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Epson Stylus Pro 7000 - 7500 - 9000 - 9500 - 10000 Print E-mail

The Epson 7600, 9600, and 10600 are compared and contrasted with Roland, Mimaki, Encad, HP, and Colorspan in practically all the FLAAR Reports by Professor Nicholas Hellmuth.

Yet people still ask about the earlier Epson 9000 large format printer and the 24" Epson 7000. These first-generation inkjet printers have now been replaced by the Epson 10000 and 10600 and have consequentially caused the earlier printers’ prices to drop. Questions often put to us at FLAAR are whether it is worthwhile to buy an older printer or simply buy a newer model? Or should you opt for a Roland, Mutoh, Mimaki, ColorSpan or Hewlett-Packard?

Epson 7000 large format color printer 24' inkjet printers Epson 9000 large format color inkjet printer
Epson 7000
Epson 9000

The Epson 7500 and Epson 9500 are still available but are no longer current models. The newer Epson 10600 is considerably better than the Epson 9000 or 9500 series in every respect.

If you took a fresh Epson print, a fresh Roland print, and a fresh ColorSpan print it would be a challenge for 90% of the audience to tell which was produced by a $27,000 printer, which by a $20,000 printer, and which by an $8,000 printer. Thus Epson clobbers the opposition on price of the printer. But the honeymoon is quickly over when you calculate the price of the Epson ink and media and realize that you may be unable to use any other ink.

The art department at Bowling Green State University, where the FLAAR evaluation lab is located, bought an Epson 9000. This printer at first refused to accept any aftermarket pigmented inks. Close to a thousand dollars worth of ink and media were wasted in coming to this conclusion. The dealer, who normally should have told the department this, was less than helpful. Epson- America stepped in and we are now trying to resurrect the printer.

In the meantime, since the Epson 9000 is nonfunctioning, the art faculty an d students are using the HP DesignJet Printer at FLAAR in the College of Technology. They are enjoying the color gamut of the UV pigmented inks, particularly the blue and cyan which they are unable to get with other printers.

At FLAAR we do jury tests of the image produced by different printers. Frequently we test Roland, ColorSpan, and HP 5000 image s. The viewers do not know which printer produced which image. They choose solely on the basis of what they like. The Cymbolic Sciences LightJet wins every time with its true continuous tone. Even if you are considering a printer for fine art, which means you will be using rougher media such as watercolor paper or canvas, an inkjet printer at lower resolution is adequate. ColorSpan wins every time for color depth in its dye inks. It is the best image producible by any printer in terms of color appearance at a normal viewing distance of 3 to 5 feet. Epson often wins on the graininess test, which is where Encad lose s. Some Epson prints also have an unexpected shimmer around the edge of an object within the picture. This may be a result of pigmented inks in general. We have seen comments about this problem on Epson user-groups.

For posters, banners, or photo-realistic images the Epson produces impressive color. If you are a photographer and want to see your pictures in large format digital enlargement the Epson 9000 creates lovely prints. A possible downside is its slow pace, which is too slow for a commercial sign shop. If you are a photographer and want attractive prints, consider the new Epson Stylus Pro 10600. Yet if you need 100 copies of your print any piezo printhead is rather slow, but for a single print the Epson 10000 is not as slow as the 9000 or 9500.

ColorSpan has the advantage with its 72" width when a really wide print is needed. Sometimes people simply prefer the extra apparent dpi for a photo-realistic image. Epson ’s prints are close to ColorSpan ’s, but the later has received the most accolades from those who have seen comparative prints. Occasionally a print shop may prefer the best inkjet printer that's available, in which case the choice is ColorSpan, with Roland being a close second. For reliability and ease of us e Hewlett-Packard is the best choice. Of all of the printers so far mentioned the ColorSpan is the fastest, HP DesignJet is next, while far behind are the Roland and Epson due to piezo ’s inherently slow technology.

Based off these findings you might wonder why ads claim piezo printheads are faster and better quality? But surely you are sophisticated enough to be leery of exaggerated claims in advertisements. You might like to read our List of all FLAAR Reports. To do so, send us an e-mail indicating to what use you will be putting your printer; will it be for printing signs, posters, banners, or whether you intend to print photos or fine art?

If you are intent on buying the Epson 900 0 beware of mail-order companies. They will simply send you the box minus professional information on how the printer will function in a real-life copy shop or photo studio. Therefore, be sure you go to a place that has experience with actually using the Epson printers to produce prints when you decide to purchase one. In the long run you will be more satisfied with a value added package from a competent source such as Parrot Digigraphic who will provide you with the printer plus some help getting started.

What are the Epson 7000, Epson 9000 really like? What's the real scoop on the new Epson 7500 and 9500? Large format prints look like actual photographs, which is the market for the Epson 9000 large format inkjet printer. Its quality is impressive and its color is brilliant. If you need your image to be in a sunny room be sure you test aftermarket inks from American Ink Jet, DicoJet, Lyson, Xtreme Gamut, and other ink companies. They have years of experience making inks for the Epson printers that last longer. These inks are more mature than the new Epson inks. VanSon, for example, has been making inks in Europe for centuries, thus it is understandable that they know ink inside out. Also be sure the RIP you select can handle all six colors because many RIPs are set up just for CMYK. Also, do not attempt to put the wrong kind of ink inside your Epson.

You can find information on what inks and media do and do not work from people who have already tested the inks and media by contacting companies like Parrot Digigraphic.

FLAAR’s senior review editor, Professor Nicholas Hellmuth, has followed the development of the Epson 7500 and Epson 9500 since they were first introduced. We at FLAAR received additional information before DRUPA from a variety of sources. In late May we spent two weeks inspecting the new Epson 7500 and 9500 at DRUPA printer tradeshow in Germany. We interviewed a wide variety of people who used these printers at the tradeshow. We inspected the RIPs especially. The colors failed to present basic color gamut, one RIP was unfinished, the colors were replaced before, during, and after DRUPA, which revealed how unfinished and inadequate the colors really were. Then during June and July we continued to get tips and hints of how the new inks were still being developed. Reports suggest that the new inks are indeed better, but we were naturally skeptical.

By November 2001 the Epson 7500 and 9500 were greatly improved but were gradually becoming "last year's models." FLAAR now has one at Bowling Green State University, Ohio and one at Francisco Marroquin University, Guatemala, which are our two locations. One exhibits the generic problem of extreme metamerism, namely the photo or picture changes colors depending on the light you view it under. The greenish metameric defect is the most common complaint we receive in the mail from people who own Epson printers. We will test for metameric problems with the newer Epson 5500 and Epson 10000 when test units are available and will report back immediately. However we do not have a newer Epson printer, so we have to depend on other people who have the Epson models for information regarding their performance. Naturally they tend to remember the flukes and glitches rather than the aspects which work just fine.

If you want our "Eye Witness Report on Epson 7500 and Epson 9500 new inks, the reality of the color gamut of pigmented inks, and comparison with all the other printers presented at DRUPA" just contact us and you get the DRUPA report by return e-mail. Be sure to ask for it by name.

Check out FLAAR Premium Report Series for people interested in "Fine art giclee printing", additional different Reports Series for "Signs, posters, and banners". That's why the FLAAR network of web sites exist, to provide a broad spectrum of information about all facets of scanning and digital printing.

Once an Epson 7500 arrived in the FLAAR office it was possible to learn more about it. For example, the printer driver was fast (faster than even HP's RIP). Actually, the main thing we learned by actually having the printer in house, was that for small prints (with no text) it was easy to operate the Epson 7500 without needing a RIP. You only need a RIP if you wish to remove jaggies with Adobe PostScript (which is inside most RIP packages). So you can buy the Epson 7500 at a reasonable price and don't have to spend $2000 more just for a RIP. Of course today you can get an Epson 7600 with seven inks probably for less price than the original cost of the 7500 with six inks.

With the printer available we also learned a lot about the differences between various dealers. The dealer that our university art department bought from turned out to be less than helpful.

PlotterSupplies does sell reconditioned Epson printers. If you wish a refurbished Epson printer, contact Michael E. Falagrady National Sales Manager Plotter Supplies, Inc./Qmax Digital toll-free: 800.365.3305, 303.450.2900 fax: 303.450.0926, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We installed the Epson 7500 in our office at the university. That's because Epson is the only company that makes a 24" inkjet printer with pigmented inks. Hewlett-Packard has a wonderful 6-color 1200 dpi printer, but it's 42" wide (actually we have the 60" model of the 5000ps). But for situations when you absolutely just have space, or budget, only for 24", then the Epson 7600 is the one you should consider.



Most recently updated June 8, 2005.
First posted September 3, 2003.



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