Friday, January 11, 2008

NEW PRINTER - EPSON Stylus Pro 3800

Late on Wednesday, I received my new Epson Stylus 3800 Pro printer, but I didn't get around to installing it until late yesterday afternoon. As I had read from the reviews of others, there are whole bunches of blue tape to removed. They did not overstate -- it took me fully 20 minutes to find and removed all the blue tape strips holding everything in place. While I'm appreciative of Epson wanting me to receive the printer without damage, but it make one wonder how delicate this machine, er, how flimsy the construction is that they have to literally expend a roll of tape on each one to insure its safe delivery. Thankfully mine was only coming from B&H in NYC. And B&H did a good job of packing it -- the Epson box packed inside a bigger box with those little air bag thingies all around. AND UPS didn't beat hell out of it during transit. So, out of the box and onto my desk right where the 2200 it replaces sat. Interesting that the 3800 is only about four inches wider than the 2200 -- that's the same additional width of the of the print size between the two printers. And then onto removing the miles and miles of blue tape and several folded blue styrofoam things. Following the easy instruction, I plugged it in, turned it on, and waited for the door of the ink cartridge chamber to automatically flop open so I could load the cartridges. It did and I loaded all nine of them, yes, nine ink cartridges. Takes about 10 minutes for the printer to then prime itself (pumping ink into the lines that supply the print head) and uses about 1/4 of each cartridge to do so. Thankfully that's only a "first time" thing. Next the instructions say to connect the printer to the computer via the USB-2 cord. Actually that's the only option unless you put it on a network -- it comes with a network card installed, BTW. On all the printers I've ever installed on any computer, I've alway gone to the web and downloaded the latest drivers. So off to the Epson web site, d/l'd the current drivers, and installed them. Yea! Installation complete. Now for the first print. I pull up an image and tell PS to make a print. UGH, like DOUBLE UGH! So I look at the interface more closely and find there is no place to turn off the printer's control of the colors and let PS control everything. Looking at the manual in hand and at the manual on-line, the illustrations and the on screen views are not the same. I go back to the Epson d/l site and check to make sure I've d/l'd the correct files. Yes, I did. I look to see if Window XP Pro has installed a set of generic drivers instead of the Epson drivers. No, it had not. I run another print with different setting, and while it's an improvement over the first one, it is still nowhere near acceptable. I gave up for the night, watched "Blazing Saddles" on the TV while I sipped a really good anejo tequilla, and went to bed. This morning, I decided to uninstall all the Epson stuff I installed yesterday, and use the disk that was supplied with the printer. Like I said, in the past, I've always d/l'd the latest drivers for any device I'm installing and go from there. But much to my surprise, the illustration on the disk version looked exactly like those in the manual, and they worked perfectly. Go figure. The first print I ran with the "disk" drivers installed looked like what I expect and was very, very good. Then I print another file, and it's fine, also. Epson supplies 10-sheets of their Premium Luster paper for testing, aligning, etc., and I thank them. I ran the print head alignment next and it spits out an alignment test I've never seen before. Usually you get these little sets of lines that are numbered, and you pick the set that is printed correctly...right? But as I'm waiting for the alignment print to emerge from the printer, I look in the manual to figure out how I'm supposed to intrepret the results. VOILA, the machine reads it's own alignment output and automatically makes any corrections it deems necessary. So today, I will play with printing other files, order more ink (at $35/cartridge), try to find a key to the profile codes they are using -- example: Epson Premium Luster Photo Paper is listed as PLPP. It would not have hurt them to spell it out, ya' know? I will after more testing post further comments about this printer. I doubt I will be sending it back so long as it doesn't give me any trouble. The first two prints look excellent, but then I haven't really given it a challenging test, yet. Maybe wait until I have a supply of ink on hand. Stay tuned.

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