The chief appeal of the Epson Stylus Photo 1290S is the size of paper it can handle. While many photo printers in a similar price bracket can deal with a maximum size of A4, the 1290S is fine with sizes up to A3.
That in turn, though, means that it’s also far bulkier than your standard inkjet, and takes up a lot more space on your desk. When you factor in the paper feed at the back and the output tray at the front (although both of these are retractable) then you may also want to budget for a trip to IKEA for something suitable on which to put the printer.
Still, the Stylus Photo 1290S is far easier to set up and get going than something from the aforementioned home of Scandinavian shelving, requiring only the connection of a couple of leads (it accepts both parallel and USB connections) and the installation of the included Epson software. From taking it out of the box to first print took us less than a quarter of an hour.
Aimed primarily at the digital photographer, the unit can output work at up to 2,880 dpi, although understandably a full A3 image at this resolution takes some time to appear. We tried a selection of such images, and they took between eight and fourteen minutes to complete. But they’re worth waiting for. The quality is strong, backed up by software that optimises the print technique for the kind of paper being used. The colours are tight and generally very accurate too.
The printer uses a separate black ink tank, alongside a colour cartridge with individual tanks for five colours (cyan, a lighter cyan, magenta, yellow and a lighter magenta). As you’d expect, when you knock out around a dozen high quality A3 colour printouts, it drains these tanks quickly! However, the printer is capable of handling a variety of smaller paper sizes, and a roll paper adapter is provided as well. Whichever you opt for, you can utilise borderless printing support.
A quick word of praise for the included software package. PhotoQuicker 3.2 is a really easy to use utility that helps you produce good results with little hassle. Once you tell it where to find your images, it then just asks you which you want to print, what you want to print them on and how many you want to a page, and then you can sit back with a cuppa. Good stuff.
The price tag alone indicates that this is a printer for something more than the casual user, and that’s absolutely right. Despite the fact that a separate black ink tank in this case makes it reasonably economical for text printing, it’s a bit of a case of buying a sledgehammer to crack a nut. But do require high quality A3 photo printing, then the Stylus Photo 1290S is further evidence of Epson very much at the top of its game. Just make some room on your desk.
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