What Happens When Wide Format Shrinks? Epson P8570D Innovates

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Large format printers typically take up as much size as a desk. In addition, many require accessing both sides, which means the printer requires more floor space than the physical size of the printer itself. Epson is trying to change that. Announced on June 15, the new Epson SureColor P series models are 25 percent smaller and can also be pushed up flat against a wall. It’s a change photographers making prints in small spaces will likely be eager about. In a category of printers designed for high volume, however, it’s unfortunately not going to spit out fine art quality prints. Most interesting of the bunch is the new Epson P6570D.

The new SureColor P series additions include four models with a few different sizes and features. The Epson P6570 uses a 24-inch single roll, while the Epson P6570D is a dual roll of the same size. The Epson P8570 prints up to 44 inches and will also be available in a dual roll Epson P8570D model that accommodates larger 1.6L ink packs. All four models, Epson says, are part of the consumer photo and poster class, designed for everyday photo prints and small labs, as well as high-volume photo and poster prints.

Features

  • Up to 2400 DPI, with droplets as small as 3.5 picoliter
  • UltraChrom 6 CMY includes gray, photo black, and matte black as well as cyan, magenta, and yellow. Epson says this setup produces colors similar to an eight ink printer.
  • Uses the PrecisionCore 2.6” Micro TFP print head with nozzle verification technology to detect if a nozzle is clogged
  • Wi-Fi and USB Direct print
  • Up to 2.3x faster than the SureColor P8000
  • Adobe Embedded Print Engine now comes standard
  • Works with rolls, sheets, and poster board up to 1.5mm thick
  • Automatic roll loading, with auto feed
  • 44-inch version supports 8.5 by 11 up to 33.1 by 44.6
  • Epson Cloud Solution PORT allows users with multiple printers to see printer fleet status online

A Slim Design and Wi-Fi on the Epson P8570D and More

The newest SuperColor P models look quite a bit different than most large wide printers. The boxy top can be pushed directly against a wall, thanks to the controls and media being located at the printer’s front. The boxy design also gives the printer a flat top that can be used as a workspace. The back is also flat, and the paper loading and maintenance can be done from the front. That means the printer can be pushed against a wall or placed back-to-back with another inside a print center.

Epson says that the new printers are about 25 percent smaller than the company’s earlier printers and fares well compared to the size of competing models. A large touchscreen holds some custom options at the front, and Epson says the design also makes it easier for printer maintenance. It’s a change that I can see many photographers getting on board with. Many photographers work from their homes or in smaller offices. A smaller printer that can still print big could be a welcome change.

The second major change that the new printers bring is Wi-Fi. Epson’s 24 to 44-inch class printers did not yet have wireless capability before today’s launch. So besides being able to push the printer in a corner, photographers don’t need to situate their desks close enough for a cord or transfer via USB.

Of course, size isn’t everything. Epson had me sold up until they categorized the new printers as high volume options, a category that includes serving the print shops inside major retail stores. With Epson marketing this for everyday photo prints and volume photo print centers like you find in retail store labs, the quality likely won’t hold up to Epson’s larger, more advanced printers. Photographers won’t want to trade in 25 percent more space if it means getting the same quality prints as Walmart.

Epson is reimagining the large format printer — and I love the innovation and new look here. A smaller size could make it easier for photographers to invest in their own large format printer that’s not quite as large. But would you invest in a large format printer if the quality is the same as the Walgreens down the road? I wouldn’t. It’s difficult to picture a printer that both the print shop at major retail stores will love, and professional photographers will also love. Unfortunately, the newest in the line is consumer photo-focused and aimed at high volume and retail centers. 

Professional photographers invest in their own large format printers to control the final process and quality — not in a high volume printer. But, I’m still intrigued by the way Epson is rethinking large format with the Epson P8570D. I’m hoping these new innovations trickle into the category of printer mode for professional photographers and fine art.

The Epson P8570D will start shipping before the end of the year. Epson hasn’t yet announced ship dates on the remaining models — or, for that matter, a price. But be sure to check Amazon for when it drops. While I’m intrigued by that small size, it will be some time before that unique design starts to trickle into models made for pro photographers too, not just retail print shops.

Hillary Grigonis

Hillary K. Grigonis is a photographer and tech writer based in Michigan. She shoots weddings and portraits at Hillary K Photography. A mother of three, she enjoys hiking, camping, crafting, and reading.