Replacing an Epson 3880 Pro Printer

I was printing for the September 2023 show and went to download the ICC profile for my Epson 3880. I discovered that the printer was discontinued and that the ICC profiles are no longer compatible with the Mac operating system. The printer first came out in 2011, so it is a little long in the tooth and may have been discontinued sometime in 2015.  I should have been looking for a replacement some time ago, as the P900 came out in the fall of 2020. I print on thick cotton papers, preferably hot press bright, so a new printer must handle these papers easily.

After studying the Epson website, the illustration below shows the printers I might consider for 17″ and 24″ prints. You can see from the lineup there have been some significant improvements in pigment and, therefore, colour output compared to the 3880.

If I want to continue to have a maximum width of 17 inches, the P900 would appear to be the 3880 replacement. There would be no black switching with this printer, and the gamut has been improved, with one additional pigment, violet, but it is not listed as a Fine Art Printer. I suspect the colour array in the P5000 is considered Fine Art by Epson, but reviews seem to indicate the quality is very close. It is a larger printer than the 3880 and considerably heavier at 114 pounds, compared to the P900 at 35.5 pounds. If I considered moving to a width of 24 inches, at $4795 and 223 pounds, I would have to rearrange my home to fit it in. So 24 inches looks pretty impractical. This leaves me looking at the two 17-inch printers.

One first notices the pigment difference when comparing these two printers. The P900 array now has one more cartridge than the 3880, Violet. The P5000 has a significant change with the addition of orange and green. According to discussion groups, many photographers feel the increase in colour quality with the P5000 is worth the extra cost. The P900, however, is a new printer, which means the colour science is newer and likely a more recent version of what is in the P5000, and the latter does not support smaller sizes or things like cards, which the P900 does.

The P5000 is more of a commercial printer than a small studio printer and is designed for constant use rather than occasional use. Which means it would not be great for studio use. It is also just over a hundred pounds, making it difficult to move, unlike the 35 lb P900, which could easily be moved and comfortably sit on any desk. The P5000, unlike the P900, still has the problem of ink switching when changing blacks, which takes time and wastes ink. In addition to this, the resolution of the P900 is higher.

The video below will go into more detail if you need it.

Keith Cooper’s Review


The Epson P900 is likely my best decision for a high-quality art printer suitable for studio use and printing on cotton art papers.

13 by 17 Printing

If you are more interested in printing at 13 by 19 inches, then the P700 might be of interest; it is virtually identical in image quality and flexibility. Although it is the same weight, it is considerably smaller.