Output Options by Ron Eggers
Epson Stylus Photo RX700 Extends Printing Capabilities
Tne of the hottest printer categories currently is
multi-function units. Available in a wide range of
configurations with various capabilities, multi-function
units are becoming the workhorses of the office
environment. Until relatively recently though, they werenít the
best choice for photographers. The trade-off for the greater functionality
was reduced image quality.
Thatís not the case anymore. Some of the new multi-function
units can generate images that are as high quality as dedicated
photo-realistic printers. There
are numerous multi-function
units on the market, but
they arenít all the same when
it comes to output. Some are
more suitable for document
generation than for printing
pictures. To get the quality
level that professionals demand,
itís important to select
a unit specifically designed
for photo-realistic printing.
Epsonís Stylus Photo RX700 is
a good example.
The RX700 is an advanced
multi-function unit with printing,
scanning and copying capabilities;
it also offers direct
printing from digital cameras
and removable memory cards,
and card reader capabilities. Scanning capabilities include reflective
material, up to full-page size, and transmissive filmstrips and
slides. Removing the transparency/negative holder in the scanner
lid reveals a strip of light that can be used to scan the transmissive.
Up to four individual slides or a strip of negatives can be scanned
at one time.
With such diverse functions and capabilities, itís possible to enlarge
and reduce images and documents, scan originals onto a
memory card, print index prints from digital cameras, and generate
very high quality photo-realistic output from the computer. It
does one other thing that most multi-function units canít: It can
print directly on to blank CDs and DVDs. Of course, the discs
have to be the type that have printable surfaces on them.
Set-up is easy. The QuickStart guide walks you through the entire
process, step by step. The most important thing to remember
when setting up is to remove the various pieces of tape that are
used to secure the moveable parts during shipping. It would have
been nice if the tape were a brighter color than the unit, which
would make it easier to see.
Once the unit is plugged in and turned on, the LCD screen indicates
that no inks have been installed. The RX700 has six different
ink cartridges for optimum image output. Besides the standard
CYMK (cyan, yellow, magenta and black), thereís also a light
cyan and a light magenta for
smoother gradients and more
natural looking skin tones.
Rather than having to load
the cartridges under the scan
tray, as is the case with most
multi-function units, the individual
ink cartridges are
loaded via two small, doorcovered
each side of the front paperloading
cassette. This feature
makes it extremely easy to
replace the inks.
Photo-realistic output is excellent with the RX700, and the
added functionality of CD/DVD printing (above) makes this
multi-function unit a real bargain.
Once the individual ink
cartridges have been placed
into their respective positions
and the compartment doors
closed, the unit automatically
starts charging the inks. This
process takes a little over three minutes. When itís done, the info
on the LCD indicates that the RX700 is ready to print.
Software installation is just as simple. Both Windows and Mac
drivers are on the CD that ships with the unit. Once the drivers
and bundled ArcSoft software are installed, a quick test print
confirms that the hardware is setup correctly and the software is
One very nice feature of the RX700 is that it has two paper input
options. The primary, high-capacity paper tray can take up to
150 sheets of 81/2x11-inch paper; this tray is for document printing
and takes only plain, letter-sized paper. Thereís also a back-loading
slot that is primarily intended for loading thicker photo-realistic
papers, but it will also take other types and sizes of paper. Keep
the number of pages loaded in that slot to a minimumóaround a dozen or soófor best results.
Matching the unitís Paper Type in the driver window with the
paper actually being used makes a significant difference in the
quality of the output. For best results, itís also a good idea to stick
with the papers and inks recommended by Epson. One problem
that came up with the RX700 has also been a problem with some
of the other consumer printers Iíve looked atóthe stiffer photo
paper tends to skew slightly when itís pulled into the print mechanism,
making the picture off-center.
CD and DVD discs are printed one at a time. Theyíre loaded
into a special carrier, which is inserted into a slot above the document
output tray. Once the retractable slot has been pulled out,
align the arrows on the carrier with the arrows on the slot. The
printer driver does the rest.
One of the things that makes multi-function units so versatile is
the fact they can do a lot of things without going through a computer.
The tiltable LCD screen on the front of the RX700 can be
used to configure the system and control stand-alone functions.
Images that are being scanned for storage onto memory cards can
also be reviewed on the screen.
The RX700, which carries a price tag of $399.99, can do an awful
lot of things. Itís certainly a good all-around choice for the photographer
who occasionally needs photo-realistic print output or
CD/DVD printing options.Visit www.epson.com.
Writer and editor Ron Eggers is a regular contributor to Rangefinder and a Senior
Editor with Newswatch Feature Service.