Lab-quality colour photo printing on demand

Designed to generate images suitable for presentation and resale, this printer should interest professionals and photography enthusiasts who want to move away from commercial photo processing.

In my tests of this shipping model, prints made on Epson's Premium Semigloss paper stock rivalled photos developed by a photo lab. Scanned photos printed on the printer looked as good as the originals or even better. Colour-image output was rich and clear, with realistic colours and accurate flesh tones. Epson doesn't recommend the unit for black-and-white photos.

The Stylus Photo 2000P can handle paper sizes from 3.5 by 3.5 inches to 13 by 44 inches; Epson itself sells a wide range of custom resin-coated photographic papers and fine-art media.

Print speeds are relatively fast; in my tests, an 8-by-10-inch print took between 4 and 6 minutes, depending on the settings I selected. The printer uses two cartridges-one for black ($65), and one for the five other colours ($75).

This printer isn't appropriate for churning out text or routine business graphics, but it raises the bar for ink jet printing of photographs.

Stylus Photo 2000P

PRO: Incredible colour prints rival output from a photo lab.

CON: Doesn't handle black-and-white images well; expensive.

VALUE: Best for serious photo enthusiasts and professionals.

Street price: $1,999.

www.epson.com.au