Way back in the day, I ran a portrait and wedding studio. My bread and butter was 5×7, 8×10 and 11×14 prints. I sold thousands each year. And my lab made every one. You see Photoshop was version 1.0, there were $100,000 Iris printers but that wasn’t practical so we paid the lab.
If I could have had access to the Epson Stylus Photo R2000 Wireless Wide-Format Color Inkjet Printer back then it would have left me no choice. I would have fired my lab. And if you predominantly print 11×14” prints or smaller you might as well fire your lab too, because chances are they aren’t making prints that look as good as what I coaxed out of the R2000.
I own and use the big brother to this printer, the R3000. The primary difference being it accepts larger sheets of paper. But if you don’t need to print larger, there’s no reason not to consider the R2000. Don’t let its under $600 price tag fool you. It’s a pro-quality product, top-to-bottom.
The printer is very easy to set up and works well with wireless. I had it talking to my wireless network in under five minutes. Then again I actually read the directions. As long as you read the docs, you will have no problem. The printer supports Hi-Speed USB 2.0, wireless 802.11n and 100 Mbit Ethernet.
I tested the printer with a variety of Epson papers. While there are a few exceptions, in 20 years of working with Epson printers, I’ve gotten the best results using Epson’s high-end fine art papers.
The R2000 uses Epson’s widely-lauded UltraChrome Hi-Gloss 2 pigment inks for very vibrant prints. The ink cartridges are larger than previous models and allow for longer print runs between changes. (Note always have backups on hand. It sucks to run out of magenta in the middle of a print!)
The black inks are very good and using Epson’s Fine Art Matte papers you can get B&W prints that rival darkroom work. Oh and it offers auto-selecting black inks (no cartridge switching necessary for matte or glossy sheets!) I really like that. It saves time and money.
There is no banding with this printer, something I still run into occasionally with the Canon printers. The detail is amazing and if you experiment, you will learn which papers to use when making various types of prints. For portraits where skin tone is important I found the glossy papers worked best.
You can even use roll paper up to 13” wide in this printer and there are a variety of paper paths to allow for all sorts of thicknesses and surfaces. I had zero paper jams after running more than 100 prints through the machine in all sorts of configurations.
You should note that certain paper and ink combinations may require you to purchase more cartridges, but at the buy-in price of under $600 you can afford it.
The print quality and detail along with color rendition is simply stunning from the R2000. I’ve tested two or three other printers in this price range and they simply cannot compete – on any level.
Wilhelm Research (http://www.wilhelm-research.com) rates the longevity of prints from the R2000 as follows:
- Premium Glossy achieved over 100 years displayed under glass, over 120 framed with a UV filter and 52 years displayed without protection. Dark storage was over 300 years.
- Luster achieved 97 years under glass, over 115 years with a UV filter, 56 years unframed and over 200 years in dark storage.
- Velvet Fine Art achieved over 100 years under glass, over 150 years with a UV filter, 56 years unframed and over 300 years in dark storage.
The R2000 is a pro tool, but it’s easy to use. If you’ve been afraid to make your own prints you should consider trying this printer. If properly configured, installed on a big sturdy surface (it’s large and introduces a fair amount of vibration while printing so a stabilized surface is a must,) and if you limit yourself to Epson inks and Epson’s fine art papers, you will not only make great prints, you’ll do something your lab won’t let you. You’ll gain complete control of the creative process from start to finish.
I personally believe that a photo isn’t a photo until you print it. It’s the print that shows the photographer’s final vision. And through proper post-production and printing techniques, the photographer becomes the artist for a second time when making the print.
Ansel Adams likened the negative to the score of a symphony and the print to the performance. Why not be involved in both?
- Max color resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi
- Max B/W resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi
- Photo print speed: 44 sec (5″ x 7″)
- Ink type: Pigment-based
- Weight: 27.50 lb
- Dimensions: 24.5 x 16.5 x 31.4″ (622 x 419 x 798 mm)
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