Generally, press conferences are made to impress journalists, announce breathtaking characteristics, new promising functions…the introduction of Epson's show wasn't exactly of this type. It was almost like a warning. The first person to speak, the CEO of Epson France announced that Epson now estimates that consumers are ready to pay a product 10 to 15 euros more than the entry level product of their competitors. Products around 49€ will not be discontinued but they will no longer be a priority for Epson. This is very serious: the first announcement is that prices are on the rise. This is unusual for a start…
The next part was a bit better: Epson carried a survey among a group of consumers and found that for 78% of their inkjet clients, the first reason for buying was the presence of separated inkjet cartridges. The next reason is the quality and finally the price of the cartridges. Epson continues on the same path chosen last year: all printers (except 4" x 6") now have separated cartridges and each one costs 9.99€. The message is simple: Epson is inexpensive. It isn't however yet possible to know the capacity of the cartridges or the autonomy according to the new ISO norm. Too bad…
Another message about the cost: now all pictures cost 29 cts, ink + paper. This is a real progress. The release of packs effectively sensibly reduces printing costs. Nevertheless, we can ask ourselves whether if the effort – which is already appreciable – is important enough knowing that photos printed online now costs less than 15 cts (don't forget processing charges and delivery fees).
Epson then gave us a brief outline of the situation: same as usual. A4 monofunction printers are less and less popular. Market shares are taken by multifunctions and small 4" x 6" printers.
4" x 6" printers: the current PictureMate 100 and 500 will be replaced by slightly higher range products: the PictureMate 240 and 280 respectively launched at 179 and 299 euros. The two use cartridges including 4 basic colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The last color is unusual: 4" x 6" usually produces black by mixing the three primary colors. The black will make possible to really print black and white pictures: this is one of the downsides of the Canon and HP printers recently tested.
Quality, speed, the two PictureMates are equivalent. The only difference is the presence of a DVD burner under the PictureMate 280. You will be able to directly burn your pictures. The first one to introduce this functionality was the Lexmark with the P450. Interesting fact, it seems that this printer will no longer integrate a burner. Epson will appreciate this fact. They won’t even have a competitor on this segment.A4 monofunction
, the product line is simplified. The D68 is discontinued. The only ones left are the D78 at 69 € and a D88+ at 89 €.
They respectively print 22/12 ppm in black and white and 23/14 ppm in color. Inks are of DuraBright Ultra type (pigment). They have a smaller gamut than coloured inks but they have a better time (40 years outside instead of 25 years for the new colored ink) and humidity resistance.
"Office multifunctions" use the same four separated cartridges.
The DX4050 – 99 € - basic model: 23 ppm, scan in 600 dpi.
DX4050, 129 € = DX4050 + memory card player and PictBridge
DX5050, 159 € = DX4050 + color monitor.
In November, Epson will release a DX700F at 179 €, the F stands for fax. Problem: it won't however include a paper loader like Canon, Brother, HP…
The photo printers
have a new colored ink called Claria. Ejection technique is still piezo-electric but this time Epson reduced the size of the ink drops. They decrease from 3 picoliter minimum for some of the models and 2 picoliter for the previous high end products to 1.5 pl for the entire Stylus Photo R product line.
The R265 – 129 € – includes 6 cartridges. It prints 30 ppm in black and white and in color.
The R360 – 199 € – 9 cm / 3.5" color monitor, memory card player, picture editing functions directly implemented on the printer.
They both print pictures in standard quality in 30 seconds with ink drops of 1.5 picoliter.