Epson Stylus Photo R2880


Epson Stylus PhotoEpson’s new 13″ Stylus Photo R2880 printer (replacing the Epson 2400) incorporates print technologies that include a new printhead using an ink-repellent coating to improve ink dot placement. Its new UltraChrome K3 inkset and Radiance technology optimizes ink use, reproduces colors with more accuracy, and minimizes metamerism. A built-in “mist-collection system” sucks up ink overspray and keeps the printer’s head clean. The ink cartridges’ small capacity makes the R2880 suitable for fine art photographers and designers who demand professional quality but don’t do high-volume production. What’s disappointing is that the user still has to swap photo and matte black ink cartridges when changing paper types.

The R2880, with two USB ports and PictBridge connectivity, is more solidly built than the Epson 2400. It handles both sheet and roll paper and has a front-loading tray for printing on CD/DVDs—a welcome new feature. There are four paper-feed paths, with most papers being fed through the reliable 100-sheet capacity top feeder. A front paper feed can handle art board up to 1.3mm thick. The rear single-sheet feeder handles thicker, fine art papers but requires patience to master the paper-feed technique.

Epson added vivid and vivid light magenta to the nine-cartridge K3 inkset—in effect, a bigger box of crayons—that widens the color gamut, especially affecting reds, magentas, and blues. When I compared prints of the same file made on the 2400 and the 2880, there’s a noticeable, but not dazzling, difference; however, it’s enough to want to reprint files to gain that extra color and dimensionality. Gradients appear smoother with more subtle transition and there’s more visible shadow and highlight detail. Two features are outstanding: the supplied canned paper profiles and the Advanced Black-and-White Photo Mode.—Steve Baczewski

PRICE: $799.99
FROM: Epson America, Inc.

HOT Wider color gamut; automatic nozzle check
NOT Small-capacity ink cartridges