We’re continuing to work on our full review of Epson’s new Stylus Photo R2880, which we hope to have online in the next week or so. In the interim, we have been able to finish our benchmarking of the new inkjet, comparing it with its predecessor, the Stylus Photo R2400, and the two semi-pro printers closest to the R2880 in fighting weight: HP’s Photosmart Pro B9180 and Canon’s Pixma Pro9500.
We know that speed is usually a secondary or even a tertiary consideration when looking at photo printers, but, with today’s increased competition, it can be a factor for some people when they’re choosing an inkjet. Below are two charts, noting the print speeds for six different print sizes, ranging from 4" by 6" to 12" by 18" on the R2880 and the other three printers.
The first chart, shown below, displays the times (in seconds) for prints at the printers’ default photo modes. This is the setting most people will use, and one that produces very good results for snapshots and everyday use. As might be expected when looking at the newest member of the class, the R2880 is the speediest performer. (Click on the image to see a full-size PDF of the results.)
The second chart shows the print speeds at the highest resolution setting, the one that produces the most optimal prints, but which also uses up more ink. We rarely use this setting except for when we’re dealing with problematic images, ones with wide dynamic range, or when we want to create gallery-quality prints. Here, the R2880 continues to do well, although the gap is not as wide as it is at the lower quality setting. (Click on the image to see a full-size PDF of the results.)
The Stylus Photo R2400 was a fairly speedy printer in its own right, and, the R2880 shows a decent — not spectacular — performance improvement over the older model. It adds a little more of a performance gap with the B9180. It also leaves Canon’s Pixma Pro9500 in the dust, which is surprising (given the fact that a hallmark of the Canon photo printers is often print speed), but the Pixma Pro9500 is an unusual beast in and of itself, and is a bit long in the tooth.
As we noted, we should have a comprehensive review in the coming week, but we thought this was a snapshot worth sharing.