Epson printers have always been at the forefront in terms of image quality. Their earlier model, the Epson Stylus Photo R1900, has been very successful in the professional A3 segment for quite a long time.
The printer’s continual success meant that it did not require an improved model to take on the competition. Hence Epson did not launch a new A3+ professional model in India for almost two years, which eroded the company’s chances of winning awards in this category. This year, Epson has introduced a new model in the professional A3+ category, the Epson Stylus Photo R3000.
Design and Build Quality
The Epson Stylus Photo R3000 carries the Epson standard of excellence in build quality. As is the case with all A3+ capable photo printers, this machine is not very compact. But the box-type design allows it to make good use of the space on a desk. The printer does not have any projection and the control panel is neatly arranged. The front panel has the power button, cancel button, navigation buttons and back buttons along with the status LCD. There is a PictBridge/USB Direct Print port near the base on the left side. The back of the printer has the AC input, USB port, and network port.
The Epson R3000 printer uses Epson’s proprietary Advanced Micro Piezo print head with ink-repelling coating technology. It features 8 channels with 180 nozzles each. The print head can inject inks at a minimum droplet size of 2 picolitres, which means that the device can reproduce fine details. It features Variable Size Droplet Technology that helps in producing up to three different droplet sizes on a single line. Along with Epson’s Active Meniscus Control Technology that precisely controls the curvature of every ink droplet within each nozzle, the printer is claimed to provide exceptional image quality. The printer also features AccuPhoto HD2 Image Technology that ensures precise placement of ink droplets to produce grain-free images, optimise ink use to maximise colour gamut, and smooth transitions and gradations. The R3000 features Advanced Black-and-White Photo mode, which helps you obtain black and white images to suit your tastes.
The R3000 can print at a maximum resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi on various media with a maximum paper width of 13 inches. The maximum printable area is 13 x 44 inches when using roll paper. The top-loading paper feeder can handle up to 120 sheets of plain paper or 30 sheets of photo paper. The front single sheet manual feeder is designed for media up to 1.3mm thick. The device uses pigment based Epson Ultra Chrome K3 ink system with 9 cartridges (only 8 are used at a time). The cartridges are Photo Black, Matte Black, Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Vivid Light Magenta, Light Black, and Light Light Black. Photo Black or Matte Black is automatically chosen according to the media type used. The reformulated magenta inks are believed to deliver a wider gamut of colour.
Epson claim a maximum print speed of approximately 1 min 33 sec for an 8 x 10 inch print and approximately 2 min 30 sec for a 13 x 19 inch print. The printer has a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Ethernet and wireless connectivity. The device measures 615 x 368 x 229 mm (W x D x H) and weighs 15.8 kg.
The printer is easy to set up and operate. The display on the status monitor is readable from a wide angle and it informs about the ink level in each cartridge. The printer incorporates three feeding paths to handle media. The new front path is front-in, front-out and it can handle fine art papers, canvas, thick media, CD/DVDs and photo papers. PerformanceThe Epson Stylus Photo R3000 did not disappoint us on the test bench. Epson supplied us with Epson Glossy Photo Papers for this review. The printer reproduced images excellently with precise colours. It reproduced a wider gamut of colours than its predecessors, thanks to the improved ink system. Colour separation was excellent. The R3000 reproduced fonts with good resolution. Black and white fonts could be resolved up to 0.2 pt, which is the maximum possible in our tests. Line resolution was also impressive. Colours bled a little, but the fonts could be resolved up to 4 pts in colour, which is good. Shadow details were reproduced very well. We tested the printer with saturated colours and did not observe any distinguishable colour bleeding. Subtle colours were reproduced as in the original images with fine detail. The R3000 did not have any problems in reproducing various skin tones.
We tested the printing speed at both Max Speed and Max Quality settings. We did not find any perceptible differences in the A4-size prints. With Max Quality setting engaged, the printer took just over four minutes to print an A4 size image, while at Max Speed, it printed the same image on the same paper in one minute and 40 seconds, which is impressive for a professional quality photo printer.
Value for Money
The Epson Stylus Photo R3000 retails at an MRP of Rs.69,999. This is on the higher side for an A3-plus size desktop printer.