by Mike McNamee Published 01/06/2006
THIS IS A MUCH-AWAITED SUPER A3 PRINTER USING THE SAME basic technology as its smaller brother the R800 (reviewed November 2004 issue). Whilst we were ready for its spectacular performance this time around it is still a joy to report in such a positive vein. We disclosed last November that the R800 ink set delivered the biggest printer gamut we had ever measured. With a bit of profile tweaking and the use of Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper we can report that we have lifted the bar another 3% - not an awful lot, but the bar was very high to start with! For the record the gamut volume was 889,322 L3 units, about 98.5% of the sRGB gamut.
The CD loading guides are stored neatly within the body of the printer. The CD holder will take full size and mini-CDs.
The Ink Set
The R1800 uses Epson UltraChrome Hi-Gloss. inks. There are eight cartridges in this printer including Matte and Photo Blacks, a red and a blue, a gloss optimiser, along with the usual suspects, cyan, magenta and yellow. They give claimed lives of 100 years for the Matte ink set and 80 years for the Photo Black ink set. The gloss optimiser is a varnish, which enhances the gloss on the finished product - it really works, they are very glossy indeed! The gloss optimiser also keeps bronzing at bay, none was evident; also the sheen is even, all over the print, including the full paper white (which has no coloured ink on it). When you hold a print at an acute angle to the light it is perfectly even and glossy over the entire surface. On the very high-gloss Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper (EPGPP) there is a slight reduction in reflectance due to the varnish from 95% down to 93.6% and a minuscule shift towards blue (less than 1 Lab point). There was no obvious change in the UV reflectance properties from the use of the Gloss Optimiser (Glop) suggesting that no benefit will be obtained in UV fade resistance (neither is any claimed by Epson, but we had to have a look!). The Glop is just evident from straight on if you can see both the un-coated and coated parts of the image. The print driver allows the Glop to be put down on the entire printable surface or just the part of the paper where there is image data (it does border-free printing up to A3 size). You can see it by viewing at certain angles to the surface, but you need both in view to detect the boundary. Right: Eight cartridges expands the gamut and helps running costs.
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