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Brie Dodson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 24 Nov 1999 08:38:54 -0800
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Dear Friends,

I have been reading the recent posts on HP and Epson printers. My studio
both an HP 1120C and an Epson 1200. We only got the Epson 1200 a few weeks
ago and haven't fully tested its capabilities, whereas we've really put
HP through its paces. We chose the Epson over the HP 970 because of the
ability to print on larger sheets of paper, up to 13" wide. For what it's
worth, here are a few observations.

*We have both a PC and a Mac plugged into the back of the Epson, thanks to
its having both parallel and USB connections. This is really convenient
we have had absolutely no problems with the arrangement.

*There are some issues with the Mac driver - one with character clipping
when printing from Word and Appleworks, which was resolved; another when
printing from Internet Explorer, which is troublesome and has not been
resolved. Epson e-mail tech support was unhelpful the first time,
helpful the second.

*The HP is gratifyingly fast. The Epson isn't.

*The HP has three paper feed mechanisms - one that takes paper up from a
tray at the bottom of the printer, for normal use; one just above that,
manual feeding of envelopes and card stock; and another that feeds paper
(such as Arches watercolor paper or another thick stock) through from the
back, in an absolutely straight path. All three of these have been finicky
in practice. The Epson has only one paper feed, which takes paper down
the top and feeds it at a 30-degree angle. So far this has been foolproof.
miss the extra options, but it's nice not having to deal with paper feed

*With the HP, we change print heads every time we change a cartridge
the print head is built into the cartridge. The Epson cartridge includes
only the ink, and this makes me wonder whether I will have a big repair
for a new print head down the road. In addition, the Epson print head
quicker to clog and thus needs more frequent cleaning, which wastes ink.

*With the Epson, printing envelopes (or anything else unusual) is somewhat
inconvenient because we have to take the paper out of the feed tray and
in an envelope instead. With the HP, it's easy as pie because you feed the
envelope into the special manual feed slot and the rest of the paper stays
in place. However, the Epson feed is much more reliable. Also, it's very
hard to feed something into the Epson crooked. With the HP, it's hard to
feed something in straight.

I'm afraid I haven't done any high-quality printing on the Epson, and thus
can't comment on that. However, we have done a great deal indeed on the
We particularly enjoy the ability to print out artwork on watercolor paper
and have it look very close to an original. This is particularly true of
sketches or other line work. The capability has proved invaluable for
presentations. However, the HP has a tendency toward small ink blots when
printing color-saturated pages, so printouts are always a trial-and-error

We had to decide against the HP 970 because of its small sheet size. We
couldn't really wait until HP caught up with Epson on that score. Epson
a slightly older printer (the 1520) that costs less, prints on the same
variety of paper as the 1200, and prints up to 17" wide. However, it's
four-color as opposed to the 1200's six. I'm not sure how much difference
this makes in practice. I was interested in the 1520, but it has no USB

I hope these notes are helpful to others contemplating a printer purchase.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Brie Dodson
Brand Design Group
P.O.  Box 2189
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 597-7163