Although photo print quality from four-colour inkjet printers continues to improve, photo enthusiasts demand the higher quality light shades which only light cyan and light magenta inks can furnish. Epson's latest take on an A4, six-colour printer is the Stylus Photo P50, and it has added CD/DVD print to the mix.
Blending in with the rest of Epson's new inkjet range, the top of the Stylus Photo P50 is gloss black with a texture of minute dots. The tray at the rear folds up and extends to provide paper support, while the front panel hides a separate output tray with two-level telescopic extension and a cunning second use.
Pull the tray out of its two support slots and slot it back into a second pair and the tray lies horizontally, ready to take a CD/DVD carrier. This is supplied with the machine and feeds from the front, to print directly on suitably-coated discs.
Print controls are three push-buttons at top left of the front panel, one for power, one for cartridge changes and the third for paper feed and job cancel. The first two have embedded LEDs. At the back is a single socket for USB connection, which is the only way to get data into this printer.
It's a shame there are no memory card slots, which are pretty much standard in most printers and all-in-ones these days. While printing from cards would still be hampered by the lack of any form of display, other manufacturers have tied their printers in with PC or Mac-based software to at least print from cards via computer.
As usual with Epson printers, the Stylus Photo P50 uses a piezo-electric printhead with plug-in ink cartridges. In this case, as mentioned, there are six, with light cyan and light magenta added to the standard CMYK four. Interestingly, these two light cartridges, although specified as 'additional colours', are actually heavily used when printing photos and may well run low before the standard cyan and magenta.
Software bundled with the machine is all provided by Epson and includes the company's useful Web print utility, which tries to ensure everything from a viewed Web page is printed, by compressing the width of the print image. The installation applet is better designed than with previous Epson printers and no longer requires you to accept the license agreements for each sub-element of the suite.