Contact us: +44 116 291 9092
Title Image

Epson SC-P700 printer review

  |   Articles and reviews, Black and white, Colour management, Epson Printer, Hardware review, Printer review, Printer reviews, Printing, Review   |   12 Comments

Review: Epson SC-P700 printer

Looking at the 13″ pigment ink printer

Site Notice: Like many working photographers, our work has diminished greatly in these challenging times, so I'm at home a lot. The silver lining is that I've lots of articles and reviews to write - if you've any suggestions or questions, please do let me know - Keith
...Why not sign up for our (ad free) Newsletter to keep informed about new articles and subscribe to my YouTube Channel


Keith has been trying out Epson’s new P700 printer for this longish review.

The 13″ width (A3+) printer replaces the P600, but is a major new design, not only being smaller, but increasing the ink count to ten. The P700 removes the need to swap black inks for matte and glossy papers (mk/pk switch).

It also features a built-in roll paper handling unit for roll paper up to 13″ width.

P700 prices: UK £678.99 (inc VAT) | US $799.99

Buy via B&H in the US
…help support this site

The Epson SureColor SC-P700

The P700 replaces the P600, which I reviewed a while ago and found to be capable of very good prints.[P600 review]. If you’d like an overview of the printer, I’ve made a short video (11 mins) that supplements this review.

The P700 is a whole new 13″ (A3+ )printer, with a new ink feed system (based on that of the larger 17″ printers) and a new 10 channel print head that finally loses the need to switch between matt black and photo black inks.

P700-print

There is also a new version of the ink set. The “UltraChrome HD PRO10” ink set adds a violet ink to expand gamut. There is a new “Carbon Black Driver mode” which is supposed to improve black density. I’ll be looking at this and other print quality aspects in some detail here and in the article covering B&W printing in greater detail..

The printer is some 30% smaller than the P600, but still manages to fit in a roll paper holder, which extends from the back when used.

A 4.3″ touchscreen makes general use of the printer easier. This is a larger and higher quality screen than the P600 and feels far better designed from a usability and functionality point of view.

There is also an interior light (LED) optionally illuminating the print area. Whilst some might consider it a luxury, I really do like being able to see my print being printed this way. If you print a lot of different sizes and types of print, then seeing the print like this gives that extra bit of confidence all is well. [click images to enlarge]

P700-interior-lighting

What you get
  • SureColor P700 Printer
  • Initial Ink Cartridges
  • AC Power Cable
  • User Guide Kit (Documentation and Warranty)
  • CD/DVD Disc Tray

Note: USB and Ethernet cables NOT included.

Setup

I’ve covered the setting up of the printer in much more detail in my ‘Setting up the P700 printer‘ article. There is also a video I’ve made showing the process of physically setting up the printer.

The printer comes with a box of ink carts and basic instructions as to setting it up.

The first job is to remove all the protective blue shipping tape and protective plastic.

bag-and-tape

Take care with the clear plastic top of the printer – the plastic is easy to scratch. There is blue tape inside as well.

Note at the left of the printer, a black piece of plastic. This is the top paper guide. I had two of the printers to set up – one had the guide fitted in place, the other didn’t. Not a problem, since it just clips into place.

Here’s the printer, showing the tilt-up screen (and power button) along with the the empty slots for the ~25ml ink carts.

display

The power connector is at the rear, and once you’ve cleared all the packing, you can switch the printer on. Don’t connect any Ethernet or USB cables yet though.

connections

You’ll need to enter some basic information (time/date) before getting to the ink setup.

set-the-date

Loading inks

There’s a guide to the process on the screen, but the ink carts simply click into place.

The ink carts are in the right order in the box for insertion. The carts all need a shake before fitting, so why not shake the closed box and do them all at once?

ink-order

The ink needs to fill the lines and replace the shipping fluid. This protects the print system from drying and low temperatures during shipping.

shipping-fluid

This fluid and some ink goes into the maintenance cart. This sits below the screen and is already fitted in place when the printer is shipped. A small panel folds down and the grey cart is just pulled out.

maintenance-cart

I’ll come back to this when looking at printer ink usage.

Note: After setup, the only ink that goes into this tank is from borderless overspray and cleaning

Once the printer is set up I printed a quick nozzle check on plain paper, to see all was well. This was via the main menu, under maintenance.

Space for the printer

The printer needs space around it for paper feeding and output.

space-needed

If you want to print A3+ and use the front feed (for paper or board), you also need space at the back for the media to load.

minimum-clearance

Connectivity

The printer has Ethernet (10/100), USB (3) and WiFI connectivity (2.4 and 5). The wired ports are at the rear, under a fold out panel.

connecting-the-printer

I connected up the printer to our Ethernet network, and it found its place and connection details. Similarly, you can easily set it up to connect to a wireless network.

The printer was spotted by the Epson ‘Install Navi’ setup software.

discover-printer

The printer was also able to find that there was new firmware available, and install it for me. Do remember that this is a pretty much all new printer rather than a new updated model, so expect firmware updates over time. I had four in less than a month.

If you’re a Mac user, then do have a look at the full setup article, since you will want to make sure you don’t accidentally set up your printer driver in AirPrint mode. Usually first noticed when all sorts of print options seem not to be there.

There is also a direct wireless access method whereby you can print directly from smart devices.

camera-control

I’ve pulled an image from my EOS RP [review] over to my iPhone.

I’m then using an Epson print app to directly print to the P700. A borderless A4 print on lustre paper.

print-from-phone

More options

A number of options for using the printer are set from the driver (not the AirPrint version) or front panel.

printer-options

The only two I’d note are using printer settings for paper and showing a preview. Setting paper on the printer helps reduce errors and the preview on the screen is just useful.

Printer web page

The printer has its own web pages, which duplicate some of the device the settings you can access from the front panel. If you go to admin mode, it has some pretty esoteric network settings. Probably more of interest to a corporate IT department, but if you need such stuff it’s all there.

printer-web-page

The display

The display is the best quality I’ve yet seen on a printer. The interface is clear and makes good use of colour. It makes the interface and physical buttons of the P600 look dated.

One new feature is the way you can customise it when printing.

I’ll use printing one of my B&W test prints as an example. Here’s a more normal printer display, albeit with progress bar and time estimate. BTW this estimate was pretty accurate.

inks-low

A preview image is generated and can be displayed during printing.

display-image-on-screen

I can scale and resize this.

rotate-image

I can also overlay multiple pages of print information.

display-print-settings

Changing inks

I’ll discuss ink usage in the conclusions, but at a certain point ink carts will be flagged as low or empty.

I take the empty warnings as suggestions to make sure you have spares, no more. During my printing of this B&W test image I’ve four low warnings.

inks-low

Then come warnings that there may not be enough ink to finish a print.

Well, I had one of these just before printing a 3.9m long panoramic print, and it was fine.

Eventually though, you will have to change the cart – Light Grey or LGY in this case

LGY-empty

I tested two printers and both first used up the LGY cart (followed by grey/GY).

One minor issue – make a note of which cart you are replacing before opening the ink tank cover.

Why? Well the display of what ink needs replacing is replaced by a ‘helpful’ notice that the cover is open. Don’t think you can check by closing it, since the printer then goes into a cycle trying to recognise the carts loaded…

Anyway, here’s the ink cart slot once I’ve pulled the LGY cart. You can see the ink outlet (top) and the air feed (black ring) that pressurises the ink tanks to force out ink.  This is the same type of ink feed mechanism previously used on 17″ printers such as the 3800 and P800.

replace-first-cart

Looking in a cart

Out of curiosity I took apart the used tank.

ink-cart-top

The ink is held in a foil bag, and this cart (replaced as late as it allowed) had but a few drops of ink left in it.

open ink carts

As far as I’m concerned it really is empty.

Maintenance cart

The maintenance cart fills with ink used for setup and ongoing cleaning. During my initial testing, the maintenance cart was nearly filled after printer setup.

initial-maintenance-box

After a few dozen prints and two empty ink carts, the box was full and needed replacing. A new box weighed 110g whilst the full one weighed 365g

Needless to say I don’t expect the maintenance cart to need replacing so quickly, and had a chat with Epson…

I’m now told that P700 printers (in Europe at least) will ship with a spare maintenance tank. This takes a while to implement, so if you don’t have one, contact your local Epson office. For the US and other overseas markets I have no specific info. [please do let me know if you find any- KC]

Media

The printer has three feed paths.

Most paper, up to moderately thick art paper will use the top feed slot. For lighter glossy papers you can stack several sheets, but for higher quality papers it’s one sheet at a time.

For thicker art papers and board (up to 1.6mm) there is a front feed, and for roll paper, there is a feed mechanism at the rear.

Paper issues?

The paper output path has what are sometimes called ‘Pizza wheels’  – none of the prints I made showed any marks from this. That’s not to say they won’t appear on some papers, just not on any I used. I’d note that the only time I’ve ever seen this was years ago with a printer that subsequently proved to have been damaged in transit.

A soft art paper needed feeding from the front slot when I noticed some leading edge marks from the paper feed roller when used with the top slot.

Top paper feed

The top feed folds upwards and extends to support paper.

top-loading-print

The paper is fed in centrally, which Epson claims improves paper feeding and alignment.

With older printers the paper was inserted to the right.

paper-loading-guides

For any paper loaded, you can set paper details on the front display. You can choose to allow printing with mismatched paper/size settings, but I find it much easier to get in the habit of always setting the correct paper details.

This particularly helps when the printer is nowhere near the computer you’re printing from.

The printer remembers recent choices of type and size, making the setting a bit easier.

Custom media sizes

Paper sizes can be specified as needed, if one of the default sizes won’t do. For myself this most often arises when making panoramic prints, whether from roll paper or some of the panoramic paper sizes now available.

panoramic-paper-feed

The custom size can be set from the front panel as well. This will be added to the recent sizes listed when setting paper sizes for new sheets of paper. This may or may not be of help in making sure everything is correct.

Depending on what software you’re using, feedback like this can increase confidence that everything is correct.  Some sheets of specialist paper may be a bit expensive to lose from simple errors.

Front loading

The front feed tray flips forward for the loading of thicker art papers, CDs and poster board.

front-feed-tray-open

These are handled differently, so the display prompts for which is intended.

front-feed-open

Both thick paper and board have a straight paper feed path, so need space at the back.

rear print space

The example above is some A3+ poster board – you do not want this hitting the wall as it comes out.

The posterboard setting has quite big end margins. I’m printing an 1890’s map of the area round my home, which includes my then recently built house.

posterboard-settings

For front loading papers, the feed is more gentle than the top feed, and there is no bending.

With art papers like Epson hot and cold press I found the top loader just fine (only one sheet at a time though). For a softer paper like some Canson Rag Photographique I tried, the top feed sometimes left some slight marks on the leading edge. This worked reliably via the front.

Papers for front loading are first lined up with the marks on the grey width setting sliders. Note the instruction/guide on the screen.

load-front-sheet

After the paper is drawn in, you need to shut the loading tray.

Note that the tray is -not- shut for printing CDs and posterboard, just fine art paper.

close-loading-tray

Here’s the print coming out underneath the front loading tray.

print-coming-out-of-printer

Printing CDs/DVDs

There is a special CD holder which you use to print CDs.

The (white) printable CD just clips in place.

CD-tray

With the front load tray open, the CD holder is fed in until the marks match up.

CD-tray-loaded

The CD tray is then drawn in, printed and ejected.

Roll paper support

The printer has a spindle-less roll paper feed system at the rear.

rear-of-printer

The cover flips down.

roll-feed-tray-1

Pull the cover and the whole mechanism slides out

roll-feed-tray-1

The grey guides are set to the width of the paper.

This is 13″ for this roll of Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper (PGPP)

roll-paper

The display on the front will prompt to load paper.

The paper just feeds into the rear of the printer which will beep when it’s detected.

Take care if the paper has a lot of curl, since this can cause the paper not to be properly picked up. I found that maintaining a bit of pressure made for a more reliable initial feed.

feed-in-roll-paper

Test prints

I’m printing a very wide gamut test image here (the Roman 16 set of images – from my i1Profiler installation)

The print size is set to A3+, with roll paper selected in the driver.

printing

The image on the LCD confirms it’s capable of quite good image quality.

image-being-printed

At the end of the print you can either cut the print, cut it and eject the paper or just roll the print back on to the roll.

end-of-print-options

Don’t be fooled by the mention of ‘Cut’.

You do the cutting, which I’ve some wallpaper scissors for. The printer adds some space before any print, so it may be worthwhile looking at the page frame option in the driver, to show where to cut. I tend to cut slightly larger with the scissors and then trim in a proper rotary cutter later.

Eject and remove both push the paper out of the back of the printer.

The paper comes out quite some distance for cutting.

manual-cutting

It’s then pulled back.

paper-rewinding

Remember that the roll feed is not powered, so you will need to manually wind back the roll at the back.

manual-rewind

Colour Management

As well as using Epson profiles for some of their papers, I created quite a few profiles of my own, typically from nearly 3000 patches on an A3+ sheet.

P700_profiling

As you can see, quite a few test prints for B&W and colour.

profiling-prints

The papers I created profiles for are listed below in the printing section. In particular I made a full set of profiles for all 5 basic quality settings for Epson TPP. I wanted to see if I could notice any significant changes from the better quality settings, beyond taking longer to print. [yes- a slightly improved gamut]

I print my profiling targets using the Mac ColorSync Utility – other methods are fine as long as all colour management is disabled.

profiling-test-print

The supplied colour profiles for Epson papers all worked just fine.

Epson-profiles

There should be more available in due course.

I’m told that the full range of profiles has been delayed as a result of the current pandemic.

Epson Media Installer

The Epson Media Installer software is an optional software install, which can be used to acquire media settings and profiles. It’s meant to be a route for all paper suppliers to make profiles/media settings available for the P700. At the moment, there is no ‘user’ access to the tools for doing this

You can however make your own copies of installed media and install them on your printer

media-installer

If you use a lot of a particular paper it may be worth adding to the printer. The named profile will be used for ‘automatic’ applications which print without you needing to specify an ICC profile. This works in Epson Print Layout for example.

Black and White

I’ve written some more detailed notes about B&W printing with the P700 in another article.

The P700 with it’s two grey inks produces excellently neutral B&W prints on a range of papers. Oh, and with the banishment of black ink switching I can quickly switch between matt art media and photo media without worrying about the ink loss and delay.

I’m printing this example form the Epson print Layout software. I’m using it as a plugin for Photoshop, rather than a standalone application.

bw-print-from-EPL

I’d say that the print output screen is the wrong place to be making editing adjustments to your image, but at least adjustments are reflected on my monitor – a form of soft proofing.

The display shows the B&W print on its way.

ABW-print

The blue colour of the display is purely related to the warm lighting. Correcting white balance for the screen gives a better impression of how it looks.

ABW-print-details

ABW – the best for B&W

You can see where I’ve also displayed the print setting.  I’m using the Advanced B&W Photo print mode of the driver, more usually known as ABW.

Essentially, if you’re printing black and white prints on the P700 with normal ICC printer profiles rather than ABW, then you’re probably doing it wrong.

The Epson ABW print mode in printer drivers is fine tuned to give better black and white prints, It incorporates toning/tinting, so unless you’re doing mixed colour/B&W prints the ABW mode is best. It reduces the colour tints (magenta/green) that you used to get with some B&W printing under different lights.

In the course of testing, I’ve printed a lot of copies of this particular version of my B&W test image.

abw-print-quality-options

It’s a version of my Standard test image optimised for reading the greyscale step wedge at the top with an i1Isis scanning spectrophotometer.

Some curves

One thing I look for in B&W printing is linearity. That means that a good looking image on my (calibrated) monitor should make for a good print. I’ll go into this in more detail in the B&W article, but here’s a 51 step wedge measured from an ABW print on premium luster at the mid quality setting of the 5 available for photo papers.

The first is using Epson Premium Luster at the mid quality level, measured without UV

lustre-paper-at-q3

The line of ‘L’s is good and straight showing that there’s no undue crunching of shadows. This is printed using the default ‘darker’ setting for ABW (no – not a name for the ‘default’ I’d have chosen either…)

Moving to the Hot Press Bright paper (a smooth matte art paper) at the highest quality setting (Q5), a slight crunch of shadow detail is apparent, but the dmax is a fairly good 1.7

hpb-ABW-mode-Q5

Switching to Q4 gives a slightly more linear response, but at the cost of a slight reduction in Dmax. Note that for matte papers you only get Q4 and Q5 to choose from.

Dmax?

Surely we’re seeing a ‘better’ Dmax with the better quality setting? – yes, but…

This from my general look at ink use and waste: “You may see the term Dmax mentioned with respect to the darkest black a printer can produce on a particular paper. It’s a perfectly reasonable measurement to take, but the problem is that without context it is meaningless.

I’ve expanded on this and why simply looking at such numbers can lead you astray in the P700 B&W article.

Bronzing

Printer ink sets have come on greatly in recent years and bronzing is not the issue it once was in B&W prints. That said, when I looked at a range of B&W prints at different quality settings, a light bronzing went from invisible at the ‘standard’ print quality setting, up to noticeable at the highest – probably the exact opposite of what you’d expect.

The subtle bronzing changed colour in a way suggesting it was an optical interference effect. Very slight and you have to look for it at just the right angle, but enough that I’d not print my B&W images on some photo papers at other than the first three quality settings. Not all papers show it to the same degree, and not an issue at all for matte papers. I’ve expanded on this in the P700 B&W article.

I should note that Epson were genuinely interested in my results and a whole stack of prints has gone off to Japan for analysis.

Printing

For my printing I’ve used Photoshop (CS6) and the Epson Print Layout (EPL) software. I’ve printed directly from Photoshop via its print dialog, and using EPL as a Photoshop plugin, where it’s accessed from the Automate menu. EPL works as a standalone application and can be used with some other editing packages. There is some more info about EPL below, but the majority of my printing was from Photoshop.

Note that Photoshop is what I use for most of my professional print work. Printing should be similar for other editing applications and on Win PCs

Amongst papers I tested were:

Epson papers

  • PGPP
  • Premium Luster
  • TPP
  • Hot Press Bright
  • Cold Press neutral

Along with

  • Canson Rag Photographique
  • Olmec Photo matte archival 230
  • Hahnemuhle Smooth Fine Art 265*
  • Pinnacle Lustre 300
  • Pinnacle Baryta 310

*This is the ‘mystery paper’ I’ve used in several articles, since I’ve an unmarked box of the stuff

I’ve profiles available for some – they are available on request strictly for non-commercial use.

assorted-prints

Some of my test prints…

Borderless printing

Borderless printing is available for many paper sizes. The image is printed oversize for the paper, so you will lose some of it.

a3-plus-borderless-print

The printer driver can auto-expand images, or you can use the retain size option to give greater control over how the image printed relates to the source image.

The normal driver (i.e. printing via Photoshop) has ‘Borderless retain size’ and ‘Borderless auto expand’ as print options.
The EPL software only has the auto version. This can make overprint/expansion tricky to judge, meaning I have quite a collection of A3+ prints with bits of white border and random cropping.
The auto expand works best if the image is the correct aspect ratio. Far more predictable I find, to print from PS.

borderless-options

Printing from Photoshop, borderless.

borderless-print-from-photoshop

I’m using the ‘retain size’ option and using the scaling percentage in the print dialog to get the coverage/crop I want.

Panoramic prints

Depending on the size of the print there are two options for making wide panoramic prints. One uses sheets of paper cut to the right size, whilst the other uses roll paper.

Several suppliers stock panoramic paper options, and there is a wider variety of paper types than you’ll find in the relatively uncommon 13″ roll width.

Here’s a print on ‘Double A4’ paper (210mm x 594mm), with another sheet ready to go in the top feed. It’s from a trip to Cornwall a few years ago.

double-a4

The prints are a lustre paper from my Fotospeed Panoramic paper review

They are also printed using the Epson Premium Luster profile.

Shock horror – no custom profile! I hear some say. Heresy I know, but with experience of papers and profiling I know that the Epson Premium Luster profile will give me results that are likely to look just fine. If I was to make a lot of these size prints on a particular paper, I’d make a profile. Remember that printing is (for me) about making a great looking print, not an exercise in spurious colorimetric accuracy.

two-pano-prints

A more important issue with pre-cut paper is that it defines your aspect ratio. If you print on the double A4 with a 10mm margin, you get ~3:1 aspect ratio

image-crop-size

Even wider

That’s fine but I do like to make very wide panoramics.

long-print on P700

This is where roll paper comes in. Just make sure you allow for the length of the paper. The weight of paper reaching all the way down to the floor is not good for the printer paper feed mechanism.

printing-a-long-panoramic-print

The image was printed directly from Photoshop with a 1.25m long custom page size for 13″ width paper.

panoramic-print-setup

What PPI for images?

Some of my panoramic images are huge. The 3.9 metre one below has been printed at over 14 metres long.

I’m of the opinion that as long as you have enough real detail in an image for the size then the actual PPI setting sent to the printer makes no significant difference.

At 360ppi the source image makes a print of ~50cm x 140cm.

very-large-source-image

That’s fine, but I’ve only 13″ width paper (29.4cm)

When printing, I’ve scaled it to fit the double A4 paper at 55% size.

very-high-ppi

That’s 937 ppi (pixels per inch). Should I rescale the image before printing to a more reasonable number?

If it was ~2000 or so I might, but my experience says not to bother, especially if I’m using mid to high quality settings, where very fine detail can be rendered on a glossy paper like I’m using.

A personal view... Yes, I know this flies in the face of received wisdom on forums. I’m of the school that first looks at a print as a photograph, then considers the technical niceties. Overly concentrating on detail you need a magnifying glass to see is simply not the way ‘normal people’ look at a print ;-) Sure, I’ve done experiments in the course of my reviews to see how detail is reproduced, that’s what’s led me to this opinion. It is though only my opinion, but before following ‘forum wisdom’, try and do a few experiments – many of those advocating certain approaches may never have done so, or are basing opinions on old printers. Printer hardware and software has advanced a lot in recent years. 

Even bigger

I’ve made a short video about very long prints on the P700 using roll paper. The print is 3.9 metres long.

keith and long-print

Job history

The printer maintains a job history for the last 12 prints. This can be great for testing, as long as you don’t switch the printer off.

This can be printed, and is best done from the front panel, where the touch screen makes things so much easier than having to use arrow keys to step through menus/options. I’ve loaded basic A4 copier paper for this.

print-information-sheets

The prints above are from when I produced an A3+ profiling target (~3k patches) for Epson TPP paper at each of the 5 print quality options.

Here’s a detail, showing the 22+ minutes it too to print the page at the absolute highest quality setting

print-settings

Print Quality and settings

There are several different settings in the printer driver controls which have an effect on print quality.

The most obvious difference you’ll notice is print times. An A3+ profiling target took just 3 min 30 seconds to print at the standard setting whilst a version at the very highest quality settings took just over 22 minutes.

There are essentially 5 different quality settings, the first two at 1440×720 resolution, the mid or ‘high quality’ one at 1440×1440 and two higher ones at 5760×1440.

We can add to this, the ‘Black Enhance Overcoat’ option that’s supposed to improve ‘depth’ even more.

I’ll ignore the fact that no-one who uses the term ‘depth’ with regard to printing has ever been able to give me a robust measurable explanation/definition of what it actually means.

So, what settings would I print at?

With colour images on photo papers I’d use the mid ‘High Quality’ setting, since it reproduces fine detail a bit better than the basic mode. I can see no obvious improvements in the highest quality settings for most images. You may have images on a particular paper that show the difference in a way mine don’t…

As a test, I’d suggest leaving two identical prints overnight with only a note on the back as to which is which setting? Be honest in your evaluation, and maybe ask someone else if they can see a difference.

For matte art papers you only have two higher quality settings – I’d once again avoid the highest (slower) setting.

With black and white prints on photo papers, results vary with the paper. On Epson Premium Luster I found that a slight bronzing intruded into the higher quality settings ( 4/5 using ABW) On some papers the standard (lowest) setting gave the best tonality.

A warning

Don’t take my observations above as a criticism of the excellent print quality I got from the P700. I’m being very picky, especially of the bronzing with B&W. Most people won’t even notice it, but I did, and once you have, you can’t not see it.

My take away point would be to ignore marketing features and specs and don’t assume that just because you set all quality sliders to maximum, your prints will look ‘better’.

Remember that a rubbish photo is a rubbish photo no matter how much you crank up the settings…

Software

Epson Photo+ is the consumer level print application optionally installed during setup.

photo-plus

Its main use for me is that it enables reliable printing of CD/DVDs and the inserts for cases. Printing these from somewhere like Photoshop is tricky for formating, whilst Photo+ gives all these template options.

cd-templates

Epson Print Layout

At the time of writing, the Epson Print Layout software is not installed in the initial setup. The official download page from Epson UK is:

https://www.epson.co.uk/apps-software/epson-print-layout

Aug 2020: This page has broken links, but these are the Mac and PC versions (EU versions)

The software is pretty straightforward to use, as in this example of a single print on a rag art paper.

There are three categories of settings.

First, the printer settings – select paper type and size, along with feed source.

EPL-printer-settings

If you’ve installed any custom media types, they will also appear in this list.

epl-media-settings

Next, the layout settings, where you can adjust by image size or margin size

epl-layout-settings

Colour settings

Note how selecting the USFA paper setting has auto-selected the profile for Ultra-smooth fine Art

EPL-colour-settings

I can select the correct profile, as needed.

EPL-select-profile

The software also has good layout options for multiple images,

This example  has black image borders and is printed borderless.

photo-theme-layout

The print is shown alongside another using a simple 2x layout and normal borders.

two-template-prints

Entirely bespoke layout templates can be configured

custom-EPL-layout

The software does quite a few other things as well and is something I’d definitely recommend installing.

Conclusions

The P700 a whole new printer and noticeably smaller than the old P600. If you wanted, you can think of it as a smaller version of the 17″ P900. This isn’t so far from the truth, given that Epson ICC profiles work for both printers.

Two features stood out to me as a long time user of Epson printers: Ink swapping and the screen

No black ink swap

No more black ink swap. At last you just print on whatever paper you want, without needing to consider whether the printer is set up for matt or Photo papers.

This is partly possible due to the new 10 channel print head, which has allowed the addition of a violet ink. The violet ink has been an option for some larger format printers, such as the 17″ P5000 and 24″ P7000 I’ve reviewed. In those printers it was there to expand gamut for proofing purposes, and not the option you’d choose for photo printing.

In the P700 the violet/blue ink gives a bit of a boost in this gamut comparison between profiles for a fine art paper on the P600 and P700.

gamut-comparison

Higher quality print settings on the P700 do give a slightly enlarged gamut, but as I’ve noticed earlier, unlikely to be obvious in most prints.

The touch screen

The display screen on the P700 is well used, with good attention to access to menu and printer functions.

The optional display of the image you’re printing and the light inside the printer both contribute to reducing that ‘am I doing this right’ feeling we all get when printing something new.

wide-print-on-screen

Ink usage

For normal printing the printer uses reasonable amounts of ink – I can’t give precise figures, since I’m doing a lot of tests and ‘non-standard’ printing. However it seems on a par with the previous P600.

At no time during my testing were there any clogs or blocked nozzles – I’m using the printer regularly though, which to be fair is the best for any inkjet printer.

My only concerns are with initial setup.

ink-levels

Not long after initialisation, I checked ink levels and they were not what I’d expect from a new printer.

All that ink (and the shipping fluid) has gone into the maintenance tank during setup (it’s nearly full). It was only some 15-20 biggish prints before inks started needing replacing.  This is not what I really expect from a new printer. A second printer showed very similar results.

New P700’s will have a spare maintenance tank, which removes that problem, but there’s still the matter of how empty those carts are in a new printer. Personally I’d like to see the initial installation carts filled with more ink. I expect some drop in levels in a new printer, but just not that much.

Update: Continued testing shows that after this initial setup and use, the maintenance tank fills very slowly and is likely to last quite a while – essentially just borderless overspray and cleanings adding to it. I would not suggest getting a spare maintenance cart when you get your first replacement ink carts. I suspect the maintenance cart will last a long while for most people. I’ve also seen comments suggesting that the setup ink carts are nearly empty – this is simply wrong.

Design and build quality

It’s obvious that the printer has been designed to look good in a nice tidy office. Everything folds away, including the rear roll print holder. The look is shiny black box. That shine needs some care though, with the plastic (clear) top being all to easy to mark with very fine scratches.

The print trays and feed are all more robust than their lightweight design could suggest to some. This is a printer for the home, not a lab full of students. If you’re a fan of printers built from girders and cast iron, then prepare to be disappointed.

The pop-up screen feels more solid and better made than with the P600

There is a lot of clever design in the printer – the fold away rear roll paper holder is a great example. It’s a massive improvement on the plastic roll paper holders which used to just clip on the back of some older printers.

roll-feed-tray-1

Do you -need- to update?

If you’ve a perfectly good working P600, then I’m not going to suggest rushing out and buying an all new printer. There are lots of improvements that may tempt you, but to suggest your prints will somehow be loads better is to imply that the P600 is in some way deficient. It isn’t. If you’re currently using a simple office or All-in-One printer then the potential jump in quality is worthwhile.

As I’ve often written elsewhere – most problems in printing are the user’s fault, not the printer.

You’ll appreciate that I can say this out loud since I don’t sell printers. I’m sure many printer manufacturers would like to as well, but marketing would never allow it ;-)

Modern printers are rather good at showing up poor photography, whether basic techniques or lack of post-processing skill. Indeed, it’s incredibly easy nowadays to make a high quality print of your photography. The downside (myself included) is that a substandard photo rarely makes a good print.

So – what’s it like to use?

Overall I got some great looking prints from the P700. The printer is simple to set up and if you use the Epson Print Layout software, very easy to print from. The touch screen really does aid usability and should help build confidence in those new to printing.

With borderless and roll printing options the P700 expands the range of print types you can try. There is less of a range of media available in 13″ roll sizes. so if that’s an area you’re interest in, then the wider (17″) P900 should offer more  flexibility. Paper loading and feed was reliable, but don’t overload the top feed, especially with thicker (and usually more expensive) media.

The P700/900 are a significant advance in printer design for Epson.

–ooOoo–

If you’ve questions or comments, please do feel free to email me at Northlight, or use the comments section at the foot of the article.

Specifications

Print:
  • Printing Technology: Advanced MicroPiezo AMC 10-channel, drop-on-demand printhead with ink-repelling coating technology
  • Minimum Ink Droplet Size: 1.5 picoliters; Variable Droplet Technology can produce up to three different dot sizes per line
  • Maximum Print Resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi
  • Maximum Printable Area: 13″ x 129″
  • Print Speed:
    8.5″ x 11″ print: 1 min 29 sec,
    13″ x 19″ print: 2 min 23 sec
  • Nozzle Configuration: Color and monochrome heads; 180 nozzles x 10
  • CD / DVD Printing: Yes
Ink:
  • Ink Type: UltraChrome PRO10 pigment ink; 10-ink, 10-color Cyan, Light Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Vivid Light Magenta, Yellow, Gray, Light Gray, Violet, Photo Black and Matte Black
  • Fade Resistance / Print Longevity: up to 200 years; Black-and-white: up to 400 years
Epson Intelligent Ink Cartridges:
  • Ink Cartridge Shelf Life: 2 years from printed production date or 6 months after opened Printer is designed for use with Epson cartridges only, not third-party cartridges or ink
General:
  • Operating Systems: Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later; Windows 10, 8.1, 8 and 7 (32-bit,64-bit)7
  • Temperature: Operating: 50 ˚ to 95 ˚F (10 ˚ to 35 ˚C) Storage: -4 ˚ to 104 ˚F (-20 ˚ to 40 ˚C)
  • Humidity: Operating: 20–80% (no condensation) Storage: 5–85% (no condensation)
  • Sound Level: Approx. 39 dB(A) according to ISO 7779
  • Dimensions:
    Printing: 20.3″ x 30.3″ x 16.5″ (W x D x H)
    Storage: 20.3″ x 14.5″ x 7.3″(W x D x H)
  • Weight: 35.3 lb
  • Eco Features: ENERGY STAR® qualified, RoHS compliant, Recyclable Product, Epson America, Inc. is a SmartWay Transport Partner
  • Safety Approvals: UL (MET), FCC (Class A), CSA, CE, EMC
  • Country of Origin: Indonesia
  • Warranty: Depends on region
Printable Area and Accuracy:
  • Maximum Paper Width: 13″, Max. cut-sheet size 13″ x 19″
  • Minimum Cut-sheet Size: 3.5″ x 5″
Sheet Media Handling:
  • Sheet Loading:
    Main Top-loading: Up to 13″ x 19″; up to 120 sheets plain paper, 30 sheets photo paper, and Single sheet loading of thicker fine art paper.
    Front Media Path: Up to 13″ x 19″; single sheet manual feeder, designed for thicker papers up to 1.5 mm thick
  • BorderFree Print Widths:
    3.5″ x 5″, 4″ x 6″, 5″ x 7″, 8″ x 10″, A4 (8.3″ x 11.7″), letter (8.5″ x 11″), 11″ x 14″, B (11″ x 17″), A3 (11.7″ x 16.5″), Super B (13″ x 19″)
Roll Media Handling:
  • Single Roll-to-Roll / Top-loading Roll: 13″ roll
  • Media Core: 2″ core
Printer Details:
  • Printer Language: Epson ESC/P raster photographic drivers standard
  • Interfaces: Hi-Speed USB 3.0 (1 port), 100Base-T Ethernet (1 port), 2.4 GHz (802.11n) and 5 GHz Wireless (IEEE802.11 b/g/n/ac), Wi-Fi Direct, AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Epson Print Layout for iOS
Power:
  • Rated Voltage: AC 110 – 240 V
  • Rated Frequency: 50 – 60 Hz
  • Power Consumption: Printing: approx. 22 W
    Sleep Mode: approx. 1.1 W
    Power Off: approx. 0.14 W
  • Rated Current: Less than 1 A/110 – 120 V

Never miss a new article or review - Sign up for our occasional (ad-free) Newsletter

Enjoyed this article?

Other areas of our site that may be of interest...

All the latest articles/reviews and photo news items appear on Keith's Photo blog 

We've a whole section of the site devoted to  Digital Black and White photography and printing. It covers all of Keith's specialist articles and reviews.
For All about using tilt and shift - articles/reviews about tilt/shift lenses

Other sections include Colour management and Keith's camera hacks - there are over 1100 articles/reviews here...

Articles below by Keith (Google's picks for matching this page)


Site Notice: Like many working photographers, our work has diminished greatly in these challenging times, so I'm at home a lot. The silver lining is that I've lots of articles and reviews to write - if you've any suggestions or questions, please do let me know - Keith
...Why not sign up for our (ad free) Newsletter to keep informed about new articles and subscribe to my YouTube Channel


12 Comments
  • Keith | Sep 22, 2020 at 12:04 am

    Thanks – I’m afraid I don’t ever publish comparisons, since what matters varies in differing degrees for everyone wanting a printer. I try and include all the important features in each review. However, if you have any specific questions let me know directly

  • Jure Jaklic | Sep 21, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Keith, great article. I’m trying to decide between the Epson P700 and Canon’s new P300, which you’ve reviewed as well. Will you make a comparison between the two and pro’s and con’s for each? Would be great to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks, Jure

  • Tom Carmody | Aug 30, 2020 at 2:41 am

    Thanks for your review and insights! I have a SC P700 and I am finding it to be outstanding. I was expecting the initial set of inks to be replaced relatively quickly and that certainly was the case. I’ve had to replace them all after relatively few prints (>36) of varying sizes and on different papers as I was trying to find what I liked. I too was surprised by how quickly the initial maintenance tank became full and needed replacement. What really threw me however was when I tried to order replacement maintenance tanks, I was told there were none available – not from authorized Epson dealers, and not from Epson itself! Fortunately this lack of availability lasted only about a week or so and I ordered a few as insurance to future shortages. The new empty maintenance tank appears to last substantially longer than the first one after initial setup! I’ve had no issues at all with head clogs paper jams or even the need to do a cleaning cycle yet. Coming from a somewhat dated Epson Photo Stylus 2200 that I could no longer fink ink for, I’m delighted with my choice and I think this may be a better printer than Canon’s latest offering the Pro 300.

  • Keith | Aug 29, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks!

    I thought it was only kept down for CD

    Updated: The feed tray is kept down for CD and board, and raised for fine art paper

    I should get a P900 before long, so I’ll definitely check then.

  • Eric Anderson | Aug 29, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Wonderful! Awaiting my P900 here in the states – perhaps before Winter hits.
    You mention two items of import to me: Pizza wheels and the front poster board slot. On the P600 the front loading tray needs to be closed (re-engaging the pizza wheels) when printing poster board. The P800 requires the front loading try to remain open (pizza wheels _not_ engaged) when printing poster board; printing digital negatives on a poster board sled eliminates the pizza wheel marks (yay!).

    Can you confirm the P700 the front loading tray is required to be closed, same as P600, when printing poster board? Awaiting a P900 to see about that one.

  • Keith | Aug 29, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks, glad it was of help!

  • Hubert Steve Cole | Aug 29, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    Wow … what an article. Fantastic details! I currently own Epson 2880R which has worked great for the past 10 years or so. However I think I might be ready for an updated model … just have to decide it to be the p700 or p900. Thanks for this article it will be a great aid once I get it in hand.

  • Keith | Aug 29, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Thanks!
    The space requirements are lifted directly from the P700 manual. My understanding is that they reflect both physical constraints and space needed for ventilation.
    I’m hoping to get the P900 here as soon as Epson UK have some in their own stock.
    From a print quality POV it should be virtually the same as the P700, but bigger. The Epson ICC profiles are marked P700/900 and are interchangeable.

    Unfortunately I don’t ever use LR, so have no specific info on that – the Epson software is pretty good – see also the black and white print article for more.

  • Rainer Faller | Aug 29, 2020 at 7:08 am

    Thank you very much for all the helpful articles. You are a great knowledge source in the troublesome field of printing.

    In the space schematic you show C and F spacing on each side. Why is this?

    As someone who tries to avoid PS, do you have guidance or an article on how to use the P700/900 with LR classic.

    Finally, I’m very eager for the P900 extension of your articles, which I intend to buy as I have still lots of Epson paper from a broken 3800.

  • Keith | Aug 27, 2020 at 9:05 am

    Thanks – glad you found it useful.

    I didn’t do a detailed comparison, but for photo papers I couldn’t see any obvious differences. Whilst it might throw me out of the ‘colour management geeks’ club I’d say that the Epson profiles are very good and well worth trying – and that’s with my 3k patch targets and i1Profiler. For Spyderprint profiles I suspect even more so…

  • Fred Muehter | Aug 26, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    Keith,
    Wow your review was worth the wait! Perhaps the only thorough one in the websphere–well done! Question abt ICC profiling– I too have a print profiler (SpyderPrint). Not sure which papers you developed custom profiles for vs. the “out-of-the-box” ones supplied by Epson or other paper manufacturers. Did you happen to compare results between the Epson supplied profiles vs. the customer ones you made? Would like to avoid that chore (and the ink usage) if the results were very comparable.

  • David Stein | Aug 26, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Great help, Keith.

Post A Comment