[December 2, 2023: The letter-size ET-8500is on sale right now on Amazon for roughly $100 off — it’s been fluctuating between $609 and $615 — while the wide-format (13-inch) EcoTank Photo ET-8550 is on sale on Amazon (and other outlets) for $550 — less than the current ET-8500 cost, and $250 off its normal list price of $800.
If you’ve been on the fence about these rather amazing printers, this is the time to jump. After nearly two years of regular use, we continue to be impressed by these printers. They’re the perfect entry point for anyone interested in learning how to print their own photos..]
I was intrigued last year with Epson’s announcement of the EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and ET-8550, the latest iteration of their “supertank,” high-capacity inkjet printers. These were the first EcoTank printers to offer a six-color print engine tuned for printing photos, while also offering high-quality document printing and scan/copy support. Reading through Epson’s lofty marketing language, which talked about “lab-quality color photos and graphics at an incredible value,” it was clear that, if the company followed through on its promise, the ET-8500/ET-8550 could very well usher in a new era of high-quality photo prints, at significantly lower costs than classic, cartridge-based, photo printers.
Epson today announced the SureColor P5370 professional photo printer, a 10-ink, high-volume printer with a maximum print width of 17 inches. When it ships early next year, the P5370 will replace the SureColor P5000, which has been the keystone of Epson’s 17-inch pro printer line for years.
The P5370 uses the same UltraChrome PRO10 inkset found in the SureColor P900 and P700 models (see review): 10 inks (9 printing), with separate channels for Matte and Photo Black inks. The ink cartridges are a whopping 200ml in size.
The printer has a 100-sheet front-feed paper cassette; a built-in roll feeder (for 2- and 3-inch roll cores) with an automatic cutter; a top-loading, single-sheet manual feed path; and a front-loading, straight-through paper path for media up to 1.5mm thick. It has a 4.3-inch touchscreen LCD, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and both 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi.
Yes, the P5370 shares the excellent, long-lasting P700/P900 inkset, and offers similar — but slightly better — connectivity options and a (bigger) touchscreen LCD, but make no mistake: this is a tool for professionals looking to create finished gallery work, portfolios, and short-run photo projects. For those groups, the P5370 should be a revelatory workhorse.
To say that this printer has been overdue is an understatement. The P5000 was a fantastic high-volume printer, serving both the photo community and publishers in the print industry (with slightly different inksets for each group), but it suffered slightly as a photographer’s tool, with the single black ink channel that necessitated switching when you wished to change between Matte and Photo Black inks. We’ve also been waiting for the release of the PRO10 inkset at this level in the market. As good as the SureColor P900 is as a fine-art photo printer, it lacks the durability and sturdiness of the SureColor 4800/4900/5000 line, and the we expect that the P5370 will be similarly constructed.
Epson expects to ship the SureColor P5370 in January, 2024. The printer will be $2,095; pricing for the ink cartridges wasn’t available at press time. I, for one, can’t wait to get my hands on one.
Press release reproduced below. Epson also has a very handy Sales Reference Guide (PDF) to the SureColor P5370, which includes more detail and comparison with the P5000 and the P900.
Epson Introduces SureColor P5370 17-Inch Professional Photographic Printer
Replacing SureColor P5000, New Printer Delivers Creativity Without Compromise
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — Empowering photographers to produce the finest exhibition quality prints, Epson has introduced the new 17-inch SureColor P5370 professional printer designed to meet the demanding needs of professional and production photographic markets. Incorporating technological breakthroughs and enhanced reliability to produce prints as the artist intended, the new printer has an improved printhead, new ink set with an extended color gamut in dark blue hues, plus an advanced print engine for productivity, including sheet and roll capability. The SureColor P5370 is being debuted and shown at the Palm Springs Photo Festival.
Vincent Versace, a recognized pioneer in the art and science of digital photography noted, “When I have a large volume of prints to make and time and reliability is of the essence, the SureColor P5370 is my go-to printer for meeting deadlines while maintaining the highest photographic print quality.”
Touting a refined design, the SureColor P5370 combines an improved advanced MicroPiezo AMC printhead with Epson Precision Dot Screening Technology to consistently produce prints with smooth tonal renditions and capability to reproduce the details captured with today’s high-resolution cameras. Featuring a new 10-color UltraChrome PRO10 ink set in high-capacity 200 mL cartridges, including Violet Ink, the printer delivers an extended range of blue hues and a wider color gamut. With dedicated channels for Photo and Matte Black inks, there’s no ink switching, helping to save time and reduce ink waste. The printer’s built-in Carbon Black Mode increases Dmax, allowing for rich blacks and exceptional contrast on glossy paper.
Offering flexibility and increased productivity, the printer includes a built-in roll feeder, auto cutter and a high-capacity cassette that accommodates up to 100 cut sheets from 8.5″ x 11″ to 17″ x 22.” In addition, to further support today’s workflows that leverage both Epson and third-party media, the SureColor P5370 includes Epson Media Installer, a software application designed to help control parameters for successful printing with a variety of media, including thick fine art papers.
“Listening to market needs and incorporating customer feedback, we integrated the latest printhead and ink technologies that are optimized for photography into this new printer so professional photographers can maximize productivity, reliability and consistently produce the finest exhibition-quality prints,” said Marc Aguilera, product manager, Epson America, Inc. “Designed to meet demanding needs, the SureColor P5370 is an evolution to the beloved SureColor P5000, adding improved reliability, deeper black density and wider color gamut in blue hues.
Additional SureColor P5370 features include:
Intuitive operation — a new large 4.3-inch color LCD touchscreen and interface allows for easy setup, control and maintenance
Expanded connectivity — Ethernet, USB and, now included, WiFi connectivity
Advanced software support for enhanced productivity — includes Epson Cloud Solution PORT2 for fleet management and Epson Print Layout software for simple print production
The SureColor P5370 will be available in Q1 2024 through Epson Authorized Professional Imaging Resellers for an estimated MSRP of $2,095. For additional information, visit http://www.epson.com/p5370.
Over the past year, I had been hearing reports that Epson had quietly fixed some of the paper handling issues I (and others) had run into with early production models of the SureColor P900 and P700 photo printers, and I wanted to see if the rumors were correct. So, in late 2022, I ordered a new P700 and a P900, one from B&H, the other from Amazon. Epson also loaned me a P700 to test as part of this project, so I felt that I had a good sample from multiple sources.
After months of printing hundreds of photos, ranging from 4×6 to 16×20–and through two recent printing workshops where the three printers were in constant use–it is clear that appears to have fixed the paper feed issues, and I have updated my review of the P900 and P700 to account for the fixes. Epson won’t go on the record to say that something in the feed assembly has been fixed, but they have told us in the past that they are “always looking at ways to improve” their products.
With the updates, it is clear that the P900 (17-inch) and the P700 (13-inch) printers provide the best combination of print quality, paper handling and usability found in the dedicated photo printer market today. Canon’s imagePROGRAF PRO-300 (13-inch) and PRO-1000 (17-inch) are each quite good printers, but they feel like last-generation machines compared with the P700/P900 series.
I’m finishing up a more detailed overview of the current photo printer market, but if you’re looking for the best combination of photo print quality and cost today, the P900 is it. Yes, you’ll pay more for it than the P700, but the more-efficient ink costs will pay for the upgrade in a couple of years. The review has all the gory details, of course.
Kevin Raber and his crew at PhotoPXL do a great job of covering printers; I’ve found their reviews and related posts quite good over the years. They just announced a new Print It video series, which will cover a range of topics surrounding printing:
“In our first video, we sit down together to discuss where making prints is as far as today’s photographers. We are is a digital age and while it great we can share our images on many types of devices, we all feel that in the end you really don’t have a photograph until you have a print. We may be a little old school, but there is something to be said about having a tangible and tactile print in your hands. You can enjoy detail, a feel, and enjoy exploring the image itself.”
The initial three videos are quite good; for me, the most interesting video so far to is a 23-minute video discussion about printing with Dan Steinhardt, Epson’s Pro Marketing Manager (famously known as “Dano”). Joined by our old friend Jeff Schewe, Dan answers a slew of questions on topics that are not necessarily specific to Epson printers, including:
David duChemin is a wonderful photographer who has written a number of books about the creative aspects of the practice of photography, and I regularly look forward to his his bimonthly newsletter, which is also posted on his blog1David’s approach to photography instruction is much more creativity-focused than gear-focused, and he is a very good writer. At times, his newsletters can diverge into a bit of a soft-sell for his courses, but he’s worth reading if you’re interested in a more thoughtful, artistic approach to improving your work.. This past week’s post, “Print Your Work Without Printing Your Work?“, was quite provocative, especially when I read his comment near the top of the piece:
I hate printing, and it’s high time I admitted that.
David goes on to talk at length about his dissatisfaction with the process of printing by himself, despite the fact that he (like many of us) loves the look and feel of a finished print. His solution: utilize the services and talents of a friend who is a fine-art printer, which I think is a great idea.
I took around 10 files, some of them actual printer color test files, and sent them through EPL to the ET-8550 and the Epson P700. I marked the back of each print with the printer used. I then started sharing them with friends who would come to the studio and see the printed images on the table.
First, there was little difference, if any, visible between the prints (Note: they were all made on Epson Premium Lustre paper). Also, when push came to shove, more people choose the ET-8550 prints than the P700 prints, which was quite astounding. Keep in mind finding any differences was very difficult.
I’ve been hard at work finishing up our latest book by Ben Long, The Practicing Photographer, and haven’t been able to get to the stack of printers for review in my office (and on order), but the dye-based EcoTank printers are near the top of my list. I think that these new printers could be ideal for a lot of amateur photographers looking to create decent prints at lower costs, and it was good to see Kevin’s early take on them.
Canon’s imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is a $900, 13-inch desktop photo printer with nine pigment inks. Introduced in mid-2020, not long after Epson’s announcement of the 13-inch SureColor P700 (and the 17-inch P900), the PRO-300 replaces the Pixma PRO-10 at the top of the Canon’s 13-inch photo printer lineup. It boasts a comparable feature set to Epson’s P700, including flexible paper handling, black-and-white and borderless printing, extensive connectivity options and more. After a few months of testing, I can say that it’s a solid printer with excellent print quality for its class. Like most photo printers at this level, there are a few rough edges in places, but overall it’s a good value, and quite competitive with Epson’s offerings.
Epson recently announced a new set of all-in-one photo printers in their EcoTank line of cartridge-free printers. The EcoTank Photo ET-8500 (letter-size; $600) and Photo ET-8550 (13-inch; $700) inkjets have six refillable inks (five dye, one pigment), the capability to handle thick media, full network connectivity options, a flatbed scanner/copier, and more. These printers are Epson’s first photo-centric entries in the “supertank” printer market, and the company is hoping to reach photographers, designers and small office/home office folks who want high-quality, wide-gamut prints on a range of different media formats.
Maybe it has been the pandemic, or just timing, but the idea of printing your photographs seems to have some new resonance with photographers. I receive more questions these days than ever before from people who are interested in the idea of printing, but who aren’t quite sure how to even start thinking about buying a photo printer. The questions are varied, many of them along these lines:
Which printer should I buy?
Doesn’t it cost a lot more to print with your own printer?
Don’t photo printers clog all the time?
Pigments vs. dyes — does it matter?
Epson vs. Canon — who really is the best?
Why shouldn’t I just use an online printing service?
This post is an outgrowth of an email that I’ve been sending out to those folks with questions (a variant of this was first published on our sister site, Complete Digital Photography). It includes a few thoughts regarding things to think about when choosing a photo printer — or whether you should just use an online print service for your prints. It’s not intended to be the final word on the matter, but more of a conduit to get people thinking about the idea of printing their work, and the things to consider about the process.
It’s been nearly a decade since I stopped working on Printerville. There were number of reasons for that, some personal, some professional, but the reality was that a site that reviewed mid-range to high-end photo printers didn’t make a lot of sense at the time, especially if there weren’t new developments happening on a regular basis. Archival ink sets offered expanded color gamuts that had seemed unimaginable in desktop photo printers a decade before, and the printers from Epson and Canon that used these inks were quite advanced. And HP, which had made a splash with their Z series of large-format printers, largely walked away from the advanced/pro photo market after the crash and burn of the B9180/B8850 desktop printers.
Plus, there was the ‘screen’ thing. Photographers at the time seemed to be more enamored of tablets and phones and online photo services like Instagram, Flickr and 500px than printing. When I’d mention printing, mostly what I heard from many photographers was that printing ‘was hard’ and, more importantly, ‘expensive.’
There’s nothing wrong with photos viewed on screens, but I love printing my own photographs, whether they be snapshots, proofs of work in progress, or finished fine art. To me, printing your work is an essential part of growing as a photographer; it helps inform your shooting and your processing in a way that viewing on screen cannot. It’s another component of the art of photography, an element of practice that can help you become a better photographer.