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Enthusiast: Arduinoon December 2, 2011
At school I've been using an Epson Stylus Pro 3880 and have gotten kind of addicted to printing my photos. The R3000 is half the cost and almost exactly the same except for it's narrower 13" maximum print width (vs the 17" 3880). Both use the "UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta" ink set which is the same one used by almost all of Epson's "Pro" line of printers. Honestly, I don't know why the R3000 isn't in their "Pro" line since it could reasonably be used by a pro who never needed to print anything wider than 13".

I printed some color test charts at the Sam's Club photo lab (which should be reasonable quality since they actually calibrate their printers at least once a day and when they change paper rolls) and on my R3000, then compared them to an actual X-Rite produced ColorChecker chart, and the output from the R3000 significantly beats the output from Sam's Fuji Frontier minilab photo printer. The Fuji Frontier print is noticeably duller with generally darker colors and a narrower range of saturated color reproduction. You don't have to be a color expert to see the difference.

For the R3000 the ink cost is about $1/ml which comes out to about $0.01 per square inch if you get it at a discount (search for "red river Cost of Inkjet Printing Epson R3000"). That makes a borderless 8x10 cost about $0.80 in ink, and a borderless 8.5x11" cost about $1 in ink. A sheet of Epson Ultra Premium Photo paper costs as little as $0.60 if you get it at a discount, so printing a borderless 8.5x11" ends up costing as little as $1.60 in supplies. (Not to mention that you can get third-party paper that's just as good or better than Epson's official paper for less money.)

The cheapest photo labs charge around $1.50 for an 8x10 (my local Sam's Club currently charges $1.46). If we use a whole 8.5x11 sheet of official paper and a full 8x10 worth of ink to print an 8x10, we get $1.40 in supplies per 8x10 which is slightly cheaper than even Sam's Club and significantly higher quality. Good third-party paper would be around $0.35/sheet meaning that you could also do as well as $1.15 per 8x10, maybe even better.

Admittedly though that doesn't incorporate the cost of the printer, which you won't have to incur if you just use a photo lab. If you bought the printer for say $800 and you've gotten your per-8x10 supply costs down to $1.15, then you'd need to print about 2,580 8x10's before your total costs started to get lower than Sam's Club's $1.46.

When you get larger than 8x10 though then the printer really starts to pay off. One place online that isn't too expensive and has a good reputation charges $6.30 for a 12x18 on glossy photo paper printed with a photographic lab process. It's possible to get decent 13x19" gloss ink jet photo paper (same stuff that costs $0.35/sheet for the 8.5x11) for about $1.50/sheet. 12x18" of ink costs you $2.16 so total cost for a 12x18 on the R3000 with that paper is $3.66. At that price you need to print 300 or so of these large prints before your prints start costing less than $6.30, and again the ink jet prints will have better color quality than the photographic process printer. You also have the entire lifetime of the printer to make all these prints that we're talking about. If you make on average about 10 8x10" prints every week then it would take about 5 years to make this cost back, but if you made two of the 12x18" prints per week then it would take about 2.8 years to brake even compared to the lower quality protographic process prints ordered online.

But none of these estimates take into account the value of the convenience and additional quality you get from having a modern photo inkjet printer right in front of you. Add in costs like transportation to pick up photos, time spent driving, any sort of cost of inconvenience by having to wait for prints to arrive in the mail, the additional value of better color quality, and other hard to quantify things then the real savings may be better. Depending on how much these costs add to the cost of photo lab prints, a decent ink jet printer like this might pay for itself much more quickly.

Still, you have to keep in mind that owning your own printer like this only makes sense if you're going to be doing a certain volume of printing. If you only ever print maybe 10 8x10s a month then the printer will never be worth it solely from a cost-per-print savings perspective. Also, if all you ever print is 4x6 then even just your ink cost without paper is going to be around 2.5x the cost of getting 4x6 prints made ata cheap online lab or drug store. So for small prints like 4x6 the printer will absolutely never pay for itself from the supply perspective, and probably not even from the convenience perspective.

The only problems I've heard of with this printer seem to involve priming the print head (pumping ink into the initially empty hoses that run from the ink cartridges to the print head, basically) and the printer going through unnecessary cleaning cycles, but Epson support is great about addressing these. My R3000 went though an unnecessary priming cycle when I first set it up, wasting about half the ink in the cartridges. Support got back to me in less than a day and offered to send me a full set of full replacement cartridges. I haven't seen anyone complaining of clogged nozzles or any of the usual inkjet problems.

The color gamut of the R3000 when used with the Ultra Premium Photo paper significantly exceeds the AdobeRGB colorspace in areas of dark blues and greens. This allows you to make the most of your camera's sensor capabilities IF you convert your RAW files into a format using the ProPhoto RGB color space (the most common one that actually holds those colors) AND print to the printer using proper color management with the appropriate ICC profile. Photo labs almost always require all files to be encoded as sRGB (which is smaller than both AdobeRGB and ProPhoto RGB), and printers like the Fuji Frontier have smaller gamuts than sRGB anyway, so they can't possibly achieve the wide range of colors that a high quality professional inkjet can when it's wielded by someone with sufficient color management skill.

Anyway, excellent printer, reasonable cost of ownership and operation, higher quality printing than you get at a photo lab, convenience, and excellent support from Epson. When you consider this part of your "digital darkroom" and compare its cost to the cost of materials and equipment you'd spend for an "old fashioned" film darkroom, the cost is quite reasonable.
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on May 23, 2011
I am a serious amateur photographer. Recently my Epson R1800 printer died. Based on my experience with two previous Epson printers and my research, I decided to purchase the R3000. I have had the printer for a couple months now and I am quite happy with my purchase. A quick summary of my observations are as follows: 1) it was very easy to set up; 2) the print speed is so much faster than my R1800 even at the quality setting; 3) having choices for quality settings is great, but I notice little difference between the speed, quality and maximum quality settings; 4) the automatic changing of the black inks works quite well; 5)I have printed up to 11 x 14 size prints and they are excellent; 6) the larger ink cartridges are much more convenient to use; and 7) the on screen menus and the user manual are prepared in an intuitive fashion. The bottom line is you can't go wrong with this printer.
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on October 24, 2014
When our not-so-beloved HP B8550 wide format printer died, we started searching for a replacement. We STARTED looking at the three big brands, HP, Canon and Epson for a new Photo printer. After reading way too much online, HP was dropped from the list like an iron balloon. So this left Epson and Canon which left us looking at the R2000/3000 and the Pro 100/10. You will always find negative reviews about anything you look for, but the idea is to balance the reviews against what you need. We originally were going to go with the R2000 as the replacement, but with a $40 difference in cost, we jumped up to the R3000.
First of all, this printer is BIG. Make sure you have ample space for it when you get it. After it was setup and I got the old HP drivers removed (a task unto its own) and the Epson ones installed, I did some test prints out of PS ESS 10 using the "Photo" and "Quality" setting on the printer control. Let me say this, understand that there is a BIG difference in pigment based inks and photo printer inks in the lower models. If you are looking for studio quality prints, pigment ink is the way to go.
When the pictures I have printed, I was absolutely amazed. Compared to some pictures we had done at a studio not too long ago, they were even better looking. The color was hands down far far superior to anything the top of the line HP photo printer ever put out and just the look and feel was amazing. I used stock Premium Glossy paper from Kodak. I am sure if you were to get a better paper brand (ie red river) and utilize the paper profile, it would look even better. Right now, I am amazed.
Lastly, with the Epson R2000/R3000 printers, you have the ability to use aftermarket inks (Cone from inkmall is our choice) and they are usually better and cost far less than Epson branded inks. AND unlike HP, they don't kill your warranty.

So as of today, I have found NOTHING bad to say, This printer was a great investment for us, the print quality is beyond what we could ever expect and I can get better inks in the future to further enhance this printers abilities.
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on March 26, 2015
Incredible printer! Easy to setup, just follow instructions. First print was on cheap photo paper and was outstanding. Then printed on canvas roll and was absolutely blown away. Be warned, the ink usage is way more than what you probably expect, but this is not your ordinary document inkjet. The result of the print is well worth it. Have since printed on the metallic paper as well as velvet paper (which doesn't look anything like velvet) and was blown away by the results. I think the biggest drawback to this printer is once you see the results, you see the value of buying a better camera.
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on March 1, 2015
I've been going back and forth on what printer to buy and settled on this one a couple of weeks ago. It's awesome! I printed a 13 in x 4 ft pano on it and used way less ink than I thought I was going to. The color looks great, my photos are turning out great (using Ilford Galleria Pearl paper, my current favorite). I'm also using this for digital negatives and the negs are so far looking really good as well. I have put a roll of Arista II OHP film in the back, and the printer is really easy to use and great for rolls. I'm really happy with this purchase.
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on December 2, 2014
I ordered the Epson R3000 after it appeared my venerable R1800 had a permanently clogged print head. (I was able later to clear the R1800 which keeps producing stunning prints.) I suspected that the $200 Rebate offered for the R3000 was likely an indication that a new printer was forthcoming, and I was correct. The Epson Surecolor P600 will likely succeed the R3000 and appears to correct two frequently cited issues: lack of separate ink lines for Photo Black and Matte Black inks creating waste when switching inks, and the 44 inch limitation on width for panorama or banner printing (The P600 prints up to 129 inch widths). Nevertheless, after printing stunning 13 x 19 canvas prints on the R3000 with superb color fidelity using ICC profiles, I am quite pleased with my purchase, Paper handling, including canvas, far exceeds my experiences with the R1800. Nevertheless, had I known the latter would heal itself with one more head cleaning cycle, I would have opted for the Stylus Pro 3880 which is also currently discounted, but lacks the roll paper option for panoramics. Wonder if Epson will not soon roll out a new 17 inch SureColor printer with banner capabilities without the clogging tendencies of the R4900?
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on June 9, 2014
Owning a mid-size inkjet photo printer may not be a sound investment, but it is a rewarding one. I purchased the R3000 after much research, looking for something to use mainly for personal use. I choose it mainly based on the features combined with the price point. While a larger size printer (maybe 24") would've been cool for the sake of the occasion large format print, the ink cost alone would've been enough to put me in the poor house. You'll find out that you have to print often enough, or you'll just waste ink cleaning the print heads.

I've printed 20-30 images so far, mainly 4x6's to try out different papers, and a couple 8x10's. All of them look amazing! The colors match my calibrated screen on a Retina MacBook Pro extremely well (I use a Color Munki Display).

What I've learned when looking to purchase the R3000:

- Print and use ink or don't and waste ink. I've decided to try to print at least 1 or 2 photos every week or two. I've read that once a month should be enough, but I want to make sure my ink is making on to paper and not just the waste ink tray.

-Clean and cover. Over the past decade or so, I've owned a w HP all-in-one printers. Not once did it occur to me to cover them up when not in use or to wipe out the paper dust that accumulates on the feed rollers and such in the printer. I still don't cover the all-in-one, but the R3000 gets better treatment.

-This is an old printer. Photo printers don't get updated as often as other electronics, but it obviously happens eventually. Epson has a 3880 printer. Its larger (17"), but not necessarily better. This is just to show that the model numbers aren't a sign of an upgraded model. To be honest, if Epson makes some major upgrades to this printer and releases it tomorrow, I'll still be thrilled with the R3000.

-The larger/more expensive the printer, usually, the cheaper the ink cost is per mL. That said, larger printers usually have larger ink tanks. You get more ink at a cheaper price per mL, but a much high overall cost. Larger printers also often have more ink tanks to replace. The only thing I'd prefer here would be that the matte and photo black inks ran on their own lines instead of wasting ink when you switch between them. As I don't use the matte black often, the waste created from switching isn't a big deal for me.

I can't see how you'd be disappointed with purchasing the R300 to print your own high quality photos for yourself or clients. Just keep paper moving through it so you don't run into maintenance issues.
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on May 22, 2014
We almost didn't buy this printer because of the listed dimensions for the product.

We are operating out of a small apartment, so space is at a premium. We were considering the lower-model R2000 purely based on the listed dimensions (24.5 x 12.8 x 8.6 inches), but decided to take a leap of faith on the R3000 because it did everything we were looking to do.

The listed dimensions of the R3000 are: 32 x 16.7 x 24.2 inches.

The true base footprint of this printer is 24 (width) x 8.75 (height) x 15 (depth) inches.

I suppose if you take into account all the trays and such being opened it could be considered larger, but for all practical purposes the base footprint dimensions are the most important. If you're worried about this printer being monstrously huge, don't fret. It's a very manageable size akin to many other wide-format printers on the market.

Those things said, this printer works beautifully!
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on July 25, 2014
The Image out of the box was dark, but adjusted exposure in Photoshop and printed on HP Paper. The photo did not have the pop that a professional expects. I did research online and I learned that you should use Epson paper with pigment inks. I ordered several packs of Epson paper and printed the photo with an additional 10 points brightness on the fly. The photos were spot on and excellent prints. I could not be happier. The only reason I did not give 5 stars was because it printed too dark on my first attempt, but after a few adjustment it deserves 5 stars
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on August 22, 2011
I decided on this printer after hours and hours of comparison research and
I have had no regrets since purchasing my unit from a most obliging retailer
via Amazon.
The first serious (and frightening) test of the R3000's capabilities was for
an exhibition I had been invited to put together of images from a recent project.
I printed off 35 black and white photographs on Chromajet Metallic Pearl A3+ using
the printer's own 'Advanced B/W' settings and the results were simply awesome!
The exhibition was a great success and I have since sold over 20 framed prints.
What excited me most was that the R3000 reproduced the images almost exactly as I
had intended, pushing it to the test with some quite unusual processing techniques.
A true testament to the R3000's print quality and my love affair has only just begun!
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