Though I never reviewed it, the Epson Stylus Photo R2880 is an excellent medium-format desktop photo printer; it's my reference printer for camera testing. But when looking back at the post I wrote for the announcement of the R2880, I was struck by how accurate my guess was as to what would ultimately drive me crazy about it: you have to manually swap the Photo Black with the Matte Black small ink cartridges (which seem to require constant replacement);there is no networking; and it's relatively slow. Now, almost 3 years since the debut of the R2880, Epson slides the R3000 into its photo printer product line, delivering a yummy-sounding 13-inch version of the 17-inch Stylus Pro R3880, which addresses every one of those complaints.
The R3000 will offer 25.9ml ink tanks, with slots each for the Photo and Matte black inks--automatically detected with no swapping required--and the printer will ship with full-size ink tanks rather than "starter" cartridges. Though it has the same printhead as the 3880, the R3000 will be capable of laying down 2-picoliter drops.
In addition to USB, the R3000 will have Ethernet and 802.11n wireless connectivity. A front feed, L-shaped paper path is designed to accommodate a wide variety of paper types. It's got the more sophisticated front control panel found on the 3880--something the R2880 lacks. Plus, Epson claims it's 20 percent faster than the R2880.
It doesn't come particularly cheap, though the pricing tracks with Epson's current product line. When it ships in March, it will list for $849.