If your end product is prints, check out the Epson Stylus Pro 4900
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If your end product is prints, check out the Epson Stylus Pro 4900

By Steve Baczewski

The Epson Stylus Pro 4900 (US$2,495) represents a major redesign of Epson’s 4000 series (http://www.epson.com that can handle roll or cut-sheet paper up to 17-inch wide.

It uses proven technology from their high-end 7900 and 9900 printers, including UltraChrome HDR inks; precision screening technology; a 10-channel print head with an ink repellent coating, preventing nozzle clogging; and a built-in rotary paper cutter. The 4900 produces remarkable rich color and black-and-white prints.

The solidly built 4900 weighs 115 lbs and stretches the definition of desktop printing. It houses 11 ink cartridges, including both photo and matte black ink. It eliminates swapping black ink cartridges by automatically switching to the correct one based on your paper selection.

There are four paper feeds: roll, cassette, rear, and front. All work well with the following caveat. The front paper feed is for single sheets of thick stock. It requires your full attention passing paper through a path that’s poorly described and illustrated in the user manual. It’s challenging to consistently line up 8×10 inch sheets of paper squarely on the paper path because the printer’s design lets A4 and letter-size paper hover above -- not on -- the indication marker on the paper cassette cover. This leads to occasional misfeeds. The rear paper feeder’s back paper support inadequately extends only a few inches, and thin paper stock that’s 13×19″ or greater flops down instead of being held upright.

I made prints including a standard reference target using Epson’s excellent ICC paper profiles. Ink droplets as small as 3.5 picoliters with a maximum resolution of 2880×1440 produced dynamic prints with rich accurate colors, smooth seamless gradients, and lots of shadow and highlight detail. The use of green and orange ink cartridges extends the color gamut accurately, delivering hard-to-reproduce yellows.

If your end product is prints, the 4900 will put your best foot forward.

Rating: 8 out of 10

(This review is brought to you courtesy of "Layers Magazine": http://layersmagazine.com/ .)

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