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Claria Inks

While DuraBrite Ultra is aimed at the mainstream, specialist photographers will want to go for Epson's Claria based inks. The development of Claria inks have been inspired by the growth of the digital SLR market, which with the likes of Canon and Nikon releasing really affordable cameras has really gone mass market.

The new printers aimed at professional photographers feature Epson's new Realoid chip, which Epson claims offers greater performance and quality than before, with the new Stylus Photo RX685 able to produce a lab quality borderless print in 28 seconds.

The printers also use the faster print head, with an ink chamber that's 50 per cent larger than the previous one, generating 11 picolitres, up from seven.

Claria inks are intended to appeal to the professional end of the market due to their bright vivid colours, a wider colour gamut and their fade resistance.

The science behind this is quite interesting. One of the problems with dye based inks is that light, heat, humidity and ozone all serve to weaken or break down the atoms in the dye molecules. This can cause image fade, where everything turns yellow, making everyone look ill or as if they were in the 70's when scarily, people were deliberately dressed in yellow and orange.

Epson's clever engineers and chemists have got round this by somehow adding more atoms to the molecules in the Claria dye. This makes the molecules more tightly bonded. In addition they are protected by an atomic shield and aggregated into denser clusters. This all means that they are less likely to break down.

Epson claims, via tests conducted by the Wilheim Institute, that colour fastness will last for up to 200 years in an album and 98 years out of an album. Why it's not quite the 100, I'm not sure. Colour fastness is a crucial issue as you can see from our follow up to our Ink Investigation.

Epson Stylus Photo RX685

The new All-in-One's that use Claria inks are the Stylus Photo RX685 and the Stylus Photo RX585 and both feature the Realoid processor. The RX685 is quoted as producing a photo print in just 23 seconds. It has a 6.3in display that enables you to preview changes made by Epson's PhotoEnhance technology and has paper handling trays at the front and rear.

The RX585 and RX685 will be in the shops from September at an RRP of £129.99 and £199.99 respectively.

Epson Stylus Photo RX285

The Stylus Photo 285 uses the new Claria based inks and fast print heads and can print directly onto CDs or DVDs. It's available from September for £69.99.

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