Superb, but over-priced
The low-down: This is an A3+ printer that uses pigment inks — nine cartridges which have a larger capacity (2.3X) than previous models. As well as handling paper up to A3+ width (32.5cm) it comes with a roll paper fitting. Unlike previous Epson printers of this type it is not necessary to physically swap cartridges when changing from gloss to matte paper. As well as the expected USB connection there is Ethernet and WifFi connectivity. Pictbridge-enabled cameras can be connected directly. It will print onto plain label CD/DVDs. Thick art papers are loaded through a front feeder. The printer is heavy and the footprint huge — about 70cm deep with the rear paper tray extended. Printing is fast and quiet.
LIKE: Print quality is breathtakingly good. Colours are vibrant and fine detail resolution is exemplary. There are no strange optical effects when the print is turned side-on to the light and the printed surface is smooth and luminous. Black and white photos on glossy, matte and art papers are as rich as silver/chemical prints.
DISLIKE: The price. The US price, direct from Epson, is $650 — a current discount special. The full retail price is $850. Ink cartridges are US$30 and AUD$48. Prices are as posted on the Epson web sites, so don’t blame the retailers. And collecting ten per cent GST will make no difference.
VERDICT: The obvious competitor for the Epson R3000 is the Canon Pixma Pro9500 MkII. They are both fine printers and both over-priced (the Canon costs $1400 here and $400 in the US with current rebate). How stupid do we look? Bottom line: The Epson is the better printer because it has the edge in printing on matte and art paper.