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Epson Stylus Photo 2100 / 2200

The Epson Stylus Photo 2100 was a landmark in the development of digital photography. The availability of a reasonably priced A3 printer using pigment inks meant photographers selling their work could guarantee that the prints would last. There were, and are downsides, but a desktop printer which could produce archival quality prints was a breakthrough.  The 2100 wasn’t Epson’s first attempt at this - It’s predecessor the 2000P unfortunately gained a reputation as being hard to set up and it’s inks suffered badly from metamerism - changing colour depending on the light source. The Epson Stylus Photo 2100 improves on this but it’s still a problem.

Epson Stylus Photo 2200 printer
Metamerism means that a perfect print under artificial light could turn out to be way off under daylight or vice versa.  This problem still effects prints from the Epson 2100 far more than any dye based inkjet I’ve used, but once you’ve set it up properly using Photoshop and the ICC profiles supplied, results are excellent, provided you accept one thing - this a printer for matt photo paper.  Prints on matt photo paper with the alternative Matt Black cartridge installed are fabulous. Even prints on satin paper using the Photo Black cartridge are OK but glossy prints? Forget it.

Before I bought my Epson Stylus Photo 2100 I kept asking Epson reps for a sample print on glossy paper - strangely enough they could never find one.  When I bought the printer I found out why.  This is a printer for matt photo paper, you can’t make decent glossy prints with it. After wasting lots of money and ink I gave in - and understood why Epson would never show me a print on glossy paper.  Epson Stylus Photo 2100 prints on glossy paper look fine  in the lighter areas of the images, but any really dark or black areas will suffer from obvious chroming or bronzing.  Looked at dead straight on prints will look OK, but viewed even at a slight angle black areas have a weird metallic look. I tried every Epson Stylus Photo 2100 compatible paper I could find, none of them cured it.

This is a great inkjet photo printer, Epson’s Ultrachrome inks finally produced prints that would last, but it’s only with the next generation of pigment printers that the downsides of pigment inks were no longer significant. Prints from my Epson Stylus Pro 3800 using the same Ultrachrome K3 inks found in the Epson 2100’s replacement the 2400, still exhibit some metamerism and some chroming, but no longer at a level that really matters anymore. You can even make good prints on glossy paper - Hooray.

Incidentally, I replaced my Epson Stylus Photo 2100 with An Epson Stylus Pro 3800 rather than an Epson 2400 mostly because of ink costs. The Epson 2100 was very expensive to run - by far the most expensive I’ve ever owned for ink costs. The Epson Stylus Photo 3800 uses much bigger ink tanks, which although more expensive to buy, make it far cheaper in the long run if you make a lot of prints.

Epson Stylus Photo 2100 Recommended Photo Papers

Epson Stylus Photo 2100 Fade Tests

© David Gold
All text and images copyright David Gold 2006 - 2011
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