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Epson 1520, Epson 3000, Epson 5000, 5500 sheet fed color inkjet printers now replaced by the Epson 4000 Print E-mail

Epson 1520, Epson 3000 and the Epson 5000 sheet fed color inkjet printers now replaced by the newer improved Epson 5500Many people found the Epson 3000 the most economical way to attempt to mimic the production of fine art prints. But none of the alluring ads admit to the occasional deficiencies and the design defects of these infamous tabloid sized inkjet printers. Go onto any Epson user group and you can also get the whole list of problems from ozone discoloration of the media to metamerism (on the newer models). You also meet plenty of Epson printer users who are perfectly content though it's worth asking why the Canon desktop printers have such a good reputation.

 If you run your Epson printers with BEST color management RIP the combination is an industry standard for color proofing. The Epson 3000 is also the standard printer for use with dye transfer (heat dye sublimation inks) for heat transfer onto T-shirts, tiles, and mouse pads. Just be aware of inherent defects of the models 1520 and 3000. Fortunately the Epson 5500 overcomes the foibles of the earlier models and offers higher quality and more flexibility.

Just be sure you are familiar with the legendary features of the earlier model 3000 printer. As several people told me "the paper feeder mechanism is the first part that will break." I got the impression that one company had to have five of the model 3000 in order to have enough functioning to keep the company going. They joked that it was easier to leave the printer in the box and have it print from inside the shipping box, as that spared them the hassle of having to pack it up again to send it back to Epson for repairs. One Epson loyalist wrote, very upset, and told me that obviously I had never used an Epson 3000 (which is true, why should I buy a product that may not function). So this Epson loyalist said that the other people who had problems obviously had little experience in using computers. Yet my brother is trained in computers at the main technical university in Zurich, Switzerland (as well as trained at Georgia Tech). His entire company (architects), got rid of their pesky Epson printers. Now they have an Hewlett-Packard DesignJet (I believe the model 1055) and are very happy. Every time a loyalist writes and asks why I don't give a higher rating to their pet printer, that means I have to offer a balance. That is, if I print what the loyalist says, it is only fair that I also provide the feedback from experienced end users. Since I just got another e-mail from a loyalist who asked for me to present the positive sides of this printer (that it can do proofing and can do fine art prints) that also generated the need for a touch of reality. That is from a computer tech at a studio with at least three Epson 3000 printers.

Since he is the one that had to get the Epson 3000's running again after they crashed, he was one very adamant computer tech. He gave me a long list of why he wished these printers could be replaced. This was a community college. In the need to be fair I will say that one of the professors just loved the Epson 3000 and was very content. He was a capable artist and also owner of a commercial graphics design studio. But he also reported that their two Hewlett-Packard DesignJet printers were fabulous for the students, the one thing his own computer tech agreed with. The Epson software printer drivers are legendary for being quirky, a polite way for saying they are not always dependable. This means they often don't function like you need them to. So be sure you get a real PostScript RIP or at least a serious RIP that can handle the printer. Don't forget, the RIP is the brains of the printer. A desktop printer with no RIP is limited (didn't you ever wonder why those desktop inkjet printers were so cheap to buy). And something the Epson ads neglect to mention; the prints from an Epson 1520, Epson 3000 fade within a day or so if you make the mistake of leaving them in the sun. They fade inside even if no sun comes near them. Fortunately you can get many nice after-market inks. If you don't mind waiting up to 20 minutes for a single print; if you don't mind the paper feeder breaking; if you have the patience of Job and somehow the New Economy has left you out of the trickle down theory, then the Epson 3000 is indeed a cheap way to enter the inkjet world to experiment with rudimentary fine art printing. Just because the advertisements fail our standards and the printer also, that is no reason at all that you should avoid the printer. This may be an acceptable printer for you to consider. However you really need a printer that has a higher dpi and six colors. But don't make the mistake of seeing this as a godsend that can reproduce limited editions of 200 copies of your portfolio.

Even Job's patience would run out waiting for the 50th copy. Don't forget, printing without a separate RIP server ties up your computer also, unless you have a multitasking PC or a separate Mac just to baby-sit your Epson 3000. These are again little tidbits of information that some of the other reviews spare the newcomer. Sorry we don't mince our words. If you only need to print one or two copies, then its okay. PlotterSupplies does sell reconditioned Epson printers. If you wish a refurbished Epson printer, contact Michael E. Falagrady National Sales Manager Plotter Supplies, Inc./Qmax Digital toll-free: 800.365.3305 303.450.2900 fax: 303.450.0926 e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it At Seybold trade show I met an artist who said he is perfectly content with his Epson 3000 and occasionally I get e-mail expressing the same sentiment. Indeed that is why I feel it is necessary to present both sides of the story. Yet both those users were well aware of the pitfalls, glitches, and congenital defects. If the ads were as forthright we would award a higher rating to these printers. If you are doing color proofs with BEST and using Lyson or other inks, you can ignore most of the complaints. The BESTColor RIP ought to eliminate the quirky Epson driver system. The Lyson inks don't fade the first day outdoors nor the 5th month indoors. There are other RIP´s that are useful in case you want to do fine art but need just a RIP for layout and production. These Epson desktop printers are so cheap that if they break down you can just throw them away and buy another. Use Lysonic inks and your results are ready for any museum exhibit. InfoWave (they make PowerPrint) also make a PostScript driver for Inkjets, so try it out. We love PowerPrint to do correspondence with an HP on a Mac (HP are not very Mac friendly and need a special driver and a special cable). InfoWave was recently sold to another company, Strydent Software. But the only desktop printer from Epson that meets our minimum standards is the Epson Stylus Pro 5500. As soon as we accumulate more experience with the Epson 5500 we will provide additional information. Don't have any horror stories on that model. I would, however, recommend skipping the EFI Fiery RIP? Why? read my reviews on RIP´s in this web site and the other printer sites and you will see why most of the other RIP´s are better. Look in the index of each site, under RIP naturally. All the indices are in the link-table at the bottom of every page. Or, to be easier, just order the FLAAR Report Series on "RIP´s for Large format printer" At the February PMA 2001 trade show, Epson introduced the Epson model 5500, which is intended for printing photographs in general and for portrait photographers in particular. As we get more experience from this new model we will report more about it. Hewlett-Packard does not have any desktop model that offers six colors or has 1200 dpi or higher. Canon has their desktop model 8500, which is capable of producing outstanding color, but no pigmented inks are available. You can, however, evidently use Lyson inks in the Canon printers. If you wish to upgrade from the Epson 1520 or Epson 3000 to the improved quality Epson 2000 or 5500, then you should consult a place that knows fine art giclée printing with desktop sized inkjet printers.

Every day we get tearful complaints from people who bought the a printer from a source incapable of providing support.

In reality the printer may have been okay, but they bought it low-bid on the Internet or from some friendly local hometown dealer... who could not pronounce giclée much less had the foggiest idea how to produce a giclée print. Once you already take delivery on the printer, what can we do? Yet every day we get e-mail saying "I wish I had seen your web site and knew the downside of procurement from a supplier which suckered me into buying by slick advertising."To make your large format experience more pleasant, to enable you to print (and sell and make a profit), it's worth making the effort to find one company that takes responsibility for the entire system, input through output, color management, and training.


Last checked : Nov. 7, 2003.
Previous updates: Sept. 23, 3003, Jan. 15, 2003, Nov. 15, 2002, June 23, 2001.


The complete FLAAR Reports are in full-color PDF format. Our institute has comprehensive FLAAR Reports on over 73 different wide format inkjet printers, RIP software, color management, scanners, digital cameras and on countless markets such as wide format inkjet printers for photography, giclee, proofing, CAD, GIS, graphic design, signs, and specialty applications too. All FLAAR Reports by Dr Nicholas Hellmuth and his team are available on

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