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Accessories Reviews

EPSON Stylus Photo R2880 Review

Thomas Berg (twberg)


Keywords: epson, stylus, photo, r2880, printer, paper, non_nikon

Page 2/9 show all pages

If you like photographs on paper and you like to hold newspaper-sized prints of your images, the EPSON R2880 and Pro3800 photo printers could be right for you.

These printers are even more suited to your needs if you answer "yes" to these questions:
1. Do you like to have control over your photography by making all image processing steps yourself?
2. Do you dislike waiting for the postman to deliver mail ordered prints a week later than anticipated?
3. Do you want prints to last without colours fading (just like good old days of chemical photo paper printing) and you are aware that pigmented ink has the edge over dye ink in several respects?
4. Do you know the basics of colour management, perhaps with experience working in front of a calibrated screen?
5. Are you not afraid of modifying colour management settings in your operating system, image processing applications and (ultimately) the printer driver?

(You haven't got the slightest idea why one would want to print at all and read this review? Skip to paragraph 7 please!)

By way of introduction, I'm Thomas Berg, fellow Nikonian and I consider myself a serious amateur photographer. Recently I was given the opportunity by EPSON Europe and Nikonians to exercise with and review the EPSON Stylus Photo R2880 desktop printer. In this review, I will not mimic the style and contents of technical reviews which you can easily find using search machines. I will concentrate on aspects that concern ease or complexity of use, how streamlined the workflow is and how well or bad it interacts with selected image processing software. I will try to give answers to questions that I often find unanswered when I read reviews rather than present small bits of random observations. So here we go. Please have a comfortable seat and hope you won't fall asleep!

 

 

First of all, I apologize to the MAC user's community for this review being based on Windows operating system, as I still live in a world full of Windows. I feel the urge to apologize right now as the normal third step after opening the box and preparing the printer hardware would be to install the printer drivers onto the host computers. Alternatively, this can be Step #1 since EPSON makes the drivers available for download without limitation.
In my case, these will be a desktop PC running under XP and a laptop PC which runs either under VISTA or Windows 7.

The printer drivers can be downloaded beforehand, which I did. Installing the driver prior to having the printer hardware available proved to be a less than ideal step, just like queue jumping. The reason is: during driver installation a scan of the available ports is performed, seeking a connected R2880 printer. Obviously this quest must fail in absence of the printer and then the driver makes an assumption by selecting one of the available computer ports. In the case of my desktop computer, LPT1 was selected despite the fact that this was physically a parallel port with a vintage HP LaserJet 4P being assigned to it. It was not too much trouble to rectify this undesired change, however I did not rave about the drivers behaviour of allocating an already allocated (and technically useless) port and therefore, dear readers, be advised better not to invoke the driver installation if the printer is not in your possession and ready to connect.

All right, since we possibly don't have that printer at hand right now, let me spend some thoughts on which printer could be appropriate for which character of photographer.

I spent a day at the EPSON Europe subsidiary in Meerbusch, Germany, where I was briefed on the R2880 model and the differences in comparison to the Pro3800 model.
Frankly, the major differences from the standpoint of an end user are the maximum paper sheet size and the volume of investment, which of course also holds true for consumables.
From the marketing point of view, both devices target at the "advanced amateurs" and "small business professionals"; potential customers with relatively low printing volume might consider the R2880 and potential customers with medium printing volume should rather consider the Pro3800.
The R2880 prints 11*17 inch / DIN A3 / A3+ (13*19")
The Pro3800 prints 17*22 inch / DIN A2

Let's do a little math: the Pro3800 can roughly print twice the paper area. The cartridges for the R2880 feature 11.4 ml and for the Pro3800 they are 80 ml. 23ml would obviously be the minimum cartridge volume for a Pro3800 to deliver the same productivity as the R2880. Consequently, with 80ml the Pro3800 can work longer and harder without cartridge replacement. And from that it is easy to conclude, the Pro3800 target audience is expected to print higher volumes and have deeper pockets than clients of the R2880.
I was told that both devices are optimized for print quality and also for work-idle-tolerance. That means, these two models feature (by design)a better tolerance to infrequent utilization and random peak print jobs. Compare it to printing a batch of photo calendars one day before Christmas, since Christmas always comes suddenly and hits the unprepared.

In preparation of this review I happened to read more than once that the upper class PRO4880 was recommended over both the R2880 and the PRO3800 for two reasons: a cartridge volume of 220ml, driving down the ink-per-volume cost, and "large sheets printing addiction". I will let you know later, if I feel at risk of any kind of "printing addiction".
For the moment the conclusion can only be: the PRO4880 is designed for frequent printing and is not designed for idle periods counting in weeks. Doing so will increase the risk of dried ink nozzle blockage and ink cluster formation, causing even more nozzle blockage.

Talking about nozzle blockage, this is a kind of complaint that can easily be read about throughout internet communities. The internet has a long lasting memory and any joker can write and publish any garbage just as I can. The problem lies in separating truth from fiction (and in some rare cases even stupidity).

EPSON now provides the fourth generation of pigmented inks and I trust the statements of EPSON concerning the improvements achieved in relation to reduced pigment cluster formation and subsequent nozzle blockage. I also trust many of the reports about nozzle blockage and failed nozzle cleaning, but how can I know for sure that each author handled everything properly, no third-party-ink was mixed with genuine ink (which can trigger undesired chemical or physical reactions) and the report is not based on experience with a now obsolete generation of ink and/or printer?
In most cases I can't, as much as you dear readers cannot know if I am not presenting a biased review because some interested party has offered to sponsor my next holidays at the South Pole. You will be surprised, this is not the case.
I will solely publish my personal findings, unbiased, as I would expect any other fellow Nikonians reviewer to do; however you can only rely on my word. With that much said, I personally own a Canon iP6700D printer (dye ink system) for several years and I am happy with it.

p>If you like photographs on paper and you like to hold newspaper-sized prints of your images, the EPSON R2880 and Pro3800 photo printers could be right for you.
These printers are even more suited to your needs if you answer "yes" to these questions:
1. Do you like to have control over your photography by making all image processing steps yourself??
2. Do you dislike waiting for the postman to deliver mail ordered prints a week later than anticipated?
3. Do you want prints to last without colours fading (just like good old days of chemical photo paper printing) and you are aware that pigmented ink has the edge over dye ink in several respects?
4. Do you know the basics of colour management, perhaps with experience working in front of a calibrated screen?
5. Are you not afraid of modifying colour management settings in your operating system, image processing applications and (ultimately) the printer driver?

(You haven't got the slightest idea why one would want to print at all and read this review? Skip to paragraph 7 please!)

By way of introduction, I'm Thomas Berg, fellow Nikonian and I consider myself a serious amateur photographer. Recently I was given the opportunity by EPSON Europe and Nikonians to exercise with and review the EPSON Stylus Photo R2880 desktop printer. In this review, I will not mimic the style and contents of technical reviews which you can easily find using search machines. I will concentrate on aspects that concern ease or complexity of use, how streamlined the workflow is and how well or bad it interacts with selected image processing software. I will try to give answers to questions that I often find unanswered when I read reviews rather than present small bits of random observations. So here we go. Please have a comfortable seat and hope you won't fall asleep!

First of all, I apologize to the MAC user's community for this review being based on Windows operating system, as I still live in a world full of Windows. I feel the urge to apologize right now as the normal third step after opening the box and preparing the printer hardware would be to install the printer drivers onto the host computers. Alternatively, this can be Step #1 since EPSON makes the drivers available for download without limitation.
In my case, these will be a desktop PC running under XP and a laptop PC which runs either under VISTA or Windows 7.

The printer drivers can be downloaded beforehand, which I did. Installing the driver prior to having the printer hardware available proved to be a less than ideal step, just like queue jumping. The reason is: during driver installation a scan of the available ports is performed, seeking a connected R2880 printer. Obviously this quest must fail in absence of the printer and then the driver makes an assumption by selecting one of the available computer ports. In the case of my desktop computer, LPT1 was selected despite the fact that this was physically a parallel port with a vintage HP LaserJet 4P being assigned to it. It was not too much trouble to rectify this undesired change, however I did not rave about the drivers behaviour of allocating an already allocated (and technically useless) port and therefore, dear readers, be advised better not to invoke the driver installation if the printer is not in your possession and ready to connect.

All right, since we possibly don't have that printer at hand right now, let me spend some thoughts on which printer could be appropriate for which character of photographer.

 

 

I spent a day at the EPSON Europe subsidiary in Meerbusch, Germany, where I was briefed on the R2880 model and the differences in comparison to the Pro3800 model.
Frankly, the major differences from the standpoint of an end user are the maximum paper sheet size and the volume of investment, which of course also holds true for consumables.
From the marketing point of view, both devices target at the "advanced amateurs" and "small business professionals"; potential customers with relatively low printing volume might consider the R2880 and potential customers with medium printing volume should rather consider the Pro3800.
The R2880 prints 11*17 inch / DIN A3 / A3+ (13*19")
The Pro3800 prints 17*22 inch / DIN A2

Let's do a little math: the Pro3800 can roughly print twice the paper area. The cartridges for the R2880 feature 1 1.4 ml and for the Pro3800 they are 80 ml. 23ml would obviously be the minimum cartridge volume for a Pro3800 to deliver the same productivity as the R2880. Consequently, with 80ml the Pro3800 can work longer and harder without cartridge replacement. And from that it is easy to conclude, the Pro3800 target audience is expected to print higher volumes and have deeper pockets than clients of the R2880.
I was told that both devices are optimized for print quality and also for work-idle-tolerance. That means, these two models feature (by design)a better tolerance to infrequent utilization and random peak print jobs. Compare it to printing a batch of photo calendars one day before Christmas, since Christmas always comes suddenly and hits the unprepared.

In preparation of this review I happened to read more than once that the upper class PRO4880 was recommended over both the R2880 and the PRO3800 for two reasons: a cartridge volume of 220ml, driving down the ink-per-volume cost, and "large sheets printing addiction". I will let you know later, if I feel at risk of any kind of "printing addiction".
For the moment the conclusion can only be: the PRO4880 is designed for frequent printing and is not designed for idle periods counting in weeks. Doing so will increase the risk of dried ink nozzle blockage and ink cluster formation, causing even more nozzle blockage.

Talking about nozzle blockage, this is a kind of complaint that can easily be read about throughout internet communities. The internet has a long lasting memory and any joker can write and publish any garbage just as I can. The problem lies in separating truth from fiction (and in some rare cases even stupidity).

EPSON now provides the fourth generation of pigmented inks and I trust the statements of EPSON concerning the improvements achieved in relation to reduced pigment cluster formation and subsequent nozzle blockage. I also trust many of the reports about nozzle blockage and failed nozzle cleaning, but how can I know for sure that each author handled everything properly, no third-party-ink was mixed with genuine ink (which can trigger undesired chemical or physical reactions) and the report is not based on experience with a now obsolete generation of ink and/or printer?
In most cases I can't, as much as you dear readers cannot know if I am not presenting a biased review because some interested party has offered to sponsor my next holidays at the South Pole. You will be surprised, this is not the case.
I will solely publish my personal findings, unbiased, as I would expect any other fellow Nikonians reviewer to do; however you can only rely on my word. With that much said, I personally own a Canon iP6700D printer (dye ink system) for several years and I am happy with it.

(1 Vote )
Page 2/9 show all pages

Originally written on November 25, 2009

Last updated on April 24, 2016

Thomas Berg Thomas Berg (twberg)

Porz, Germany
Basic, 1 post

4 comments

Mark Walshaw (Mark out west) on May 10, 2017

I had one of these and got fed up with continually replacing ink cartridges both as emptying too fast or the printer not recognising the tank as a genuine tank for which it was. A $1000 printer was there junked prematurely. Would I recommend this printer - hell no, nor would I now recommend any Epson. Went out and purchased a Canon Pixma Pro 10 - wanted the wireless facility not in Pro 1

Zita Kemeny (zkemeny) on April 20, 2011

I use also an Epson printer but an older one and works perfect. Epson is for me the best manufacturer for printers.

Robert S Baldassano (robsb) on January 18, 2010

Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Donor Ribbon awarded for his enthusiastic and repeated support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

Thomas this was a very informative review. Thanks for the outstanding effort.

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on January 18, 2010

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

Excellent review Thomas! Now I really believe that this printer is capable of the work I wanted to push through it :-)

G