by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2012
The Epson WP 4025 DW the simpler, printonly version than the 4245 that we actually tested.
All machines can be colour managed, including driving from Photoshop using the standard workflow of 'managing colour' from Photoshop and disabling it in the printer. As far as Photoshop is concerned the printer looks like any other Epson and includes both colour management and output options (for crop marks, borders and the like).
The printer took a couple of head cleans to bed in and we did a head alignment as well before starting the full testing. Head alignment involved following the instructions, three sheets of paper and was very straightforward.
All green lights on the Fogra contract proofing test came as a shock but does show the capabilities of the Durabrite ink set
We tested the printer using the installed driver, a worryingly named 'Epson IJ Printer 07.icc' it seemed a bit basic to us! The print itself was made using Best Quality with High Speed turned off and Premium Glossy Photo Paper as the media setting. The print was a little weak, too light and with a rather clumpy Granger Chart. The mid grey was only at 61% luminance (ie 11% too light) although the Dmax was 1.9. The average error was 7.1 ΔELab and the maximum error was in the yellow at a disappointing 27 Lab points. There is a density adjuster on the control panel of the printer; the low print density was present throughout the gamut.
It seemed only fair to give the printer the full audit treatment and so we made a bespoke profile using i1Publish and a 400 patch target. We were curious to see how only four inks would perform and did not have long to wait. The first print looked good but when we offered up to the auditing process we were astounded to find it passing Fogra Contract Proof Certification standard right out of the blocks, indeed as the succession of green ticks and button lit up we actually burst out laughing such was the surprise! There we were sitting in front of a £200 printer that was performing like a proofer costing thousands. We recovered our composure and set about collating the remaining data. Generally it turned out well although the Durabrite ink set is demonstrably different to the UltraChrome K3 inks. The maximum black was a little weak at just 1.88. Even so the gamut was good at 838,787. The strong colours were yellow, cyan, and cyangreen.
The weakest colours were around the reds. Overall the residual errors lay in the saturation (the chroma), the lightness and hue errors were stronger. The metamerism was much higher than we find with UltraChrome, measuring 5.44 (CII Δ00 D65-Tungsten A on 50% grey) against a more normal 2-3 for K3. This showed itself as a distinctly magenta hue in warm light. For the record we include the data summary, suffice to say that this was very good shooting, up with the best!
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