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The Epson Stylus Photo RX685 is a multi function printer with flatbed scanner, CD/DVD printer and memory card reader for stand alone printing.
- Printing method: 6-colour, Epson Micro Piezo print head
- Nozzle: 90 nozzles each (black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan, light magenta)
- Droplet size: 1.5pl minimum using variable sized technology
- Inks: Epson Claria photographic ink
- Print resolution: up to 5760 x1440 optimised dpi
- Print speeds A4: Black text up to 40ppm, colour text up to 40ppm
- Copy speeds A4: Black text up to 40ppm, colour text tbc.
- Scan resolution: 1200 x 2400dpi
- Monitor: 2.5in colour TFT
- Card reader: Compactflash, Secure Digital, Memory Stick, xD Picture card
- Interface: USB 2.0
- Dimensions: 446 x 432 x 237mm
- Weight: 12kg excluding ink and power cable.
- Noise level: 36dB
Loading the enclosed CD into the drive and a window will pop up with Easy or Advanced installation options. The window is easy to read and installing the program is straightforward.
There are 6 steps to installation and basic animation or simplistic text shows you what to do in each step.
Epson Stylus Photo RX685 Build and handling
The Epson Stylus Photo RX685 was released at the same time as it's smaller cousin, the RX585. They are both very similar in designed and technology, but performance-wise, the RX685 has a faster printing speed of 40ppm.
The main different features that the RX685 has over the RX585 is the extra paper cassette on the front of the printer, the ability to print double-sided paper, Automatic access to the CD tray and the option to access Epson PhotoEnhance in stand-alone mode. The RX685 also has a TFT monitor, weighs in at 12kg, which is just under 4kg heavier than the RX585, and uses more power.
Powering up the printer and the screen lights up like a bright digital camera screen. Once the printer has done all its whirs and clicks to sort the inks out, the printer will go into Copy mode automatically. This will be rectified by simply pressing the button of the service you want to use. When the printer is idle, it automatically defaults to the Copy mode.
To access CD printing, the CD button is pressed and the front loading tray will drop down as the CD loader moves itself into position. The CD tray is included in the box, but is separate to the printer. This is then slid into position aligning the two arrows and the printing can commence.
The scanner lid is not fastened to the printer, as I found out when it came off in my hands. All other doors are secure as far as plastic can be.
A glance over the control buttons on the front of the printer will show them divided either side of the LCD monitor. The Power button, Copy, Memory card and Speciality print mode buttons are on the left keeping the CD print, Set up and it took me ages to find out that the final button is a cropping tool for when viewing images on the screen from Memory card. The reason behind this being that the instructions give no tutorial as to what all the buttons do. You are simply meant to either know what they are or find out as you go along.
The RX685 has the ability to print both sides with a duplexer, which is a piece of equipment that fits to the back of the printer. This accessory is just that. It's an optional extra, just like a USB lead.
Epson Stylus Photo RX685 Performance
Printing from either your computer, or direct from the memory card is a simple affair. Loading the pictures into your editing software and printing from there or from MyComputer will reach the same ends. To print from card, it is placed into the slot, Memory card button pressed on the Mode area and then select how you'd like to print them.
Printing to a preset ICC profile is done by going into Print preview, changing Output to Colour Management and choosing the source according to the paper being used or a profile you may have saved.
With the printer set to its highest quality, from pressing the print button to when it flopped onto the tray took 4min 40sec for the first page. Consequent images took 4min 36sec within half a second of each other.
The original colourchart taken on a Canon EOS 350D.
The same image printed out and scanned back in using the RX685. The colours are a little muted using the primary blue as an example.
This print in output settings has had a problem getting the colour of the fire correct.
Daylight setting of 65 and Gamma was 2.2 was used in this print using a personal profile.
This mono image was printed using the Printer's Epson series profile.
The same image printed in output and changed to Greyscale. The slight green cast on the paper suggests colour inks were still used.
Scanning is as easy as any other scanning device. Access from the Import area of Photoshop scan in. But wait, there are two options. One option will scan a preview, whilst the other will scan and load the image straight in.
This is the full size image scanned in to highlight the detail available on the RX685.
This detail study shows banding in the low key areas, which isn't on the print.
Epson Stylus Photo RX685 Verdict
Apart from the lack of comprehensive instructions, which will put off first time Epson buyers, the printer is well made, fast and quiet, although, it is 1Db louder than the RX585.
The results aren't spectacular, but adequate for the market that it's aimed at. The banding in low key areas from scanning is only seen when zoomed in to full size.
Take a look at the differences with the RX585. If you need the ability to print double sided paper, faster with a better screen and access to PhotoEnhance without the tediuosness of having to use a computer, then be prepared to shell out £110 more for the RX685.
Epson Stylus Photo RX685 Plus points
Epson Stylus Photo RX685 Minus points
No proper instructions
More than double the price of its smaller cousin
The Epson Stylus Photo RX685 costs around £199 and is available from the ePHOTOzine shop here.