Steve's Digicams


Stylus Photo 960

Review posted 06/12/03

Epson Stylus Photo 960 Photo Printer

The Stylus Photo 960 utilizes Epson's Advanced Micro Piezo ink jet technology, the world's first two-picoliter ink droplet and a superior six-color photo ink system for creating incredible detail, more accurate skin tones and an ultra-wide color range designed specifically for photography. This six-color system features seven individual ink cartridges-two black cartridges for faster text printing-making this printer Epson's first dye-based model to use a separate ink cartridge system.

The Stylus Photo 960 provides the best photo quality from ink jets today with its resolution up to 2880 x 1440 dpi, wide color gamut, dye-based inks and two-picoliter droplet size. The Stylus Photo 960 offers fast photo printing speeds, allowing customers to print an 8" x 10" image in less than two minutes at 720 dpi on glossy and matte papers. Additionally, the printer can speed through black text with its twin black cartridges at up to 8 ppm in normal mode.

By utilizing innovations such as PRINT Image Matching technology and Epson's patented, true BorderFree(tm) photo printing technology, the Stylus Photo 960 is able to produce the best prints possible in a variety of frame-ready and portfolio-ready photo paper sizes. Customers can effortlessly print their photos on Epson's Borderless 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" photo papers without having to trim the borders or tear off perforations.

Epson offers a wide variety of papers for use with the Stylus Photo 960 including EPSON Premium Semigloss Photo Paper, EPSON Premium Luster Photo Paper, EPSON Premium Glossy Photo Paper and EPSON ColorLife Photo Paper. Additionally, the Stylus Photo 960 offers the convenience of three separate paper paths including the standard paper path, a roll paper path and a front loading, straight through paper path for thicker media. The straight paper path supports a variety of media up to 1.3 mm in thickness and also supports the new CD/DVD tray.

Using the separate roll paper path, the printer supports edge-to-edge borderless printing on 4" and 8.3" roll paper. A roll paper holder is included with the printer, along with a convenient automatic cutter that will easily cut borderless and panoramic prints on roll paper as the prints come out of the printer, turning the printer into a mini-photolab. The cutter is safely enclosed in a detachable housing. Also included is a "photo catcher" that keeps prints in a neat stack as they are cut from the roll.

The Stylus Photo 960 produces long-lasting photos which can resist fading up to 27 years with Epson's optimized combination of EPSON Photo Inks and fade-resistant papers, like Epson's ColorLife Photo Paper.

Stylus Photo 960 Features:

  • 6-Color photo printing with individual ink cartridges

  • Photo-optimized black ink for precise shadow detail, and dark, rich blacks for better looking color, nighttime, and B&W photos

  • 2880 x 1440 dpi resolution with ultra small 2-picoliter ink droplets

  • Fast printing - 4x6" photo in 53 seconds, 8x10" in 2 minutes 8 seconds

  • BorderFree printing on 4x6" and 5x7" media

  • Print directly on ink jet printable CD/DVD discs, Epson Print CD software is included (not supported by OS X)

  • Three paper paths for a wide range of media, including sheet paper, roll paper and poster board

  • Roll paper holder for 4" and 8.3" widths and an automatic cutter

  • Supports a large assortment of papers including EPSON Glossy Photo, Premium Glossy, Semigloss, Luster, ColorLife, and Matte Paper

  • Epson PRINT Image Matching II technology ensures the best possible prints from PIM-enabled digital cameras

  • USB v1.1 connectivity with both Windows and Macintosh computers

Epson Stylus Photo 960 Photo Printer

The Photo 960 is Epson's first dye-based photo printer to use individual ink cartridges. There's a total of seven cartridges, two black and the usual 6-color photo ink set of cyan, light cyan, magenta, light magenta and yellow. The light magenta and light cyan inks are used for more accurate skin tones and smoother color transitions and gradations.

The two black cartridges allow the Stylus 960 to print text faster - two to three times faster than the Stylus 890 or 1280 printers. The black ink is high density and "photo optimized" for dark, rich blacks in both color and b&w photos with better shadow details.

Epson Stylus Photo 960 Photo Printer

The printer "knows" which ink cartridges are in the printer and exactly how much ink is left in them. There are tiny little electronic chips on the edge of each ink tank. This allows you to swap any cartridge at any time and then put it back in the printer later. These IntellidgeTM cartridges actually count each ink droplet used to keep track of the ink remaining.

Epson Stylus Photo 960 Photo Printer

Compatible with both Windows and Macintosh platforms, the Stylus 960 features both a high- speed bidirectional IEEE-1284 parallel and a USB 1.1 input port for connection to the host computer. You can also see the straight-through paper path for handling media up to 1.3mm thick.

Epson Stylus Photo 960 Photo Printer

Here's the roll paper holders mounted on the back of the printer. Shown here with a 4-inch roll of photo paper. The printer handles 4" or 8.3" width roll paper stock for edge-to-edge borderless printing. The roll paper is fed into the paper path and then automatically pulled up to the start point when you press the feed button. You push and hold the feed button to make it "back out" the roll paper when you're done.

Epson Stylus Photo 960 Photo Printer

The included automatic roll paper cutter assembly is easy to attach and active when you select roll paper as the paper source. It's fairly quick to change from cut sheet to roll printing. The printer driver has an option for adjusting the cutter and to select the desired cut option (auto, paper-saving or manual cut.)

Your cut photos drop into the supplied "catcher" that attaches below the cutter.

Epson Stylus Photo 960 Photo Printer

My complaint with using roll paper is that the prints never seem to sit flat again. The prints shown here were under a heavy book for three days and yet still retain as much curve as when first printed. My advice for making 4x6" prints -- stick with the cut sheet paper. It is great for making panoramas when using the 8-inch width roll paper though.

Epson Stylus Photo 960 Photo Printer

All Stylus 960 printers sold after February 2003 include the CD Printing Kit. If you bought your printer before February contact Epson to get your free CD Printing Kit.

Using readily available ink jet printable CD and DVD discs you can now print your own "fancy" labels without the muss or fuss of the "stick-on" labels. You just attach the special loading tray and use the CD carrier to print on standard or mini-size discs.

Using the included Epson Print CD software, you design your custom CD or DVD label and then print it. Epson Print CD makes it easy to add graphics, photos and custom text effects and then position it anywhere on the disc using a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor interface.

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Stylus Photo 960 Specifications

Printing Technology

  • Advanced Micro Piezo,® optimized for photo printing

Nozzle Configuration

  • Monochrome head: 192 nozzles, Color head: 96 nozzles (per color)

Ink Palette

  • 6 colors (CcMmYK)

Ink Cartridge Configuration

  • Individual ink cartridges

Ink Type

  • Dye based photographically superior Photo Ink system

Minimum Ink Droplet Size

  • 2 picoliter

Ink Cartridge Life

Black Ink Yield

  • 628 pages text (ISO/IEC 10561 letter pattern), 440 pages graphic (5% coverage)¹

Color Ink Yield

  • 440 pages ( 5% coverage per color)¹

Ink Shelf Life

  • 2 years from production date; 6 months from first use

Maximum Resolution (dots per inch)

  • 2880 x 1440 dpi

Print Speed

Black Text

  • Up to 8 PPM² (360 dpi mode)

Color Text

  • N/A

4" x 6" Photo

  • 53 seconds²

8" x 10" Photo

  • 2 minutes 8 seconds²

Paper Handling

Maximum Paper Width

  • Single sheet - 8.5", Roll paper - 8.3"

Maximum Printable Area

  • 8.3" x 44"

Paper Sizes

  • Letter, legal, A4, 4" x 6", 5" x 7", plus 4" and 8.3" wide edge-to-edge snap shots rolls, and up to 8.5" x 44" with user definable sizes

Borderless Photo Sizes

  • 4" x 6" and 5" x 7"

Paper Types

  • Supports a variety of Epson photo papers, roll papers (roll paper holder included), plain, bond and air mail papers. Supports EPSON Premium Bright White, Glossy Photo Paper, Premium Glossy Photo Paper, Premium Semigloss Photo Paper, Premium Luster Photo Paper, ColorLife Photo Paper, Matte Paper Heavyweight, Double-sided Matte, Inkjet Transparencies, Self-adhesive Sheets, Photo Quality Ink Jet Paper, Greeting Cards, High Quality Banner paper; labels; envelopes, Iron-on Transfers and Photo Stickers; and EPSON 4" and 8.3" roll paper

Envelope Types

  • No. 10, DL, C6

Special Media Support

  • Roll paper - 4" and 8.3" rolls , Straight paper path to support media up to 1.3mm thick

Maximum Paper Thickness

  • Up to 1.3mm

Light Resistance / Print Longevity

  • Water resistant, light resistant up to 27 years with Epson ColorLife™ Photo Paper³

Paper Capacity

  • Input paper tray: 100 Sheets(plain paper)/10 envelopes/1 transparency/ 1 printable CD/DVD

Hardware and Software Details

Printer Dimensions & Weight

  • Storage (L x W x H): 20.27" x 13.10" x 8.22"
    Printing (L x W x H): 20.27" x 26.10" x 11.77"
    Weight: 16.2 lb

Printer Case Color

  • Silver and dark gray

Interface and Connectivity

  • USB and Parallel

Operating Systems

  • Windows USB/Parallel - Windows 98, 2000, Me and XP

  • Macintosh USB - Macintosh OS 8.6 - 9.X, OS X 10.1 and 10.2

  • (Note: OS X does not support certain features)

Software Included

  • Epson Software™ Film Factory™, Epson Print CD Software, and PRINT Image Matching Plug-In for Adobe® Photoshop®

Printer Language

  • EPSON ESC/P Raster, EPSON Remote

PostScript Support

  • No

Color Management

  • Standard, Charts and Graphs, EPSON Vivid Color

Sound Level

  • 45dB(A)

Printer Duty

  • 25,000 (Black) / 10,000 (Color) pages - A4 or Letter

Environmental Conditions

  • Temperature: Operating 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C), Storage -4° to 140° F (-20° to 60° C);

  • Humidity: Operating 20% to 80% relative humidity, Storage 5% to 85% relative humidity (no condensation)

Safety Approvals

  • Safety standards: UL1950, CSA 22.2 No. 950; FCC part 15 subpart B class B, CSA C108.8 class B

Power Requirements

Rated Voltage

  • 120V AC

Rated Frequency

  • 50 - 60 Hz

Rated Current

  • 0.4 Amp (max.)

Power Consumption

  • Approx. 17W

Input Buffer

  • 256KB


  • N/A


  • Standard one-year limited warranty in the U.S. and Canada including EPSON Exchange program (U.S. and Canada only) Extended warranties available beyond one year - see Warranty page

Direct CD / DVD Printing Support

  • Yes

Straight through paper path for thicker media

  • Yes


  • ¹ Cartridge life will vary with images printed, print settings, papers, and frequency of use. Some ink from first cartridge used for initialization.

  • ² Black text memo is in Normal mode on plain paper. Color photo is in Photo Mode on EPSON Glossy Photo Paper. Additional processing time may vary based on system configuration, software application and page complexity.

  • ³ Light fastness rating up to 27 years based on accelerated testing of prints on EPSON ColorLife™ Photo Paper displayed indoors, under glass. Actual print stability will vary according to image, display conditions, light intensity, humidity, and atmospheric conditions. Epson does not guarantee longevity of prints. For maximum print life, display prints under glass or laminations or properly store them. Water-resistant prints are produced using EPSON Premium Glossy Photo Paper and EPSON Photo Paper. For more information on these light fastness ratings, visit Technology In Depth at

(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

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