Sorry I bought it.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on 9 May 2022
Previous printer was an Epson XP-830. I do a lot of printing of photos and CDs and DVDs both for myself and for customers. I was looking for some way to cut the high cost of using the printer because the cost of the ink was extreme. I read a review of this Epson ET-8500 printer and was interested that the cost of the consumables (ink) would be drastically lower. Overall, it's a nice looking printer, and quiet -- but I need good quality photos and disc labels, and this one is far below the quality of the XP-830.
I'll state the biggest problem up front: The quality of the printed images is about on par with that from other printers, except that the images are always darker than the original. It seems there is too much black or grey being used, as well as too much red. The faces of people in the photos look like they all have severe sunburn, but on the computer screen the faces look just fine. Whenever there is a somewhat darker area on the image, that area is printed out almost all dark. Where you can see the different shades of grey and black on-screen, you cannot tell any difference on the printed image. So if the majority of the image is dark on-screen, then the printed image is almost all dark and unrecognizable. This is entirely unacceptable.
With the Epson XP-830, there was a similar issue. If the image on-screen had darker areas, they would be quite dark when printed. However, that printer's print utility has a function where you can set the image to "lighter" by one to three shades to compensate. That made the printer OK. For the Epson ET-8500, the user manual shows the "Epson Photo+" print utility having the functionality to do color correction and light/dark correction; however, the actual software installed on my PC has no such functionality. I checked the Epson website and I have the most current version of the Epson Photo+ software. There is no functionality for making any corrections when sending it to the printer. As a result, I need to import the images to an image editing program (I use both Photoshop and GIMP) and use that to do color correction and to increase the brightness. It's a hit-or-miss thing to do, however. I haven't yet figured out if there is a linear degree of correction needed (so I could perhaps make the brightness 10% more on each image, for example) or if it's just a plain old guess every time. After adjusting the image in the program, it looks poor on-screen but it prints out much better, if I get it right. But still there are times when I have to go through several tries to get it right.
The Epson Photo+ printer utility has a function to do a "Test Print". However, when I use that to print the image on plain paper, the color and brightness on paper is the same as on-screen, but printing on photo paper or on a disc label results in the problems mentioned. So that's no help at all.
The printed images are crisp and clean, not blurry or anything -- but what good is that if the color is all wrong and the images are too dark?
Then there are a few other irritations with the Epson Photo+ printer utility. For example, when preparing to print a disc label, you click on the icon to import the image. That opens the image and displays a new window where you must select a pre-defined pattern to crop the image (square, circle, star, heart, clover, etc.). You have to click on the crop pattern, then click on the OK button. It would be much easier to be able to just double-click on the crop pattern, but that doesn't work. So that's a hassle, and an irritation, but it can be lived with. In addition, the program always displays the square crop pattern as the default pattern, even when you selected a different pattern the previous image. In other words, it doesn't remember your previous selection and make that the default with the assumption that you would be doing that same crop again. That would also be easier, and not having it is an irritation, but one that can be lived with.
Then the Epson XP-830 print utility had the ability to precisely place the image on the disc label template by entering the upper-left corner position and then specifying the width and height. That was super easy and fast to get the image perfectly centered on the disc label template. With the Epson ET-8500, however, the only way to place the image on the disc template is to manually move it around. Not only does it take longer, but the results are always going to be slightly inconsistent with the other labels. This also is an irritation, but one that can be lived with.
So there are irritating and aggravating things about this Epson Photo+ printer utility that don't make sense. Why would the same company make software that is less easy to use and has less useful functionality than one of that same company's previous products?
But the main issue with this printer is the poor -- very poor -- print quality. When the printed image does not match the on-screen image, and there is no ability to make corrections using the printer software, then those corrections must be made manually using an image manipulation program (Photoshop, GIMP, or Paint.net). This results in inconsistent printouts, and sometimes results in having to redo the print job. It's a waste of time, a waste of ink, and a waste of photo paper and discs.
Overall -- very unhappy with this product.
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