The Epson R3000 was released in March of 2011. Red River Paper had one immediately dispatched to our Dallas headquarters for evaluation and profile production. Below is an overview of the unpacking, installation, printer drivers, and first impressions of this new machine.
The R3000 is the successor to the Epson R2880. In many respects the printers are quite similar. For the new printer, Epson has added some new features and most notably larger ink tanks. Below is a walk through of our opening, unpacking, and setup of the Epson R3000. Below that you'll find a printer driver walk-thru , views of the printer control panel screen, and first impressions.
Printer color profile targets have been printed and will be forwarded to the professionals at Chromix. They will create high quality profiles and Red River Paper will have them available ASAP.
The R3000 box arrived on our dock this week. The box is quite large and weighs 44 pounds. You may need to enlist some help moving it. The contents were well packed and easy to get out of the box.
The contents of the R3000 shipping box include:
- roll holders
- CD tray (for printing CDs)
- power cord
- driver CD
Since the printer comes a long way, it is more than adequately packed and secured. As you can see in the above image, there are about 25 pieces of blue tape holding everything snug and plastic wrap to protect the shiny outer surface.
After plugging in the printer, the quick start guide will get you going in a few simple steps.
After powering the R3000 on, the display directs you to install all nine ink tanks.
The printer comes with a full set of inks. The new 25.9 ml ink tanks look like two standard desktop tanks stuck together. Installation is easy and fast.
After about 10 minutes of charging, the printer showed ready to print.
Software installation was like any other Epson. You've got the option to install software either automatically, or in custom mode where you choose the software you'd like on your computer. There are four parts:
- Printer driver
- Epson Print CD software
- User's guide link
- Professional print sample images
The R3000, ready to print, has three media feed paths.
- Top tray - for the majority of media you'll use
- Front single sheet path
- Roll feed
The top tray can hold 20 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.
Specialty Media Paths
To activate the single sheet path, start by pushing on the gray bar that extends over the paper output tray.
Pushing on it will cause the tray to lower and extend out.
The back of the printer has a door that opens. When using the flat feed, you will pull up on the door to extend a paper support.
The images above show a sheet fed into the single sheet path. Notice how the back paper support deflects the paper upward (if the sheet is long enough). This is a clever way to allow your printer to be much closer to the wall than previous models with a flat path.
The printer also comes with two roll holders they simply attach to the back of the machine. The rear door is open and the paper support is not extended. When paper is fed into this slot, the printer recognizes it as a roll and begins the feed process.
Red River Paper offers some 13" Rolls. We recommend using our 13" x 38" Flat Sheets for pano and landscape printing. The sheets are completely flat and are preferable to the curl you will encounter from any 13" roll on a 2" core.
Printer Driver Tour
Photo Black Ink vs. Matte Black Ink
The Epson R3000 has both Photo Black and Matte Black inks on board. Photo Black is ink optimized for glossy, luster, satin, and semigloss papers. Matte Black is for use with any matte and most cotton fine art media.
When you switch from printing a glossy paper (like Red River UltraPro Gloss) to a photo matte (such as Polar Matte), the printer will need to conduct a black ink swap. The process takes just a few minutes and uses up some black ink as the print head is charged with the new black ink.
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.
You'll notice some grayed out settings. These mean you will need to do a black ink swap in order to use these media settings.
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.
This drop down controls printer color management. The first three (EpsonStandard, Adobe RGB, and PhotoEnhance) are Epson color management options.
When using an ICC profile, you'll select Off (No Color Adjustment).
This menu is most important when using thick papers. Any paper over the standard 10.4 mil photo thickness warrants the platen gap being set to Wide or Wider. We normally choose Wider when using any heavy media.
The Color Density control acts as an "ink throttle" for overall density values. If you encounter a paper that warps or buckles under heavy ink loads (this is usually image dependent), try setting Color Density to minus 10 as a test value. It will normally help with the warping but will not degrade image quality.
The Drying Time per Print Head Pass feature is nice, but does not really apply much these days. The ink set and papers have become so good that drying is rarely an issue. We would recommend increasing dry times for metals, translucent media, and self coated materials.
Fairly self explanatory, this is the menu where you tell the R3000 what paper size you're using. Right below the size drop down is the borderless printing box. You will check this when you want the R3000 to print ink to the very edges of your paper. Below are the popular borderless sizes the R3000 can print:
- 3.5 x 5
- 4 x 6
- 5 x 7
- 5 x 8
- 4 x 7.11
- 8 x 10
- 10 x 12
- 11 x 14
- 12 x 12
- 13 x 19
- 8.5 x 11
- 11 x 17
User Defined Paper Sizes
Like other Epson printers, the R3000 allows you to define custom paper sizes. The limits:
Paper Width: 3.5" - 12.95"
Paper Height: 2.17" - 129"
Custom Borderless Now An Option
The R3000 differs greatly from other printers because it can print some custom sizes with no borders.
By clicking "Enable Borderless printing" on this menu, the controls will change slightly. As you can see at lower right, the paper width becomes a drop down menu with 12 fixed sizes. You'll select one.
The paper height is still a range from 2.17" to 129".
This is a really cool advancement that we've been looking for quite some time. The immediate plus is the ability to print Red River's 7x10 Inkjet Note Card Stock with no borders!
Instructions for Setting up these Custom Borderless Sizes.
The page layout tab is like most other Epson printers. Print orientation, number of copies, layout options, and a host of other features we'll probably never use!
One interesting new option is the Job Settings feature. By checking the Job Settings box then clicking the Details button, you will be presented with the menu at right.
Your print will then contain all of the information you've selected. As you can see below, this print was made on a 5x7 sheet of paper with a 4x6 image. The detail information fits nicely at the top.
For those who like to record settings for future use, or just like to know what settings work, the Job Settings feature should be a welcome addition.
You should come to this tab often to perform routine printer checks and maintenance. The Nozzle Check, Head Cleaning, and Print Head Alignment are all critical tools to have it you experience a drop in print quality.
You can quickly bring up the print queue in case you need to check on a job. And Epson allows you to move printer driver controls around using the Menu Arrangement feature.
A nice addition is the Driver Update button, which performs a quick check with Epson to see if you have the latest software. An internet connection is required for this feature.
Advanced Black & White
The "K3" in UltraChrome K3 means that the Epson R3000 has three black inks available for your printing needs. Using the Advanced Black & White (ABW) mode, the R3000 blends these inks to create a totally neutral black & white image. The system can also create toned grayscale images from cool, to warm, to sepia.
Access to the ABW mode starts in the main menu under the color option. See below.
When ABW is chosen, the Mode drop down changes as seen below. This is the quick method of using ABW for quick neutral or tones images.
For more detailed adjustments, clicking the Advanced button above brings up the Color Controls menu for ABW.
A number of variables are available including a color wheel for precise toning work. The only issue you'll find with these controls is the lack of a "live" preview of your image under different conditions. You are provided with a static image that shows the effect of different settings.
Printer Screen Displays
The Epson R3000 allows for most functions to be accessed and controlled from the screen and panel on the front of the machine. Below are screen grabs illustrating the majority of the possible features.
The Epson R3000, at first blush, seems to be a great printer packed with useful features. The Epson UltraChrome K3 system (with Vivid Magenta) is a battle tested ink set that performs well on many different types of inkjet media. As one customer noted this week, UltraChrome K3 seems to "make prints that look like real life". We agree.
Initial cudos go to:
- Fast print speeds at 1440x1440 quality on all media types
- Larger ink tanks
- Custom borderless options
- Fully professional print driver
- Multiple media feed options
The initial impression of larger ink tanks is usually that they will save you money per unit of volume. This may not be the case with the R3000. The cost per mL is at this point about the same as the printer it replaces. However, at sizes above 4x6, inkjet printing is certainly competitive to labs. The larger you get, the more inkjet becomes the most economical print choice. Savings are likely to come from less frequent cartridge changes which can use ink in head charging.
Stay tuned for more on the R3000 in the near future.
Red River Papers for the Epson R3000
Luckily for you, dear reader, Red River has a lot of experience with UltraChrome K3 ink printers. Our line of premium inkjet papers includes over 20 that work very well with the R3000.