While posting digital photos online is how most people share their photos, there’s nothing like printing them out and displaying your photographic handiwork on your wall. But photo printing is not a simple task. Sure, many home printers are capable of producing quality 8 x 10-inch (or smaller) photos, but true photographic artwork is often considerably more involved.
Many professional digital photographic artists use specially designed, giant wide-format printers, like the $5,000 Epson Stylus Pro 9890, that can accommodate fine art papers up to 44 inches wide. But few casual photographers, if any, would spend that kind of money for their own home-based photo gallery.
For the hobbyist, Epson offers the Artisan 1430, a wide-format photo printer that provide an affordable outlet for your creative urges. This six-color photo printer, listed at $300, generates prints up to 13 x 19 inches and accommodates a wide variety of specialized media, including canvas and other fine-art paper.
Features and design
Being that the Artisan 1430 is a wide-format printer, it’s obviously fairly large. But believe it or not, it’s moderately compact for what it is. The unit measures approximately 24.3 x 12.7 x 8.5 inches, so a good chunk of desktop space is required. It weighs 26 pounds – not super heavy, but we wouldn’t want to move it often. The paper feed has a capacity for 100 sheets of plain paper, and up to 30 sheets of specialty or fine-art media.
A small control panel has all the basic printer functions, but unlike some other Epson printers and MFPs, the Artisan 1430 does not have an LCD panel. It’s a design scheme common to wide-format photo printers like this.
The Artisan 1430 has the connectivity options suitable for home setups. You can connect it to a network via Wi-Fi, or directly to a PC or Mac via USB. There’s a PictBridge USB port on the front (for direct connections to PictBridge-enabled digital cameras), but this particular USB port does not support flash drives or any other USB device. There’s no Ethernet port, nor are there media card slots. Mobile devices can print to the Artisan 1430 with Epson’s EpsonConnect app.
Epson offers only a single-capacity cartridge for the Artisan 1420, but the company says The Type 79 cartridges offer 50-percent more prints than standard sizes. The cartridges are rated to yield approximately 470 pages in black, and about 810 pages for the color cartridges (combined). Realistically, these are nothing more than guesses, as it’s impossible to know how many prints you’ll get out of a set of cartridges given different image colors and how many prints of differing sizes you’ll print. This is true of any photo printer, not just the Artisan 1430. If you buy direct from Epson, the black cartridge costs $20, while the colors cost $21.50 each.
What’s in the box
Along with the printer, the box contains a set of six ink cartridges (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Light Cyan, and Light Magenta), a power cord, and a special tray for printing onto compatible CDs or DVDs, and a power cord. Besides CDs with drivers, Epson also includes Windows and Mac versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 – a nice bonus, although it’s two versions behind. There’s a basic setup guide, but a detailed manual is available for download via Epson’s website.
Epson provides a limited one-year warranty, but extended service plans are available. Click here for details.
Setup and performance
Setup is straightforward. After inserting the six ink cartridges, there’s a wait time of several minutes for the printer to prime. While you wait, you can install the drivers via the provided disc. If you want to use the Adobe Elements 10 software, it is a separate installation.
Because the Artisan 1430 is marketed strictly as a photo printer, we didn’t bother with our usual speed tests. Unlike a laser or inkjet printer that’s designed to churn out documents, the Artisan 1430 is all about quality, and the time it takes to print varies.
Epson offers only a single-capacity cartridge, but the company says it offers 50-percent more prints.
But who cares how long it takes, as long as the output looks great. With that in mind, we produced test prints using three of the paper samples Epson provided us with: plain paper, Epson’s Premium Presentation Paper Matte, and Epson Premium Photo Paper Glossy. The results were not unexpected. On plain paper the output was color accurate, but completely washed out. On the other two paper samples, Presentation Matte and Photo Glossy, the output was just about perfect, with accurate color and balanced saturation.
What this means is the Artisan 1430 is a specialty printer, so it can’t serve as a standalone machine for all your printing needs. More likely, the Artisan 1430 will be a companion to a primary printer that handles most of your print jobs, and only used when you want to print out exquisite photos. Hence, why weren’t surprised the print quality wasn’t very good on plain paper, which is unfortunate as that sidelines folks who enjoy printing arts and crafts. The inks can add up to over $120 if you replace them all at once, but unless you’re doing a lot of prints, it should last you for a while.
Epson’s Artisan 1430 is a perfect step-up printer for users who do a lot of photographic printing and feel restricted by affordable home printers limited to 8.5 x 11 inch or 11 x 17 inch output. The six-color ink system provides an excellent color gamut for the price. To get really good results requires that you use the right paper, but that’s true of all photographic output. Given the so-so washed out quality on plain paper, however, we’d be a bit hesitant to recommend this particular printer for those more interested in producing crafts rather than photos.
- Affordable wide-format printer
- Six color inks
- Excellent quality on photo paper
- No media card slots
- Poor output quality on plain paper