I have a long standing love/hate relationship with Epson printers. These issues started when I purchased an Epson Stylus Photo 2200 four years ago . Most of the issues I have with Epson’s Printers stem from their printer drivers, which in my opinion Epson has always treated as an afterthought, an unwelcome but necessary evil. Not only does the driver for my 2200 necessitate deleting and re-adding the printer (and re-starting Photoshop) on my Mac every time I change out Matte or Photo black ink for the other, but I have also in the past had color cast issues (either too magenta or green) and troubles with prints being too dark. I have come up with my own solutions for these issues in Photoshop, but should one have to when spending $600 or more on a printer?
At Philadelphia University, where I teach, we have four 2200′s in the photolab and unsurprisingly they have the same problems. Of course I’ve had the obligatory calls to tech support over this, many of them. I assumed that this was something Epson would fix in time, and that they would post an updated driver that would make these problems a thing of the past. They have updated the driver in that time, but they haven’t fixed these issues. Four years later, we’re still struggling with them.
So imagine how I felt when I saw this Adobe TechNote that was just posted entitled “Images printed to an Epson Stylus printer are too dark or have a magenta or green color cast” (This TechNote was specifically posted under issues with CS3, but the note makes it clear this affects version CS2 as well)
According to Adobe’s note,
“When you print from Adobe Photoshop to an Epson Stylus printer such as the Photo 2200 (Photo 2100 in Europe), Photo 2400, or the Pro 4000, colors may be too dark or have a magenta or green color cast.”
When you choose Photoshop Manages Color (Photoshop CS3) or Let Photoshop Determine Colors (Photoshop CS2) in the Print dialog box and correctly disable Color Management in the printer, the Epson Stylus printer drivers ignore the profile information and double color profiles. This results in oversaturated images or images with a color cast.
To avoid this issue, select the option to let the printer manage colors. Contact Epson to find out if they have a newer printer driver available for your printer.
In other words, if you bought a $800-$1200 photo printer and a $700 software package because you want to be able to color-manage your images to get professional results, too bad. You might as well just print straight out of iPhoto or Preview, since these programs rely on printer color management. I am imagining that I am not the only one unhappy about this…
Since I am not really interested in dropping another bundle of money (and time) for a software RIP so I can bypass Epson’s driver, I am recommending to my students these days to consider Canon and HP printers as realistic alternatives to Epson. The quality of these printers is on par with Epson’s offerings and I think you’ll find that their reputation will soon be too. A couple of my students already owned Canons and are very happy with them.