Below is a commentary by photographer Alain Briot regarding the Epson 1270 printer. Reprinted with permission.
Updated: 9 April, 2000
The Epson 1270 is a great printer able to generate the highest quality photographic prints of all available desktop printers at the present time. These fine-art prints have archival qualities when done on Epson Photo Matte paper or Epson Premium Photo Glossy paper. Prints on Matte paper are expected to last over 25 years before noticeable fading occurs while prints on Premium Glossy Paper are expected to last over 15 years before noticeable fading occurs.
The print quality is particularly impressive on the new Photo Glossy Premium Epson paper. The prints are extremely glossy, both to the touch and to the eye, and have a greater visual "depth" than prints on regular Epson
photo paper. They are also extremely sharp, sharper in my estimate than photographic prints done on glossy paper. Glossy prints done on the Epson 1270 have the appearance of Cibachrome photographs and are waterproof and fade resistant.
Prints done on Epson Premium Glossy paper are also extremely resistant to wear and tear. I actually put a rejected print under the faucet to check water resistance and noticed no ink bleed at all. I even scrubbed the print with a 3M kitchen pad and could not damage the image until I scrubbed extremely hard (with heavy pressure). Although no one would normally do that to a print it shows the resistance of the print to impacts and rubbing action.
It is interesting to note that the prints need to "dry" for about 10 minutes after coming out of the printer. During these 10 minutes the colors and contrast of the print changes slightly and a final evaluation of the print color balance cannot be done until this process is completed.
The only problem I encountered with the Epson 1270 was that I sometimes lose the connection between printer and Computer resulting in half-completed prints. Sometimes the computer crashes and sometimes the keyboard freezes while the mouse still works. I Don't know what causes these crashes, perhaps a USB connection problem, perhaps lack of memory (RAM) although I seem to have plenty of memory to print with other printers. The problem does not happen each time I print, only occasionally, and after several prints were successfully completed. I have a direct USB cable from cpu to printer to alleviate the possibility the problem comes from a USB hub connection yet the problems do persist.
The new Epson Photo Matte paper is also very nice. My initial perception of this paper was not totally enthusiastic. However, after making a number of prints on the matte paper I changed my opinion. Black and White images work very well on this paper which is reminiscent of fiber-based black and white papers. Abstract images, such as photographs of rock art or natural abstractions, also come out very nicely. In fact, if you have printed photographs on watercolor paper in the past you will certainly like the Epson Photo Matte Paper. With it you can make Giclees at home for a fraction of what it would cost to have them done on an Iris printer.
Price-wise both Epson papers (Premium Glossy and Photo Matte) are very competitive. In letter size (8.5" x 11") the Epson Premium Glossy paper is $17 for 20 sheets in the USA ($0.85 per sheet) white the Epson Photo Matte paper is an even better deal at $14 for 50 sheets ($0.28 per sheet). This last price is especially attractive when one considers the high print quality and the archival value of prints done on Photo Matte paper.
A roll paper adapter for the 1270 is offered by Epson but is unfortunately not in stock right now. It is still possible to use roll paper without the roll adapter if one cuts the roll paper to the length required for the print size.
However, neither the Matte nor the Premium Photo Glossy paper are available in 13" wide rolls. The only paper available in this size is the Epson Photo Paper introduced over a year ago. I hope Epson will soon offer its Premium Photo Glossy and/or its Photo Matte Paper in 13" wide rolls.
The USB problems I described in my original review were fixed by upgrading to Macintosh OS 9. The 1270 is now operating flawlessly while connected to my iMac via two USB hubs serving a total of 4 USB devices, one of them connected via a 10 meter (30 foot) USB cable. The problems came from running the Epson 1270 driver under Mac OS 8.5.
Epson Film Factory Software
I want to say a few words in praise of Epson Film Factory software which came bundled on the 1270 CD as a 30 day trial version. I subsequently purchased a full version by logging onto the Epson software site and purchasing an unlock key. A coupon for $10 off is offered to 1270 users which brings the price of the software to $20.
This software is extremely useful. It allows me to make duplicate copies of the same image in different sizes as well as to print several images on one page. Prior to using Film Factory I had to spend a lot of time either in Photoshop or in Page Maker laying several images on a single page. Now all this belongs to the past as Film Factory allows me to choose which images I want to print and then takes charge of laying the images on the paper size I indicate.
I can even use odd paper sizes by using the "customize" function. This is very handy since it lets me use scraps of paper left over from trimming prints done on large paper sizes. Again, Film Factory takes care of laying the images on these odd paper sizes in an efficient manner saving me considerable time. The size of the borders around each image is also adjustable in the software. However, I am not concerned by border size since I mount each photograph into a mat after printing.