The Epson 3800 printer has been a much-anticipated printer for many people, fitting a perfect size niche for many photographers, artists and designers.
Occupying an ideal size for many people, the 3800 has been much awaited by many people. We put it through its paces and offer our first impressions.
Setup is straight forward, as is software installation. Just follow the instructions and it all works. It is a big, solid printer and I was impressed with its construction quality and rigidity. First print out was my standard printer test image and it looked great.
I then set about putting a variety of papers through the 3800, both Epson papers and some third party papers I had. Color was very good using the supplied profiles, text is crisp and sharp, as are graphic lines at normal viewing distances. Up very close (as my short-sightedness allows and with a good loop) there is slight roughness and a little softness to text and lines, as well as gaps in very thin lines, but I think well within what you see with other printers. Color images show great color, nice color contrast and brightness. The gamut is excellent for photo printing. Monochrome images print stunningly in advanced BW mode. Tonal graduations are smooth, detail is crisp and color neutral. I also printed a lot of subtle color images, specifically my digital infrared images and these printed beautifully on this printer.
Paper handling is mostly great, though I did have a couple of odd misfeeds, which, frankly, I have experienced with every recent Epson printer I have used but not with other brands. Printing is pretty fast and the noise of the printer is quite acceptable. One thing you do not want to do with this printer is swap from glossy to matt paper very often. When you swap paper types it goes into a LONG purge cycle that seems to go on forever. Whilst I have heard that the ink loss is not huge because the ink cartridges are fairly close to the printheads, it still seems to go on for ages and I would worry about ink wastage. Depending on your usage patterns this may or may not be an issue for you. If you rarely swap paper types, it is no issue. If you swap frequently from matt to gloss and back, then I rather think this printer will annoy the hell out of you.
Apart from the above issue of matt to gloss and back swapping of media, this is a great printer. Fast enough with great print quality and decent ink capacity, I loved this printer and the prints it has produced.