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Product Review | Epson PictureMate Show

Say hello to the Epson PictureMate Show. A few weeks ago I received an email from Epson's PR firm asking me if I was interested in reviewing one of their new Artisan printers. Since I already use (and love) one of their over-sized printers (the R2000) I asked them if I could try one of their small-format portable printers instead.

Some of you might remember when I started Project Life again in 2011 I also purchased a Canon Selphy printer. I ended up giving it to a friend because the size of the photos was not a true 4x6 (it was a bit smaller) and that mattered to me. My friend has been completely happy with it. At that time people recommended that I try an Epson PictureMate but I just got used to using my larger printer to print the smaller photos and that was that.

Even though I'm super happy with my current process (printing 4x6 via the R2000) I was excited to test out the PictureMate Show and see how it worked. I love the idea of being able to have a printer downstairs or one that could potentially travel with us (portability).

Out of the box there were simple directions to follow.

I pulled the memory card from my camera and placed it in the slot on the printer. It's totally not part of my routine to take my memory card out of my camera. Usually I just connect my camera to my computer via USB cord, upload to Aperture, and then delete the images off my camera.

With this printer you use a remote control to scroll through the settings.

I printed two photos from my card:

I was impressed with the prints and excited. I love the idea of a small printer.

As you can see this printer has a really big screen. The idea is that you can also use this little printer to showcase your photos with a slide-show feature. I don't have enough photos on there yet to use that feature (it does come with some photos already loaded but I wasn't really interested in seeing a slide show of random stock photos).

As part of the test I also took it upstairs and connected it to my main computer with a USB cord. The cord doesn't come in the box but you might already have one around you can use. It took a bit of time for me to get the driver/software installed. I was having some issues getting it to load (running Mac OS 10.7.3) and finally just re-started my computer and the printer popped right up in my system preferences. When in doubt always restart.

From that point I was able to print from any of my programs directly to the PictureMate. Almost all my photos for Project Life this week were printed with this printer via Photoshop.

The paper is a bit thinner than the Epson paper I've been using with my larger printer and one thing I noticed is that the black and white has a much warmer tone than when printing off my big printer (I tried selecting both "color" and "black and white" in the print settings but they came out looking the same - the photo was adjusted to black and white in Photoshop).

My overall impression so far is very positive. Easy to use, prints 4x6 and smaller prints (has the ability to crop and do some smaller custom sizes - I didn't play with that enough yet to really comment on it but I did print out three wallets - three different photos on two sheets and that worked well) and connects to my main computer.

As I was reading through the manual tonight I also saw that you can connect a Bluetooth Photo Print Adapter and print wirelessly. Might have to try that too - would be cool to print from my phone that way.

I'll give you another update down the road and let you know if my initial impressions are holding strong. So far, so good.

NOTE | If you end up ordering this printer you'll want to pick up a Epson T5846 Picturemate 200-series print pack (includes ink & paper) because the initial ink cartridge only works for about 10-20 prints.

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49 thoughts

  1. Project Life 2012 | Week Ten | Ali Edwards says…
    03/13/2012

    [...] I used my new Epson PictureMate Show for a bunch of my photos this week (which was awesome timing since it was time for new ink on my R2000). You can check out my review over on my other blog today. [...]

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. dawn says…
    03/13/2012

    How cute and fun this little printer is, so glad it worked for you.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Brenda DellaVecchia says…
    03/13/2012

    I got the regular PictureMate a few months ago and I am in love with it. I was really skeptical about the print quality but after reading pages and pages of positive reviews I took the plunge.

    DON'T MISS this feature. Using the Epson Easy Photo Print software that comes with the machine there is an option on the page where you pick your sizes called Frame Menu. Here you can custom build frames so instead of the regular two-up 3x4 I made a 2-up sized for Project Life little pockets. No need to build them out in Photoshop or anything. You can resize the pictures within the window on the fly.

    It would also be great to use with your overlays. Anyway, check it out. - It's the FRAME MENU option. It's easy to figure out.

    Oh - one more cool thing. I measured on of my larger square punches and made a template for that so I could print two squares on a page and punch them out leaving a nice white border.

    Reply 4 Replies
    1. Brenda DellaVecchia says…
      04/03/2012

      Sorry for the slow reply. The commit notice was going to my spam folder! Ugh!

      My punch was just 2 1/2 but that's the cool thing - just adjust your size to whatever size punch you have.

      Yes. It works just like the pre-made templates in the software. You can rotate and zoom in.

    2. Heather says…
      03/13/2012

      Can you adjust the crop when you do the custom sized smaller prints in that menu?

    3. Jessica Poelma says…
      03/13/2012

      Good tip!

    4. Maridette says…
      03/13/2012

      Awesome tip. Which punch is that?

  4. katrina says…
    03/13/2012

    I've been playing with this one, too :) I like to load fave pics onto a flash drive and use those to rotate on the digi display.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Kathy says…
    03/13/2012

    Looks great.......I would definately be interested in hearing the end result for you. Last year I was considering getting the little selphy printer until you decided it wasn't that good for project life after all.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Kim Shimer says…
      03/13/2012

      why is the selphy not good for PL?

  6. Ellie A. says…
    03/13/2012

    Looks fun. I would love to have a printer just for my PL pictures. I am curious about the ink and how fast you would need to replace it. That is a problem I am having w/my printer as I really go through ink fairly quickly.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Mollie Deem says…
      03/15/2012

      You can usually get more prints than come with the pack if you are printing in the smaller format sizes (not solid 4x6 prints).

      You also get more prints from the cartridge if you use it frequently. I find that if I print at least once a month that I will get more prints from a cartridge than if it sits for a few months between prints.

  7. patty says…
    03/13/2012

    yes... keep us posted on what you think/find!
    thanks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Jewel says…
    03/13/2012

    I have been using the Epson PictureMate Show since the beginning of the year for my PL photos. So far I love it! It is super easy to use and the photo quality is very good.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Carmen says…
      03/13/2012

      so you can print 3x4 tom fit in the project life sleves

  9. Mae says…
    03/13/2012

    Very much interested in finding out if it really works with the iphone.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Judy Webb says…
    03/13/2012

    Ali, I still have issues using a home printer. I want my photos to last!! not fade. I know things change, but I have been told that professional printing is so much better. I think professional photo printing is much cheaper also. What is you take??

    Reply 4 Replies
    1. Mollie Deem says…
      03/15/2012

      Not all home printers, papers, and ink systems are created equal! If you're really concerned about longevity, Epson is your best bet! They have ink systems, all with varying degrees of longevity (and cost). Their "entry level" archival ink system is the "Claria" inks. The Ultrachromes (available in the wide format printers) and their new Ultrachromes.

      The picturemate paper + ink is rated for 104 years under glass (longer in an album). I have had my picturemate since 2006 and my photos are holding up very nicely!

      For more information on the longevity of epson's ink systems check out http://www.epson.com/prxm/prxm_pdf/c31448_PermFlyerHoriz.pdf?BV_UseBVCookie=yes

      Check out Wilhelm Imaging Research www.wilhelm-research.com for more detailed info on Epson as well as other brands.

      The photo lab prints use an entirely different ink system and won't last as long as the Epson archival inks.

      HTH!

    2. Mollie Deem says…
      03/15/2012

      Oh... and at the risk of sounding like an informercial... :)

      The picturemates also have a much higher print resolution that comparable portable picture printers (i.e. Canon and HP) so you'll get a much better print quality with the picturemate.

    3. keely says…
      03/13/2012

      before i bought my first epson picturemate printer i did research and found that the photos would last >75 years if you used the epson ink and photo paper. that's long enough for me. that was at least 7-8 years ago. i am now on my second printer and love it!! i found it to be perfect for PL.

    4. Diane says…
      03/13/2012

      I too have this same question/concern about home printing. A couple years ago I printed pictures for a gallery wall. Every single home printed picture has faded a ton compared to the ones that were professionally printed. I used ink labeled for photos and photo paper. :) Diane

  11. anya says…
    03/13/2012

    Thank you for the fantastic review, Ali. Printing photos outside of my home hasn't been the easy stop I've hoped it would be, so a printer is something I'm considering. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts of this one. As an aside - do you prefer glossy prints vs. matte prints and stick with one all the time, or do you mix it up? Thanks again!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Nicky from Canada says…
    03/13/2012

    It really seems the perfect soluction for project life!! Think I may have to save my pennies!! thanks for the review

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. megan says…
    03/13/2012

    I DO have the Artisan 730...had to give my son back his printer I had been borrowing...I missed my Epson! The 730 has stunning photo quality, and I love that I can send photos to the printer right from my phone...no wires needed! Instagram photos come out so perfect...a little crop on the 6 in side and they're done. Paper tray makes it so easy to load paper, and no reaching behind the printer! I love Epson products!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Amanda says…
    03/13/2012

    I have the picturemate dash and print most of my pictures in Yhe jumbo wallet size (2 x 3). I love putting different size photos on pages.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Niki Estes says…
    03/13/2012

    Great review, Ali! I'll be interested to hear what you think of it down the road. I have the Picturemate Charm. I loved it in the beginning. Now, it is barely a year old and constantly needs the heads cleaned to get a decent print, wastes a bunch of ink, and is not cost effective. I no longer recommend it. It's too bad because I usually love Epson printers and did love this one in the beginning, but it should last over a year if it's a decent printer. Please keep us updated on this model. I love the idea of a small format printer, but I'm uploading my photos to shutterfly now instead.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      03/13/2012

      Thanks for the heads up Niki - I'll be on the lookout for that issue.

  16. Jackie Baker says…
    03/13/2012

    Several of my friends have this and love it. But I also want to print 5 x 7. Think you could ask Epson for a new model?

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      03/13/2012

      HA :).

  17. Cindy P says…
    03/13/2012

    Great layout....as always! Thanks for the headsup on the printer. Always interested in what works well.

    P.S. When do we get a sneak peek around the office since you painted it white? :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Brenda DellaVecchia says…
    03/13/2012

    Diane - if you check back - what brand ink/paper did you use that faded? Wilhelm Research is a good resource for researching print life. I would like to look it up and see how it's rated.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Lina Fo says…
    03/13/2012

    Hi Ali,
    I know this is off topic but since I don't have a facebook account, wondered if you could include alpine skiing and waterskiing in your list of sports.
    Tks.

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Kelly says…
    03/13/2012

    I have one of the older Epson PictureMates and it was really nice but did not travel well at all. Every time I took it to a crop on on vacation I would need to clean the print heads and re-align. It would be nice to see if this version travels better. Thanks for the review and look forward to seeing more.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Tara says…
    03/13/2012

    I wonder of these are available in Australia yet. Would love one of these it looks fabulous. Thanks so much for the review. Will look further into it.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Jessica Poelma says…
    03/13/2012

    Thanks Ali for the review! I am looking for a small printer, just have got to take the plunge. Please do give a follow-up!

    Right now I have to go to wal-greens to print and it makes me a little behind on project life!

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Liz says…
    03/13/2012

    Would like to see the same black and white picture printed from both printers side by side to see the difference.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Melissa H says…
    03/14/2012

    The only home photo printer I've ever seen in use is a really old one so maybe this is old news but are the prints slightly....sticky/gritty feeling? The ones off the old printer my parents own have a very odd texture/feeling that I can't stand. If these newer ones print with a smooth/sturdy texture more like a photo from Costco or whatever I'd be interested!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Lida says…
    03/14/2012

    I have this printer! I replaced my original PM240 printer because of a paper jam and there is no place to get the old printer repaired. It cost just as much to repair it than to buy a new one. So I HAD to buy the PictureShow. I do like the printer, however, yes, I always run the print head cleaner 3 times before I do a print run which is about every 3-4 weeks. If you print every day you don't need to clean the heads.

    Yes, it travels with me because I like to print to get some instant gratification. It's fun. You just need to be careful how to transport it.

    The ink cartridge are very expensive because epson combines the paper with the ink cartridge. I have more paper than ink. I would like to use matte paper but can't. The company needs to start selling the ink cartridge alone at a more affordable price.

    As far as the slide show feature, it is fun to see your photos you took on that day especially the vacation photos.

    I'm glad you are testing this product. I like someone's idea of doing 5x7 printer with the 4x6 sizes.

    I really like hearing about the other tips too. Hopes my input helps.

    Reply 0 Replies

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