Product Review: Epson Stylus Photo R1800 Printer
Every scrapbooker out there is familiar with the Epson Stylus Photo R1800 color printer, it is advertised in every major scrapbooking magazine. Full of features and extras, is it really worth the $300-$400 price tag?
Print Quality: My main influence in purchasing this printer was that I generally scrap with photos larger than 4×6, and I hate waiting for my pictures. I had also been displeased with digital printing services in my area. The Epson R1800 has 8 individual print cartridges, Cyan, Magenta, Blue, Red, Yellow, Photo Black, Matte Black and Gloss Optimizer. The gloss optimizer makes the largest difference by far, adding a photographic finish to prints, and when printing on Epson’s Premium Quality Photo Glossy paper, I can honestly say I like my prints better than the ones I’ve ordered from print houses. Matte pictures are also full of depth, and especially striking in black and white.
12×12 Borderless Printing: If you are a digital scrapbooker, as I dabble in on occasion, the ability to print 12×12 borderless pages is priceless. The Epson R1800 prints a true borderless image with little to no smearing or imperfections. It does warn me when I print borderless that print quality may decline near the top or bottom of the image, however I have never had that happen personally. Just a warning, the borderless option is only available when using certain types of media, but Epson manufactures a 12×12 size of their Premium Photo Papers, so it is not much of a problem. You can also use the 12×12 printing feature to print titles directly on your traditional scrapbook pages, and to use digital elements on your paper pages.
Replacing Inks: It would seem with 8 individual cartridges that ink would be costly to replace, but I have found the opposite to be true. The cartridges are priced around $15-$20 each, and unlike 3 color cartridges, you only have to replace the ones you run out of as they are used. For example, if you are using a standard 3 color cartridge and print off photos from your Bahamas beach vacation, you will have to replace your whole cartridge when you run out of Cyan, even if the Magenta has barely been used. I have found that the cost of ink ends up about the same. Replacing inks is also very simple, with the push of a button the cartridge carrier slides into place and you simply pop the used cartridge out and the new one in.
Printing on CDs: I like to add a pocket to the back of my scrapbooks containing a CD of the digital pictures I have used in the album, as well as page scans, fonts and digital elements. Although I don’t use this feature nearly as much as the others, I do like having the ability to design the printable CDs I include in my album. I found the Epson CD design software that came bundled with my printer easy to use and the print quality on the CDs very good.
My Final Decision: While the price tag does keep it out of reach for many, if you are a digital scrapbooker or you would like more control over printing your pictures, the Epson Stylus Photo R1800 is a good buy and will most likely pay for itself with what you save out of your current printing costs.