My conclusion on the Epson Stylus Pro 3880:
Oh, it is great fun to create size A2 prints using such a capable device and I wholeheartedly recommend it!
In particular I love the results obtained on matte media. Frankly, I prefer a dye ink system for high gloss prints, but pigmented ink is really hard to beat on matte media. The Pro3880 demonstrates how high the bar has been raised and it also shows how much the print output depends on flawless source data and careful image processing.
Any passionate and skilled photographer who applies decent care to all steps of image creation can be sure that the Pro3880 will not let them down. The same applies to the smaller brothers R2880 and R3000, utilizing the same Ultrachrome-K3 ink system, however the step-up in size makes more of a difference to the viewer than the sheer size figures indicate. Size matters and bigger is better, provided the source data live up to the quality that the Pro3880 can deliver. Most likely you will print a cell phone camera shot only once in such a big size. In turn, a properly processed high resolution DSLR image is something you wish you could jump into. True eye candy. The achievable level of detail is stunning even when viewed from much closer than newspaper reading distance.
You should have sufficient space for this printer and the budget for ink and media and, of course, time for image processing. The Pro3880 wants to be properly installed and fed with top-notch data. Best print results can be achieved from cameras featuring 12 MP or more because each and every mistake will be printed without mercy. This is both a blessing and a curse. I consider it a fruitful challenge – each large size print depicts a mirror of my skills. Size A2 prints exhibit both the full image and the high resolution. This is something no computer monitor can do; due to the much coarser pixel pitch monitors provide either a detail view in full resolution or the complete image in poor resolution. Therefore, large prints provide a quality of viewing that you do normally not experience.
Those being undecided between procuring a Pro3880 or the smaller R2880/R3000 should opt for the larger model. In direct comparison, prints in A2 size look much more impressive than A3+ and provide more for the eye of the observer.
If there is any negative point to mention, than the issue of automatic head cleaning. However, this must be balanced against the price of large size media. At roundabout 8 Euro ($11 to $12 USD) cost per sheet the spillage of ink makes only a fraction of the total cost; compared to the price of office paper it is huge. But, the objective of such a printer is to provide large size high quality fine art prints and not serve as office inkjet. My results achieved with the Pro3880 leave no doubt – it is a printer for artists. My deep respect to Epson’s engineers, they have done a great job.
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