STYLUS PRO 3880
The desktop-sized A2 format
3800 was a huge success with
photographers who have lowish
printing volume requirements so its
replacement has a lot to live up to.
Report by Trevern Dawes.
The Epson Stylus Pro 3880
in closed down mode.
pson's Stylus Pro 3800 has enjoyed the
status of being the most popular A2 printer,
but after three years it's been replaced by the Pro
3880 model which has to meet the challenge of
being equally – or even more – successful.
Like its predecessor, the Stylus Pro 3880 is
an ideal printer for both the professional's studio
and the enthusiast's study because it presents
well as a relatively compact and elegant 'box', is
easy to set up and equally easy to operate. Prints
made with it in both colour and black and white
leave little to be desired. The lack of a roll paper
capability is reﬂ ected in the appealing price, but
isn't a feature many will miss when using single
sheet feed is the prime intention (even if these
sheets are cut down from paper rolls to the maxi-
mum paper handling of 950x432 mm).
This sleek black-and-silver printer has a pull-
out rear automatic sheet feeder and a drop-down
receiving tray at front. These fold neatly away
when the printer isn't in use. The rear manual
paper feed is a separate item that's attached
Apart from the badging, there are no changes
to the outer appearance compared to the 3800,
but several signiﬁ cant changes lie within. 'Vivid
Magenta' and 'Vivid Light Magenta' inks have
been added to the UltraChromeK3 pigmented
inkset to enhance the colour gamut, especially in
the blues and purples. AccuPhoto HD2 screen-
ing improves the ink placement accuracy for
smoother colour and better tonal gradations. A
new print head provides better colour placement
and there is now an ink repellant coating to help
The set of nine UltraChromeK3 pigmented inks. The Photo Black and Matte Black cartridges have
their own individual slots.
reduce clogging and minimise maintenance. For
those keen to fully exploit their printing the Stylus
Pro 3880 will accommodate 16-bit ﬁ les. The front
control panel with its seven buttons, three lights
and a LCD info screen provide access to all func-
tions and monitors precise ink levels and the print
status. Three paper feed systems cover all sheet
Apart from the two new 'Vivid' inks, the
remainder are the same as for the Pro 3800,
however the vivid colours can't be used in the
Straight out of the box, the printer's moving parts
are so well secured with blue tape, it takes sev-
eral minutes to free everything up. Thereafter it's
a case of plugging in the power cable, switching
on, shaking each ink cartridge before insertion,
closing the ink bay lid and waiting about seven
minutes for the print head to be automatically
charged. When the 'Ready' indicator appears
in the LCD panel, connect an USB or Ethernet
cable (not supplied) and install the CD with the
printer driver, user guide and software download.
Altogether, set-up takes about 30 to 45 minutes,
but is very simple and straightforward, aided by
the "Start Here" instruction sheet.
After set-up, if you wonder why the ink
levels do not register as full, it's because about
20 percent of each cartridge (which have an 80
millilitre capacity) is used to charge the print
head. Of course, all new ink cartridges thereafter
will have 100 percent capacity.