Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Pigment Inkjet Printer Review - Digital Photography School

Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Pigment Inkjet Printer Review

I’ve owned an Epson 1290 A3 printer for some years now and have loved it like a brother!

The 1290 weighs 8.4 kgs with overall dimensions of 609x414x766mm (WHD). Colour: basic beige.

Epson Stylus Photo R3000.jpg

The R3000 is quite a different beast: heavy as lead at 15kg and measuring 616x228x369mm, it’s styled in black. Not my favourite colour for office gear … the onboard controls are frequently hard to read.

Inks.JPG

Ink technology has come a long way: the R3000 is a nine ink cartridge printer; three inks are monochrome. Each cartridge has 25.9 ml loaded.

This review is a user report, not an exhaustive tear-down.

Under Way

I had a sticky start: having unpacked the printer, loaded inks, slipped some test sheets of paper ink into the tray, I looked in the box for a manual. None!

Then the drivers to link my Mac and the Epson? None!

Ten minutes later, after a hunt on the Web I got going. And I have to say, with barely a glance at the PDF instructions I was printing test sheets in seconds. It was that easy!

Menu.jpg

Epson describes the R3000 as a ‘creative printer’. With this label I have no argument, as it seems to be suited not only to advanced amateur use, but also semi-professional and pro photographers.

Printer ink levels.jpg

Ink levels.jpg

The nine high capacity cartridges of Epson UltraChrome K3 include Vivid Magenta pigment ink, networking and wireless connectivity and advanced front-in front-out, fine art media handling. The printer is claimed to produce “gallery-quality black-and-white prints, plus vivid colour prints with breathtaking blues and violets.” We’ll see.

The ink droplet size is a tiny 2 picolitres. The control panel is relatively simple: on/off button, four way rocker and central OK button plus another. The LCD screen measures 6.4cm and confirms the status of various sections with an especially useful ink cartridge indicator.

The printer has built-in 100 Mbit Ethernet for wired networking, or you can take advantage of the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi technology for wireless connectivity. The R3000 also includes Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and PictBridge for direct printing from cameras and viewers for added flexibility.

It can output prints from 4×6 inch (10x15cm) to A3+ (32.9×48.3cm). Art boards up to 1.3mm thick can be loaded (from the front), as can ink jet printable CDs and DVDs.

The built-in roll paper path allows printing panoramas up to 44 inches (111.8cm) long on matte, satin, glossy, canvas and photographic papers.

Prints 1.JPG

Prints 2.JPG

Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Verdict

Printing my standard tests chart I was not only surprised but delighted that the output on Epson Premium Glossy photo paper matched the screen display to within about 90 per cent fidelity.

Another test image, a wonderfully rich colour image of a Ford pickup, came to within 80 per cent of the display, even showing a slight overall yellow cast from a warm sun. Great results!

Black and white prints were absolutely superb, aided and abetted by Photoshop’s impressive conversion of mono images. If you were deeply into B&W printing I figure you could justify the cost of the R3000 for this task alone. It’s that good!

Timing the output of an A3 print, it took exactly three minutes.

Some printer! Ideal for not only high quality photographic printing but also the usual office jobs … business cards, labels, correspondence, etc.

You can download the PDF printer brochure at: www.epson.com.au/products/brochures/R3000_brochure_single_pg_web2.pdf

Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Specifications

  • Print Head: Advanced Micro Piezo AMC print head with ink-repelling coating technology.
  • Printing Technology: On-demand inkjet with Variable-sized Droplet Technology. 180 nozzles for each ink colour. Minimum droplet size: 2 picolitres.
  • Resolution: Max. 5760×1440 dpi.
  • Paper Sizes: Cut Sheet: 89 to 329mm (3.5 to 13 inches)
  • Max. Paper Weight/Thickness: 1.3 mm.
  • Ink Cartridges: Pigment-based Epson UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta inks (Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Vivid Light Magenta, Light Black, Light Light Black; auto switching between Photo and Matte Black)
  • Cartridge Ink Capacity: 25.9 ml each colour x 9 colours total
  • Interfaces: Hi-Speed USB 2.0 (1 port), 100Base-T Ethernet (1 port), Wi-Fi Certified (802.11n only)
  • System: Windows 7/Vista/XP/XP Pro; Mac OS X 10.5-10.6.
  • Power Consumption: Printing: approx. 21 W. Sleep mode: approx. 3.7 W. Power off: approx. 0.4W
  • Acoustic Noise: Approx. 38 dB according to ISO 7779.
  • Dimensions (WHDmm): Closed: 616x228x369 mm. Open: 616x424x814
  • Weight: Approx. 15kg (without ink cartridges).
  • Compare Price: Get a price on the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 at Amazon OR get a price on the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Inkjet Printer at B&H Photo.
Summary
Reviewer
Barrie Smith
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Pigment Inkjet Printer
Author Rating
5

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • Jose Jimenez

    Thank you for the review. No doubt an impressive printer as are similar models from Canon, HP etc, but what the companies that manufacture them hope consumers don’t realize until after they’ve purchased them is the horrendous cost of replacement ink cartridges. Sometimes just replacing a full set once can equal or exceed the original cost of the printer. Also, the ink content of the cartridges is purposely kept to a minimum to further increase the rate at which the cartridges become empty. Canon has even made their cartridges opaque so it is impossible to check the ink levels.There were a number of class action lawsuits brought against the major companies by consumer groups several years ago because they were attempting to block sales of cheaper 3rd party ink cartridges and refill kits. Advertising campaigns ran attempting to convince buyers that 3rd party inks were inferior and produced poor results. (No, I don’t work for any companies that produce inks) It is questionable whether or not these were successful in the long run as Canon et al don’t seem to be having financial troubles in their printer divisions. I don’t believe any company would use a printer like this for business use as the expense would be unjustifiable.

  • SeaGrizzly

    I have been looking for a prosumer home printer for some time now and just can’t justify the cost of the 50+ cents per print for these guys. Does anybody know of a quality printer to use at home that doesn’t cost so much per print? I am sick of running to the store to print out my pictures every other day or so.

  • Atanjeo

    You pay (Europe) ~1000€/liter, but even for a big format Printer like the Epson 7900 you also have to pay ~450€/liter.

    In Germany you can find specialisted Companys like Fotodesign Winkler. They offer special cartridges with autoreset Chips and alternative ink. The Quality is the same, somentimes even better. Price is about 1/3 of the original.
    I’m sure you can find similar offers in the US.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/lancekoz lance kozlowski

    re seagrizzly….. I guess it is all a matter of perspective. A pro may cringe, but I use a commonly available Canon MP560 and it makes wonderful prints with a little tweaking of the settings . Other brand ink cartridges usually work well in it and are a fraction of the Canon price. It makes prints only up to 8.5 by 11 inch, tho they can be made full bleed and look impressive. If you really want to save, very nice prints can be made on any bright paper, but love the results on Staples matte photo paper, at roughly half the cost of big brand glossy photo papers.

  • ccting

    which printer is most economical with acceptable quality for photos? Thank you

  • Lou

    Just wow……..for people lookingnfor a fabulous home printer for amazing professional quality pictures this is it.
    Read some more reviews out there.

    Jose………they sell ink!!!!! It is a profit deal. Would a company use this for regular printing…..of course not.

    Have you seen the images this thing makes? They are amazing. It prints 13×19….plus rolls up to 44″. Prints on canvas! And I forget the type of ink but its not the kind that the photo is no good in a year. Archival type ink. It is.
    Plus special papers. This is no regular printer. It brings printing in the home to professional quality.

    If you have this….you still keep your other printer.
    I’m getting this before the end of the month. At b&h they have a 200 rebate combined with a 100 off light room.
    Can’t wait to get it.

  • Lou

    For any Scott kelby fans out there he’ll tell you this is the real deal.

  • Jose Jimenez

    apparently the author of this article disagrees with you Lou… “Ideal for not only high quality photographic printing but also the usual office jobs … business cards, labels, correspondence, etc.”

  • Lou

    Only mentions prints. The cd and DVD is printed right on the the disk and not onto paper.

    If you get a chance Jose….maybe near b&h check it out.
    Was just blown away by the quality. Just could not have imagined how amazing it could look.
    The printing on canvas is simply astonishing.

  • JacksonG

    I just saw this printer at the PDN show in NYC and was amazed at the canvas prints. I’m a serious semi-pro photographer but I can’t justify the operating cost. Every time the machine is turned on or switched from color to B+W the black ink purges the system and quite a bit is lost, still it’s an amazing printer.

  • John Best

    Yes the print and the technology maybe top notch, but I agree with several regarding the ink costs. Particularly epson’s. I have been a committed Epson user for quite some time – impressed with their image quality, but I am about to throw mine in the trash due to their cartridge technology. Small tanks that cannot be refilled. Tank claiming empty even though ink exists in the tank (you can shake and hear it). Printer will not continue with a claimed empty tank, no way to fool it.. This method of squeezing the consumer is awful. Comparing prices of filling ink and taking images to a local store to print… no comparison.

  • Atanjeo

    @john Best

    yeah, you*re right. But when you compare the price you find no A3+ Printer with similar quality with cheaper ink- costs. Canon (9500 MK II & the new one) is even more expensive.

    BUT it is still possible to buy an alternative for the R3000:

    http://www.winkler-fotodesign.de/shop/Tintensysteme/FDW-Systeme-fuer-Epson-Desktop/FDW-Tintensysteme-fuer-Epson-R3000/

    There you pay 1/4 of the original price. Quality is the same. They told me they buy this alternative ink-system in the USA, so surely you can find this stuff there too.

  • Jon Hopwood

    I have tried to print panoramic prints on the R3000 with no luck. The print always stops at A3 length. I should be able to print up to 44 inches. Does anyone know how to do this? I am running mac os x lion. I would appreciate and help/links to tutorials as I have been searching for a long time. Thanks

Some older comments

  • Jon Hopwood

    December 18, 2011 09:44 pm

    I have tried to print panoramic prints on the R3000 with no luck. The print always stops at A3 length. I should be able to print up to 44 inches. Does anyone know how to do this? I am running mac os x lion. I would appreciate and help/links to tutorials as I have been searching for a long time. Thanks

  • Atanjeo

    November 16, 2011 07:41 am

    @john Best

    yeah, you*re right. But when you compare the price you find no A3+ Printer with similar quality with cheaper ink- costs. Canon (9500 MK II & the new one) is even more expensive.

    BUT it is still possible to buy an alternative for the R3000:

    http://www.winkler-fotodesign.de/shop/Tintensysteme/FDW-Systeme-fuer-Epson-Desktop/FDW-Tintensysteme-fuer-Epson-R3000/

    There you pay 1/4 of the original price. Quality is the same. They told me they buy this alternative ink-system in the USA, so surely you can find this stuff there too.

  • John Best

    November 15, 2011 11:07 pm

    Yes the print and the technology maybe top notch, but I agree with several regarding the ink costs. Particularly epson's. I have been a committed Epson user for quite some time - impressed with their image quality, but I am about to throw mine in the trash due to their cartridge technology. Small tanks that cannot be refilled. Tank claiming empty even though ink exists in the tank (you can shake and hear it). Printer will not continue with a claimed empty tank, no way to fool it.. This method of squeezing the consumer is awful. Comparing prices of filling ink and taking images to a local store to print... no comparison.

  • JacksonG

    November 5, 2011 10:25 pm

    I just saw this printer at the PDN show in NYC and was amazed at the canvas prints. I'm a serious semi-pro photographer but I can't justify the operating cost. Every time the machine is turned on or switched from color to B+W the black ink purges the system and quite a bit is lost, still it's an amazing printer.

  • Lou

    October 7, 2011 02:21 pm

    Only mentions prints. The cd and DVD is printed right on the the disk and not onto paper.

    If you get a chance Jose....maybe near b&h check it out.
    Was just blown away by the quality. Just could not have imagined how amazing it could look.
    The printing on canvas is simply astonishing.

  • Jose Jimenez

    October 7, 2011 01:02 pm

    apparently the author of this article disagrees with you Lou... "Ideal for not only high quality photographic printing but also the usual office jobs … business cards, labels, correspondence, etc."

  • Lou

    October 7, 2011 11:04 am

    For any Scott kelby fans out there he'll tell you this is the real deal.

  • Lou

    October 7, 2011 11:01 am

    Just wow........for people lookingnfor a fabulous home printer for amazing professional quality pictures this is it.
    Read some more reviews out there.

    Jose.........they sell ink!!!!! It is a profit deal. Would a company use this for regular printing.....of course not.

    Have you seen the images this thing makes? They are amazing. It prints 13x19....plus rolls up to 44". Prints on canvas! And I forget the type of ink but its not the kind that the photo is no good in a year. Archival type ink. It is.
    Plus special papers. This is no regular printer. It brings printing in the home to professional quality.

    If you have this....you still keep your other printer.
    I'm getting this before the end of the month. At b&h they have a 200 rebate combined with a 100 off light room.
    Can't wait to get it.

  • ccting

    September 30, 2011 07:04 pm

    which printer is most economical with acceptable quality for photos? Thank you

  • lance kozlowski

    September 30, 2011 07:08 am

    re seagrizzly..... I guess it is all a matter of perspective. A pro may cringe, but I use a commonly available Canon MP560 and it makes wonderful prints with a little tweaking of the settings . Other brand ink cartridges usually work well in it and are a fraction of the Canon price. It makes prints only up to 8.5 by 11 inch, tho they can be made full bleed and look impressive. If you really want to save, very nice prints can be made on any bright paper, but love the results on Staples matte photo paper, at roughly half the cost of big brand glossy photo papers.

  • Atanjeo

    September 30, 2011 12:31 am

    You pay (Europe) ~1000€/liter, but even for a big format Printer like the Epson 7900 you also have to pay ~450€/liter.

    In Germany you can find specialisted Companys like Fotodesign Winkler. They offer special cartridges with autoreset Chips and alternative ink. The Quality is the same, somentimes even better. Price is about 1/3 of the original.
    I'm sure you can find similar offers in the US.

  • SeaGrizzly

    September 28, 2011 12:18 am

    I have been looking for a prosumer home printer for some time now and just can't justify the cost of the 50+ cents per print for these guys. Does anybody know of a quality printer to use at home that doesn't cost so much per print? I am sick of running to the store to print out my pictures every other day or so.

  • Jose Jimenez

    September 26, 2011 06:14 pm

    Thank you for the review. No doubt an impressive printer as are similar models from Canon, HP etc, but what the companies that manufacture them hope consumers don't realize until after they've purchased them is the horrendous cost of replacement ink cartridges. Sometimes just replacing a full set once can equal or exceed the original cost of the printer. Also, the ink content of the cartridges is purposely kept to a minimum to further increase the rate at which the cartridges become empty. Canon has even made their cartridges opaque so it is impossible to check the ink levels.There were a number of class action lawsuits brought against the major companies by consumer groups several years ago because they were attempting to block sales of cheaper 3rd party ink cartridges and refill kits. Advertising campaigns ran attempting to convince buyers that 3rd party inks were inferior and produced poor results. (No, I don't work for any companies that produce inks) It is questionable whether or not these were successful in the long run as Canon et al don't seem to be having financial troubles in their printer divisions. I don't believe any company would use a printer like this for business use as the expense would be unjustifiable.

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