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New A3+ Epson inkjet for professionals, enthusiasts

March 2, 2011:  Epson has released a new nine-colour A3+ printer for advanced amateur and professional photographers, the Epson Stylus Photo R3000.

With nine high(ish)-capacity cartridges of Epson UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta pigment ink, networking and wireless connectivity, and advanced front-in, front-out fine art media handling, the R3000 produces gallery-quality black-and-white prints, plus vivid colour prints with striking blues and violets.

Combining Epson’s innovative MicroPiezo printhead; advanced Black-and-White Photo Mode; auto switching of Photo and Matte Black inks; ink droplets as small as 2 picolitres to dramatically reduce grain and produce smooth tonal changes; and a 2.5 inch colour LCD control panel, the R3000 ‘is a sophisticated, easy-to-use printer designed to inspire creativity’.

The professional nine-colour ink set with advanced magenta pigments provides more dramatic blues and violets for a broad colour gamut. Its three-level black technology delivers richer blacks, outstanding tonal range and an unprecedented grey balance, ensuring outstanding black-and-white prints.

The ink set offers instant colour stability, and colours stay consistent whether viewed right out of the printer or generations later, according to Epson.

Optimal placement and correct droplet size of each ink colour is crucial to image quality. The R3000 utilises Epson’s proprietary and highly sophisticated LUT (look up table), which precisely converts RGB or CMYK colour information to create the appropriate blend of inks depending on the image being printed.

With the latest in wired and wireless networking, the R3000 makes it easy to print from anywhere. Advanced connectivity features enable you to choose the setup that best suits your needs: built-in 100-Mbit Ethernet for wired networking; the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi technology for wireless connectivity; USB 2.0 and PictBridge for direct printing from cameras.

The R3000 features a high-capacity, auto sheet feeder to load cut-sheet photographic and matte papers and print bordlerless in popular photo sizes from 4 x 6 to 13 x 19-inches.

It is capable of front-in, front-out printing on fine art paper, 1.3 mm thick art boards, or ink jet printable CDs and DVDs.  Alternatively, the built-in roll paper path allows printing panoramas up to 44 inches long on matte, satin, glossy, canvas and photographic papers.

The Epson Stylus Photo R3000 comes with a limited time offer of an extra 2 years warranty, valued at $249 RRP, making 3 years in total under warranty.

The R3000 is priced at $1499 RRP including GST and will be available from selected photo specialty resellers in March.

COMMENT: Margaret Brown, technical editor of Photo Review magazine and website, has been putting the new R3000 through its paces and rates it highly for image quality, ease of operation and quiet running. She was surprised to note, however (although not published in the review), that the Australian RRP is way above the US price, at A$1500 compared to US$850 (although Epson is putting a $250 value on it’s two-year extension of warranty.) More troubling when it comes to Total Cost of Ownership for customers (and from a reseller’s point of view, the ease of ordering from overseas sources) is the cartridge price differential of around $31 in the US and $48 in Australia, which represents a saving of around $150 for a full cartridge set in the US). UK pricing sits roughly in between US and Australian pricing (with the UK’s 20 percent VAT included).

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