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posted Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 7:00 AM EDT
Last week, Epson announced an expansion to its EcoTank line of cartridge-free prints with new six-color photo printers. The EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and EcoTank Photo ET-8550 printers offer cartridge-free printing for photographers looking for a high-volume printing solution. Epson also announced the EcoTank Pro ET-5150 and EcoTank Pro ET-5170 printers for home offices and small businesses, but they’re not photo-focused, so that we won’t be discussing those.
The EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and ET-8550 models use the same six-color Claria ET Premium ink system and high-accuracy Epson printhead technology. The printers also include ‘gray’ and ‘Photo Black’ ink for black and white printing. The printers use replacement ink bottles instead of traditional cartridges, aiming to save photographers money. Per Epson, the EcoTank Photo printers can print 4″ x 6″ photos for about $0.04 each, compared to $0.40 with cartridges. Of course, your costs depend on many variables. The printers can deliver a 4″ x 6″ print on Premium Glossy Photo Paper in about 15 seconds. The printers are said to offer up to 6,200 color pages before needing to be refilled, although photo printing will be more demanding, of course.
Epson writes, ‘The EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and EcoTank Photo ET-8550 deliver vibrant colors, sharp text, fast speeds, and smooth gradations, and are Epson’s only consumer photo printers that support Epson’s Signature Worthy media line, as well as cardstock and other specialty media up to 1.3 mm thick.’ The printers each work with Epson Print Layout Software as well. The printers each include a 4.3″ color touchscreen for adjusting settings and setting up easy wireless printing options.
The primary difference between the EcoTank Photo ET-8550 and 8550 models comes down to printing size. The ET-8500 prints up to 8.5″ x 11″. The larger ET-8550 instead prints up to 13″ x 19″ making it well-suited to nearly all photographic printing applications. With that said, the EcoTank Photo printers use dye-based inks, not pigment-based inks. This means that the EcoTank Photo printers won’t deliver prints with the same longevity or archival quality as Epson’s SureColor printers.
Although not delivering quite the same professional printing performance as Epson’s SureColor printers, although Epson does guarantee ‘lab-quality’ printing with its new printers, the EcoTank Photo printers aim to deliver significant cost savings when it comes to ink and a more robust set of other features, such as efficient printing of documents and a high-resolution flatbed scanner.
The EcoTank Photo ET-8500 is available now for $599. The larger ET-8550 model is available for $699. For more information, click the following links: Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and EcoTank Photo ET-8550.