Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 review

A photo purist, the Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 printer aims to make your images look good on paper

Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 review
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Small on the outside but with big photo printing potential on the inside, the Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 punches above its weight. Indeed, it can create extremely punchy-looking output on glossy photo paper, which you might find a little too vivid if you let ‘auto corrections’ have their own way. Tame the beast with standard settings and your photos should look great. With a built-in scanner, photocopying is a doddle as well.


  • +

    Fast, high-quality photo output

  • +

    Full line-up of six individual inks

  • +

    Compact and clever


  • -

    ‘Photo paper’ tray has limited size

  • -

    Auto corrections can be overly vivid

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Most of us only want to run one printer at home. It’s no surprise then, that 5-ink printers have become enormously popular over the last few years, featuring cyan, yellow, magenta and black dye-based inks, plus a pigment-based black ink. The catch is that the pigment black ink is only really used for creating crisp-looking text in documents, so you’re limited to just four dye-based inks for photo printing. The colors of the inks are carefully formulated to enable realistic photo output but the gamut (or color range) is still a bit on the thin side.

Epson has stuck to its traditional 6-ink photo printing range of CMYK, plus light cyan and light magenta for its latest Expression Photo XP-8600 A4 printer. The aim is not only to increase the gamut but also to enable smoother graduations, from skin tones to blue skies and everything in between. The inks themselves are of the latest Claria Photo HD variety, with an archival rating of 300 years if you put prints in an album. Suffice it to say your prints can be enjoyed by future generations.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.