Price: £558 plus VAT
Pros: Exceptional print quality; wide paper support; ethernet port
Cons: Lots of things are fiddly: no Photoshop CS5.1 or 64-bit support
Epson’s latest flagship photo printer is an upgraded version of the Stylus Photo R2880 -- adding a smaller droplet size for finer detail, an extra ink cartridge slot so you don’t have to swap between photo and matte black inks, a colour screen to make adjusting settings easier, and wireless and ethernet networking. There are also larger ink tanks to save you money in the long term. These are all handy features for a design studio looking for a proofer, or an illustrator who wants to make saleable prints.
The rest of the Epson Stylus Photo R3000’s feature set is equally impressive: eight pigment inks at once for superb colour prints that’ll last – with two grays alongside your black for excellent black-and-white reproduction. Paper up to 1.3mm thick is supported – though feeding it in is a convoluted process.
Prints from the Stylus Photo R3000 can be incredible, with rich colours, subtle shades and loads of detail. However, achieving them can be a nightmare.
Printing from Photoshop requires careful tweaking of the settings so Adobe’s tool controls the colours. Leave it up to the printer and you’ll end up with dull results. You could use the bundled Print Plug-in, but this is even more onerous to work with, and doesn’t support the 64-bit version of Photoshop CS5, or CS5.1 at all.
Wireless networking is a good idea, but printing large files takes an age. Ethernet is better, but our model resolutely refused to wake up from power save mode when we tried to print to it.
The Epson Stylus Photo R3000 is a fantastic printer, but Epson needs to rewrite the Mac driver now, as it’ll just infuriate you.