A rant about Epson inkjet paper sizes!

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 :-)

Comments

  1. Mike Palmer says:

    Hey Jeff, I went thru a similar issue when I got my r2400, but alas there is a fix, http://www.archivalmethods.com, go to the frames, the sell 20×24 frame kits with matte cut to 12×18, or just get the mattes, and 20×24 frames at michaels. they are 61.50 for the full kit, MHO is they are worth every penny.

  2. Mike Palmer says:

    also if you go that route, get filmoplaste P 90 tape for a hinge at the top of the print, the adhesive corners are a little awkard to use.

  3. Thanks Mike. I guess my real issue is that I can walk in to any number of stores and purchase off the shelf frames for 15 to 20 bucks that would look great without the expense of frame kits. The big problem is that I can’t print to 11×14 without having to trim a lot of unprinted space from a sheet of 13×19. I have been in the photo business for 25 years and there have been standard photographic sizes in the U.S. ever since I can remember. I just believe that Epson should support these sizes since (and I am just making an assumption here) I bet that the U.S. market for paper and ink is much larger than the European market.

    Thanks for the info on the archivalmethods site. I’ll check there to see if they can provide me with a pleasing solution.

  4. Frank Moore says:

    I have the same problem but do not understand why you are cutting your 11×14 out of 13×19 paper – use the smaller A3 (11.7×16.5) and you’ll have less waste. Still not a good solution and I agree Epson should do better but it will save you some dinero.

  5. You are right about the A3 paper Frank, but have you ever run out to your local BestBuy and tried to find A3 paper? You can find the SuperB at every place inkjet paper is sold but if you want a size like the A3 you have to order it online.

  6. William Chinn says:

    And another factoid: I guess due to market demand Red River consistently sells 8.5 x 11 paper cheaper than 8 x 10 when available. It may be an historical reason when they were both the same price at one time and the customers chose the larger for flexibility and practicality (once they bought a paper cutter).

  7. Jeff, you’ve hit the nail on the head and you’re not alone just because you have an Epson printer. I have the same paper issues with my Canon PIXMA Pro9000 printer and Canon’s supply of paper sizes. I can find the SuperB (just like you stated above) but I cannot find anything in the 11×14/17 sizes, nor in the 12×18 sizes (and Hobby Lobby sells 18×22 ready-to-hang frames with mats that a 12×18 print fits in perfectly.)

    It’s a shame Canon and Epson can’t meet their US paper demands. Aren’t they US-based companies? They don’t act like it….

  8. John Pitcher says:

    Good to see this issue see the light of day! Been a problem since I began digital printing.Waste of my money and large product waste as well. Of couse these are Japanese companies.

  9. I have yet to find 13 X 19 frames in local outlets. There are a FEW on the net; but since this is apparently a standard size for proofing and other professional uses, it seems amazing that there are not frames generally available.

    Nice site!

    bye for now

  10. Assuming there is one locally, I’ve noticed Ikea carries only funky Euro sized frames for not a lot of coin. My wife is always browsing through them and I have to ALWAYS remind her that my prints from the pro lab come in _normal_ (for USA) sizes and won’t fit Ikea frames. Might be worth a visit as an alternate solution since we all know Epson, Canon, etc respond quickly to their consumers requests. ;*)

  11. I agree about the paper size issue, it has always been a problem. From the days of film and medium format and to now my digital workflow, it would be better if places like Michael’s and Ikea realize there is a market to sell frames that match 13×19 type sizes. I personally have always been keen on the square and 13×19 type ratios and finding a frame and mat that is not special order has always been a challenge. A while back I started to cut my own mats and make simple wood and metal frames. It may take a little more of your personal time but in the long run it can save you a lot of money and frustration looking for the inexpensive frames and mats.

    cheers
    Mike

  12. Jeff… I guess you’re proving the point that anyone can write or post to a blog — no experience necessary.
    Of course by now you know that the sizes that trouble you are not European, but world-wide (as in “global economy”).
    More to the point, only an amateur prints to a paper size. You crop to your artistic ability whether it uses all the paper or only part of it. Its the image that counts; not filling a sheet of paper so that there’s no “waste.”
    To frame to a standard available frame size, you mount the print on a mat that fits the frame.
    Hope this helps.

  13. Strat,
    Thanks for your comment. your rhetoric is appreciated even if it is misplaced. I believe that you were missing the point of this particular blog entry. First off, yes, I did mis-speak on the paper sizes being European in nature and are instead based on ISO standards. Secondly, the U.S. doesn’t deal with many ISO standards. We like our liquids in gallons and our measurements in feet. Considering the size of the U.S. market, I would think that the major paper manufactures would take that into account when rolling out new product that they could accommodates U.S. standards (note the response from Dan Steinhardt of Epson who says “Epson is looking at bringing out traditional North American photography sizes”). The third point that I believe you are missing is that I don’t want to spend tons of cash on custom solutions. This is the case for most folks that aren’t printing for a gallery (most “professionals” who offer their prints for sale are doing so in standard North American print sizes). As for the amateur part, maybe it’s the fact that I have been shooting for 25 years and doing it professionally for 20 years that has ingrained a sense of image size standards into my mindset. I would think that you would find most amateurs to be more accepting of the paper sizes since they wouldn’t know any better. For those of us with Dektol in our blood and fixer stained hands, we have been using these standards for a long time and it’s hard to teach us old dogs the new tricks.

    PS – Anyone can write a blog. Isn’t it a wonderous thing

  14. Iain Gunther says:

    I got onto this link from PhotoshopTV. I live in France and have a reverse problem. Why do you people in America persist in using “Letter” as a paper size? The planet on which we live has decided that as a group of people we should standardise (ize for you guys) on many things…like Petroleum is sold in USD and there are many other examples AND paper is manufactured in ISO sizes. Yes, America is a big market but when you talk paper it’s only a player like everyone else and perhaps you should think about everyone, not just yourselves? This link explains the reasoning. http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/iso-paper.html

  15. Perhaps my meaning wasn’t clear. I am not looking to replace the entire world market with North American paper sizes. What I want is product that is more representative of the marketplace where it is being marketed in. To this day I can’t understand why most paper manufacturers insist on making photographic papers in a “letter” size format. This is perhaps one of the most baffling of all the paper sizes. It also goes to prove my point that they could make paper available in more traditional sizes if they wanted to. The 8 1/2×11 paper size is a mainstay of North American business but has no place in photography. But since it is a paper size that is familiar to the North American market it has been the dominant photo size available to consumers. My issue is more with the sizing available for professionals. If they can market a size like 8 1/2 x 11 because it is common in the marketplace, why not serve the needs of professionals whose common sizes are not those used by the international community

  16. The big printer companies like Canon, Epson, and Hewlett-Packard, offer their own complete lines of inks and papers. And it’s no surprise each manufacturer claims that you’ll get the best results when you use their paper and ink. They even claim third party products will void your warranty. This is not true!

    hoosing the right kind of paper for photo printing is the key to getting great looking prints. Using professional photo paper will give you the best results as they are especially designed for this purpose.

  17. CUSTOM PAPER SIZES – the problem here is not the standard paper sizes but the inferior print drivers produced by epson, who blames the operating system companies. why can’t the software be written so you can create custom sizes for an inkjet printer.

  18. Hi, I found myframes.com have 13″ by 19″ frames.

  19. What a palaver! Like Ian Gunther, I am fed up with American sizes (for Blurb Books, for example, where I can’t get a book made in A4 format).

    All you have to do is ask your art dealers to stock A size frames, or persuade frame manufacturers to make a range of A sized frames to suit the Epson paper – point out that they are ‘missing a trick by not doing so. They are the standard product over here (I’m in the Isle of Man).

  20. I am trying to understand why you would want to place a 13 x 19 print in a 13 x 19 frame in the first place. After a while that print will stick to the glass and will also get damaged. I just printed one of my photos on 13 x 19 paper edge to edge, though I normally do not do this. I like to leave a minimum 1/2″ space around the edge to handle the print.

    Anyways, I bought an 18 x 24 frame and cut my own mat. This allowed a 2-5/8″ mat border all the way around the print. The cost of good paper and ink is not cheap. I do not want the print touching the glass.

    That is my 2 cents worth and just my thoughts.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] of Jeff’s Photo Gallery posted some shots of old town Manassas, had a rant about Epson paper sizes and talked about using the Mac’s Automator tool with Photoshop Action [...]

  2. [...] Last week, Epson announced their groundbreaking new Signature Worthy Exhibition Fiber Art paper, and after I wrote about it here on the blog, Jeff Revell (Over at the popular Jeff’s Photo Gallery Blog), did a post (he called it a rant), about Epson’s choice of only offering European paper sizes here in the U.S. (you can read Jeff’s rant right here). [...]

  3. [...] Photo Gallery Blog) shares my annoyance with the mismatch (see Jeff’s “rant” here).  And for an industry representative’s unofficial response, see Scott Kelby’s [...]

  4. [...] not going to get into the whole deal now but please feel free to check it out for yourself right here).  The reason that this got me thinking was how Terry now had to try and find a frame for his [...]

  5. [...] with the lack of display products available for that size print (I have come a long way since my rant about photo paper sizes 5 years ago). Things have really started to change though and you can now easily find mats and [...]

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