A few months ago I purchased an Epson 2200 printer so that I could finally make some “large” prints. First let me say that I love my 2200! The color, sharpness and tonality are everything you would expect from Epson. But that aside, my real issue falls upon the archaic paper sizes that are available from Epson and more imprtant are the ones that are not. Let’s talk 13×19, 17×22, and 24×30. Yes it’s true that I can only print up to the 13″ paper width on my 2200 but besides that, what do all of these paper sizes have in common? Well after talking to a friend last night that has ties to Epson, I find that all of the sheet sizes are European standard paper sizes. So here’s where it gets fun. I go to my local Michael’s Arts and Crafts store to buy a nice 13×19 frame. Hmmm, there seems to be a void in that section. Actually, there is no section for European paper sized frames. It seems that everything is based on 11×14, 16×20, or 20×24. Ok, now I am going to crop down to 11×14 so that I can use a pre-made frame. So now I am going to print an 11×14 on 13×19 paper which means that I have to trim off 93 square inches of paper. Here is where the fun begins. Let’s do some math. A 50 pack of 13×19 Premium Luster paper costs $93.00. That works out to be $.0075 a square inch. Now if I have to trim all my prints to 11×14, that means I am throwing away 4650 square inches of paper from each pack of 50 sheets. Now multiply that number by the cost per square inch and I am now tossing $34.87 in the trash. I haven’t done the math for those that are using the 17×22 paper and trimming down to 16×20 but I am sure it is comparable. Now I know what many of you are thinking, why not choose another paper company that actually makes U.S. standard sizes? And you are right; there are companies that do support those of us in the U.S. that don’t want to spend a fortune on custom frames and mats (Red River Paper to name one). But here’s an interesting factoid, of the 24 different brands of paper listed on the B&H Photo web site, there are only 19 products available in the 11×14 size from from three different brand names. Two products from Epson (Premium Glossy and Heavyweight Matte), three from Ilford (I’m not real crazy about their paper), and the balance from Inkpress whose papers I have never used. Not a single product from Canon, or HP, or Hahnemuhle. So here’s my bottom line, c’mon Epson, how much paper do you really sell in Europe as opposed to the U.S.? I want my full bleed 11×14 paper without paying for Super B. And just what the hell does Super B mean anyway (it makes me think of a 1971 Dodge Charger)? It’s time to step up to the plate and become a true industry leader by offering paper sizes that don’t require custom frames. Oh, and just for the record, 81/2 x 11 is a size for stationary and correspondence and is not a standard photographic print size.
Stay tuned for my next rant about the framing industry and their lack of support for European paper sizes 🙂