Folks in a small business might be used to big ink tanks without an obvious cartridge in a printer, but Epson is extending the tech to folks who print photos, and lots of them.
Even if it seems Iike printers aren’t as big as they once were, there are still changes happening in the world of printers to make things more useful, often delivering greater ink economy than what used to be the case.
HP is dabbling with ink subscription technologies, and Epson has been playing with economical tank solutions that bypass the cartridge entirely, allowing you to top up a printer in much the same way that you might need to top up your beverage.
However neither of these have been particularly suited to folks doing a lot of photo printing. You can print photos on any printer, sure, but some are better suited, with more tanks able to deliver greater colour depth, while printers built for printing photos often handle thicker and heavier stock of paper. Some printers won’t handle heavy paper stocks, and the ink mightn’t stick quite as well depending on the paper you use.
But Epson looks keen to change that, and is rolling out some updated models of its EcoTank printers to support not just printing photos, but printing photos with both a longer life and reduced heat consumption.
It’s news this week as Epson delivers a heat-free approach to printing, rolling out the hardware to the A4 ET-8500 and the A3 ET-8550, two printers that rely on Epson’s Claria ET Premium Inks, but skip the cartridges entirely and instead ask you to refill the ink tanks directly inside the printers.
Inside the printers, Epson is working with six ink tanks, including a standard black, a photo grey, a pigment black, and a cyan, yellow, and magenta tank, effectively providing more balance and depth depending on what’s being printed.
Depending on what you plan to print, Epson says its photo-focused EcoTank printer models can handle up to 2,300 photos per one set of ink bottles, with these able to handle not just colour photos, but black and white, too. It’s a result that Epson says is equivalent to roughly 185 individual cartridges, and with six different tanks inside the printer, may be closer to 30 sets overall.
On the heat side of things, Epson is applying pressure to the print head to lay down the ink, which in turn cuts back on the heat and in turn reduces the energy needed to run the printer. It reads as a small change, but it’s one that could have a big impact on the environment, complete with less parts that may fail.
“These printers are great news for photographers, creative enthusiasts and the environment,” said Craig Heckenberg, Managing Director of Epson Australia.
“They are our first heat-free, multi-function, EcoTank Photo printers to feature 6 colour Claria ET Premium Ink for delivering high quality photos, arts and crafts on a wide range of media,” he said. “The low running costs and flexible convenience of cartridge-free printing make it ideal for everyday document printing the whole family can enjoy.”
Pricing for Epson’s photo-focused EcoTank range looks set to arrive shortly in Australia, with either model sporting 4.3 inch touchscreen integrated in the models, as well as WiFi, Ethernet, and support for SD cards and USB flash drives to print from, as well. Australians can expect to find the A4-based ET-8500 in stores for a recommended retail price of $999, while the slightly larger A3 Epson ET-8550 will cost $1149.