The latest A3+ inkjet printer to join the Epson line-up.
With a continued commitment to home printing, Epson has deservedly become one of the most successful manufacturers of inkjet models, helping enthusiast and professional photographers produce high-quality prints over which they have total control. With the Stylus Photo 1400 this looks set to continue, with this high-specification A3+ printer reaching the market at an incredibly attractive price.
Like the Epson 1290 and 1290s before it, the new Stylus Photo 1400 is capable of producing borderless prints up to A3+ in size, using a six-colour ‘photo’ inkset in which pale cyan and pale magenta inks augment the basic cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) colour-set. Unlike earlier models though, the 1400 uses Epson’s Claria ink, which is claimed to produce prints that can last for up to 200 years in an album. As well as longevity, the maximum print resolution has also been increased, with the 1400 capable of delivering an optimised resolution of 5760 x 1440dpi using variable-sized droplet technology.
However, print speed can still be improved upon, and like previous Epson A3 printers, output is certainly not ‘immediate’. A 300ppi A4 print (from a 25Mb file), for example, takes about 150secs at the ‘Photo’ quality setting (with the high-speed option activated), and A3 prints roll out in roughly 270secs. Activating the optimised ‘Photo RPM’ resolution setting will double these times, though images are not twice as good; in fact, the difference is incredibly slight.
Yet even using the ‘basic’ Photo setting the 1400 is capable of turning out great prints. Sometimes the default ‘Epson Vivid’ colour mode is a little too bold, but there are plenty of other options and detail is good thanks to the minimum 1.5 picolitre droplet size. Indeed, it is only when it comes to producing black and white prints that the 1400 shows any slight failings, with lighter tones appearing a bit pink, and darker tones taking on a greenish tint. This is especially apparent on gloss papers, with matt ‘art’ papers faring a little better. Having a printer profile made for your preferred paper would iron this out or, as a ‘quick fix’, you can choose to print using only the black ink if you can accept a slight loss of image quality.
As a black and white ‘fine art’ printer the Stylus 1400 has its shortfalls, but so do most dye-based printers, including the more expensive Canon Pixma Pro 9000 tested last issue. Indeed, compared to the Pixma the Epson 1400 would be our choice, with the £200 difference in their respective purchase prices buying a healthy stock of paper and ink.