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Epson R2000 printer making large colour printEpson Stylus Photo R2000 review

Using the SP R2000 A3+ printer

The Epson R2000 is a pigment ink based printer, using Epson's Hi-Gloss 2 ink set.

Epson UK kindly lent us a printer for a while, to try out and test.

Keith Cooper has been looking at how it performs as a photographic printer, for both colour and black and white printing.

Most of this review looks at an Epson R2000 driven directly from Photoshop and using an Apple Mac. Functionality is very similar if you were using a Windows PC.

Epson SP R2000

This review concentrates on using the printer for high quality print output, rather than covering the bundled software in any great depth.

Keith has written numerous other printer related articles and reviews. Have a look in the site 'Articles News' section for details.

Amazon.com :- Epson R2000 - - full R2000 ink setr2000 front view, showing A3+ print

What do you get with the R2000?

The R3000 I tested was shipped already set-up, so I was able to get it going fairly quickly.

A new printer needs all the ink cartridges installing first - you can see them stacked up on the printer below.

items supplied with R2000

Our test printer lacked the CD print tray, so I wasn't able to test this, but previous testing of the R3000 and other Epson printers suggest that they have CD printing pretty well accounted for.

In the box...

Note the presence of only basic black ink (type used depends on paper type) - this suggested that the R2000 might not be a printer for those wanting to experiment with monochrome. Fortunately, as I'll show, I was to be pleasantly surprised by what you could get from this printer.

Key Features (info from Epson)

The printer is relatively light, compared to some of those of similar size I've looked at of late. It's easy to move around, even if you're not particularly strong.

Connectivity

The printer doesn't lack for connectivity - the shot below shows both Ethernet and USB connections used during testing

rear sockets for ethernet and USB

The printer was easy to find on our network.

printer showing up on network

I'm always a bit wary of connecting up test printers, since I've no idea how they were set up by previous users. Initially installing the software on my laptop (USB connection) made for very simple configuration.

Unlike the bigger R3000, which has an LCD display screen, you do need a direct connection to easily set up wireless functionality.

Once the printer is set up, it has a web page of its own, accessible from any browser on your network.

You can also print directly from devices such as an iPad with software produced by Epson.

printer's web page

Using the R2000

I installed software from the supplied disk on to an Apple Mac running OSX 10.6.8.

The printer is relatively compact (24.5" wide, 13" deep, and 8" high), but you do require quite a bit more space if you're feeding in A3+ (13"x19") sheets

Move your mouse over the image to see the various paper trays.

printer paper guides closed and open

Here are the more detailed space requirements.

space required for R2000 printer

Do note that if you are loading stiff media from the front, it does need to come out all the way from the back.

The only controls are on the front panel - for most users of the printer you won't usually need any more than the power button and the ink button - to dismiss initial ink warnings and to change ink when you absolutely need to.

printer controls on front panel

Like many inkjet printers, waiting until you absolutely have to change inks will. over the lifetime of the printer, save you quite a bit of cash. Use the initial low ink warnings as a reminder to have spares ready.

Changing ink on the R2000

The ink carts are installed and replaced by lifting the top panel of the printer, when the printhead/cartridge assembly can be moved to its access position.

Note the orange LED showing which cart needs replacing (PK here)

Move your mouse over the image to see the cartridges.

access to print cartridges

The cartridges simply plug in.

They are a good snug fit (mouse over image to see) and firmly click into place.

replacing an ink cartridge

When I get printers shipped to me to test, I always like to leave them overnight to settle.

This one was in good condition, but an initial nozzle test showed a few colours not quite working correctly, so I ran the automatic cleaning process. After this, the printer worked flawlessly for the many dozens of prints I produced.

cleaning the print heads

After this clean, a few test prints, and several profiling targets, ink levels had dropped enough for me to need to change the black ink (the one shown in the pictures above.

Mouse over the image below to see the movement in ink levels - the indicators show small movements well enough to give a real feel for your ongoing ink usage.

Ink supply levels

The ink cartridges will be shaken every so often, in a feature called 'ink density optimisation' - most pigment ink printers do this every so often to counteract a tendency for pigments to settle out over time. Like all inkjet printers, the R2000 benefits from regular use - leaving any printer several weeks between prints makes it more likely that you will need to run cleaning cycles, especially if you live in a climate with low humidity.

Changing black inks

If you have experience with one of Epson's earlier A3+ printers then you'll know that you have to use different black inks for matte and glossy/lustre papers.

Well, the R2000 has both Mk and Pk inks loaded at the same time, so no more swapping/waste of black ink - a vast improvement on printers like the R2880 if, like me, you enjoy printing on a variety of paper types.

Print utility and driver options allow you to set various alerts and monitor status.

Paper Loading and Media handling

The R2000 has an impressive range of media size options, although as with every printer I test that needs some papers to go into different loading slots, I initially sat just looking at it and wondering why nothing was printing (apart from a flashing LED), as my paper just sat there, in the wrong slot. The good thing is that you need only do this once...

If nothing happens when printing, do go back to your computer and look for the warning/error message.

range of standard paper sizes and options

Printing on an A3+ sheet of Epson's very nice 'Cold Press natural' art paper (rear feed slot) I checked to see the margins required.

As you can see (mouse over image), no problems with margins (3mm) on normal 'art papers'.

margin sizes for prints

I note that for thicker papers, whilst you can print at top and bottom of the page, there is a 35mm area where 'quality may be reduced'. For single sheet printing I detected no issues, but as you can see, the sheets are very flat, with no curl.

If you are printing borderless or with any paper at the top and bottom of the page, then do check carefully. It's my experience that printers really don't like paper curl at the beginnings and ends of prints.

The manual has details of all the various options for borderless and roll printing, and is well worth reading carefully if you want to go beyond the 'standard' print types.

Here's an A3 sheet (a lustre paper) printed (mouse over image to see).

main sheet feed for paper

Here's an A3+ sheet of a heavy cotton rag paper printed via the rear loading slot (mouse over image to see).

rear feed for paper

As with most printers, I initially had some minor issues about how hard to push the paper into place, but once I'd got the knack, it was pretty easy to load.

The printer handles media up to 1.3mm thick and has a front loading straight through print path - you need to lower the front panel (also used for CD printing).

Large paper

The R2000 lets you specify page print lengths up to 44" (there is a roll option too)

large sheet of photo paper

I'm trying a special panoramic paper size here from Paper Spectrum (based near where I live in Leicester in the UK).

This particular paper is 'panoramic A3' or 297mm x 900mm [details]

print setup for 900mm pano print

The version I'm using here is just a basic white matte photo paper.

It's actually very easy to set up to feed.

paper loading for 900mm paperduring printing, using 900mm paper

I like this paper size for panoramic images - it has the advantage of being flat. Curl is often a problem with small 13" rolls of paper, particularly near the end of the roll.

900mm panoramic print from r2000

Setting up another custom paper size, I tried the 'A4 Pano' size

setting a new custom print size

This time on a glossy photo paper.

59cm print setupduring printing

Once again, no problems with paper feeding.

printing panorammic colour print

Using Roll paper

If you take the rear feed unit off the printer, you can fit the roll paper holders (mouse over image to see).

roll paper holder

Unfortunately I was out of roll paper this size, so unable to test it. However I did get to try this with our R3000 review a while ago, which discusses roll paper use with this size of printer in much more detail.

The printer can print to 129" (3.27m) in banner mode - enough for most people's panoramic print needs.

Printer testing

I'm assuming that most people wanting a printer like this want to make prints to display, and that these prints are likely to be viewed at a reasonable distance.

Why so? Well, modern printers with good paper and well made profiles are capable of producing stunning prints. Indeed, unless I'm putting prints next to each other under controlled viewing lighting, very few people could tell the difference between most images printed on different (good) printers on the same paper.

That doesn't mean there aren't differences, it's just that the images that clearly show them are getting more difficult to find.

For looking at colour and black and white performance, I've initially used a Datacolor test image for colour, and my own black and white printer test image. I know both images well enough to spot any problems with a new paper (my most common use for them).

two test prints from the Epson r2000

I always suggest that people look at prints of known test images, since they are (mostly) devoid of the subtle tricks that our memory plays on us when looking at a personal photo, particularly one that you've spent any time editing and working on.

The images (and many others) are available for free download on this site.

printer test image for black and white printingdatacolor test image for printer profilie evaluation

Both images have lots of components to specifically test different aspects of printer performance.

I also use both for testing the performance of printer profiles. If you make use of them, then do be sure to read the explanatory notes that go with them.

Various Prints

When trying out different papers, one additional option in setup, is whether to make use of the 'Gloss Optimiser' clear coating 'ink'. With Epson papers, this will have been set in advance, but you might wish to experiment when looking at lustre or semi-gloss finishes.

The example below show the change in surface finish, and how the coating doesn't quite go to the edge for the particular paper size I'm using.

It's taken quite some effort to make the differences as visible as they are in this photo - it's normally a lot more subtle, but for a paper like Epson Premium Glossy Photo, the results made me think I was using a dye based printer.

gloss optimiser applied overall to print

There is a bit of a downside in that you can use up the gloss coating at a fair rate with big glossy prints (I note that the R2000 has been supplied with two gloss carts in some markets - ours was not new, so I couldn't say whether this is still so).

Colour profiles and profiling

I prefer to create my own colour profiles for papers and printers I'm testing, using i1Profiler from X-rite and an i1iSis scanning spectrophotometer.

Note - if you are not that much into colour management, you may want to skip over this section

The printer software installs a good set of profiles for Epson papers, which gave generally good results. I tested the premium glossy (PGPP) and lustre, along with the velvet fine art.

supplied colour profiles from Epson

Best photo was the setting I prefer to use for printing with this printer - PhotoRPM didn't produce any noticeable difference in any image I tested (on PGPP), other than slow down printing.

selecting print resolution

I used 16 bit mode where images were in 16 bit, and a larger colour space (such as ProPhoto) although once again, the benefits are unlikely to show on many prints.

Black and White

The printer has a greyscale print mode.

greyscale print mode r2000

However, with just the one black ink, I wasn't expecting great things in this area.

The photo below shows an extremely accurate photographic grey card over a test print produced using the greyscale mode.

This is viewed under halogen lighting, and white balanced for the card - the colour cast to the print is quite noticeable.

grey card to show colour tint of print

However, look at the two prints below.

The left hand one is the same, but the right hand print is printed with a colour ICC profile I've made for the paper. The colour cast is much reduced, and the linearity of the print has been improved.

comparing bw prints under halogen lighting

Moving outside (grey overcast day) shows the difference very clearly - with the greyscale mode print looking distinctly blue for my taste.

Once again, the image has been white balanced to the card.

comparing BW prints in daylight

Similarly, a profile I created for Epson's Cold Press Natural paper (no brighteners) produces an excellent monochrome print.

BW print setup for matte art paper

Once again, the picture is white balanced to the grey card

monochrome print on art paper

My suspicion is that if when building the profile (from nearly 3000 patches) I'd set the illuminant to a bit lower temperature, the print would look almost bang on neutral.

In terms of print quality, this is one of the best unexpected results I've seen for years.

I've taken this print, and one of the same image produced on a printer with multiple black inks (greys) along to several talks I've given of late, and without controlled lighting and very careful comparison, very few people noticed any difference.

The difference is there, but at a level that I'm now happy to recommend this printer as capable of producing good B&W prints. Of course, I'd prefer the additional flexibility and control you get with the R3000, not to mention the bigger ink cartridges and multiple black inks, but that comes at a price you might not want to reach.

Additional software

Print layout software and software to print CDs is provided, but as I mentioned, this printer had mislaid its CD tray...

For the first time ever, I tried out the PictBridge USB socket at the front.

I've loaded a pack of 7x5 glossy paper (PGPP) and taken a photo of the daffodils in our conservatory. Plugging the lead into the camera (a 21MP Canon 1Ds3) I've selected (and slightly cropped) the image I want.

It was then printed directly from the camera.

The print looks like a standard photo print from a shop - borderless, pin sharp, smoothly glossy.

I'm not sure why I'd want this functionality, but it works really well...

printing via PictBridge mode

Conclusions

A printer that just works - and produces exceedingly good quality prints. Simple to set up and easy to use.

Buying the Epson R2000

We make a specific point of not selling hardware, but if you found the review of help please consider buying the R2000, or any other items at all, via our link with Amazon.
Amazon UK link / Amazon Fr / Amazon De
Amazon USA link / Amazon Canada link

It won't cost any more (nor less we're afraid) but will contribute towards the running costs of our site.

R2000 at B&H
R2000 at Adorama

The range of connectivity makes it easy to share the printer between users.

Black and white printing performance is so-so with the greyscale print mode but, with a well made custom ICC profile, can produce results that were of truly unexpected quality.

The colour range of the R2000 is very good, comparing favourably with much larger printers.

Sure, I can see some difference compared to the Epson 4900, but the differences really won't be obvious to many.

Ink costs

Compared to the smaller cartridges of the previous R1900 (17ml in the R2000 vs. ~11.4ml) the R2000 should prove more economical to run.

Ink cartridge size is good, but then again, this isn't a printer you'd choose for high volume printmaking in a business.

With limited spare inks and trying lots of different papers and settings, it's difficult to give meaningful data on ink usage from my testing, but apart from the relatively rapid use of the gloss coat, I was pleased at the big stack of test prints sitting in the office at the end of testing.

Overall

A really high quality printer that will well serve the 'enthusiast' market. As one of the cheapest printers I've seriously tested for several years, I was mightily impressed, and find it difficult to point to any meaningful issues or problems.

Discuss this review with Keith on Google+ ?

You can leave comments/questions about this review below or via our blog

  • Article history: First published May 2013

Summary

A pigment ink based A3+ printer that produces excellent black and white and colour prints.

Supports a range of media, including thick paper (to 1.3mm), roll paper and printable CDs.

SPECIFICATIONS (from Epson)

Nozzle Configuration 180 Nozzles black, 180 Nozzles per colour
Minimum Droplet Size 1.5 pl
Ink Technology Epson Ultrachrome Hi-Gloss2
Printing Resolution 5,760 x 1,440 dpi
Category Consumer

Printing

Printing Speed 13 Pages/min Monochrome (plain paper 75 g/m²), 13 Pages/min Colour (plain paper 75 g/m²)
Colours Photo Black, Matte Black, Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Red, Orange, Gloss Optimizer

Paper / Media Handling

Paper Formats A3+, A3, A4, A5, A6, B3, B4, B5, Letter, Letter Legal, 9 x 13 cm, 10 x 15 cm, 13 x 18 cm, 13 x 20 cm, 20 x 25 cm, 100 x 148 mm, User defined
Duplex No
Automatic Document Feeder Yes
Compatible Paper Thickness 0.08 mm - 1.3 mm
Media Handling Auto Sheet Feeder, CD / DVD, Fine Art Paper Path, Roll Paper, Thick Media Support

General

Energy Use 21 W (standalone copying, ISO/IEC 24712 pattern), 3.7 W (sleep mode), 1 W (printing)
Product dimensions 622‎ x 324 x 219 (Width x Depth x Height)
Product weight 12.38 kg
Noise Level 39 dB (A) according to ISO 9296
Compatible Operating Systems Mac OS 10.4+, Mac OS 10.5+, Mac OS 10.6+, Windows 7, Windows 7 x64, Windows Vista, Windows Vista x64, Windows XP, Windows XP x64
Included Software Epson Print CD, Epson Status Monitor, Epson Web-To-Page, EpsonNet Config, EpsonNet EasyInstall, EpsonNet Print
Interfaces USB, Ethernet, WiFi
Sound Power Operation: 4.8 B (A)
WLAN Security WEP 64 Bit, WEP 128 Bit, WPA PSK (TKIP), WPA PSK (AES)
What's in the box Driver and utilities (CD), Individual Ink Cartridges, Main unit, Power cable, Setup guide, Software (CD), User manual (CD), Warranty document, Wi-Fi/network setup guide

More Info

  • Please note that I like to know who I'm talking to (just like in real life) so anonymous comments are much more likely to be ignored or sumarily deleted ;-)
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