Epson Stylus Pro 4900 review
We thought the Canon Pixma Pro-100 was big, but then the Epson Stylus Pro 4900 arrived. Let’s just say it took two of us to lift it out of the box, and we could barely find a desk big enough to accommodate it. If the Pro-100 is the size of a carry-on suitcase, the 4900 is family-sized luggage, and then some.
Suffice to say, this isn’t a home printer, or even a printer for the affluent enthusiast: it’s a professional studio setup that delivers some of the finest prints we’ve ever seen. Part of the reason the 4900 is so big is that it has to accommodate 11 separate, super-sized ink tanks – six in a panel to the left-hand side of the output tray and five to the right.
The ink cartridges are about the size of VHS video cassettes, and where the Pro-100’s dinky little cartridges contain only 13ml, these hold a whopping 200ml. You won’t be changing the cartridges every five minutes, which is just as well at around £80 per unit – although when the time does come it’s a ten-second job, with the printer’s colour screen delivering a clear warning when ink tanks are running low.
Epson Stylus Pro 4900 review: print quality
With the inclusion of 11 inks, we were hoping for immaculate colour accuracy from the 4900, and we weren’t disappointed. Epson claims the printer covers 98% of the Pantone solid colour formula guide, and it certainly revealed skin tones that all of the other printers – including the Canon Pixma Pro-100 – simply couldn’t reproduce.
The model’s face on our Colour Collective test print was absolutely perfect, with colour still preserved on the brightly lit side of her face, and a subtle range of tones and shadows on the other. Reds aren’t slightly oversaturated, as they are on the Pro-100, and our beach landscape had an almost oil-painting-like texture on the horizon.
The 4900 pulls ahead on black-and-white photos too. Our product shot leapt off the page, and the gradient smoothing was flawless. Another black-and-white landscape we printed “looks like you’re viewing on it on a Retina display”, to use the words of our reviews editor. It’s a simply stunning printer, with very slight banding on a couple of our photos the only disappointment.
Epson Stylus Pro 4900 review: speed
The 4900 takes its time to deliver such quality, mind. It took a full 8mins 37secs to deliver our borderless A3+ print (almost twice as long as the Pro-100) and 3mins 43secs to deliver the A4. It’s like a cat, constantly stopping to clean itself, adding further delays to the process.
If you switch between photo and document printing, the printer has to switch between the two types of black ink that share the same channel, which adds another couple of minutes to the process. Our test A4 brochure took 2mins 11secs to arrive, even after the switch, which isn’t quick by any standard. Nevertheless, with a 250-sheet paper tray and the 200ml black cartridge, it’s much better suited to document printing than the Canon Pixma Pro-100.
The price of the Epson Stylus Pro 4900 puts it firmly in the realm of the dedicated imaging professional, and you’d have to be printing wide-format photos by the hundreds to justify such cost, but you won’t be disappointed with output.
Epson Stylus Pro 4900 specifications
|Maximum print resolution||2,880 x 1,440dpi|
|Maximum optical scan resolution||N/A|
|Number of colours (cartridges)||11|
|Maximum number of colours (cartridges)||11|
|Standard interfaces||USB 2, Ethernet|
|Dimensions (WDH)||863 x 1,134 x 405mm|
|Maximum paper size||A2|
|Maximum paper weight||900gsm|
|Standard paper trays (capacity)||250|
|Maximum paper trays (capacity)||N/A|
|Automatic Document Feeder capacity||N/A|
|Direct (PC-less) printing||No|
|Memory card support||No|
|Supported operating systems||Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2003 and 2008, Mac OS X 10.3+|
|Other features||Optional cabinet, optional Spectro Proofer, roll paper support|
|Price||£1,949 inc VAT|
|Consumable parts and prices||Matte Black T6538, £83.72; Cyan T6532, £83.72; Vivid Magenta T6533, £83.72; Yellow T6534, £83.72; Green (T653B, £83.72); Light Light Black (T6539, £83.72); Light Cyan (T6535, £83.72); Light Black (T6537, £83.72), Orange (T653A, £83.72); Photo Black (T6531, £83.72)|
|Quoted life of supplied black cartridge(s)||Not stated|
|Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)||Not stated|
|Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT||-|
|Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT (colour part)||-|
|Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT (mono part)||-|