For a photo enthusiast, or amateur photographer if you prefer, the question is weather to send off your photos to a professional photo lab, or get your own photo printer. Until recently mediocre print quality and/or price has more or less prevented you from choosing a printer capable of prints larger than A4+. But we think this has now changed with the Epson SureColor SC-P400. This printer combines a very large gamut with the capacity to print A3+, sheet-fed or roll-fed, for a reasonable price.
On the surface the SC-P400 doesn’t look that different from the older Stylus Pro R2000, and uses the same UltraChrome Hi-gloss 2 pigment inkset. Strangely enough though the volume in the cartridges has gone down from being 17ml for the R2000 to slightly less at 14ml for the SC-P400. The inkset has two blacks, one for glossy paper and one for working with matte black on uncoated stock, or when you don’t want a glossy finish. The correct black ink is selected automatically based on paper type. The colourants are cyan, magenta and yellow, plus both a dedicated red and orange.
Finally, there is a gloss optimiser, basically a thin varnish. In our view the gloss optimizer is best used to enhance the prints on standard photo paper, and not needed on high gloss premium photo papers, but this is of course a subjective view. We don’t miss the light cyan or magenta – the print quality is very, very good, and surpasses that of most standard prints from photo labs. If you still want an even better image quality than this printer then you will need to step up to a wide gamut photo printer with a 12 colour inkset, which will push the price up to a totally different bracket.