For pro-quality photo printing, experts love both the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 and its rivals, the Canon Pixma Pro-1 (Est. $1,000) and Canon Pixma Pro-10 (Est. $700) . But owner reviews break the tie: Owners report more breakdowns, clogged nozzles and marks on photos with the Epson printer. With the Canon printers, similar complaints are rare.
Outstanding photos. Photo quality is generally outstanding, experts say -- equal to its Canon rivals. In some tests, the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 delivers even more vibrant colors and deeper blacks than the Canon printers, despite having fewer ink colors in its pigment array. The Epson printer's nozzles deliver tinier droplets than the Canons', and some experts can detect finer details in the Epson prints, although the differences are barely noticeable. A few owners -- and expert tester Keith Cooper at Northlight Images -- report ink blotches or "pizza wheel" marks on their prints with the Epson R3000, but most have no problems.
The Epson has no chroma optimizer for glossy prints. Bronzing of black areas isn't a problem in tests, but gloss differential (dull areas) can show up. The Canons' optimizer smooths out these flaws.
The Epson Stylus Photo R3000 is faster than the Canon printers -- about 40 seconds faster to print a standard-quality color 8-by-10. The only consistent performance hassle is ink switching. Unlike the Canon printers, which switch between photo and matte black ink automatically and nearly instantly, Epson users have to physically tell the printer to swap inks every time they switch between glossy and matte paper -- and then wait (the printer takes nine minutes to switch inks in Shutterbug's test). The printer wastes 1 to 3 milliliters of ink in flushing every time it switches.
Useful features, but few extras. Digital Photography Review sums it up best: "The R3000 has many features without too many bells and whistles." Its 25.9-milliliter ink cartridges are bigger than the Canon Pro-10's (14 milliliters) but smaller than the Canon Pro-1's (36 milliliters). Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, USB and Ethernet. You can also print directly from your iOS or Android device, using the Epson iPrint app. An LCD control panel with built-in help makes it easy to figure out how to do things like print different paper sizes.
While a printer capable of handling sheets up to 13 by 19 will never be small, several reviewers say the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 has a reasonably compact footprint when not in use and its trays are folded in. However, PCMag.com says you'll still want to keep things clear around the machine -- front and back -- for the trays and for paper handling when using the straight paper path. Closed, the R3000 measures 9 by 24.2 by 14.5 inches; that expands to 16.7 by 24.2 by 33.1 inches when open. The Epson R3000 also accepts roll paper and large panorama sheets.
Few owner complaints -- but more than Canon. Here's where the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 falters just slightly. Owner complaints are fairly few -- only about 15 percent of Amazon.com customers and 5 percent of BHPhotoVideo.com customers rate it below average -- but they are consistent. Wasted ink, breakdowns and marks on photos (both ink blots and pizza-wheel marks, also seen in Northlight Images' test) are the most common problems. Such complaints are very rare with the Canon printers.
This expert review covers the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 in great detail. Although he's thoroughly satisfied with its print quality, George Schaub points out two annoyances with the R3000: a finicky paper feed and a laggy ink-switching system.
Review: Epson Stylus Photo R3000: An Affordable, High-Quality Inkjet Printer, George Schaub, Feb. 7, 2013
2. Digital Photography Review
After extensively testing a pre-production model for nearly a month, Vincent Oliver says the Epson R3000 is "certainly one of the best printers currently available". It wins the site's Gold Award. Print quality, speed and features are top-notch, but the R3000's price may put it out of reach for many users.
Review: Epson R3000 Review, Vincent Oliver, October 2011
3. Northlight Images
Keith Cooper is very happy with the show-quality prints he achieves with the Epson R3000. The slow, wasteful black ink switching is an annoyance, but Cooper points out that if you don't switch between glossy and matte paper often, this won't be a problem.
Review: Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Review, Keith Cooper, Updated December 2012
The Epson Stylus Photo R3000 is Mike Pasini's favorite 13-by-19-inch pro photo printer. He gets better black-and-white prints from the Epson than from the Canon Pro-1, and he appreciates the Epson printer's helpful LCD screen and convenient front-loading single-sheet feed.
Review: Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Sets the Standard, Mike Pasini, June 2012
"Gorgeous output at fast speed" makes the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 a standout among Editors' Choice printers here. Stone can find only two drawbacks: Epson doesn't publish cost-per-photo or monthly duty-cycle numbers, which is the maximum number of prints you can make without shortening the printer's life. However, he says, few manufacturers do.
Review: Epson Stylus Photo R3000, M. David Stone, Feb. 18, 2011
The Epson R3000 maintains a very high average score -- 4.5 out of 5 stars -- with more than 250 owner reviews posted here. However, we found more real user complaints (wasted ink, breakdowns, marks on photos) with the Epson than with its Canon rivals.
Review: Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Wireless Color Inkjet Printer, Contributors to BHPhotoVideo.com, As of April 2014
With more than 120 owner reviews posted, the Epson R3000 averages 4 out of 5 stars. Owners report the same complaints as at BHPhotoVideo.com.
Review: Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Wireless Wide-Format Color Inkjet Printer, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014