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Software Reviews

Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Guide

Thomas Berg (twberg)

Keywords: epson, stylus, 3880, printer, paper, non_nikon

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Table of Contents

Part 1 The printer Epson Stylus Pro 3880
Ink consumption and cartridge capacity
Print quality and reliability of Photoshop soft-proof preview
Observations concerning the print process
Manual paper feed and centering of media and image
So, how does the Pro3880 cope with interval and shutdown?
Procurement of consumables
My conclusion on the Epson Stylus Pro 3880
Part 1.1 A deeper look at possible driver installations
Part 2 Epson's new cotton-fibred fine art media Hot & Cold Press
Making the Press media available to the Epson Print Plug-In for Photoshop
Some final words



The partnership between Nikonians and Epson again offered me the opportunity to test-drive a professional photo printer from the current lineup – the Stylus Pro 3880. Epson Europe was kind enough to lend the printer over a period of several months and I am more than happy to share my experience and impressions with all Nikonians. Therefore, a big fat “THANKS” to Epson Europe!

This will not be a laboratory-style review but a blend of subjective report and tutorial. I intend to provide information and reliable hints as to avoid frustration by duplicating my mistakes; tailored to those who newly own this printer or seriously consider buying one.


The review comes in two independent parts: at first we look at the device itself and how to make best use of it. Part 2 covers the four Epson fine art media “Hot Press” and “Cold Press”, presented at the photokina 2010 trade fair. These are cotton-based media of fabulous quality, albeit burying a slim risk for failure to the inexperienced user.

An extremely condensed summary might read like this: both the Pro 3880 printer and the new fine art media are capable of delivering truly impressive results – provided the user does it all right. Proper preparation is a must and the key to success. Do not expect fully automated perfect plug‑and‑play results. Instead, the printer mercilessly unmasks every mistake made, be it during picture taking, image processing or in printer driver settings. Garbage in, garbage out. As a user of such printer, prepare yourself to apply best practice to all the steps in the chain (use tripod, check light, apply color management,…) because – quality in, quality out.

Allow me to provide some guidance and read on.

(1 Vote )
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Originally written on June 20, 2011

Last updated on June 3, 2014

Thomas Berg Thomas Berg (twberg)

Porz, Germany
Basic, 1 post


Thomas Berg (twberg) on August 11, 2011

@Bob: I am convinced there is sufficient similarity between 3800 and 3880. AFAIK the technical upgrade was rather subtle and the article should fit like a glove the R2880, 3800, 3880 and, within limits, R3000 models. It is anyway not a tech freak writeup.

Thomas Berg (twberg) on August 11, 2011

@Marketing: of course I agree to providing PDF's!

Robert Horner (Broadway Bob) on August 11, 2011

Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014warded for Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

Thomas, I have an Epson 3800 - is there enough similarity between this and the 3880 so that the tutorial would be useful? Thanks. Bob

Nikonians Marketing Department (nikonianssales) on August 10, 2011

@Del, It would be my pleasure to send you a pdf. If Thomas agrees just let me know your email. You can reach me under sales(at)nikonians(dot)org

Leon Guidry (periopnurse) on August 2, 2011

Very nice guide. I've had this printer for a while , and it's my first 'photo-dedicated' printer. Have been learning by trail and error (mostly error) This is a really handy bit of info you provided....Thanks!! Leon

Thomas Berg (twberg) on August 2, 2011

@Charles: Thanks for you kind comment; I'm glad you are so happy! @Del: Unfortunately I do not have the opportunity to provide a PDF version. I suggest you contact Hendric Schneider (hendric, the nikonians blogger) about that; he might be able to help.

User on August 2, 2011

Thomas, what a great review. I love my 3880. Have owned it for about 4 months. Your review is spot on in every regard. Good Job.

User on August 1, 2011

I can't figure out how to print the whole guide. Is there a way to save it as a pdf or buy it? del

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