Epson R2000 Review First Look Introduction and Getting Started
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The Epson R2000 was released in May of 2011. Red River Paper had one immediately dispatched to our Dallas headquarters for evaluation and profile production.
The R2000 is the successor to the Epson R1900. In many respects the printers are quite similar. For the new printer, Epson has added some new features and most notably larger 17mL capacity ink tanks. Below is a walk through of our opening, unpacking, and setup of the Epson R2000.
Six Colors - Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Red, Orange, Black
Gloss Optimizer - Clear spray coat for glossy, satin, and semigloss prints
Ink Cost - About $19.99 per tank (17ml capacity)
Rating - We recommend the printer as a "Likely Buy" for photo enthusiasts
Opening the Box
The R2000 box arrived on our dock this week. Since the printer comes a long way, it is more than adequately packed and secured. There are about 25 pieces of blue tape holding everything snug and plastic wrap to protect the shiny outer surface. The printer comes in a heavy duty plastic bag with handles, which makes getting it out of the box a breeze.
The Epson R2000 shipping box includes:
Epson R2000 printer
CD tray (for printing CDs)
The printer comes with a full set of CLI-42 ink cartridges. A small amount of ink will be used in the printer setup, but you will still have plenty left to make prints and become familiar with the machine.
The printer comes with a full set of Epson UltraChrome Hi-Gloss 2 pigment based inks. Pigment inks are purpose designed to resist fade over long periods of time. For this reason, prints from the R2000 will last between 40 and 100+ years depending on the paper type you use and how the images are displayed.
The new 17 ml ink tanks are the same width as other cartridges, but they are quite a bit taller.
Epson R2000 Ink Tanks Included
Photo Black UltraChrome Hi-Gloss 2 ink cartridge (T159120)
Matte Black UltraChrome Hi-Gloss 2 ink cartridge (T159820)
The Epson R2000 has both Photo Black and Matte Black inks on board. Photo Black is ink optimized for printing on glossy, luster, satin, and semigloss papers. Matte Black is for use with any matte (non-reflective) and most cotton fine art media. Which ink is used depends on the media selection in your printer properties. The R2000 does not use both of these inks at the same time.
Like the R2000's relatives the R800, R1800, and R1900, the printer keeps both photo black and matte black inks "at the ready". This means the print head is always charged with both inks, and all you need do is choose the correct media setting for your printer. There is no swap process necessary that uses ink and time. This is in contrast to the Epson R2880, R3000, and other Epson wide format printers that require a cartridge swap or purging process when switching between black inks.
One of the R2000 ink tanks contains what Epson calls the Gloss Optimzer. This system, first introduced in the Epson R800, is a clear coat that is sprayed on prints during the print process. It is available when printing with glossy, satin, and semigloss media.
Gloss Optimizer (aka GLOP or GO) is thought to be the base liquid material used to make inks. When applied, the Gloss Optimzer does some nice things:
Adds a subtle, but not really distracting, extra level of shine to prints
Adds increased scuff resistance
Increases the dMax and overall color saturation of an image
The Gloss Optimizer makes a noticable difference when sprayed on photo paper. In this unmodified photo you can see exactly where the Gloss Optimizer has been sprayed by the printer. Printed on Red River UltraPro Gloss, the area at left is a block of Gloss Optimizer and the area on on the right is plain unprinted paper.
Getting Ready to Print
Once all of the inks were installed, the printer charged the print head and was ready to begin printing in less than five minutes.
The assembled printer is 24.5" wide, 13" deep, and 8" high
With the top tray open and extended, you'll need at least 10" of clearance from the printer to the wall for proper operation.
When fully extended, the front paper tray extends 13.5" from the front of the printer. That is enough space to catch and hold a full 13x19 sheet.
Front Control Panel
The front control panel of the Epson R2000 features six buttons and various warning lights. The buttons control activation of Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, paper feed, job cancellation, ink change, and roll printing.
The Epson R2000 can connect to your computer via USB 2.0, Ethernet (network cable), or a wireless network.
The R2000 has four media feed paths.
Top tray - for the majority of media you'll use
Front single sheet path
Rear single sheet thick media path
The top tray can hold 1 to 100 sheets of paper, depending on the thickness of your media. We use this paper path for the bulk of our printing needs.
The front single sheet path is designated for fine art papers and poster board. Basically, Epson is suggesting that you use this paper path for media over 15 mil thick.
The rear single sheet path is another way to feed thick papers and cotton fine art media such as Red River's Aurora Art.
The printer also comes with two roll holders. They attach to the back of the machine as shown at right. When paper is fed into this slot, the printer recognizes it as a roll and begins the feed process.
While Red River Paper does not carry 13" rolls at this time, you can try our 13" x 38" flat sheets for pano and landscape printing.
CD Printing Capability
Above you can see the CD holder that comes with the printer. The holder is placed into the front feed tray and when inserted alerts the printer to prepare for CD printing.
When printing CDs you'll use Epson's Print CD software. The program is very easy to use and can be mastered in less than an hour.
Printer Driver Tour
Like all Epson printers, the R2000 has easy to understand and operate printer driver software. Below we review most of the relevant functions that you will use regularly.
When setting up a print job, you must tell the printer the type of inkjet paper (media) that you are using. Think of the media type as part color profile and part ink throttle. Different inkjet papers need different amounts of ink to perform properly - and this is where the media setting becomes important.
If you are using ICC color profiles, the media type is critical. You have to set the media according to your profile's instructions in order to get the best results.
To get to this menu, go to the Print Quality drop down and choose Quality Options. We recommend using this menu so you can verify the print quality setting. You will also have access to the High Speed option.
High Speed means that the printer puts down ink each time it passes over the paper. Turn off high speed if you notice fine banding.
When printing with photo papers, quality choices are Fine (Level 2) , SuperFine (Level 3), SuperFine with Microweave set to Super (Level 4), and SuperPhoto (Level 5).
Gloss Optimizer Controls
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Archival Grade Paper
Papers with the Archival designtation can take many forms. They can be glossy, matte, canvas, or an artistic product. These papers are acid free, lignin free and can be made of virgin tree fiber (alpha cellulose) or 25-100% cotton rag. They are likely to have optical or fluorescent brightening agents (OBAs) - chemicals that make the paper appear brighter white. Presence of OBAs does not indicate your image will fade faster. It does predict a slow change in the white point of your paper, especially if it is displayed without UV filter glass or acrylic.
Archival Grade Summary
Numerous papers - made from tree or cotton content
Acid and lignin free base stock
Inkjet coating layer acid free
Can have OBAs in the base or the coating
Museum Grade Paper
Papers with the museum designation make curators happy. They are made from 100% cotton rag content and have no optical brightener content. (OBA) The base stock is acid and lignin free. The coating is acid free. This type of offers the most archival option in terms of media stability over time.
Museum Grade Summary
100% cotton rag content
Acid and lignin free base stock
Inkjet coating layer acid free
No OBA content
Photographic Grade Paper
Photo Grade products are designed to look and feel like modern photo lab paper. Most photo grade media are resin coated, which means they have a paper core covered by a thin layer of polyethelene (plastic) . Plastic gives the paper its photo feel, stability (flatness), water resistance, handling resistance, and excellent feed consistency.
Prints on photo grade media are stable over long periods. With pigment inks in a protected environment, you can see up to 80 years on-display life. All RC papers are Photo Grade for two reasons. Plastic content is not technically archival by museum standards. Also, the inkjet coating of all RC papers is slightly acidic. It facilitates instant drying and does not actually change the stability of your inks over time. Virtually all RC papers have optical brightening agents (OBAs).