We mentioned last week Epson’s new range of EcoTank economical printers. Most are business orientated, but two are for photo enthusiasts. And that’s where their economy will yield real benefits.
They are the Epson EcoTank Expression Premium ET-7700 and ET-7750. The difference between the two is that the ET-7700 is for paper sizes up to A4, while the ET-7750 supports up to A3.
The EcoTank printers differ from regular models in that instead of using lowish capacity – and expensive – ink cartridges, they have fairly large ink tanks which are filled from plastic ink bottles. They cost more up front because you’re paying a fair price for the printer, rather than paying for it through ink purchases. With any reasonable level of use, they soon end up being much cheaper for the purchaser. On-going consumable costs are typically ten to twenty per cent of what they’d be with the older style.
Now, if you need a printer for one or two pages a month, do yourself a favour and go the old way. You’ll probably never use up the ink cartridges.
But things are very different indeed for those who print photos. Print page counts are based on perhaps five per cent coverage of the page. You print a letter, or even a business document with mixed text and charts, and most of the page is still blank.
Print a photo and none of the page is blank. Printing photos really uses up ink fast. Which is where economical ink comes in particularly useful. The ET-7700 and ET-7750 come with enough ink to print 14,000 pages in black or 9,000 pages in colour. That’s based on business printing parameters. You’re not going to get 9000 A4 photo-quality prints out of that. But compare that with a current model photo printer using the cartridge system. It comes with a capacity of 250 black or 300 colour pages, new out of the box.
A full set of 500/650 page cartridges costs $153 for that printer – say 23 cents per colour page. For the ET-7700, a full set of ink bottle refills yields 8000/5000 (you get two of each with the new printer) and costs $122. That works out to just 2.4 cents per page.
Again, you’re not going to get 5000 A4 photos out of a set of ink bottles, but equally you’re no longer going to feel reluctant to print a photo because of cost.
Inks and features
What usually distinguishes photo and business printers are the inks. With the ET-7700 and ET-7750 Epson has moved to five inks from the usual four. They still use Magenta, Cyan, Yellow and Black (although, apparently using different formulations), but added is Photo Black. Generally the weakest part of photo prints on glossy paper with inkjets is the blacks, which can look a little washed out. This printer fixes that. (Want more? Then consider the Epson SureColor P5070 with its eleven inks. But remember, you’ll probably need to dedicate a room to its use.)
The new designs of the ink bottles are “keyed” so you can’t put the wrong ink in the wrong tank. They are also resealable so you can top up without waste.
The ET-7700 and ET-7750 have the full range of connectivity features: USB, Ethernet, WiFi, WiFi Direct (so you can print straight from your phone) and even an SD card slot. There’s a 2.7 inch colour LCD screen.
There are two cassettes for paper, with one for photo paper up to 5 by 7 inches. A rear feed provides for unusual papers. In the case of the ET-7750, up to ten sheets of A3 can be stacked in the rear feed.
Both units also have a built in flatbed scanner and offer copying capabilities.
Pricing and availability
The Epson EcoTank Expression Premium ET-7700 is available now for $799, the ET-7750 for $999, from www.epson.com.au and major retailers. They come with two years warranty (the second year is with online registration).