Jay and I believe Epson’s new Stylus Pro 3880 printer ($1,295–$1,495) is the best choice for a graphic design studio. It replaces their popular 3800 model, and adds Vivid Magenta inks, an improved print head, and new screening algorithms. The result is better color, especially in skin tones, color transitions and shadows.
In addition, the print head’s ink-repellent coating results in far fewer clogs and spatter, and a built-in sensor automatically senses when head cleaning or alignment is needed and performs the adjustments.
The printer’s new screening algorithm helps reduce metameric failure, a condition in which the the human eye detects a shift in color when viewing a print under different light sources. The 3880 has two black inks, matte and photo black, that automatically switch when you move between glossy and matte (or fine art) papers. It can print borderless on sheets from 4-by-6 inches up to 17-by-22 inches, and includes a straight-through path for media up to 1.5mm thick. It has both USB 2.0 and Ethernet interfaces.
The $1,495 “Graphic Arts Edition” includes a ColorBurst PostScript Level 3-compatible RIP for both Mac OS X and Windows XP. The RIP is licensed by Pantone for both its coated and uncoated libraries, and includes separate input ICC profiles for RGB, CMYK, and grayscale images. It allows ink limiting and CMYK curve adjustments for complete color control, and its in-printer linearization technology ensures accurate color across multiple printers.
The printer is also quiet and relatively compact — we really appreciate that! For lots more detail, see this page at Epson’s website.
Jeff Gamet is a contributing editor for Design Tools Monthly, the executive summary of graphic design news. He is also the morning editor and reviews editor for The Mac Observer and iPodObserver.com, and contributing writer for Layers Magazine and Photoshop User. He writes the InBrief column for InDesign Magazine, and is the author of “The Designer’s Guide to Mac OS X,” from Peachpit Press
When Jeff isn’t writing about the graphic design world, he’s talking about it on the Design Tools Weekly podcast with co-host Jay Nelson. He also talks about Apple and the Mac world every week on The Mac Observer’s Apple Weekly Report.
Jeff studies, tests and reviews new software and technologies for the Macintosh community as well as the design and print industries. He is a former Pre-press specialist, and has nearly 25 years experience with computer technology. Jeff trains, lectures and consults on techniques for more efficiently using Mac OS X in creative environments throughout the country.
In the rare moments when he can get away from his MacBook Pro, Jeff spends his time climbing and biking in the Colorado mountains.