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Epson PictureMate 500 - Photo Printer - Epson PictureMate 500
Plug in a card or connect a PictBridge camera and you can view your shots on the LCD display and select those you want to print. If you select and print them one by one, the printer annoyingly reverts to the first shot in card or camera after each print, rather than continuing from where you were. It’s better to make all your selections and print them in a batch.
Also, each image that comes up on the display starts ‘fuzzy’ and is then brought into focus in a second scan, which can be off-putting. It’s similar to the way images used to display on the Web in several passes, before download speeds improved.
Print speeds aren’t quite what Epson makes out. The company claims a 6 x 4in (15cm x 10cm) print completes in 1 minute 17 seconds, but we saw nothing out in under 1 minute 26 seconds, whether from memory card, camera or PC. That’s still not too bad though.
Print quality is very, very good. The six-colour print system really improves light shades, giving them extra vibrancy and adding a fidelity we’ve rarely seen from an inkjet print. Even with the enhanced resolution of 5,760 by 1,440, though, you can still see some dots in areas of smoothly changing colour, like cloudless sky.
It's a growing trend for photo printer manufacturers to bundle ink cartridge and photo paper in one pack and since its launch, Epson has been selling a 100-print pack for around £28. The company has just increased the capacity of this PicturePack to 135 prints, while keeping the price the same, so a single print now comes out at around 25p, including VAT. This is quite a bit cheaper than most of its rivals and goes some way to answer complaints about consumable costs.
This is a very neat, simple printer, giving superb quality prints with a minimum of fuss. Able to print directly from a PictBridge camera, just about any memory card or from your PC, it’s also very versatile. With just a single ink cartridge for its six-colour print system, it could hardly be easier to maintain and since Epson has increased the number of prints from its PicturePack, it’s also one of the cheapest photo printers to run. Hard to fault, really.
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