New Epson 3000 printer

Epson recently announced the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 printer which seems to be an eventual replacement for the 2880 (although the 2880 is still available).  Like the 2880, it is a 13″ 9 ink printer based on the K3 + Vivid Magenta inkset , which is used in nearly all of their professional wide format printers. (Even the 49/79/9900 HDR inks are K3 + Vivid Magenta, they just add two additional colors, orange and green.  All of the inks for new 7890 and 9890 work just fine in the 7900 and 9900  … in fact they are the same part number).

There are a few differences in the 2880 and the 3000  …

  • Price: The 2880 lists at $799 vs the 3000 at $849. (Currently Epson USA has the 2880 on sale for $699)
  • Ink cartridge size goes from 11ml to 26ml.  Unfortunately, unlike moving to larger Epson printers, this doesn’t really save on ink costs (which seems illogical).  At retail the difference per ml is only 4 cents (1.16 vs 1.20 per ml.) However, this means less cartridge swapping resulting in less wasted ink, so the net effect will be lower ink costs than the price alone indicates.
  • Smallest droplet size is 2 picoliters on the 3000 vs 3 picoliters. (hey … both of those are pretty small and smaller than any of the larger printers.  I don’t think I can see a difference between a 2 and 3 picoliter dot, even with a loupe)  Both printers print at the same resolution, and appear to print at similar speeds.
  • It’s hard to tell from the press release, but it sounds like the head may be slightly improved in the 3000.  The press release also implies the 3000 has newer/better screening technology, but the 2880 is no slouch … great output.
  • Epson states the printer is designed for professional photographers and artists.  While many photographers used the 2880, the 3880 is really the superior entry level pro grade printer.  The 3000  lowers the cost of entry, but the lower price is actually pretty deceptive.   Ink costs of the 3880 are significantly lower, so the difference in price will be made up in relatively short order if you do anything other than casual printing.  (The 3880 uses 80ml cartridges.  It would cost almost $500 to purchase enough ink for the 3000 to equal what you get out of the box with the 3880.  The 3880 cost per ml is 0.75 retail.  Accounting for the additional ink you get with the printer, the 3880 is only about $150 more than the 3000, and saving more then 0.30 per ml will mean it’s not long until the TCO tips in favor of the 3880, and long term substantially so.)
  • Personally I always recommend the 3880 over the 2880 and the 3000 has nothing new to change that.  The 3880 may be the best inkjet printer ever built by any company, and while costing more upfront it is a much better value.

So the 3000 is a nice improvement over the 2880 mainly because of larger capacity cartridges and if you just can’t spring for the extra cash up front for a 3880  then the r3000 is at least a better option than the 2880. (did I mention the 3880 is a 17″ wide printer not 13″ so you can print a 17×22 with it?)
You can read the full press release here.  The printer will begin shipping in March.

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