of the system. Jon needn't worry
about loosing too many PiezographyBW customers. The 1290S is as poor
at producing neutral B&W prints as the 1270 and
1290 before it. I found the best media to be Epson
Matte Heavy Weight.