Epson Stylus Photo R2000 [mac] review
The Epson Stylus Photo R2000 is a wide-format inkjet printer that uses seven pigmented inks to print beautiful color photos as large as 13-by-22 inches, and even longer if you use the included roll paper adapter.
As the successor to the Stylus Photo R1900, the R2000 offers a number of improvements. While the R1900 was USB-only, the R2000 has multiple connection options, including USB 2.0, 100Base-T ethernet, 802.11 WiFi, and a PictBridge port. Expanded connectivity isn't the only change for the better, however. The R2000 also has higher capacity ink cartridges, which when printing poster-sized photos, can come in very handy.
Some inkjet printers use three inks—cyan, magenta, and yellow—but most include dedicated black cartridges as well. Inkjet printers meant primarily to print photos will often add a second black cartridge for better snapshot printing. The R2000, like the R1900 before it, adds red, orange, and gloss optimizer cartridges to expand the color range of its UltraChrome Hi-Gloss 2 pigment inks.
Epson's marketing materials claim photo longevity of up to 200 years using Epson’s Watercolor Paper—Radiant White. The company doesn't specify the print yields of the R2000's eight cartridges, but claim up to 50 percent more prints than the R1900. Epson representatives say they are waiting for the impending release of an ISO standard test page for photographic print speeds. This makes sense, as the standard test files are meant for general purpose printing on plain paper. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to come up with an accurate price per print and to compare the cost of printing at home versus sending your files to a photo lab.
Color photos looked great
I tried several types of paper: the Premium Photo Paper Glossy, Velvet Fine Art Paper, Ultra Premium Photo, Paper Luster, as well as plain paper. ICC profiles for many different paper types are included. As with the R1900, using Velvet Fine Art or other specialty papers with the R2000 requires using the manual rear tray, which accepts one sheet at a time. Loading the paper is a bit cumbersome, so if you primarily print on one of the long list of specialty papers that the R2000 supports, be aware that despite the results, the workflow is less than convenient.
When we compared the R2000's photo prints to the recently reviewed Epson Artisan 837, which uses six inks to print photos, the differences were apparent, especially in browns that could appear more black in the Artisan prints and reds that could look a little purplish. The R2000 also produced more details in shadowy areas of prints where the Artisan prints looked a little blocky. (We did an informal print comparison with the Artisan 837, a new printer we have onhand, because it might offer a lower-priced alternative to the R2000.)
In our review of the R1900, we thought the lack of dedicated gray inks resulted in somewhat disappointing grayscale photos. And while the R2000 didn't add these gray inks, its monochrome printing techniques were improved. Grayscale photos on Premium Photo Paper Glossy looked very good, however, and much better than the bluish grayscale prints from the Artisan 837. If you print a lot of black and white photos, you would probably be better off with one of Epson's UltraChrome K3 printers which include Light Black and Light Light Black inks, but you will be paying more for those devices.
And while it might make sense to have a second, more general use printer for casual use such as maps, directions, recipes, and the like, the R2000 did a fine job of printing both text and graphics to plain paper.
If you're looking to take your at-home photo printing up a notch in terms of quality or print size, the Epson Stylus Photo R2000 produces great looking color photos on a wide variety of paper types and even CD/DVD printable media.