Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Review Part 2 – Your First Prints

So now that you have installed the printer according to the instructions provided you are ready for your first color print.  The steps are relatively straightforward as outlined in the below process for color prints and black and white prints.

Color Prints

Firstly select “Print” from the “File” menu and the window below should be displayed:

Let’s first concentrate on the right side of the screen “Color Management”

You will see here that the “Document” radio button is selected showing the current color profile of the file which in this case is ProPhoto RGB.  Remember to use this file format and if you are a Lightroom user it is the default format.  It is generally acknowledged that ProPhoto will give better renditions on Epson printers and K3 ink set.  “Color Handling” should be set to “Photoshop Manages Colors”.  Note the warning about disabling the printer’s color management.  “Printer Profile” should be set to SPR3000 Epson Premium Glossy or whatever media you will be printing on.

Personally I like to print out a 4R Premium Glossy print first as a work print to check for color or any other major problems.  As for “Rendering Intent” there are couple schools of thought.  If you’ve read the “New Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing” by Rob Sheppard then you’ll know that he advocates sticking to either Relative Colorimetric or Perceptual so that you can master and start “seeing” in that intent.  Others will tell you to see whichever intent looks more right to you on a case by case basis.  For me, I will go with Relative Colorimetric as a default first and then if necessary switch to Perceptual to check if it is any better or worse.

Lastly, you want to select “Black Point Compensation” which will move the black point in your photo depending on the output gamut of the printer.  For more details on BPC please check here.  So up to this point the printing config on the R3000 is pretty much straightforward color prints.  However, for B&W prints there’s a little catch that will stump you if you are not careful so read on.

B&W Prints

Up to this point the process for color and black and white prints is the same.  To take advantage of Epson’s “Advanced Blank and White” (ABW) mode there are a couple things to note.  Firstly in the “Color Management” screen the “Color Handling” setting needs to be set to “Printer Manages Color”:

IF YOU MISS THIS STEP THE ABW MODE WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE IN THE “PRINT SETTINGS” DIALOGUE BOX.  To do the ABW fine tuning you then press the “Print Settings” button on the left side of the screen:

This will bring up the following dialogue box:

Where it says “Layout” in the above screen you want to choose “Print Settings” which will activate the following dialogue box:

Check to make sure that the “Advanced B&W Photo” option is available as a “Color” setting.  Then select the “Advanced Color Settings” as pictured above.  Which will take you to the following screen:

The only setting you want to adjust here is the “Tone”.  This will adjust how dark or light the photo is printing.  All other settings should be done in Photoshop proper and not through this panel.  Now you can go back to the previous screen to make sure that the correct “Media Type” is selected and the “Photo Quality” is set to 1440 dpi or above (1440 should be sufficient).  Also make sure that the “High Speed” setting is off for maximum print quality.  Finally hit “Save” and away you go!  Whew!

As you can see there’s a couple of steps that can be made redundant with some smarter algorithm and predictive programming.  But that’s probably a future driver update.

Epson Complete Ink Cartridge Set for Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Printer

Sample print from Epson Stylus Photo R3000

Here’s a print using Epson A3 Semigloss Photo Paper.  The subtle texture of the photo paper really matches well with the stone work inside the photo.

Before printing out the full size A3 above I printed out two smaller work prints using the Epson 4R Premium Glossy Paper.  You can see that the second photo below has a more greenish tint whereas the first one is more natural which is the one I ended up enlarging.

Photo was taken with the Bessa III using Fuji Pro 400H film.

Epson Complete Ink Cartridge Set for Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Printer

Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Review Part 1

So I finally picked up a new printer after my HP Photosmart 3310 All-in-One gave up the ghost.  The HP served me well for many years as an all-purpose printer but I knew that my next printer would have to better meet my photographic needs.  First and foremost it has to print out exhibition quality black and white prints.  Space saving and affordability were also high up on the criteria list.

As for the brand I was impartial since I had owned both HP and Epson printers before and had good experiences with both.  However, having read Rob Sheppard’s “New Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing” a few of years back did sway me in favor of the aforementioned brand.  I’ve always known Epson products to be highly durable as I have relied on my V700 to scan my films without fail for many years now.

So after doing some research into the latest and greatest I decided on the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 (SPR3000).  And after about a week with the printer and outputting some decent work prints I can safely recommend it to the general enthusiast looking to get good quality prints without much fiddling around.  So without further ado let’s look at what comes in the box shall we?

Unpacking the SPR3000

The SPR3000 is the size of a small side table when folded up.  With the front and rear trays extended it takes up significantly more room.  I leave it folded up when not in use to save space.  Like most printers nowadays it is WiFi enabled so you can put it in your closet if you really wanted to.  The rear tray is the auto sheet feeder for loading paper up to A3 in size.  There’s an edge guide that can slide all the way to the right for loading smaller 4R photo paper.  The front manual feed tray is the light gray piece in the front for loading things like fine art media, poster board and CDs / DVDs.

There’s a special carrier pictured in the bottom left corner that comes with the SPR3000 for guiding the CDs / DVDs into place.  Beside it are the power cord and USB cable which is not needed after the initial WiFi setup.  In the white box are the user manuals, CD ROM and two roll paper holders that can be installed on the back of the printer.  The little orange thingy must be removed from the printer before use.  Not pictured above are the 9 color and black ink cartridges that come with the printer.

The dealer where I got my SPR3000 from also gave me a whole stack of 4R Premium Glossy Photo paper samples which have come in handy for printing small work prints before larger ones.  As part of the package there was also a 30 minutes introductory training course to start producing decent prints after setup.  It helped going into the training to know a little bit about color management and profiles.

To be continued in Part 2…