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At Image Science we've been using and selling Epson pigment ink printers for as long as they have been made. We know these machines in an intimate way other companies simply don't, because we don’t just sell them, we use them all day every day, to run a very successful fine art printing business.
We print daily for many of Australia's best known artists, and have a vast amount of practical experience to draw from when offering advice. We've helped thousands of photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, architects set up awesome, accurate printing environments for more than a decade now.
Of course we can help with all your ink, media and colour management needs as well. Most of our clients are repeat customers, because they know and appreciate the unmatched support we offer over the long term.
Unquestionably the best combination of quality, versatility, and cost of use in fine art printing currently comes in the form of the A2 capable Epson SureColor P906 (known as the P900 in other markets).
If your budget for a printer is anywhere near $1500, then consider saving up slightly longer and getting the Epson SureColor P906.
The value presented by the bigger printer means you have to look for reasons NOT to buy one, and really the only good reason would be a hard budget limit.
The P906 improves upon even the P800's formerly unsurpassed colour and black & white print quality, handles all normal media including thick fine art papers with aplomb, and comes from the most reliable lineage of printers Epson has ever made (the venerable 3800, 3880 and P*00 models which preceded this model have proven to be very reliable over the last decade).
While the ink tanks seem expensive initially, the cost per millilitre of ink is noticeably lower than the smaller models, so the printer is much cheaper to run in the long term.
We think this is pretty much the perfect machine for all serious image makers.
Print quality is second to none, you can print on almost any type of surface at exquisite quality, and you can go all the way out to the very satisfying A2 size in sheets, or with the optional roll holder that is suitable for light roll printing use (if you're planning on doing a lot of roll printing, look to the 5070 below) - prints to 17 inches wide by almost any length.
(If you need to print anything bigger you can of course send it to us to print - since the inks we use are almost exactly the same, you can be confident of nearly perfect matches between your system and ours).
The P906 is unhesitatingly recommended.
Clearly we're very fond of the P906, but of course it may not suit everyone, and Epson has two other excellent choices for you to consider in the small format printers range.
The Epson P706 is the A3+ (13" carriage) little brother to the P906, and very similar (known as the P700 in other markets). It replaces the very popular and excellent P600.
You'd consider this one if you want a pigment ink fine art printer but you're worried you won't have the volumes of printing work to support the P906. (In truth, the P906 inks last a very long time and clogging issues never seem to bother it that much, but if you really want a smaller machine the P706 is an excellent choice).
Like the P906, the P706 is highly capable with fine art papers and offers excellent, easy black and white printing as well.
The Epson 5070 is the 'full roll handling' version of the P906 i.e. it's Epson's 'serious' 17" roll printer. It has a motorised roll feeder, suction at the platen, and an in-built cutter - these are the key roll features missing from the P906's accessory roll holder which make the P906 really only suitable for light roll printing use.
In addition, the 5070 takes 200ml cartridges, making it even more cost effective to run than the P906.
(Do be aware though that physically this is a MUCH bigger unit that then P9006...check the specification to make sure you have a desk big enough!).
Mirage is probably the easiest software to drive Epson printers. It provides a simple, intuitive and easy to use one-window interface which makes the (often daunting) professional printing process hassle-free. For most people, Mirage is probably the right solution versus a full RIP.
In addition to a really clear GUI, Mirage also offers the capability to remove the standard driver length limits – meaning that you’ll now be able to print on roll media without the usual complexities involved with this kind of printing.
As we don't just sell printers but actually use them all day every day in our fine art printing service, we can help you decide if Mirage or a full RIP is the right way to go for your particular set-up.
Mirage is now available in version 4 and includes new features such as direct image editing, full 16 bit support & loading of custom media.