Incorporating an amalgam of recent technologies that we've seen in other models, today Epson announced the Epson Stylus Photo 2880, a replacement for the 4-year-old Stylus Photo R2400, a popular printer among amateur and pro photographers.
The R2880 uses the same print engine as the higher-end Stylus Pro x880 models, including the same Ultrachrome K3 inkset, which replace standard Magenta and Light Magenta with a Vivid Magenta and Vivid Light Magenta in addition to the standard lineup of Cyan, Yellow, Light Cyan, Light Black, Light Light Black, and Matte or Photo Black. However, the R2880 also includes the Radiance halftoning lookup-table technology from the R1900, as well as comparable capability to print on optical discs, and incorporates the same mist-collection technology for minimizing print contamination. Though its 3.0 picoliter minimum drop size is smaller than that of the R2400 and the higher-end printers' 3.5pl, it's still larger than the R1900's 1.5pl spec.
Though I'm looking forward to testing the printer, I have some up-front reservations. For one, you still have to manually swap the Photo Black with the Matte Black, which is a huge annoyance. It also seems to use similarly small ink cartridges, which on the R2400 seem like they require constant replacement; hopefully, they'll last longer in this model. And though the printer has an additional USB port, there's still no networking; I'd start to feel a little nickle-and-dimed for my $799.99. But most distressingly, according to a company rep, the rated speeds are 2:19 for an 8x10 photo in Best Photo Mode and 3:55 for a 11x14 photo in Best Photo Mode. That's 130 percent slower than the R2400, based on Epson's stated spec of 1:47 for 11x14 on the R2400. Ouch.
The R2880 is slated to ship next month.