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Epson Stylus Photo R3000 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £551
inc VAT

This is one of the best photo printers you can buy but print costs appear to be high

The Epson Stylus Photo R3000 A3+ photo printer takes nine ink cartridges, including three different photographic inks which help to ensure optimal performance in black and white prints: photo black, light black and light light black. By comparison, the cheaper Stylus Photo R2000 has only photo black and grey for its greyscale image production. The R3000 also has the usual cyan, magenta and yellow inks, along with light cyan and light magenta variations. There’s also a matt black cartridge for plain paper printing.

Epson Stylus Photo R3000

You have to manually configure the printer to use either matt black or photo black depending on what kind of paper you’re printing on. The Windows driver will inform you if the printer is currently set to an ink type other than the one you’ve selected for your print in your application’s print properties menu.

You switch between the ink types using the printer’s built-in menu. This is easy to find via the integrated colour LCD screen, but we’d prefer it if the printer could change modes automatically. That said, most users will be printing either photos or matt art prints in large batches, reducing the need to constantly switch between the two. Changing ink type takes a few minutes while the ink system reloads itself and consumes some of your ink in the process.

Epson Stylus Photo R3000

The R3000, like most other serious photo printers, isn’t designed with document printing in mind. However, it handles plain paper documents well. Print speeds are still rather slow, but quality is good and we had no trouble loading paper. There are only two quality modes available for plain paper prints: Speed (draft quality) and Quality (high quality). We recommend making all prints in Quality mode, as draft mode wasn’t all that fast at 5.4ppm and produced grey text with rather jagged edges. Quality mode produced print speeds of 2.3ppm for mono text and a somewhat agonising 1.6ppm for colour prints. In this mode, both mono text and our illustrated business documents looked fantastic, but its cost and slow speed mean that the R3000 will never be anyone’s first choice for document printing.

When printing photos, you can choose from five different quality settings, but we recommend opting for Max Quality printing to ensure the best possible photos rather than attempting to save a few pennies to reduce printing time or save on ink. Print speeds are a little slow, even for a high resolution photo printer, with an A3 print emerging in nine minutes and four seconds and 6x4in photos taking two minutes and 14 seconds each. 10x8in prints took four minutes apiece.

The most obvious difference between prints from the R3000 and those from the cheaper Stylus Photo R2000 is in the R3000’s superior rendition of subtle variations in dark colours and the level of detail visible in its reproduction of low-contrast areas. Colourful tones of fruits and flowers are bright and vivid, without appearing unnatural, while black areas in our test prints looked fantastic in side-by-side comparisons with prints from cheaper Epson printers, although they weren’t quite as rich as those from similarly priced pigment ink-based Canon printers.

The R3000 uses pigmented inks, which lay particles down on the surface of the page, rather than soaking in like dye-based inks. Pigmented inks tend to result in sharper, more durable photos, but can also look a little dull. Even though the R3000 doesn’t have a clear overcoat cartridge such as those used by Canon’s pigment-based inkjets, we were pleasantly surprised by the glossy finish of photos printed on Epson’s Premium Glossy paper, while those printed on lustre paper had a more traditional semi-gloss art print look.

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Basic Specifications

Maximum native print resolution5,760×1,440dpi

Tested Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.08m 0s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.013m 24s

Print Quality

Number of ink colours8
Number of ink cartridges9
Maximum number of ink colours8
Maximum number of cartridges9
Quoted photo durability108 years
Quoted photo durability sourceWilhelm Imaging Research

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11n wireless
Optional printer interfacesnone

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA3+
Maximum paper weight255gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity120
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity120
Duplex (code, cost if option)No

Photo Features

PictBridge supportYes
Borderless printingA3+
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsnone
CD printingYes


Printer technologypiezo inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7/8, MacOS X 10.4+
Other inkjet features6.3in colour screen, automatic print head alignment
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Consumable parts and prices£24 each
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge495 pages (ISO/IEC 24711)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)1505 cyan, 865 vivid magenta, 890 yellow, 865 light cyan, 835 vivid light magenta, supplemental photo black, light black, light light black
Price per colour A4 page16.4p
Price per mono A4 page1.6p
Warrantyone year RTB

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.08m 0s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.013m 24s