Epson Stylus Pro 3800: After a lengthy demonstration at a trade show I decided to buy an Epson stylus Pro 3800 A2 photo printer. The main selling point was actually ink costs, rather than the increase in maximum print size, which considering pretty well all A3 photo printers do up to A3+ or Super A3, isn’t as big a jump as you might think. However the ink tank capacity of 80ml, compared to about 10ml in most inkjet cartridges, is a huge benefit. Yes the cartridges are more expensive at about £ 43 each, but that’s roughly 3.5 times the cost per cartridge for 8 times as much ink.
So far the print output per cartridge has been phenomenal - main colours lasting weeks rather than days. If you’re looking at buying an Epson Stylus Pro 3800, or the newer 3880, I’d say go ahead, it’s a great printer, and can print on glossy paper, unlike the Ultrachrome inks in my Epson Stylus Photo 2100 which the 3800 replaced. There is still a very slight chroming effect but it’s far less of an issue, as is metamerism, where Epson 2100 prints that looked great in daylight had a horrible magenta cast under artificial light. With the Ultrachrome K2 inks in the Epson Stylus Pro 3800 this isn’t a problem.
Although most Epson demonstrations use lustre paper, my own tests using Ilford Gallerie or Omnijet glossy paper have been impressive. Earlier Epson pigment ink printers were really only at their best on matt paper, but the Epson 3800 is also excellent on lustre or glossy paper.