Epson SureColor P9570 Full Review – The Finest Color Printer Yet Made

July 16, 2023 ·

Dan Wells

The Epson SureColor P9570 in action

Table of Contents

Introduction

Ink (and Canon comparison)

Epson Ink History

Paper and Gloss Differential

Why It’s Not Perfect

Operational Considerations

Conclusions

Introduction

            I have been extremely busy these past few months, with the two biggest contributors being that I have graduated from a mid-career Masters’ program at Harvard Divinity School (with very little relevance to The Luminous Landscape), and hundreds of hours and well over 2000 square feet of printing on the Epson SureColor P9570 (with great relevance to The Luminous Landscape). There has been speculation on the forums that the while since the last update has meant that something has gone wrong in the P9570 testing.

Nope, it is an extraordinary machine (Highly Recommended, and the choice wasn’t hard), perhaps a revolutionary one, although not without its quirks and annoyances. The quirks are significant enough to give the P9570 a learning curve. You can’t set it up and expect a 100% hit rate on the first day – you’ll go through some (expensive) paper and ink figuring out how to handle the issues. This review and especially future installments discussing individual papers will focus in part on reducing that learning curve, and I’m talking with Epson about publishing even more detailed guides (which would bore Luminous Landscape readers who are not interested in printing to tears) through them.

Photographing ~40×60” prints and reducing them to 1000 pixels for the Web is difficult and doesn’t come close to capturing the full effect of the print. This print, on Legacy Baryta, is very striking in person. It also took several setting adjustments) to get it to print without head rubbing (the problem area is the deep shadow from the reflected trees). Now that I know how to print it, I can handle similar prints on similar paper with no problem – it’s a matter of learning the tools.

One especially annoying issue is that some of the problems only show up on expensive paper – settings that work fine on Ultra Premium Luster or Enhanced Matte ruin Legacy Platine or Legacy Fiber. You can’t always practice on the cheap stuff (reminiscent of switching from RC to fiber-based paper in the black and white darkroom – and it’s largely a distinction between RC and fiber paper here, too). I have NOT run into any issue that cannot be solved by learning to use the printer, but “learning to use the printer” involves considering the interaction between the media, the individual image and even (in certain cases) the image’s position on the roll. Fine art printing on the P9570 is more like printing in the darkroom than it is like using an appliance – there is definitely a skill to it, but learning the skill rewards you with extraordinary results.

            First, the (many) positives: I have become increasingly convinced that no color process the equal of the P9570, its UltraChrome PRO12 inkset and associated papers has EVER existed. Differences between inksets are sufficient that it is worth referring to a particular inkset, with its associated printers and paper compatibility, as a process, just as Ilfochrome, RA-4 or dye transfer are processes. Defining a process in this way probably means that black and white silver gelatin is a FAMILY of processes, just as color inkjet is a family of processes. There are much greater differences among black and white papers, chemistries and techniques than there are, say, within Ilfochrome. UltraChrome PRO12 is the most advanced color process currently available, and it will produce a print of any color image with more overall image quality and (perhaps more importantly) greater creative flexibility than any other color process I know of. The P9570 and its little sister the 24” wide P7570 are the hardware tools used to produce prints with the UltraChrome PRO12 process, and this review covers the both printer and the process.  A well-operated P9570 working on a great file is capable of dynamic range, shadow detail and color we have simply never seen before, along with superb print longevity. Anything that can come close is either a previous inkjet (and the P9570 clearly beats ALL previous inkjets in these parameters) or an alternative process that takes many years to master. 

This is a VERY difficult file to print. The orange in the trunks is quite intense (well outside sRGB, so it doesn’t fully show up online), especially at lower left, and the deep blue is also tricky. A printer without an extra ink in the orange area won’t get the trunks, and one without a blue or violet can’t capture the sky. The P9570’s gamut captures both. I have made excellent prints on Platine and Metallic Glossy.

            These conclusions are striking enough that I will no longer use any process OTHER than UltraChrome PRO12 (or closely related modern UltraChrome processes – PRO12 stands at the summit of several similar inksets) for exhibition prints. All other color print processes (this does NOT apply to Black and White, especially alternative processes) have disadvantages sufficient to consider them Not Recommended for many applications.

 Processes that are now Not Recommended for any application include: All Color Darkroom (silver halide) processes, including LightJet, Lambda, Chromira, etc as well as conventional analog enlarging. RA-4 chemistry raises very important environmental concerns, and UltraChrome PRO12 can do anything those processes can do, including extremely sharp, extremely glossy prints, while offering massive improvements in paper flexibility, color gamut, dynamic range and print longevity. For lower-end applications of color darkroom printing (inexpensive prints in the 4×6” to 8×10” range), inkjet minilab printers such as Epson’s SureLab and Fujifilm’s Smartlab series, along with larger and faster machines from Noritsu and others, offer comparable or better quality to an RA-4 minilab while being environmentally benign.

There is enormous detail in the lower trunk of this image, and I have multiple UltraChrome PRO12 prints on various media, plus a Lambda print.  The UltraChromes are clearly sharper. This wants the sharpest, glossiest paper you can find – I like it on Metallic. Again, the prints are well outside sRGB, so it doesn’t show up fully on the Web.

For many years, advocates of the LightJet and Lambda have said “but they’re sharper than any inkjet, because there’s no dither”. Epson’s extremely precise PrecisionCore MicroTFP printhead has eliminated any remaining differential in sharpness, perhaps turning the difference in favor of the inkjet. Yes, it’s dithering, but it’s dithering with twelve colors and variable droplet size down to 3.5 pl at a 2400×1200 dpi output resolution. Those three factors combine to produce a print that is noticeably sharper than a continuous-tone 300×300 dpi print of the same size. I have not seen a print from the rare 600×600 dpi RA4 laser printers, and I am open to the possibility that these machines could be sharper.

Even a 600×600 dpi RA-4 laser print will not support the P9570’s additional color depth or highlight and shadow detail, because those are properties of the paper, and to a lesser extent the chemistry, not the laser imaging unit. RA-4 is simply incapable of the color and depth of the best inkjets, no matter how you image it – use an 8×10” negative and the finest of Zeiss enlarging lenses, or use the highest-end laser imaging unit you can find, and your color and dynamic range are still limited to what Crystal Archive can do – and inkjet passed Crystal Archive in those regards a couple of generations ago.

Also Not Recommended for exhibition or archival printing (specifically) are Canon’s Lucia Pro inkset and Epson inksets prior to UltraChrome HDX (due to print longevity concerns). There are important types of printing where longevity is not a major concern, and both older Epson and Canon inksets are viable there. UltraChrome PRO12 is a generation or two ahead of other Epson and all Canon inksets in print quality on most media, and should be considered the gold standard as of today for color gamut, dynamic range and shadow detail – but this does not mean that these previous inksets are unacceptable from a quality standpoint. UltraChrome HDX, PRO, PRO10 and PRO12 (the modern Epson inksets) have significant longevity advantages over older Epson inks and Canon’s Lucia Pro that render the shorter-lived inks Not Recommended where longevity is a primary concern. I would personally be comfortable selling a Canon (or older Epson) print at an art fair (and certainly for a greeting card, sign, poster or other fugitive application), but NOT at a gallery.

The current generation of Canon printers may be discontinued or about to be so. They are very hard to find on Canon USA’s website, not appearing on the expected product index page (although Google searching the product name brings up the internal page), and a major rebate ended on June 30 (at the end of a quarter, so not unexpected). When will their replacements appear?

The current Canon printers of the Pro-2100,4100,6100 generation don’t seem to be that old, but they are very minor upgrades of the PRO-1000, 2000, 4000, 6000 generation (the PRO-1000 is actually carried over). The upgrades are to paper handling and the control panel – the print engines, including heads, inks and controllers, are identical. Those printers were introduced in early 2016, and are rapidly approaching their eighth birthday (the age of an iPhone 7 today). The yellow ink and its effect on print longevity were identified as an issue very quickly, although the printers have an otherwise excellent reputation (and I’ve made a lot of prints on a PRO-2000 and like it). Will Canon choose to compete with the latest Epsons on print longevity in their next generation? Or will they focus on the proofing and signage markets, where print life comparable to the best color darkroom prints is more than enough?

HP printers are not really a consideration in the core Luminous Landscape market at this point, despite their excellent print longevity and easily replaceable, inexpensive heads. Their gamut volumes, paper limitations and questionable support for photography simply don’t compete with Epson and Canon. For uses outside of fine-art photography, HP can be an important consideration – their focus on business printing means that they have significant extra features, including PostScript and superb network support, that can be useful where photography meets publishing. For the average photo studio or printing atelier, those things are less important than the software that isn’t supported (including ImagePrint Black), the lack of many paper profiles and the limited gamut. Yes, the HP Z9 has an internal spectrophotometer, so it should be able to make its own profiles, but it lacks software support for proper photographic profile creation.  HP has been in and out of the high-end photo market for decades, but they have a habit of introducing a new printer with a new inkset, providing very little support for it, then leaving it on the market for a decade or so. When they finally replace it, the replacement will have a totally different inkset, adding some colors, removing others and completely reformulating still others. Epson, by contrast, has been evolving their inkset for over 20 years, with Canon somewhere in between.

Ink (and Canon comparison)

The printer that started it all. An Epson Stylus Photo 2000P. It’s so long ago that most of the photos online purporting to be a 2000P are actually the later Stylus Photo R2000 (but this one actually IS a 2000P – I owned one once). There were a LOT of holes in that inkset.

            The SureColor P9570 is the first printer I have used in nearly 25 years where I am not aware of a drawback or a “hole” in the inkset. For the first several years of pigment-ink printing, the drawbacks were so obvious that they were highly visible not only in reference to some other printer or process, but simply in reference to what a photographer might want to do. The original Epson Archival inks of the late 90s had very poor shadow detail, less than smooth transitions, metamerism and didn’t work on glossy papers. Comparison wasn’t really necessary – it was a tricky tool to use, and photographers spent a lot of time working around the limitations of the tool.

            By around 2006 (printer availability can be as much as a year or more after they are “introduced”, so introduction dates are approximate) , there were two acceptable inksets on the market – Epson UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta and Canon Lucia. Epson used 8 ink channels for 9 inks (photo and matte black were manually switched), while Canon used 12 channels for 12 inks, eliminating the black ink switch. HP was still active in the photo printer market as well, offering some interesting tradeoffs – lower gamut volume, but better print longevity and a built-in spectrophotometer that made rolling your own profiles relatively easy. Neither major inkset really had any “bad colors”, and they both used three neutrals for smooth transitions. Gloss differential and bronzing were well enough under control that satin papers worked pretty well on both major inksets – most of the time. HP was using a gloss enhancer, significantly before Canon started using one in 2015, and a lot of HP enthusiasts (this was probably at the height of their existence as a large-format photo printing option) claimed that HP (WITH the gloss enhancer) was significantly less bronzing prone than Epson or Canon.

An HP B9180 – one of many photo printers they have introduced and abandoned over the years. In a fun nod to our history, this picture is from Michael’s review in 2009.

 I have never used a modern HP photo printer, and I’ve only seen a few sample prints from one, so I can’t comment intelligently there – but I know both UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta and early versions of Lucia very well, and have owned printers using both. Either would make a nice print on matte or satin papers, including the early barytas.  Neither one was foolproof where bronzing was concerned, especially in the shadows – and I wouldn’t risk a high gloss paper on either one. Epson generally had better warm colors, while Canon excelled in saturated blues and purples. This was at the low end of Epson print longevity, and Canon’s older Lucia inks were actually more permanent than today’s Lucia Pro. Longevity, according to accelerated fading tests, was relatively comparable – with an advantage going to Canon.

Around 2009, Epson pulled ahead in the gamut race, while still using fewer inks than Canon. The 11-ink (in 10 channels, retaining the black ink swap, although they improved it) UltraChrome HDR inkset that was actually introduced in late 2008, but didn’t become common until 2010, has a wider overall gamut, smoother color transitions and better shadow detail than any Canon inkset as of 2023. Canon retained their advantage in cool colors, but Epson produced some beautiful greens and oranges by using additional “kicker” inks in those colors. This was the first time we had seen Epson use an ink that wasn’t some variation of CMYK in one of their flagship printers, while Canon had been using Red, Green and Blue inks for years. Canon had a significant usability advantage, with seemingly clog-free printers while the Epsons were still fighting clogging issues. In Epson’s favor from a usability standpoint, this was the generation where their current top loading spindle-less roll feed appeared – by far the easiest way to load a big printer. Even though Epson was now well ahead in overall gamut, there were still quite a few prints where the “Canon blues” were a significant advantage.

Canon’s next move, in 2015, was the ImagePrograf PRO series printers, with the new Lucia Pro inks and a major redesign of the printers themselves, especially the 24” model, which became much more closely related to the 44” and 60” printers.. The Lucia Pro inkset actually gave up the green ink that previous Lucia sets had used. A significant ink reformulation meant that overall gamut was improved over any previous Canon printer, although the greens were slightly less strong due to the lost ink. The replacement for the green ink was a chroma optimizer that pretty much got rid of bronzing and gloss differential. The Lucia Pro printers outdid any UltraChrome printer prior to the HDR generation pretty easily, but lost out to the enhanced greens and oranges of UltraChrome HDR. Their blues, a traditional Canon strength, are absolutely gorgeous – it would take Epson years to catch up, and even today, only a few Epsons (those with both violet and light gray ink) can equal them.

The Lucia Pro Canons are about the easiest big photo printers to use that I have ever encountered – except that they load roll paper from the bottom of the printer. Canon 44” printers have always been bottom loaders, but previous 24” printers (and the early generation 17” printers with roll feed) loaded from the top rear.  I have long arms, and have always found  top rear loading preferable to anything except Epson’s spindle-less top loading, while many shorter-armed photographers would rather get under a Lucia Pro printer than have to reach behind a previous-generation Canon (or a pre spindle-less generation Epson, or any HP – all of which are top rear loaders). Everybody I have talked to about loading paper prefers the newer, spindle-less Epsons to any other system, but opinions differ about the inconveniently low loading on a bottom loading Canon versus the inconveniently far back loading on anything else. The best trick I’ve found for dealing with bottom loading printers is to sit on a rolling chair with the seat all the way down and the roll on my lap facing the right way (this is easier if the chair doesn’t have arms, but I’ve pulled it off even with arms).

The greens in this image simply don’t have the same pop on anything EXCEPT a green-enhanced Epson. A Stylus Pro 7900/9900, a SureColor P7000/9000 or a SureColor P7570/9570 are the best way to print it. Again, it’s much more vibrant than sRGB can show.

Around the same time as the Lucia Pro printers came out, Epson introduced the UltraChrome HDX printers, with significant improvements in print longevity. It quickly became apparent that Canon had achieved the gamut improvements in the Lucia Pro generation by using brighter, but less lightfast inks, much as Epson had with original UltraChrome. Epson was now gaining longevity back, while Canon had just lost quite a bit.  As of mid-2023, Canon is still on 2015’s Lucia Pro, while Epson has made one more improvement to their inks.

The HDX printers would actually take a violet ink that served the same purpose as Canon’s blue, but it was an option installed in place of Light Gray. For photography, it wasn’t worth it – the blues were beautiful, but a third neutral REALLY helps smooth transitions (not to mention that a two-neutral printer can’t really print black and white). Most of the UltraChrome PRO generation of printers take the violet and light gray inks simultaneously. A couple of years ago, I reviewed the Epson SureColor P900 on LuLa, which uses violet and light gray together, but doesn’t have orange and green. My response to that printer was “this thing prints like a Canon”. It has absolutely gorgeous blues, but it doesn’t have the extension in saturated greens and warm tones that characterizes recent flagship Epsons.

Working with the P900 left me wondering what a flagship UltraChrome PRO printer, which combines violet, light gray, orange and green, could do. Theoretically, it should have the warm tones and greens of the best Epsons combined with Canon blues . A six foot long, 340 lb printer is not the easiest object in the world to review, so it took a year from the P900 review  (and a great deal of cooperation from Epson) to get a SureColor P9570 into my studio for review, but it’s been here for six months, I’ve run almost a gallon of ink and over 2000 square feet of paper and canvas through it, and it lives up to that promise. I know of no image where I would prefer the result from another printer to that from the P9570, and I’ve used pretty much everything over the past 25 years.

What a flagship Epson can do – some of the darker tones in the sky, and some of the water, require a blue or violet ink, while the reflection of the sun in the water needs orange. Only UltraChrome PRO12 has both. My reflection in the front cover shows just how BIG a 44” printer really is.

The exceptions (relevant processes I haven’t used) are both in black and white printing –  Piezography and the four-neutral Epson P20000. I can say that the P9570’s black and white prints are superb and better than anything else that I’ve used (they’re also better than anything I’ve gotten in a darkroom, but I was a pretty good darkroom worker at my best, never an excellent one), but not that they beat everything, because I haven’t used the two most important potential competitors. I don’t know where or when I’ll get to use a Piezography printer, but I’m preparing black and white reference files for my next visit to Epson – I’m sure I can use a P20000 there, even though I can’t fit one in my studio.

The History of Epson Ink – feel free to skip if you aren’t an ink geek

Epson’s ink history is fascinating (I AM an ink geek), and this summary will ONLY cover their flagship inkset through time – they’ve introduced variations on many of these inksets, often removing a color or two (and occasionally adding one) for more consumer-oriented printers. The journey begins with the original Epson Archival Inks, the first practical micro-encapsulated pigment inks for inkjet printing (the fundamental technology behind all high-end photo inks today). The original inkset used only six colors, arranged as CcMmYK. There were no gray inks, and no distinction between Photo Black and Matte Black. Since they were pigment inks when everything else on the market was dye-based, the longevity implications were enormous.

 Many dye-based prints at the time could fade in months, and even the most ambitious dye inksets were claiming lives in the 10-20 year range, occasionally more on one or two special papers. Epson was claiming print lives in the hundreds of years (as long as any method of reproducing color, whether it was printing, painting, pencils or whatever), and had the accelerated fading tests to support it. Within a few months of the introduction of these early pigment inks, their drawbacks became apparent. Gamut was tiny, shadows blocked up very quickly, bronzing and gloss differential were awful on anything except full-matte papers, and there was metamerism. If you printed to look good in indoor lighting, the prints acquired a strong green cast in daylight, and if you took out enough green to look good with a window among the light sources, they were strongly magenta in artificial light. The effect was worst on any slightly shiny paper, but noticeable even on full-matte paper.

The next step was the original UltraChrome inkset. The number of colors went from six to seven or eight, depending on how you counted. The indisputable addition was a Light Black (gray) ink, while  Epson also added a Matte Black ink that increased black depth on matte papers, but did NOT add an eighth ink channel for it. The one exception is the 17” Stylus Pro 4000, which has 8 ink channels instead of 7 on the larger models, allowing it to keep both black inks active.. This was when the infamous Epson Black Ink Swap was introduced. You could only have one of Photo Black or Matte Black installed, and changing between them involved flushing the entire ink system (especially the black line, but some ink was lost from the colors as well). It was a manual procedure that took about half an hour and cost $40 or more (substantially more on a 44” printer) in wasted ink. On the positive side, image quality was much improved – the Light Black massively improved the shadow blocking problem, ink reformulations brought metamerism to a manageable level, and a new yellow ink improved gamut to the point where it was competitive with a good dye-based inkset and very close to the best of RA-4. On matte papers in particular, original UltraChrome is a credible inkset, and it can be thought of as the beginning of the modern era of pigment inkjet printing. It still has enough bronzing and gloss differential that even a satin paper is a bit tricky.  Unfortunately, the much brighter yellow also reduced print life, a loss that would take several generations to get back.

The next two generations (UltraChrome K3 and UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta) are closely related. They add a third neutral, variously known as Light Gray and Light Light Black. The Vivid Magenta generation reformulates the two magenta inks to add gamut, slightly improving print longevity by reducing the amount of yellow ink in many images. Both of these generations retain the Epson Black Ink Swap (and it is added to the 17” Stylus Pro 4800 model as well, which continues to feature 8 ink channels).  There are  8 channels needed for the base inkset, PLUS the swapped black ink, and, in some ways the swap became even more annoying, since these printers were  more and more capable on satin and luster papers. The first generation UltraChrome printers were pretty clearly at their best on matte papers, while these later models are very capable on luster and satin papers, including glossy fiber-based papers such as Platines and Barytas. By the time of UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta, inkjet could hit any color that could be reproduced in a silver halide RA-4 print and then some, although they couldn’t make every type of print (high gloss was still a clear RA-4 advantage)

The next two generations of Epsons, starting around 2009, were Epson’s first extended-gamut printers that used additional inks beyond variations of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900 (UltraChrome HDR) added Orange and Green inks to the basic formula of two cyans, two magentas, yellow and three neutrals (plus a switchable photo/matte black). Canon had been using additional colors for some time, while Epson had been keeping up by getting more gamut per ink.

For the first time in a large-format printer, Epson also automated the black ink switching process – instead of manually changing cartridges and having to purge the whole length of the ink hoses, there was now a valve near the head that makes the switch automatic and only requires purging a few centimeters of tubing (at a cost of a couple of dollars of ink instead of $40 or more, and occurring in a few minutes). Both black inks are loaded simultaneously, and, while they still share a head channel, they no longer share all the plumbing getting TO that head channel.

Autumn scenes are a real forte of orange/green enhanced Epsons.

The 7900/9900 generation is where Epson’s reputation for superb color in sunsets, autumn scenes and forests comes from. The orange and green “kicker” inks  increase gamut and smooth out transitions in their regions of the color spectrum. Nothing can touch an orange/green Epson in its best parts of the spectrum, although extended-gamut Canons have an advantage in the blues and purples.. The SureColor P7000/9000 (the follow on to the 7900/9900 series, and using UltraChrome HDX inks) uses a very similar inkset as far as photographers are concerned, because the Violet ink it can add is an option that replaces Light Gray. In photographic printing, Light Gray is the single most used ink, and it is critical to smooth highlight transitions, so the violet option on printers that require a choice is a poor choice for photography. The newer P9570 uses both Violet and Light Gray simultaneously, and I find myself using about six to eight times more light gray than violet ink. The major ink advantage of the SureColor P7000/9000 over its predecessor is improved print longevity due to a reformulated yellow ink, although UltraChrome HDX also offers some gamut improvements over HDR. The printer itself is also faster and offers some usability improvements. It’s one of the few Epson generations I haven’t used myself.

We have now reached the current UltraChrome PRO generation of printers, of which the SureColor P9570 is a member. There are three major versions of the UltraChrome PRO inkset, of which the P9570’s UltraChrome PRO12 is the most comprehensive. We first met the UltraChrome PRO inks in 2016, on the big, fast SureColor P10000 and P20000. They use a 10-color version of the inkset – no orange, green or violet kickers, but the basic 8 colors we’ve seen ever since UltraChrome K3 plus a no-switch black in channel 9 and a unique fourth neutral (Dark Gray) in channel 10.

I’ve never seen one up close, since it’s a very fast printer too large for almost any individual photographer, and it’s significantly less capable in the oranges and greens than the UltraChrome HDR and HDX printers. The next time I’m at Epson’s lab in California, I’ll bring a number of Black and White files and see if I can assess the impact of that extra gray, compared to the P9570 I am extremely familiar with. The second version of the UltraChrome PRO inkset is UltraChrome PRO10, found on the consumer-sized SureColor P700 and P900. These printers remind me of Canons in their color rendition, because they have absolutely lovely blues, aided by a Violet ink (unlike the P7000/9000, they have both violet and light gray), but they are missing the orange and green inks that make many recent Epsons special.

Finally, we have the (nearly) full version of UltraChrome PRO, UltraChrome PRO12, found so far only on the 24” SureColor P7570 and 44” SureColor P9570 (both of which have minor numbering variations outside the US – a SureColor P75anything or P95anything is almost certainly the same printer). Confusingly, they are the P7500 and P9500 in the UK.  Epson already had a Stylus Pro 7500 and 9500 – they were the original Archival Ink 24” and 44” printers. 24 years should make it clear which printer you’re talking about, but those of us who’ve been printing inkjet forever may trip over the repeated name.

UltraChrome PRO12 is the most capable inkset ever made. It combines greens and oranges better than any previous Epson with blues and purples that exceed anything a Canon can do. It’s a delicate inkset capable of subtle transitions, and it’s a dramatic one that can make the best of a metallic paper in a high-contrast print. It exceeds Adobe RGB in several places, making ProPhoto RGB worthwhile to use if your camera also captures colors outside of Adobe RGB (most modern cameras do, and some, especially medium format models, exceed it significantly)  It has regained almost all of the longevity of Epson’s original Archival Ink, while taking full advantage of seven generations of improved technology.

What’s next for UltraChrome? Will there ever be an improved version of UltraChrome PRO12? Does there even need to be, or can we now print any color we can capture? The next step up from a 12-color inkset would be 14 colors. For technical reasons, printheads tend to have even numbers of ink channels. The 13th ink is easy to see – UltraChrome PRO is already technically a 13 color inkset , although no printer uses all 13 inks in the set. The last existing ink is the Dark Gray from the P20000, which is used without the three “kicker” colors (orange, green and violet) found in the P9570. The Dark Gray ink should improve shadow tonal transitions and possibly the darkest detailed shadow, especially in black and white printing. I haven’t used it, but that is where the theoretical improvement is. For color use, it’s almost certainly not worth the loss of the three kickers – but what about an extra-large inkset that had both?

What 14th ink would go with it? One possibility is yet another neutral – Jon Cone’s Piezography inks use up to seven neutral colors, although I don’t know how much range Cone gets from each individual ink compared to Epson. Gamut per ink is NOT consistent among different inksets – any given manufacturer tends to improve it when they reformulate inks. UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta improved gamut over UltraChrome K3, simply by reformulating two inks, and so did UltraChrome HDX over HDR. Canon managed to improve overall gamut from Lucia EX to Lucia Pro, while actually dropping one ink to add chroma optimizer. It’s also not consistent among manufacturers. Canon’s 12-ink Lucia EX is relatively similar in gamut to Epson’s 8 ink UltraChrome K3 with Vivid  Magenta, although with a good deal of extension in the blues and purples. Lucia EX (or Pro) has less overall  gamut than the 10-ink UltraChrome HDR, giving up quite a bit in the oranges and greens, while winning the blues and purples. Having used neither of the inksets with more than three neutrals, I can’t say whether Jon Cone gets more out of seven neutrals than Epson gets out of four, but I CAN say with some confidence that Epson probably gets SOMETHING more from four neutrals on the P20000 than they do from three on their other printers (otherwise, why bother). I can also hypothesize that they could come up with a fifth neutral that had some benefit, at least in black and white printing?

The other three possibilities for a 14th channel that could be useful to photographers are one more “kicker” color, a light version of some existing color (probably a kicker – yellow is already so light that no mainstream inkset has ever used a light yellow), or a gloss optimizer/chroma optimizer. There are a some other possibilities that would have very limited utility to photographers, but could appeal to the proofing market – either a white ink, a metallic ink  or a fluorescent pink or yellow. Almost all photo paper is already more or less white, so white ink doesn’t add anything – but proofing applications often use colored paper where a white ink makes more sense. Canon is already using fluorescent inks in a couple of printers which share chassis with their photo printers. Epson offers fluorescent inks in a couple of dye-sub printers. Notably, Canon makes no print longevity claims at all about their fluorescent-ink printers, and doesn’t mention any market for them where longevity is an important issue. All big pigment inkjets are shared between the photographic and proofing markets, so it’s possible that the next inkset we see doesn’t have many advantages for photographers?

Of the more potentially useful possibilities, Epson has already used red and orange together in a couple of consumer-level printers and some big solvent-ink printers. There might be some benefit to a red ink, especially a relatively dark one. I don’t know of any printer that uses both blue and violet, and the ink Epson calls violet may already be fairly close to a lot of blue inks, which tend toward the violet end of the blue spectrum.  There might be a benefit to a lighter violet ink – call it either blue or light violet? The other parts of the spectrum where an extra ink might be slipped in are on either side of yellow – either between yellow and green (emerald?) or between yellow and orange (not sure what to call it). These are both already very strong parts of Epson’s gamut plot so I am not sure what the gain might be. There could be a longevity benefit if one of those inks was more lightfast than yellow, since yellow is the most fugitive ink in any set. Anything that reduces yellow ink usage increases print longevity, even though Epson’s current yellow is by far the best compromise between lightfastness and brightness on the market.

The most likely light ink was covered above – it’s light violet (or blue). The other possibility is a gloss optimizer or varnish. Gloss differential is covered in much more detail below, but rest assured that UltraChrome PRO12 doesn’t need an optimizer. It outperforms any current inkset, including Lucia Pro with the gloss optimizer, on gloss differential, and the only way I have yet gotten it to show any gloss differential at all is with a torture test I cooked up. Personally, I’d take a fifth neutral for the 14th ink (adding two neutrals to PRO12) if Epson were to add another channel pair. A five-neutral inkset should do two things – one is to smooth tonal transitions out still more (the P9570 is already excellent), and the second is to improve black and white printing (again, it’s already excellent).The most likely way of seeing a 14-channel Epson is with the extra channels having several optional ink configurations, some of them proofing-focused (white, metallic or fluorescent options). Hopefully one option (if Epson releases a 14-channel printer at all) is five neutrals for photography.  Could a five-neutral version of UltraChrome PRO fully outperform the best of silver-gelatin black and white? The black and white darkroom is a much tougher nut for inkjet to crack than the color darkroom, because it is a much more expressive process. Color darkroom printing has always had relatively little control, while black and white is an art form. Fine inkjet printing is a developing art form in its own right, and can be very expressive.

Paper and Gloss Differential

Inkjet processes have traditionally had a weakness in high-gloss printing. Bronzing and gloss differential have been common, limiting early inkjet processes to matte papers, with more recent processes accommodating a variety of luster, satin and low-gloss papers in addition to matte. I saw absolutely no bronzing or gloss differential in a wide range of test prints on luster, satin and low-gloss papers, so I asked Marc Aguilera at Epson “how brave are you feeling – send me the glossiest paper you think the P9570 can run”? He replied “I’ll send you some Epson Metallic Photo Paper Glossy”. That would bring out any gloss differential that existed. Yes, I can get the P9570 to show gloss differential on the metallic paper in very limited circumstances, but it’s very mild, and it takes a pathological light source (or viewing the print from an extreme angle) to show it.

 To get the best low gloss differential performance on very glossy media, you need to turn on Epson’s Enhanced Black Overcoat, which ImagePrint calls Overcoat Photo Mode. It uses some extra Light Gray ink instead of a gloss enhancing varnish, and it does seem to reduce gloss differential from “not very much” to “almost none”. There don’t seem to be any major disadvantages to using it, other than additional light gray ink consumption. I would use it routinely on very glossy papers like metallics and full-gloss RC papers, while it is more of a decision on baryta, platine and luster papers. Using it on those papers certainly won’t hurt, but they have almost no gloss differential to begin with. You can either leave it on or keep it in your back pocket for any especially troublesome images.

This print would be likely to show gloss differential – there are quite bright highlights and dark shadows, and this particular version is on metallic paper. It doesn’t, except at extreme angles.

 The easiest way to show the gloss differential is to turn off the room lights in my studio at night, then hit the print with the focused beam from a 500 lumen Black Diamond headlamp nearly parallel to the paper at close range (no, I haven’t tried illuminating the prints with a laser – I don’t have a powerful one handy). The headlamp test is about the most pathologically over-focused light source I can come up with, and is not representative of any real-world lighting condition. Even gallery display with halogen spots is not nearly as bad – they are not as bright in a limited area as the headlamp, they are much less focused, and they are not anywhere near as close to the print. To approach the headlamp test, the print would have to be illuminated with highly focused spots (no diffusion) almost directly overhead at a distance of a foot or two, without glass over the print. The gloss differential is visible in the headlamp test, but I would still call it mild in this absolute worst-case scenario. Under almost any other circumstances, it is invisible. UltraChrome PRO12 with Enhanced Black Overcoat on is noticeably better than the previous low-differential inkjet champ, the Canon Lucia Pro series, made all the more impressive by the fact that the Canons are using a varnish channel, which the P9570 is not.

Because of the low gloss differential, the P9570 can use metallic paper to mimic an ultra-glossy Ilfochrome, without the drawbacks. Ilfochrome Classic on the full plastic paper  could achieve a mirror-like glossy finish that looked almost liquid, and could really draw the viewer into the image. The P9570 on metallic paper, running with Black Enhance Overcoat on, can do the same thing – but Ilfochrome was severely limited in other ways. It was always high contrast, often excessively high contrast, and it actually had quite a limited color gamut. It was very good at highly saturated colors, but much less good at subtle differences between colors, or at showing delicate colors in highlight areas. The P9570 is still its delicate twelve-color self, even when running full out on glossy paper. You can get the Ilfochrome look, but you can also get a different effect that Ilfochrome  can’t do – you can achieve the liquid gloss at any contrast level, and with any type of color you want. It is possible to make a P9570 print that combines liquid gloss with pastel colors and limited contrast, and that can be an interesting effect. It is also possible to have areas in the print that use full-on Ilfochrome-style saturation, and other areas with a more subtle effect. Ilfochrome would do very well on the saturated area, but lose the more delicate area.

I’ve printed this rather delicate image on a range of papers – I like this one, on Legacy Platine, although canvas is also beautiful.

That exhausts the range of the color darkroom, but not the range of possibilities for the P9570. Ultra Premium Luster is only the beginning of the possibilities for a medium-gloss paper, and there are many papers that put a similar type of image on a much more beautiful paper. The color darkroom never had access to anything except resin-coated paper , while serious black and white darkroom workers used resin-coated papers primarily for test prints.

 Over the past decade or more, inkjet workers have had access to an increasing range of fiber-based satin and luster papers – Museo Silver Rag (originally Crane, now seemingly independent) and Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl were among the first examples, and we now have an enormous range of Barytas, Platines and similar papers that resemble the great fine-art black and white papers of old. What if you could print Oriental Seagull in color? Epson Legacy Platine and the closely related Canson Infinity Platine are very close to Seagull, and they’re inherently variable contrast. If you feed the P9570 a black and white image and a roll of Platine, you can almost smell the stop bath as the image comes out. Run just a tiny bit toward the blue-blacks (the P9570’s violet ink helps here), and you’ve got a selenium toned print. With the help of software like Nik Silver Efex Pro, you can do pretty much anything that was possible in the B+W darkroom, from dramatic selenium-toned landscapes on Seagull Grade 4 to intimate sepia portraits on Portriga-Rapid Grade 1. The incredible flexibility of modern inkjet printing is that you can do the same things in color as well. The creativity of black and white darkroom printing has come to the digital color darkroom in the most recent couple of generations of printers and software – and the P9570 and UltraChrome PRO12  are the current state of the art.

The huge bank of windows just outside the image at left rules out any glossy or even luster paper in this installation.

But the shadows hold up really nicely on matte Legacy Fiber.

The P9570 is also highly capable on matte papers and canvas. Matte papers have been the core of fine-art inkjet printing since the original Stylus Pro 2000P/7500/9500 over 20 years ago. For several generations, they were the only viable choice, due to bronzing, gloss differential and color casts on glossier papers. A few generations ago, semi-gloss papers, including the beautiful fiber-based Barytas and Platines, became increasingly viable choices, at first under particular conditions and then in a wider and wider range of circumstances – but matte papers never went away. There are many images and display conditions where a matte paper is the right choice – and the P9570 achieves depth on matte papers that I simply have not seen before. I presently have a show hanging at Harvard where the room lighting makes a glossy paper impossible – there is a 20 foot wall of windows directly opposite several of the prints, only about 15 feet away. Anything with glare would be overwhelmed by those windows! Several of the images are dark, with very important shadow details – ordinarily, I would reach straight for the nearest roll of Platine, but Platine doesn’t work in this setting. Marc Aguilera at Epson recommended Legacy Fiber, and I have been amazed with how good the shadows look with the combination of UltraChrome PRO12 ink and Legacy Fiber.

Print Longevity

The ultimate accelerated fade tester – put the prints in back and set the flux capacitor to July, 2173 to see how they look in 150 years. Unfortunately, I couldn’t borrow one, nor could I find an electric car charger that puts out 1.21 gigawatts.

The next important feature of the P9570 is print longevity. I can’t test this myself, because I don’t have either ultra high intensity lights for accelerated fading tests or a DeLorean modified with the Time Machine Option Package. Wilhelm Imaging Research results show the P9570 on Epson Legacy papers and the best third-party papers from Hahnemühle, Canson Infinity and others in the highest range among inkjet printers, and actually in the upper range of ANY color work on paper.

All color pigments and dyes fade – Japanese woodblock prints from the 18th and 19th Centuries give museum curators nightmares, and even Renaissance oil paintings, with their much thicker layers of paint, are subject to fading. I was recently at the Hokusai exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the lighting was notably dim. None of those prints are on permanent display, and all are behind heavy UV-protective glass. Even with all of these precautions, Japanese prints are generally displayed relatively briefly at responsible museums, due to fading concerns. The prints at the Museum of Fine Arts are originals, but inkjet reproductions are a common strategy for leaving these beautiful works on display where the originals would be certain to fade. My family has a small collection of Japanese prints that my grandfather acquired, and we do not display them because they are too fragile. I am planning to photograph them on a copy stand and then make prints on a matte paper that matches the artist’s original choice as closely as possible, because a P9570 print of a high resolution photograph of a Japanese print can get VERY close to the original in a much more durable form.

Wilhelm Imaging Research ratings for P9570 prints range from about 70-150 years in relatively careless display conditions, and double that or more (even on permanent display) with the kind of best practices the Museum of Fine Arts is following with Hokusai originals. That is about as good as color gets, no matter how you apply it. You can more or less double the ratings again for black and white, since the yellow pigment is inherently the weak link in any pigment-based color process, while the blacks and grays are the longest-lasting. Dark storage ratings are essentially “as long as the paper will hold out”, and we have works in good condition on cotton rag papers similar to high-end inkjet papers that date to the Renaissance and earlier. With modern acid-free papers, we are looking at many hundreds of years in careful dark storage, quite possibly more. We are looking at questions of the stability of civilizations here…

Many, but not all, modern inkjet processes can achieve that kind of print life. The most recent previous generation of Epsons can, but their predecessors could not. Oddly, some much earlier Epson printers could, although with much smaller color gamuts. All of the HP pigment inkjets made for high-end photography can, as can some of the earlier Canon models. The important series of printers that cannot are the current Canon Pro series. They have print lives in the range of 1/3 to ½ of what the current Epsons are getting.

Essentially no color photographic printing process other than pigmented inkjet has ever achieved anything close to these print lives. The best of the relatively conventional color darkroom processes are Ilfochrome Classic and the very best of RA-4 ( Fuji Crystal Archive, etc). Under perfect conditions, they’ll give a 30-50 year print life, while easily made mistakes (exhausted chemistry, insufficient washing, etc.) can cut that in half or worse. Color photographs prior to inkjet are another art form that keeps curators awake at night, similar to Japanese woodblock prints. The best color darkroom prints are roughly equivalent to a good dye-based inkjet print using something like Epson’s Claria or Canon’s ChromaLife inks on a paper meant to work with them. Some of the exotic color processes like dye-transfer and carbon-pigment offer better longevity than that, but none are better than a good pigment inkjet print, and color carbon-pigment printing, which comes closest, is incredibly difficult.

It all comes down to the yellow pigment. Yellow is the trickiest color in any pigment inkset – you can either have a very bright yellow or a very lightfast yellow, but not both. The yellow problem has confounded artists and curators for centuries – it’s not new to digital printing. Leonardo DaVinci experimented with different yellows, looking for one that was both bright and permanent.  When you look at a faded watercolor painting, it’s the yellow that has disappeared. HP has always taken the route of a highly lightfast yellow, and their gamut is significantly smaller than Epson or Canon. The original pre-Ultrachrome Epson Archival inks used an HP-style yellow, sacrificing brilliance and gamut for extraordinary lightfastness. Canon’s early iPF series printers also used a relatively dull, but highly lightfast yellow.

One of the important changes in Epson’s UltraChrome inkset was a much brighter yellow ink, at the cost of longevity. UltraChrome was a huge improvement in image quality over what had come before, and was really the first practical inkset for high-quality prints that needed wide color gamut. The previous inksets had been acceptable on certain subjects while requiring great care on others and being essentially unacceptable on glossy and luster papers. UltraChrome was a major step forward on color gamut, while significantly reducing bronzing, gloss differential and metamerism (colors appearing different in different light). At the same time, UltraChrome lost perhaps half the longevity of the previous ink, which would continue through the next several generations, remaining relatively low through the K3 and Vivid Magenta generations, then increasing through the HDR, HDX and now the Pro generation. UltraChrome PRO12 now has comparable longevity to the older “dull yellow” inksets, while also having exceptional color gamut, including in the colors most affected by yellow ink. Epson’s inkset is also helped by using an orange ink to support the yellow – any extra ink that reduces the amount of yellow in the print will also increase longevity.  No other manufacturer has succeeded in having a yellow that is both bright and lightfast – Canon’s Lucia Pro uses a yellow that leaves its longevity at about 1/3 to ½ of UltraChrome PRO12, while HP has much reduced gamut.

Why it’s not Perfect

Yes, there are quirks – once you learn the P9570, it’s a very reliable printer, and will produce absurdly high print quality on a particularly wide range of media. It does have a substantial learning curve, and it requires some attention to settings at all times. Epson is quite candid that the P9570 (and its little brother the P7570) are completely new machines, requiring different handling from their predecessors (they are actually more like the P20000 than they are like the P7000/P9000).

In my experience, I’m more likely to have to change a setting on a print-by-print basis on the P9570 than on previous Epsons, or especially than on a Canon printer (which just seem to run with very little intervention), especially on heavy fine art papers. On the other hand, I’m also getting substantially sharper prints. I suspect that part of how Canon is getting that “it just runs” reliability is that they are running looser tolerances, perhaps including a wider default platen gap, at some cost in sharpness. After getting through the learning curve, I am able to look at the image, consider the paper I’m using and get the settings right the first time, almost all the time

Mind that platen gap – the shadow at lower right and the linear black strip at the center of the image are both candidates for head rubbing. When I see an image like this one, I open the gap one setting from whatever I’m using, and I make sure the vacuum is on high. I can print it without rubbing the first time, but that wasn’t the case when I started out.

 The most important setting that is somewhat new to the P9570 is the platen gap (it’s always been possible to adjust, but it’s something I’ve rarely touched on previous printers). The P9570  is vulnerable to head rubbing  (not a full-on head strike, but a mark that will ruin the print) on heavier papers, and the cure for this is getting the platen gap right. On most of the heavier Epson papers, I open the platen gap by one setting over the manufacturer recommendation (many of them default to to 1.8 mm, and I use 2.1 mm much of the time). I will open it by another setting, to 2.4mm, on particularly dark prints, especially if I have a large shadow area with little detail. I also turn up the vacuum strength routinely on heavy papers.

Avoiding head rubbing is a bit of a dance between print speed, platen gap and vacuum strength. I’ve spent enough time printing with it that I have a hit rate of over 95% good prints (not necessarily what I want from an artistic perspective, but technically competent). Reaching that level took a significant amount of trial and error. I was only getting 50% or fewer technically acceptable prints on heavy papers when I started, and it took a month or two of playing with it to figure out what types of images were likely to cause head rubbing, and what to do about it.

If you are going to use the P9570 with one or two papers, you’ll master those papers pretty quickly – if they’re heavy fine-art papers, you’ll probably waste a few prints to  head rubbing. You’ll get your settings dialed in, though, and other than having to open the platen gap for very dark images, or those with a large, low-detail shadow, it will pretty much just run. If you’re going to use the P9570 to its full potential,  matching images to a selection of ten or more papers, settings will take more work, and the learning curve becomes steeper. Fine printmaking is a skill, just as it always was – and the P9570 is a machine that rewards skill and experimentation.

In commercial, print-for-pay use, it will satisfy two types of users and possibly frustrate one. It will satisfy the users who are cranking out prints on Ultra Premium Luster or Enhanced Matte all day long (a FedEX Kinko’s, Staples or Costco) – that type of use requires no adjustment. If they want to run one higher-end paper from time to time, they should be able to find a cookie-cutter setting for it – it may NOT be the manufacturer’s setting. If I were going to run an art paper (let’s say Epson Legacy Baryta)  in this environment, I’d put a note on the printer and its workstation reading “platen gap at 2.4mm, vacuum high for Baryta”.  Making those settings in the driver or RIP should hold across print sessions, but the note reminds the operator to check. I normally don’t use 2.4mm for Legacy Baryta, except on a very dark image – it’ll usually work just fine at 2.1mm, and 2.1mm is a tiny bit sharper. On the other hand, I keep 2.4mm in my back pocket for the problem image I can now identify before printing it, and 2.4mm makes a darn good print. If the printmaker isn’t going to evaluate each image, leaving it at 2.4mm will work just fine – and the slight sharpness difference isn’t going to matter for a Staples print.

It will also satisfy the high-end shops, often run by one or two artists, who are willing to take the time to get the best out of it on a variety of media. Once they get to know it well (and on current firmware – Epson has fixed quite a few problems in firmware in the couple of years the printer has been on the market), it should thrill those shops. They’ve never seen a printer this capable, and it’s almost completely clog-free. They’ll get some head rubbing at the beginning, but they’ll figure out where they have to deviate from manufacturer settings to avoid it. In the hands of a fine printmaker, a P9570 can do almost anything. This kind of shop would rather have a machine that takes some figuring out, but is capable of what the P9570 can do, than a fully automatic one with results that are 90% as good.

 Where it’s going to be a more frustrating machine is in the middle. An art supply store or a camera shop that does some printing on the side and has offered a range of papers, but that also wants to have half a dozen employees using the printer without training, is the nightmare scenario.  Once you know the printer and the paper, paper versatility is one of the P9570’s best features, but it takes a bit to get there,  There are enough judgment calls based on the individual image and its interaction with a particular paper that you want to know what you’re doing, especially to make the kind of prints that an art supply store might charge significantly more than a Staples or the like for. A guide to starting settings for all the papers they use will be helpful, but this is the most difficult environment – high production  with multiple users who are not serious printmakers and a relatively wide range of papers. Realistically, the best way for this kind of shop to use the printer is probably to have an employee or two who is a skilled printmaker, and to have that person handle the tricky jobs. Other people can certainly make day-to-day prints on “easy” papers.

The paper cutter – note that the wheel is much smaller than on an average Rotatrim – it also dulls faster.

The other major quirk I’ve run into is the paper cutter. It’ll cut even heavy canvas with ease when it’s new and sharp, and it’s very precise, leaving a beautiful edge. On the other hand, it dulls relatively quickly when cutting heavy art papers or canvas, and a dull cutter is the easiest way to jam the printer. I’ve never jammed it while actually printing – it doesn’t seem to jam easily on any of the wide range of papers I have used. I HAVE jammed the printer twice while cutting with a dull blade – the first time, I wasn’t quite aware of what was going on, and the second time was very much my own fault.  In the first incident, I had noticed that the cuts were getting a bit more ragged, but I hadn’t drawn the connection to “maybe it’s a dull paper cutter”. I was printing on heavy paper and the cutter rammed the edge of the paper, not cutting at all. I cleared the jam, took out the cutter and cleaned it thoroughly, and went right back to work (stupidly reinstalling the same cutter).

My next job happened to be on lighter paper, so the reinstalled cutter worked, although it was giving a more ragged edge than I hoped for. I then switched to some Legacy Fiber and the cutter immediately rammed the paper again, causing another painful jam. I finally realized what was going on and installed a new cutter (after ~20 rolls of mostly heavy paper). A couple of rolls into the new cutter, everything is fine again. The moral of the story is to keep a close eye on the paper cutter and change the blade as it starts to get dull (a 10 minute job that is somewhat annoying, because it is performed while lying on your back (or sitting on a very low stool) underneath the printer). The lifespan of the paper cutter blade appears to be ~15 rolls on heavy art papers, perhaps even less if you’re cutting canvas day in and day out.

Some of the ink cartridges that went into this review… Note that there’s quite a bit of Light Gray in the picture – the P9570 has an appetite for Light Gray, using about twice as much as the next most used color. Overall ink cost is pretty reasonable – about 60-70 cents per square foot of printing. I have a lot of economic data, and will do a follow-on.

 It is NOT a major increase in consumables cost, because the cutter blade is about a $150 part, while a single 44” wide roll of high-end art paper is in the $400 range before any rebates. 15 rolls of paper are also going to run through something between $1000 and $1500 worth of ink, depending on the type of images you’re printing. A $150 cutter blade for every $6000 worth of paper and $1200 worth of ink isn’t going to break the bank, but it is worth noting that it is another piece to keep an eye on, and a spare cutter blade should be on the same shelf with your spare inkset. Epson actually mentions the cutter blade needing frequent replacement on certain papers in the disclaimers in marketing material for the related P20000. I would like to see a similar disclaimer in the P9570 materials, just so users are aware that it is a consumable they will need to stock.

I have never encountered the problem, reported on the LuLa forums and elsewhere, of the paper jamming above the printhead, under the roll paper cover. Almost all of the mentions of this problem are on heavy fine art papers distributed by Moab, and there is an interesting anomaly with Moab papers. Almost all fine art papers come in roll lengths between 39 and 50 feet, with a couple of the very heaviest distributed in 33 foot rolls. Moab distributes these roll lengths, but they also sell extra-long rolls of the same papers. Some of them are 66 feet, some are 75 feet, and they even sell a few art papers in 100 foot lengths. Epson specifies a maximum roll diameter of 5.90 inches (on a 3” core – paper and canvas rolled on 2” cores has a smaller maximum diameter) and  roll weight of 22.04 lbs (regardless of core size) for the P9570.  Some of the long Moab rolls are either right up against those specs or they are out of spec.

 The average 40’ or 50’ roll of fine art paper weighs between 10 and 15 lbs, while some of the extra-long Moab rolls are well over 20 lbs. I haven’t found one that I can prove is over 22.04 lbs, because the listed weights I can find are shipping weights that include the box – those go up to 24 lbs, but how much of that is packaging? Several of them are actually out of spec in terms of outside diameter – the largest I have seen is 6.5”, while the P9570 is specified for 5.9” diameter rolls. Most Moab papers are available in two roll lengths, and the shorter roll is well within specifications. The reports of jamming above the printhead rarely mention roll length, but they do tend to be Moab papers that are available in extra-long rolls. Could the problem, at least on current firmware versions, be related primarily or even exclusively to out-of-spec paper rolls?

I couldn’t find any similar rolls from another brand on B&H’s website, but it is worth checking the specs of any unusually long roll of paper, especially outside the US, where brands differ. Most paper brands are distributors, buying paper from the actual mills, possibly specifying custom coatings, then cutting it to size – although there are important exceptions. Hahnemühle is a paper mill, founded in 1584  and mostly distributes paper they make themselves. Canson is also a mill (from 1577), and distributes paper (under the Canson Infinity name) from their own mill, from at least one other famous and ancient paper mill (Arches, from 1492), and from suppliers they don’t list on the box. There is nothing wrong with not going all the way from mill to final distribution in one company, and Moab is a very useful and creative distributor, having brought inkjet coated Japanese Washi papers to the West long before the Awagami Factory was selling them directly through B&H. Distributors have freedom to cut papers in any length they want, and it would be easy for someone else to start selling extra-long rolls – it’s worth checking the specs.

The P9570 had a stormy early history…

But many of the problems are fixed, and the others are questions of learning technique.

The very critical Bellevue Fine Art video mentions a lot of issues with paper skew and meandering. I have had essentially none at all. In 30 or 40 loadings, I’ve gotten a skew warning maybe three times, and ALL of them have resolved by simply trying again. In each case, I probably didn’t load the paper straight – I’m loading 44” wide rolls with one hand. In fact, I would consider the P9570 to be a very forgiving printer to load. I get somewhat fewer load errors than I did on the Canon Pro-2000 (widely considered an easy printer to load), and FAR fewer than on any older printer, before the advent of modern automatic loading. If I get a skew warning 10% of the time on the P9570, I probably got one 20% of the time on the Canon, and I averaged two or three attempts to get it straight on earlier printers. I’ve had exactly one warning while printing, it didn’t ruin the print, and I simply reloaded the paper prior to the next print. That does NOT qualify as a skew-prone printer in my book. I don’t know if there have been major firmware improvements in the past year and a half, or if Bellevue had a bad printer (he claims he had two), but I’ve put a lot of paper through a P9570, and I do not consider skew an issue with current printers and firmware.

Operational Considerations

The P9570’s engine works with 300 and 600 dpi input, and there is a small but perceptible difference between a 300 dpi and a 600 dpi input file. This is a difference from many previous Epsons, which featured 360 and 720 dpi input resolutions. The difference between 300 and 360 dpi is minimal, and the difference between 600 and 720 dpi may be beyond human vision in many situations. The reason for the change is that the P9570 has inherited printhead technology from the larger P10000 and P20000  The PrecisionCore MicroTFP printhead in the P9570 is a better, more modern head than the PrecisionCore TFP head in its immediate predecessor the SureColor P9000, but it has a slightly different set of native resolutions, which affects the ideal resolution of files sent to the printer.

The best practice with any inkjet, including the P9570, is to send it a file resized to one of its input resolutions at the final print size – if the file is at a different resolution, the printer driver will resize it to the correct input resolution, and printer drivers are not competent resizing software. All RIPs and dedicated printing software (including the popular and inexpensive QImage and higher end options like the wonderful ImagePrint) handle resizing automatically. So does Lightroom Classic – its built-in print module is effectively a lower-end printing package similar to QImage, although with less control.

 In either of these cases, your software will notice the difference in input resolution and give you the appropriate choices for a P9570.   Where you need to worry about resizing is printing from Photoshop or from a RAW editor like DxO Photo Lab or Capture One. These programs leave the resizing to the printer driver, and the printer driver isn’t any good at resizing. This is equally true of any inkjet, especially any large inkjet being run for extremely high image quality.  If you are printing from Photoshop or a non-integrated RAW editor without a RIP or print package, be sure to resize your output files to the correct sizes for your printer – resizing in the driver is a mistake on any printer.

One section that veteran Epson users will note is NOT prominent in this review is clogging. In six months and 2000+ square feet of output, the SureColor P9570 is as close as I’ve seen to a clog-free printer (and this includes Canons), There is no such thing as a completely clog-free pigment ink printer, but the P9570 is a very low-clogging printer. It runs occasional automated head cleanings, as all modern printers do, which seem to use very little ink. Older printers that did NOT have an automated head cleaning function required frequent manual head cleanings, often including “power cleanings” that used quite a bit of ink.

 An important interface difference between modern Epsons and modern Canons is that the Epson will tell you exactly what it’s doing and how long it’s going to take when it’s running an automated cleaning. On a very busy printing day (making 8 to 10 40×60” prints), I will probably see one four minute automated cleaning cycle. On a day when I make fewer prints, I might or might not see one. A Canon will clean a similar amount, but will be less verbose about it. I have only run two manual (low strength) cleanings in six months, each of only one pair of color channels, and both after a couple of weeks away from the printer. This is NOT a concern – it’s comparable to a modern Canon (and MUCH less than Epsons from a couple of generations ago, let alone those from the early 2000s), with the added advantage of a permanent printhead. Epson recommends leaving the SureColor P9570 plugged in and turned on at all times, so it can run its automated maintenance routines. It uses almost no power (3.4 watts when asleep, about 110 watts when actively printing). I have it plugged into a UPS, so it won’t get kicked off its maintenance cycle if the power goes out – cheap insurance, and it doesn’t need to be interfaced with the UPS in any way (beyond the power cord), since it will stay asleep on a UPS for WEEKS with the low power consumption.

A large printer comes in a VERY large box, and I was a little concerned that the Somerville cops would be creative enough to give a parking ticket to a printer (they didn’t)…

Another consideration with all large printers (especially 44” printers) is maintenance contracts. Both Epson and Canon highly recommend that machines of this scale and complexity be covered by a maintenance contract, and it makes sense. One major service call on a machine like this is likely to be a couple of thousand dollars. The service plan is included for the first year, then about a thousand dollars per year thereafter on a 44” machine. 44” and larger printers are generally worth repairing, unless they are VERY old, because they are commercial machines built to last a long time, and because installing and moving them is such a pain. It took a day and cost $500 to get the P9570 into my second-floor studio with the help of a piano moving team. Not something you want to do frequently. It’s also, depending on rebates, a $6000 machine – the threshold for “fix it” versus “replace it” leans heavily towards “fix it”. 24” printers involve a slightly different calculation – they are several thousand dollars less expensive and significantly less unwieldy. The chances of replacing one to avoid a major repair are somewhat higher. It’s often not worth repairing a 17” printer out of warranty, since the repair cost will get close to the cost of a new printer with a new warranty and more ink.

There are very few specialized printer movers, so it will probably have to pass itself off as a piano.

It took three piano movers (two visible here) to get the printer on the stand.

The easiest way to see this calculation is with Canon’s easily replaceable printhead (there isn’t any Epson part that’s found across so many printers, let alone one that takes so little effort to change, rendering it a purely financial calculation). The same $700 PF-10 printhead is used from the $1299 Pro-1000 all the way to the $11,000 Pro-6100,  Printhead replacement uses a significant amount of ink, and may require changing a maintenance cartridge as well – it’s a very quick job, but could cost from $800 to $1000 depending on ink wastage. If you blow a head on a Pro-1000, the calculation is simple – buy a new printer. The head replacement cost is going to be $800 or so (I’d imagine the small printer with short ink lines wastes less ink than its larger relatives, although I’m not sure, and the maintenance cartridge is cheap). A new Pro-1000 is $1299, but it comes with about $700 worth of ink and a warranty.

The same critical part is found in printers ranging in cost from $1299 to $11,000.

If the printer in question is a 24” Pro-2100, it becomes more complex than just “replace it”. It’s a $3000 printer, the head replacement might be around $900 (the maintenance cartridge is much more expensive if it needs one), and a new one comes with about $1200 of ink. Repairing the printer is less expensive than replacing it – but it’s close enough that a head replacement is certainly a time to think about a new printer, especially  if the existing one is a Pro-2000 and the feed upgrades seem useful, since the cost difference (after accounting for the ink and warranty on the new machine) is only about $500. If the printer is a $5000 Pro-4100, the calculation tips further toward “repair it” – the 4100 comes with larger ink tanks, so about $2000 worth of ink,  but it’s a $5000 machine that needs a $1000 or less repair. If the printer is a $11,000 Pro-6100, the “repair” side becomes as clear as the “replace” side is on a Pro-1000.

This example shows two things – one is how the repair versus replace calculus favors repair (and maintenance contracts) on larger machines, even when you ignore the environmental benefits of repair and the increased difficulty of replacing big printers. A lot of parts on a 17” or 24” printer are relatively similar to the same parts on a 44” or 60/64” printer, rendering repair costs similar (the massive chassis of the larger machines, where the cost difference lies, are unlikely to break) – while replacement cost and difficulty go up enormously with printer size .  The second takeaway is that Canon’s user-replaceable printhead is only an advantage in certain circumstances – changing the printhead is only really viable on newer, larger printers or on older, very large printers. Those are the same printers where calling Epson service to change the printhead makes sense (an Epson printhead repair is a $1500-$2000 service call, but it should be necessary far less frequently). A high volume print shop can go through a couple of Canon heads in a year on a constantly busy Pro-4100 (large printers burn through heads faster because they print so many more square feet), while Epson heads tend to last several years even in the highest volume use.

Who it’s For?

            A 340 lb piece of equipment that is over six feet long is a major commitment. One with a significant learning curve and consumables expense is even more so. On the other hand, fine printing is an incredibly rewarding part of a photographic practice, and the SureColor P9570 is the finest printmaking tool I have seen. One way to think about it is similarly to owning a darkroom. If you owned, or would have wanted, a significant home darkroom, a big printer is a similar level of investment and commitment. A clarifying way to look at “which printer is for me” if you’re not printing commercially is to think about the darkroom you either owned or aspired to.

            Starting from the top, let’s consider a professional artist or serious hobbyist with a well-equipped darkroom in a good-sized dedicated space. They would probably have a nice enlarger capable of handling 4×5” negatives, perhaps one of the beautiful Saunders-LPL or Durst Laborator models. The lens and carrier selection would handle every format you printed, and the lenses might be Componons, Rodagons, Zeiss, Leitz or ED EL-Nikkors. There would be a dedicated darkroom sink with an accurate mixing valve, and, if the photographer had any serious interest in color, either one of the better Jobo processors or a small roller-transport unit. Accessories would be at a similar level, including sodium-vapor safelighting, likely with a couple of lights to provide even coverage.

A darkroom like this is a similar or higher level of commitment to a print studio based around a SureColor P9570, with an excellent workstation to drive it.  One critical accessory for a top-end digital darkroom like this is a superb monitor – I use EIZO monitors exclusively for printing work, and with NEC out of the photographic market, there is really no competition. My current monitor is an EIZO CS2740, a midrange model by their standards, but one of the best color-accurate monitors on the market. This digital darkroom is substantially less expensive than a top-end chemical darkroom,  and it is actually quite a bit easier to move with, because there is no plumbing or custom electrical work involved. Any bedroom with a couple of grounded outlets can be converted into this high-end digital darkroom, and a 10×12 foot room offers plenty of space to work.

This type of print studio will function very well as a low-volume commercial operation with very little modification. A photographer with print sales in the art fair or gallery market, or in an online marketplace such as Etsy can easily print their work in this type of setup. A similar setup would work for the artist who exhibits in galleries or museums. A third commercial possibility would be a low-volume service printing for fellow artists, offering printmaking expertise ranging from file preparation to paper selection. A professional photographer whose work focuses on weddings, portraits or other fields where print sales are important could do some of their own printing, offering handmade prints for framing while sending album orders and wallet-sized prints out to a good commercial lab.  Alternatively, adding a “dry minilab” printer (Epson’s version is the SureLab series) could reduce the volume  of work sent out by handling high volumes of 4×6” and 5×7” prints with very little effort.

The next step down is a darkroom in a relatively permanent converted space, perhaps a one-time laundry room so there is plumbing available. The enlarger often found in a darkroom like this is a classic Beseler 23C III or the color Dichro 23, with one excellent lens – the same type of lens found in the large, dedicated darkroom, but a single focal length instead of a selection matched to every format. There is a nice wide sink, but the valve may be a repurposed shower mixing valve instead of a hyper-accurate dedicated valve. There’s probably a single sodium-vapor safelight, and it would be no surprise to find a Jobo in here.

This type of darkroom is actually likely to be more expensive than a digital space built around a P9570, but the most equivalent digital printer might be a 24” P7570. You lose the capability to make REALLY large prints, but very little else. The digital space might go in a sewing room, a small utility room, a space built to be a home office or an undersized bedroom – even a large walk-in closet. The workstation is likely to be a nice laptop also used for other things, while an EIZO CS2740 is probably still the monitor choice.

What about the shoehorned-in darkroom? The apartment where the second bathroom serves as a darkroom when guests aren’t staying overnight? The typical home of a Beseler Printmaker 35 with its default lens? The digital equivalent is a 17” desktop printer sitting on the corner of a desk. Epson’s SureColor P900 offers a good bit of the P9570 experience in a 40 lb machine that can live in a corner and take up very little space when off-duty. What you lose is a good bit of gamut in the oranges and greens, along with any serious roll paper handling (yes, there is a roll feeder available, but there is no cutter, a serious drawback). What you gain is a digital darkroom that can work just fine even in a dorm room.

If you are printing commercially at a higher volume,  only a P9570 – class printer (or its smaller sibling the P7570 if you’re sure you won’t want to go above 24” – think about canvas printing…) can handle the load. The cost and maintenance of a 44” printer, or even a small fleet of them, is trivial compared to something like a Lambda or a LightJet. A typical small, but high-end chemical print shop might have had one Lambda or LightJet type printer , along with its associated processor, plus an enlarger station or two for analog printing that can use the same processor. There would probably also be a minilab for making smaller and less critical prints – you CAN run 4×6” prints on a LightJet, but that doesn’t mean you WANT to (it’s like running greeting cards on a P9570 – possible, but WHY?). Many such shops would also have a nice black and white setup in the same darkroom the LightJet needs to load paper and transfer it to the processor. That’s a quarter of a million dollars or so in hardware, bought new, and it’s probably $100,000 used in nice condition.

A commercial digital print shop focusing on fine art would start with a P9570 or two, possibly joined by a solvent or resin printer for installations where durability is key. The P9570 is the most versatile fine-art printer on the market, capable of going from canvas to baryta to textured matte paper to metallic to Washi in a day, and a skilled printmaker can get superb results on all of them. A P9570, while faster than most art-oriented inkjets, isn’t as fast as a LightJet, and it’s a small fraction of the cost, so a pair of them is a logical step as work picks up (one operator can easily handle two printers, possibly three depending on print sizes).

Depending on the direction the owner wanted to go, there are any number of printers (and other devices) one might add next. Some digital printmakers are also framers, and might add a Wizard computerized mat cutter , a large workbench or a canvas stretching machine. A studio with an excellent canvas business and perhaps some interest in ultra-durable prints that might go in high-traffic locations or even outdoors could add something like an Epson SureColor S80600, a 64” eco-solvent printer that makes exceptionally durable prints with very good color. A unique feature of Epson’s SureColor line is that there are photo-oriented, wide-gamut printers with five different ink types – the aqueous pigment ink P9570 is part of a range that also includes solvent, resin, dye-sublimation and UV cured printers, each capable of printing on a different set of substrates, all sharing a head design and an Epson “house look” to the prints. The P9570 is actually one of the smaller commercial SureColor printers, and it offers the widest gamut and most photographic appearance of all, while its stablemates can print on a massive variety of media.

A possibility for a landscape photographer in an area with good walk-in gallery sales, (or for a photographer with good online sales) is to combine a P9570 for wall prints with a dye sublimation printer for heat transfers to a variety of items from clothing to mugs and keychains, and to metal and glass plates. Until relatively recently, dye sublimation was prohibitively expensive for most individual photographers and small commercial shops. It required a specialized printer as large as a P9570, and somewhat more expensive, along with a heat press. There were a few small hobby-oriented dye sub printers that were much more reasonably priced, but they used tiny, overpriced ink cartridges.

Epson has released a couple of small dye-sub printers in the past few years that use very inexpensive bottled ink. The entry price is as low as $449 for an 8.5×11” printer, with a 24” roll-fed model available for $2895. A heat press is still required, and there is somewhat of a mismatch between printer sizes and heat press sizes. The 8.5×11” SureColor F170 is fine for mugs, hats and other small items, and heat presses in that size range are relatively inexpensive and plug into standard outlets. It is a bit small for clothing or especially for transfers to metal or glass, which have become popular wall art.

 The 24” wide SureColor F570 is more than large enough for all but the largest metal or glass transfers, but a heat press large enough to handle 24” transfers is bulky, expensive and requires specialized electrical power (a minimum of a 220 volt, 30 amp dryer outlet, and many require higher amperage than that – 50, 60 or even 100 amps). Heat presses become markedly more unwieldy in all of these ways above 16×20” or 16×24”, yet there is no 13” or 17” dye sub printer in Epson’s (or anyone else’s) current lineup. How about an F370, Epson? Around $1000 for a 13” or 17” printer? That would go well with a $1000-$2000 heat press that needs its own circuit, but uses a standard 110 volt outlet (the same power requirements as a small window air conditioner or a large toaster oven).

In a few places (a high-traffic gallery in a large city or a National Park gateway community, for example – or a REALLY active Etsy site), a photographer might be able to justify a direct-to-garment printer as part of their lineup. I got to play with one of these (a SureColor F2100) when I was visiting Epson HQ, and it’s a really interesting machine. It prints directly (and beautifully) on cotton clothing, and the prints it produces are very durable (I’ve washed mine 50 times, and the image is as good as new). It takes a $5 blank T-shirt and converts it into a $25-$30 garment with the addition of $3 worth of ink and pretreatment. The result is gorgeous, and would fly off the shelves in the right place. The problem is that the printer is a $15,000 machine with more maintenance requirements than the average inkjet, and even the most beautiful shirt doesn’t sell for what a big wall print does,  so it’ll take sales of 1000 or so shirts per year to make it work. A P9570 only takes sales of 20 or 30 large wall prints annually to justify, especially if you’re also making and selling 8×12 or 11×14 prints…

I’d love to see a trend towards cooperative or rental digital studio spaces – years ago, darkroom co-ops existed in most major cities, and I’ve mentioned this to Epson. Somebody should put together a printing space where a bunch of the SureColors are available for a monthly or hourly fee. A photographer who prints seriously but not professionally might have a P900 at home, and go into the rental space to use a P9570 when they wanted to print big and at maximum quality. Someone really dedicated to the craft of printing could have a P9570 in their home studio, but know where they needed to go to make solvent, resin or UV prints for a specialized application. The direct-to-garment printers that only the busiest photographers can possibly justify owning are easy to justify renting a few times per year.  In a rental studio, the photographer is still in control, and the photographer’s printmaking skill matters.

This is a detail from a print, and it wouldn’t print well at an online service that only accepted sRGB. The chollas in the foreground would be out of gamut (since the web is ALSO sRGB, they don’t show up well here, either.)

Yes, you can send these jobs off to an online printing house, but you are dealing with the skill of whomever is running the printer, and often with restrictions on the types of files you can upload. What’s the point of sending a 200 dpi sRGB JPEG to a SureColor P9570? This printer wants a 16-bit, ProPhoto TIFF or PSD at 600 dpi (yes, all four of these parameters matter). I don’t know of any online print service that accepts ProPhoto (even Adobe RGB can be a real struggle). Many, even most online services are JPEG only, which also means 8-bit only (I haven’t seen an 8-bit restriction separate from a JPEG restriction). Finally, many online services have a maximum file dimension which often translates to 200 dpi or so at large sizes. A rental or co-op studio could easily take massive files on portable drives, or even allow members to connect their laptops to the network

Machinery other than printers would also be logical for a rental or co-op studio. Very few photographers can justify owning a Wizard mat cutter, but they’re easy to use and many LuLa readers would want to rent one occasionally.  Whether you own or rent a dye-sub printer, most of us can’t accommodate, power or afford a 24×36” or larger heat press.  If you print on canvas, a canvas stretching machine would make your life much easier – but you need to print a LOT of canvas and have a good deal of space to justify owning one. On the other hand, you can machine-stretch quite a few canvases in a day…

This idea is essentially a maker space for photographers. Some maker spaces have a big printer or two, probably an aqueous inkjet (which photographers often already own), and it is very likely to be a four or six color printer more useful for signs than for serious photography. Even a truly high-end aqueous inkjet like the P9570 is unlikely in a maker space, and any more unusual print technology is vanishingly rare.  If you’re really lucky, you might even find a heat press in your local maker space. Anything beyond that is very unlikely – maker spaces tend to cater to technologists more than they do to photographers. I have mentioned the idea of rental or co-op print studios to Epson US.

Conclusions

            It should be easy to tell that I am very enthusiastic about the Epson SureColor P9570 – it is, simply, the finest tool for printing color photographs yet devised, and it enables a color process as yet unequalled. It is a complex machine to use, and that should not be underestimated – but anybody who has any inclination towards darkroom work in the digital age can master it. I would put the overall gain in print quality over my previous Canon Pro-2000 at around 20% – not including the very significant gain in print longevity.  The gain in overall print quality is comparable to going up one format size on your camera (from APS-C to full-frame, or full-frame to medium format), assuming you keep the sensor generation comparable. It is also comparable to going from a pretty good lens to a great one.  To produce its maximum output quality, it needs superb input. Printing at full size, nothing less than a full-frame pixel monster with an excellent lens will use it at close to its full potential – and it will certainly show off 100 MP medium format.

            Its versatility has essentially given us the control we used to have in the black and white darkroom – but in color as well as black and white. We can run papers from textured matte to metallics that mimic the look of ferrotyped prints or Ilfochromes – plus a few things that were never darkroom standards – like canvas and Washi. Inkjet has been moving in this direction for some time, and has been the most capable standard color process since 2010 or so, but every previous printer I am aware of had some flaw or another that limited the artist’s capabilities. While the P9570 isn’t flawless, none of the flaws affect the output quality it’s capable of.

 If your printer doesn’t work very well on glossy papers, you’ll naturally choose matte, even when the image wants glossy. If your printer has an ink switching dance, you’ll be very inclined towards whatever’s in the printer for the next image – whether or not that’s the best choice. If you have an orange and green-enhanced Epson, or a blue-enhanced Canon, you might favor the colors your printer does especially well, and be less likely to print an image that prints best on the printer you don’t own . The P9570 on a high-gamut paper has essentially the combined gamut of all other inkjet printers , with the exception of fluorescent colors that only the recent fluorescent-ink Canons can hit (if you photograph nature and DON’T work on the Great Barrier Reef, you probably won’t ever see those colors – they’re for proofing). Even most examples of fluorescent-ink logos I can find online are advertising…fluorescent ink. The one example of a common household object I can find that I am sure is fluorescent pink or yellow is a highlighter pen (certainly the ink, and often the pen body or at least the cap as well).

I may be the only person ever to go wandering around a CVS looking for out of gamut fluorescent objects to test a printer… In trying to photograph my newly purchased test subjects for this review, I discovered that they are WAY out of gamut on my iPhone (this is a lousy picture). I hope they’re in-gamut on the GFX, so I can make a test file…

            Color darkroom processes rarely let the photographer separate gloss from contrast. Most matte papers also had relatively low contrast, luster papers tended to be in the middle, and very glossy and very contrasty tended to come together. Ilfochrome was always on the high end for gloss and contrast. Even the supposed lower contrast Ilfochrome was about a Grade 3.5, while the contrastier varieties were close to Grade 5. Contrast and gloss WERE separated in black and white. Papers like Oriental Seagull Gloss Grade 1 and Agfa Portriga-Rapid Matte Grade 4 existed, even though they may not have been the most common combinations. Variable-contrast papers came in everything from textured matte to full gloss, Inkjet inherently separates gloss from contrast, because gloss is primarily a product of the paper surface, while contrast is mostly a product of how you prepare the file. An inkjet that can use a full range of papers, like the P9570, gives the color photographer that control, and it returns that control to the black and white photographer who has been using an inkjet with more limited paper selection.

            The decision to award the Epson SureColor P9570 a Highly Recommended was an easy one. It is not every day that I get to use a product that does something better than that thing has ever been done before, and the SureColor P9570 is such a product. It is not only capable of producing the best color inkjet print ever produced, but the best color photographic print ever produced, regardless of technology. It has moved the state of the art forward in the art of color photographic printing. The two other products I have used that are close to simply the best are my Fujifilm GFX 100S and the 85mm f1.4 Zeiss Otus lens.  The Fujifilm  has the caveat that Phase One can probably produce a superior file, but at close to ten times the cost and massively more inconvenience since the Phase isn’t a one-piece camera, but a body/back/finder setup that weighs more than twice as much. The Fujifilm is the finest single piece camera in the world for pure image quality (and, stunningly in this world of advancing technology, it still is two years after that review was written) – but that requires defining the Phase as something else due to its design. The Otus is a stunning lens, but it has three huge drawbacks – size and weight, manual focus and no weather sealing. The new 85mm f1.2 Z-Nikkor may actually exceed the Otus’ image quality (I haven’t used one), and it is a massively more convenient lens. There is nothing that has to be “defined out” of being a printer to support the P9570’s claim.

Just a beautiful (and calm) scene – the P9570 hasn’t been a calm topic online. It is widely regarded as extremely capable, but there have been quite a few frustrations – some fixed, while others need to be learned. Another very careful reviewer, Keith Cooper at Northlight, also liked it a lot (the 24”version in his case).

I am well aware of the questions and complaints on the forum here and elsewhere online about the P9570.  Quite a few of the problems the first users faced in 2021 have been alleviated in firmware (and perhaps some minor hardware changes) in the past couple of  years. Other issues probably ARE related to the design of the printer (the head rubbing is likely related to tight tolerances in the platen gap). These issues are a matter of learning curve – I no longer get head rubbing, due to an enormous amount of work with different media and images. I will be publishing hints on individual papers to reduce the learning curve for other users. There is a third category of issues – those related to out-of-spec papers. I wasn’t aware of Moab’s extra-long paper rolls until researching “what might be going on with jamming above the platen – it doesn’t do that for me”… I will keep researching… Some of the annoyances are directly related to some of the best features – the reason the platen gap has to be set more precisely may well be due to the precision of the printhead, which in turn contributes to the sharpness of the prints.

            I have recommended to Epson US that they look into bringing UltraChrome PRO12 to a wider range of printers. After six months working with a 44” printer (I have always previously owned 24” models), I see why a printer this wide almost has to be a behemoth. Even if the printer were slower than the very fast P9570, 44” wide paper rolls are very large objects, and the type of power feed necessary to move them accurately is large and requires a very sturdy chassis.  Even the mighty P9570 has trouble with certain out-of-spec paper rolls, and a trimmed-down 44” printer would need much tighter paper specs that might eliminate a number of popular papers even in normal-length rolls.  The square footage of a single print at maximum size also means that very large ink cartridges make much more sense than they do on smaller printers. I have never considered using a 700 ml ink cartridge on any smaller printer, preferring ~300 ml cartridges for the most used colors, with ~150 ml cartridges in the less used channels. With the P9570, I’m using 700 ml cartridges in the Light Gray channel, with 330 ml cartridges in most channels. Maybe it’s possible to make a 44” printer 1/3 smaller and lighter by giving up some of the high speed, but it’s probably not possible to make one that is enough smaller to fit in a meaningfully smaller space while retaining the ability to use heavy papers.

A 24” printer, on the other hand, can use a much lighter roll feed, doesn’t need to take the largest cartridges, and doesn’t need to be as fast. The SureColor P7570 uses a shortened version of a P9570 chassis, but a 24” printer doesn’t need to use that kind of chassis unless it is very fast. In the early days, 24” and 44” printers were always on distinct chassis – the old Epson Stylus Pro 7500 looks nothing like the 9500. Epson went to multiple widths of the same chassis (which has to be strong enough for a 44” printer) very early on, but Canon maintained two different chassis until 2015. Prior to the current Pro series, 24” Canons were relatively svelte, and could fit up against a wall in a room used  for other purposes, or even on a long, narrow counter (they came with a stand, but were easy to use without it).  24” printers outside of the high-end photography market are still not huge, and they’re made to fit on a stand or a counter – the stand is optional on some models.

This svelte desktop unit (with optional stand) is  a 24” Epson SureColor T3170. Obviously, a 12-ink printer couldn’t be this small – it would need more cartridges and a heavier roll feeder – what’s possible?

 I would encourage Epson to put the UltraChrome PRO12 inkset in a lighter, less commercial-grade 24” printer, and in a 17” printer beyond the “SureColor P5570” that is probably coming. The P5570 is likely to be a very large, heavy semi-desktop  17” printer with a very sturdy roll feeder and a high-capacity sheet cassette. Epson has been making these “not really desktop” 17” printers since 2004, and one always follows a year or two behind the wide format models. That’s a useful form factor for UltraChrome PRO12, but I would like to see it ALSO appear in a true desktop printer, and in a second 24” printer that isn’t as bulky as the P7570.

Not everybody prints enough to need a commercial-grade printer, and Epson has historically restricted their best inkset to commercial-grade machines. The smaller printers either get the full inkset, but a generation behind, or they get a subset.  The original Stylus Pro 3800 used the same UltraChrome K3 inkset as the contemporary Stylus Pro 4800, 7800 and 9800, but by the time it was replaced by the 3880, that printer got UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta, while the big printers had already moved to UltraChrome HDR, a generation newer with two extra inks (orange and green). The P800 (and 13”P600) got a unique UltraChrome HD inkset, probably derived from UltraChrome HDX, but again missing orange and green. The P900 and P700 got an UltraChrome PRO derivative called PRO10, with violet, but yet again without orange and green. I’d love to see the full inkset for those who can’t commit to a commercial-grade printer. Many photographers don’t have the space or budget for a giant printer, nor do they print enough to need one, but still want to use Epson’s highest quality inkset.

            Especially while Epson is restricting the top inkset to commercial-grade printers only, if you aren’t interested in working with a machine like this yourself, in learning the craft, in giving up the space, in using it consistently, it’s worth finding a printmaker who has one and knows how to get the best results from it. Printing your own work is highly rewarding, but a good printmaker can also help realize your vision. Some film photographers loved darkroom work, while others hired it out. Edward Weston was a notoriously inconsistent darkroom worker who preferred the making of the negative to the production of the final print. One of the best looking shows of Weston’s work ever produced was printed by his close friend Ansel Adams, who, in addition to being a legendary landscape photographer, was one of the truly great black and white printmakers.

            Further articles in this series will look at how individual papers work on the SureColor P9570, divided into groups of similar papers. There will be a piece on the economics and logistics of setting up and running the beast (I have a lot of economic data, and they look pretty good, but this review is already very long). There will be a piece on software and accessories, going from raw conversion to the fine print. The journey of the SureColor P9570 continues…

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Dan Wells, "Shuttterbug" on the trail, is a landscape photographer, long-distance hiker and student in the Master of Divinity program at Harvard Divinity School. He lives in Cambridge, MA when not in wild places photographing and contemplating our connection to the natural world. Dan's images try to capture the spirit he finds in places where, in the worlds of the Wilderness Act of 1964, "Man himself is but a visitor". He has hiked 230 miles of Vermont's Long Trail and 450 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail with his cameras, as well as photographing in numerous National Parks, Seashores and Forests over the years - often in the offseason when few people think to be there. In the summer of 2020, Dan plans to hike a stretch of hundreds of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, focusing on his own and others' spiritual connection to these special places, and making images that document these connections. Over years of personal work and teaching photography, Dan has used a variety of equipment (presently Nikon Z7 and Fujifilm APS-C). He is looking for the perfect combination of light weight, ruggedness and superb image quality.

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