by Helen K. Garber
I replaced my Epson 2000p with the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 (left) this past fall when Epson offered a $300 rebate. I was preparing images for a solo show and needed to go larger than my newer R380 would allow. Fortunately, a nice print sale sale through Susan Spiritus allowed me the extra change and the final rationalization that allowed the upgrade to a “modern” printer.
Oh, my, what a difference 10 years makes in the world of technology!!!
I should warn you, however, that the box it comes in is large enough to house yourself in dire circumstances and that all my years of training at Gold’s Gym was what allowed me to lift it out of the box and set it on my table.
After you read the directions (boys, really, it makes life so much easier), setting up was abreeze. There are all sorts of built-in profiles, so it is good to know your paper and size and whether you are using sheet, roll or specialty paper, hand fed from the front (which is what I normally use), and follow the instructions on the printer.
I opted for the wireless model and it was really sweet to hit the print button on my computer 20-feet away from the printer and hear the machine take on life just a moment later. But the wired model should be just as good because unless you want the extra exercise, it is more efficient to have the printer close by to the computer.
I had read many other user reviews and would like to pass on what I learned from them and my own first hand experience. There are two black-ink cartridges, each one to be used for different papers. Be aware that switching from one black to another uses up an enormous amount of ink. I have switched only once, to create a full color poster on Epson Luster paper. Although I couldn’t gauge the amount of ink used by sight, but by the sound and the time it took for the printer to ready itself for printing again, I knew switching was something I didn’t want to experience on a regular basis.
So read the directions, note which paper uses which black and plan your testing accordingly. One of my biggest phobias is running out of ink, so I used much of the $300 rebate to buy a second set of inks ($220 from Adorama, NY, where I also purchased my printer). Printers are renowned to come with less than full ink cartridges so be prepared.
I print on handmade papers, which on the 2000p was an arduous task. Not as arduous as the gum-printing technique I was switching from, but still difficult and slow. One out of eight prints turned out well. I saved the other seven prints and drew on them, so they didn’t go to waste, but very few were perfect enough to sell to collectors without the extra step.
On the Epson R3000, 13×19 printer, it is a breeze. We have literally come to the point of press the button and out comes a perfect print. Over and over again. On those handmade papers with uneven surfaces…the unevenness that would throw off the old laser and create the white lines (banding) that ruined so many of my earlier prints.
And that color poster on the Epson luster paper? Drop dead gorgeous. My only regret is that I didn’t opt for the next size printer so I could make even larger prints. I am sure it is just as wonderful to work with.
I reprinted images that I had from the 2000p and the difference in quality is phenomenal. My 2000p still works as well as it ever did, but the difference between the two is similar in quality as watching a movie on a 2001 analog television vs. a 2012 LED digital screen.
I should also stress, at this time, that the “perfect prints” that can come out of my new printer are the result of many hours spent in preparation of that perfect print.
For this series, I use natural, dyed papers from Bhutan, from Hiromi Paper, in Santa Monica. When using this type of paper, you will need to be careful about the fiber dust, and use double face tape to an under sheet with a straight edge so the paper feeder can grab it. You should also use the smoother side for best digital printing results
So if you are holding out on modernizing your printer, just think of watching HUGO on a low-res, square convex glass TV, then put down your iPad for an hour or so and run to your nearest store.