Printing and Scanning
by Tony Butka
on the OS/2 Platform
Following up on last month's column, I have had the time to wring the C80 Epson printer through its paces, and here are the test results.
I ran most of the tests using trusty old PMView. Using a slightly out of focus portrait of a friend, there was little difference between plain paper and Epson Photo Paper -- just a little more smoothing/less bleed through with the Epson Photo Paper. Then I took a cartoonish image (a jpg image of the cover of Maidens - The Art of Monte Michael Moore, for those who care). Here the flesh tones were a little browner on the plain paper image, but not a huge difference with the Photo Paper. Interestingly, the most contrasty punchy print of the image came from using the sample Epson Premium Bright paper that ships with the printer.
Then (of course) I got crazy, all in your name, dear reader. I installed the printer in my Windows 2000 Pro partition to compare the OS/2 drivers to the Windows ones. For a first test image, I used a 100k jpg image of a Tawainese issue of Vogue magazine, which had lots of flesh tones as well as text and graphics characters. I printed out the image on both plain paper as well as Photo Paper using PMView for Windows as well as for OS2 (to try and minimize program differences between the two operating systems).
The nicest contrasty image of all four prints was the Plain Paper print under OS2, while the most color accurate looking print was under Windows 2000 Pro using Photo Quality Inkjet paper.
Then I took a 400k downsampled 8x5.5'' image from a 1.3 Mb original, a cheesecakey photo. In this case, the most color accurate picture seemed to be under OS2 using the Epson Photo Paper, and the most contrasty image being plain paper under Windows. Just to push the image a bit, I also used the 1.3 Mb original image under Adobe Elements on the Win2K machine, using Photo Paper. While there was a bit more detail than on the other images, the differences were not startling.
And for the finale, I decided to push to the limit, using some Photo Matte paper from Inkjetart.com, and some Red River Paper Premium Card Gloss. On the OS/2 side I used PMView again, and on the WinX side, Adobe's Photoshop Elements. Since I wanted the max resolution, I used the large 1.3 Gb jpg cheesecake photo. Remember, on this test the OS/2 side 'should' lose, since the max resolution is 1440 with the OS/2 drivers, vs. 2880 on the Win platform. Not surprisingly, all four prints were very nice indeed, with no signs of banding and very crisp contrast between flesh tones and background. In terms of a clear winner, it was the Premium Gloss paper with Elements -- but not by a big margin. And my favorite overall picture was on the OS/2 side using the Photo Matte paper and the printers Archival Matte setting.
I'm going to store all these images, and go back and look at them in six months and a year to see if there is any deterioration, but for now I have to say that this C80 Epson out performs the old 6 color Photo 700 I had that died a while back, and for a lot less money.
Needless to say, I am very impressed with this printer, and at around $100 it's worth having a couple on hand. A few notes on my installations -- I used the printer on an eCS system running Apache, a WSeB partition, an eCS partition on my main machine, and a Windows 2000 Pro partition on the same machine. On the eCS/ Apache machine and the WSeB machine, there were some print queue delays in printing, so I would recommend upping the printer priorities if your system seems to take its time before printing (right click the printer object, select properties, and look for the 'Que Options' tab. Set to high priority. Also, Nozzle Check, Print Head Cleaning, and
Print Head Alignment settings are available under OS/2! A really good job by Epson Japan.
Also, when I did the Win2K install, for some reason I noticed some banding -- not so noticeable on web pages, but very much so on pictures. This cleared up quickly after one print head cleaning cycle, but I suspect that the printer might be prone to banding after not being used for a while. So don't be afraid to clean!
Keep those emails, comments, and questions coming. You can reach me at
You might want to read the last Ink.
By day, Tony Butka is a bureaucrat for Los Angeles County. In his other life he lives in a loft surrounded by computers, printers, and a host of vinyl records.
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