Epson Stylus Pro 3880: user report

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Epson Stylus Pro 3880: user report

Postby Thomas » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:38 pm

After having encountered the first shock of using the wrong Canon paper for the pigment based ink of the Epson 3880, I thought to open this thread for users and potential buyers of the cheapest and smallest A2/17" quality printer there is (at least afaik).
Btw. I'm still discovering some adhesive tape somewhere on this printer :D It was so taped-up that I really didn't find all of those in the first run. I bother what I'll do if I ever have to send this little beasty back to service :roll:

After some testing I've put the printer to its first real print-job on a 300x740mm version of the following image:

Image
Mirror Wood 2 28163 by Thomas, on Flickr

This was one of the reasons I bought this printer: You can easily define your own paper-formats up to 950mm (1) of length. This is ideal for panos!
Cut this format from a 17" roll and feed it as a single paper and it prints beautifully. The only restriction: customized formats cannot print w/o borders. But you're losing only 3mm on each side which is easily covered by any normal frame. So that shouldn't bother you.
The other reason I chose this shot were the pastel colors which are normally much more critical to reproduce than some lollipop-colors. The judgment is still out how good the output is, because I could only view the print under nondescript incandescent light and the colors have to dry some time to settle for their final appearance. So I'll report back when conditions allow. Also with my setting of the Lightroom 3 printer module and the printer-driver to achieve those results...
Last edited by Thomas on Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Thomas » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:17 pm

Just finished a real hard test of this printer: A reproduction of a painting by my wife.
This is much harder than some shot of a three-dimensional scene because you have the exact same object to which you can compare the print! in the image of the previous post there is no way to check the colors vs. the reality, only against the view on your monitor. And that is not easily done as the monitor is emitting light, while the print is reflecting light - and both of these lights seldom (in praxis "never") have the same color.
So while I was quite content with the results from the first test-print I was pretty excited to see what the acid test of comparing a print to the real picture would reveal. Now here's the image of the real picture, a sort of collage of various elements of the North Sea and the shore:

NorthSeaShore:
Image
Acrylic colors on canvas by Anne, on Flickr
Clicking through the image gives you access to full resolution.

When I was printing a portfolio for my wife on the Canon pro9000 this was a tough picture to get the colors right, especially the yellows were very hard to reproduce but also the reds on the left side. So I choose this to test
(a) how good I had got the color-management across to the printer and
(b) how capable the printer was in reproducing these colors

I went into the bathroom where the original is displayed, switched on the light, adjusted the spots to fully illuminate the painting and then raised my hand with the print to hold it in front of it. Remembering the difficulties with my former prints after a lot of experience with the Canon printer I was not expecting much from the new printer (only a few dozen prints so far) and set-up. Well, what can I say? Whoa: the print was so good that I immediately called my wife, which has a very fine eye for colors. She confirmed what I was seeing: This was the best print I had ever produced from her painting and the colors were very accurate!

Now I have to wait for daylight to compare both image again. Let's see whether the match is still excellent under natural light.
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Postby Thomas » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:20 am

Well, even under cold daylight the colors match very good. Just that the print seems a bit lighter than the painting. But that can be easily corrected.
What were my settings?
- I installed all the Epson paper profiles
- told Lightroom to let the printer manage the colors
- set the printer driver to the correct paper
- Mode to "Custom" -> Color Controls
- and "advanced" to Brightness+5, Contrast+0, Saturation+15 (max=25)
- all other settings remained standard (like sRGB etc.)
After this experience I might pull back brightness to 0 which should also produce more saturated colors, so could allow setting the saturation control to +10.
But first I'd like to get a better impression from more prints.
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Postby Thomas » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:51 pm

Being in the process of printing lots of Din A2 prints (42 x 60cm = 16.5" x 23.4") for my up and coming solo exhibition at the Zeidel-Museum near Nuremberg (which is mostly about beekeeping but has a large room set aside for display of various local artists too) in May.
So I'm getting a better understanding how the printer preforms. And the first batch already taught me some lessons:
1. If you load a stack of say A2 sheets into the feeder make sure you load them sheet by sheet. The first time I just dumped 5 sheets directly from the pack into the feeder and the printer gobbled up the first two sheets at the same time. Obviously the cohesive force between these sheets is to high when they come fresh out of the package
2. When loading one sheet of paper from a stack the feeder mechanism first centers the stack and then opens up the left and right alignment mechanism a bit (around 4 mm) at each side. At my first batch that led to a slightly jumbled stack of remaining sheets in the feeder of which the second one was pulled in (and fed through) a little askew. I then aligned all remaining sheets to the right to which the printer responded with an interrupt at the beginning of the next sheet :roll: The machine wanted me to load the paper correctly...
From that I learned to watch the first sheet of a batch to be properly pulled in and aligning the remaining sheets of the stack by gently nudging those sheets in line with the 1st. After that I had no problems with skewing in 4-6 sheet batches.

Color fidelity is pretty high and I did not redo a single print so far - all with the same settings. So that looks quite promising.
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Postby Bob Andersson » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:23 pm

Hi Thomas,

Congratulations on your "up and coming solo exhibition at the Zeidel-Museum". 8)

Forgive me if you've already mentioned it elsewhere but given how pleased you are with the printer may I ask if you are using the default settings from your printer driver and/or computer software or have you calibrated the printer?

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Postby Thomas » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:07 pm

No calibration, Bob. I just use the settings given in one of the posts above.
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Postby Gordon Laing » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:16 pm

Nice report Thomas... and I echo Bob on congratulating you on your upcoming exhibition!
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Postby Thomas » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:42 pm

After another batch where the printer tried to pull more than one sheet in I decided that with Epson's Premium Glossy Photo Paper (S042091) I'll only load one sheet at a time. Even after putting each sheet separately into the feeder the suction or friction between those large A2 sheets is obviously too much for the feed mechanism to separate securely and consistently.
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Postby Thomas » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:56 pm

Having now printed over 40 A2 images I can give an estimate on color consumption: You should get 100 A2 images from a set of 8 inks. That represents a value of 350 EUR. And thus one A2 print costs around 5 EUR each for paper and ink.
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Postby Antony » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:30 pm

Thanks for sharing the cost, I take that it was based on Premium Glossy Photo Paper.

I use Epson Matte Paper Heavy Weight Paper mostly.
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Postby Thomas » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:53 pm

based on Premium Glossy Photo Paper
Yes, it was. Any idea whether matte paper consumes more ink?
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Postby Antony » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:13 am

Thomas wrote:Any idea whether matte paper consumes more ink?
No idea about that. I personally prefer not to shiny on prints.
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