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Epson Stylus Photo 1400: dye, prints! Dye!

The Stylus Photo 1400 is a big printer that produces tiny dots.

It seems like decades ago that Epson released its last dye-based, 13-inch printer, the Stylus Photo 1280. Well, it's only been six years, but in this biz it feels like decades--and the printer is still pretty popular for a model so old. But even the most well-preserved stars eventually need a face-lift, so this week the company announced the Stylus Photo 1400, a 13x19-inch-capable model that uses Epson's Claria dye inks and 1.5-picoliter-droplet printhead. Dubbed "Ultra Hi-Def" printing--after all, if it works for TV, why not printers?--the 6-color Claria ink set has been rated by Willhelm Imaging to last up to 98 years framed (given appropriate paper) and 200 years in an album.

Stylus Photo 1400

Of course, that leaves consumers with the tough choice between the 1400 and the pigment-based Stylus Photo R1800, with its extra red and blue primaries. But dye inks tend to have a larger color gamut than pigments, so the $50 price difference may be the deciding factor.

The printer will cost about $400 and ship this quarter. There's one waiting for me back at the office, so I'll be testing it once I get back from CES.