Epson has had a long mainstay in the printer category and with more number of photographers and artists embracing digital photography, a professional photo printer definitely makes for a worthy investment, not only for budding enthusiasts, but also for pros. They are also a necessity for graphic designers, artists and photographers who require extremely high resolution prints for their studios, rather than them being used for general everyday printing. After the R2880, Epson launched the latest Stylus Photo R3000 printer, which aims to beat the competition out there. Let’s have a look if it does so.
Design and Build Quality
The R3000 looks relatively miniscule in its closed state, as compared to when you’ve got all it’s flaps and covers open. It comes in a dual-tone finish of black and silver and inspite of all the plastics involved in the build, it looks quite sturdy and is built to last. It’s incredibly heavy at 15 kg, but considering that it’s going to just sit out there in your lab, studio or work room, there’s no reason to worry about the weight. The finish on the front is glossy and tends to attract fingerprints over a period of time.
Button placement is quite good
The back consists of the power cord, the LAN port and the standard printer port to connect to the computer. The printer supports rolls of paper, which are present at the back of the printer. The top consists of two flaps - the first one to feed the various paper formats, and the second one gives access to the printer’s insides, the cartridge tanks and rollers. The front consists of the power button, enter, delete and return buttons as well as the directional keypad. Button feedback is pretty decent and there’s a click sound everytime a button is pressed. The ink check light above the delete button flashes when there’s an error or when the ink in the cartridges is low. The LCD panel fits neatly in the middle of the buttons and though not the most vivid of displays, it’s pretty enough to get your work done. Overall, the design and construction of the R3000 is definitely impressive.
But see the transformation when opened
The R3000 comes with 9-colour Epson UltraChrome K3 ink cartridges with the Vivid Magenta pigment ink. Each cartridge is filled with 25.9 ml of ink and the printer is capable of producing images at a resolution is 5670 x 1440 dpi. A wide number of paper formats, including A4, A3+, A3, letter and the small 4 x 6 photograph prints are supported. The paper roll mechanism allows continuous printing on the A3 sheets, but there’s no cutter, so that bit of work will have to be done manually. The printer accommodates cut-sheet and roll paper in sizes up to 13-inch wide and supports photographic and fine art paper, canvas, art boards and CD/DVDs as well. Connectivity options include Wireless 802.11n and 100 Mbit Ethernet support, but don’t expect it to print off USB or SD cards because those options aren’t really required.
Nine colour cartridges
The printer comes with two black ink tanks - one meant for photo and matte and depending upon your source paper, the printer uses the appropriate black. The ink changing mechanism is automatic and is initiated when you press the print button. The R3000 also comes with a sleep mode feature, which utilizes relatively less power than when it’s in the normal printing mode.
Simple User interface
The user interface is pretty simple and navigation is facilitated via the directional keys. Also, the various icons and their functions are displayed on the LCD screen, so you won’t end up meddling with the wrong options. The control panel has detailed instructions and simple guides that show up on the screen if you’re unsure about a particular function, which saves you the trouble of referring to the user guide. The status panel on the screen also displays the ink levels on each of the cartridges and which of the two - photo or matte black, are currently in use.
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