Epson Stylus Photo 925

The Windows driver software looks very much like other Epson printer drivers, across the top are the usual "tabs" to jump to the four basic sections of the driver; Main, Paper, Layout and Utility.

The MAIN page lets you select the Media Type, the ink set (color or just black) and the printing Mode. Once you have selected a Media Type many other parameters are preset to optimal if you leave the Mode set to Automatic. The Automatic option lets you quickly make a print that match your monitor. PhotoEnhance is used to enhance prints made from digital cameras. The Custom option gives you access to the advanced printing and color options, more on this below. The Quality - Speed slider control lets you quickly select the output quality versus printing speed. The EPSON Natural Color option improves the saturation of greens and blues for a more "vivid" print.

Here are the available Media Types: Plain Paper, 360 dpi Inkjet Paper, Photo Quality Inkjet Paper, Matte Paper - Heavyweight, Photo Paper, Glossy Photo Paper, Premium Glossy Photo Paper, Photo Quality Glossy Film, Inkjet Transparencies, Colorlife Photo Paper, Premium Luster Photo Paper and Premium Semigloss Photo Paper.

This is the page of advanced options that are available when you click on the Custom button from the Main page. You have the ability to set or override just about all the important printer settings; media type, print quality, high speed on/off, flip horizontal (mirror for transparency or backlight media) and color controls galore. Color management is handled by Windows ICM, Apple ColorSync or you're free to manually "diddle" with everything.

Unlike Epson Photo printers of the past you no longer pick an output dpi (360, 720, 1440, 2880), you now pick from Economy (plain paper only), Normal, Fine, Photo, Best Photo, Photo RPM (Best Photo and Photo RPM only with glossy media.)

The PhotoEnhance4 option lets you adjust settings for digital camera images. The Tone settings are: Normal, Hard, Vivid, Sepia and Monochrome. The Effect options are: Sharpness, Soft Focus, Canvas and Parchment, the level of these effects is controlled by the Low-High slider.

The Paper options control the source (sheet feeder, roll or manual feed), borderless option (not useable with matte or fine art papers!), paper size, number of copies, orientation and printable area.

If you select Roll Paper as the source then you also enable other options for the Auto Cutter (Normal Cut, Paper-Saving Cut, Manual Cut) and the page size.

The Layout page gives you options for enlarging or reducing, double-sided printing, multi-page or adding a water mark.

The last section of the driver has all of the Maintenance functions such as Nozzle Check, Head Cleaning and Print Head Alignment. You can manually start the Status Monitor. Speed & Progress leads to options for high speed copies, display the progress meter, spooling options for RAW datatype, monitoring preferences (error, communication, ink low, maintenance call and select the shortcut icon for task bar.)

Whenever you have an active print job the Epson Status Monitor pops up and shows you the current ink levels and the progress of the printing. You can also get all sorts of printing "tips and tricks" if desired.

Checking the "Print Preview" option on the first driver page is always a good idea. I use the print preview function as my last visual confirmation that I have selected the proper orientation and printing format. Unfortunately the Epson print preview does not have a ruler scale or indicate the chosen paper size which would really help you make sure that you also selected the right media type and size. Epson includes a Photoshop import filter and a standalone application program to allow for PRINT Image Matching (PIM) compatibility with images made with PIM compliant digital cameras.

This is the Photoshop PRINT Image Matching file import filter. You enable it from Photoshop's FILE menu:   This import filter will only display JPEG files that have valid PIM or PIM II info embedded in the Exif header. You can select one file for import or check the "Import consecutively" option to select more than one image file. Photoshop does not retain the PIM information separately in the JPEG's header file when you import your PIM image. Instead it converts that information in the file and embeds a color space called EPSON RGB 2001. This profile supports all the PIM color advantages and enhancements. The PIM plug-in works with Photoshop 7.0, 6.0 and Photoshop Elements 2.0, 1.0. It requires the ICC profiles for the Stylus 925 that are installed with the plug-in (Windows) or the printer driver (Macintosh).

Epson also includes their Film Factory program on the CD. This is an easy to use viewing and printing utility that lets you organize your images the same as if they were rolls of film. It has printing options to easily make standard prints, index prints, duplicates, album pages, sticker prints and combo prints. The preview window shows you thumbnails of all of your images and if they are PIM-compliant there is a little PIM icon in the upper right corner across from the file number.

ArcSoft's PhotoImpression for Windows or Mac is an all-inclusive application designed specifically for novice users. It combines photo editing with additional creative and printing tools that maximize your digital imaging experience. Edit text, remove red-eye, special effects and enhancements, intuitive resizing, photo fun, frames, advanced and multiple printing options - supports Epson PRINT Image Matching.