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Epson Launches New Photo, General Purpose Printers

With home photo printing being the output option of choice for digital camera owners, Epson is hoping to capitalize on strong digital camera sales with two new Stylus photo printers. The company has also updated several general-purpose inkjet models in its lineup.

The two photo printers, the Stylus Photo 825 and 925, connect to a PC via USB port and also offer direct printing from digital camera media. They have estimated street prices of $199 and $299, respectively.

The 825 offers direct printing from a digital camera with built-in slots for PCMCIA Type II card slot and includes adapters for CompactFlash Type I, Memory Stick, SmartMedia, and Secure Digital/ MultiMedia Card. The 925 offers direct printing from CompactFlash Type I & II, Memory Stick, SmartMedia and IBM Microdrive. An optional Microtech Zio USB adapter allows the 925 to read SD/MMC cards.

For previewing images without a computer an optional preview monitor is available for both units for $99.

Both printers have a maximum resolution of 5760 x 720 dpi and borderless printing in 4 x 6, 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 inch dimensions. The 825 and 925 also offer roll paper printing for panorama or high volume printing. The 925 features an auto-cutter for trimming photos.

As with all of Epson’s new photo printers, both of the new Styluses feature Epson’s Print Image Matching II (P.I.M. II), the second generation of Epson’s software feature that allows P.I.M. enabled digital cameras to better communicate with (and hence produce better prints from) Epson printers. The two new printers work with both P.I.M. and P.I.M. II enabled digital cameras.

Prints speeds vary slightly on the two models. The Stylus 825 produces an 8 x 10-inch photo in less than two minutes in fine mode and a 4 x 6-inch print in under 52 seconds in fine mode. The 925 cranks out an 8 x 10-inch photo in 1:50 minutes in fine, and a 4 x 6-inch print in under 50 seconds in the same mode.

Epson also announced two new general purpose color inkjet printers into a market, which, according to the market research firm MetaFacts, is fairly volatile. The general-purpose printer market has experienced significant brand churn among consumers, with MetaFacts claiming that 65-percent of customers have change printer brands.

That churn is largely due to dissatisfaction with the bundled printer in a PC purchase, said Steve Semos, product manager, Epson. Customers quickly realize that a bundled printer is not up to their printing needs and so they upgrade, Semos said.

Epson has updated its C60 and C80 inkjets in the form of the new C62 and C82. The C62 is shipping now for an estimated street price of $79 (with a $20 rebate) and the C82 will have an estimated street price of $149. Both connect to a PC via USB or parallel port.

Both printers also feature a new printer driver/interface, which Semos said was designed to appeal to two consumer bases at once.

“We have accommodated two market segments, the high-tech user and the mass consumer who just wants to press print,” he said. To that end, the driver will feature a basic start-up screen with a tab that allows advanced users to adjust parameters and configure settings. They can also set up the advanced screen as a default, rather than clicking through the beginner screen first.

Both printers feature a max resolution of 5760 x 720 dpi. The C82 sports Epson’s DuraBrite Ink in four individual cartridges, while the C62 uses a dye-based ink system with one three color cartridge and one black cartridge.

The C62 cranks out 14 pages per minute (PPM) in black and white and 10 PPM color with a paper capacity of 100 sheets/10 envelopes. The C82 churns out 22 PPM and 11 PPM in b&w and color, respectively with a capacity of 150 sheets/10 envelopes.

The C82 features alternative networking options or optional models with networking technology built-in. The C82 is compatible with optional 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11B and Bluetooth adapters. Epson will also sell special models with the 10/100 Ethernet or 802.11B adapters built-in, on the C82N and C82WN, respectively. The C82N will have an estimated street price of $329, while the C82WN will have an estimated street price of $379.