Epson Stylus Photo 1290s £299
30th Apr 2005 | 23:00
Good value for money if speed isn't an option
The 1290s is a bit of an old campaigner now, and that's reflected in its price, making it an attractive option if you're strapped for cash. The combined five-colour ink tank (the black's in a separate cartridge) is a bit of an anachronism in this day and age, but it makes buying supplies and keeping spares simple. Interestingly, there's also a roll-feed system for panoramic paper formats, so stitching fans should be happy.
The print quality holds up well against all the rest, given the Epson's age and price. The tonal range's very good, but the midtones perhaps lack the ultimate punch of a couple of the others (notably the i9950). Highlights show a faint pinkish tinge; while darker greens are slightly cool and weak looking, but these are differences you'll only notice when comparing prints. The big problem for the 1290s, however, is its numbing slowness. Rod Lawton