By Steve Baczewski
The US$849.99 Epson Stylus Photo R3000 printer (http://www.epson.com) is for professional photographers and fine artists in a low-volume production setting who demand exhibition-quality color and black-and-white prints.
The R3000 is essentially a smaller tabloid-size version of Epson’s highly regarded Stylus Pro 3880. Some of the benefits handed down are nine-cartridge UltraChrome K3 inks; an eight channel, ink-repellent print head to prevent nozzle clogging (it does); and screening technology.
For the first time in an Epson A3 printer, both photo and matte black ink cartridges are housed together. No more time-consuming, ink-wasting cartridge swapping. The switch is done at the new color control panel that guides you through this and other processes. Epson also added high-capacity 25.9 ml ink cartridges, as well as wireless and Ethernet connectivity. The R3000 prints sheets up to 13 × 19 inches or 13 × 44 inches on roll.
The solid-feeling, 35-lb R3000 has a relatively small footprint. Prints are full of detail due to the screening technology and precise placement of variable-size ink droplets down to 2 picoliters. The R3000 printed my reference target with precision, producing smooth color gradients, a wide rich color gamut, deep blacks with plenty of shadow and highlight detail, and accurate flesh tones.
Installation includes excellent ICC paper profiles; however, you must calibrate and profile your monitor to benefit. An A3 print takes approximately 2 minutes 40 seconds and ink swapping from 1 minute 40 seconds to 3 minutes depending on which black ink you’re switching to.
In addition to the top-loading paper input tray, there’s a new front-loading paper path for single sheets of thick paper. It’s much more reliable than the past rear feeder but still lacks simplicity. It necessitates opening and closing the feeding tray, and over time, I wonder if it will hold up. A single path for all paper would be great. That said, this is a great printer.
Rating: 8 out of 10
(This review is brought to you courtesy of “Layers Magazine”: http://layersmagazine.com/ .)