For example, the installation software, which I’d installed on my computer, failed to find the printer on my network. That’s the kind of problem I expect with WiFi connections, not Ethernet ones. So I went to check the network settings using the printer’s menu, and found that it won’t display its status, but will print it out. But when I tried that, the printer reported a paper jam. It turned out that the paper roll, which was already on the spindle, had come loose at one end. Pushing it firmly back in fixed that and out popped two pages of status text, printed on beautifully shiny, photographic paper from the roll.
It was soon apparent that a static IP address had been given to the printer … one that was incompatible with my network. I switched it to “Auto”, used the network restart option, and thirty seconds later the installation software had found the printer and set everything up.
Before moving onto to actually printing, I’ll note here that when I returned to use the printer again the next day, I found that it had put itself to sleep, so I started it up. But the driver software reported a communications error. I printed out its status and found that it had changed its IP address. I tried to change it back on the printer – that is, assign a static IP address – but I couldn’t get it to stick. So I found the IP address in Windows settings (Settings, Printers & Scanners, Epson SC-P5000 Series, Manage, Printer Properties, Ports tab, Configure Port – and there you’ll see a box to change the IP address.)
Those IP address issues are unlikely to trouble normal users. A new printer won’t come with a static IP, and shifting the automatically assigned address might have had something to do with my network. Those matters aside, the communications with the printer were very snappy. I could also type in the IP address into a web browser to do things like inspect device settings and ink levels and such. But normally you’ll just use the driver information panel (or even the colour display on the printer) to see ink levels.
Epson supplied plenty of paper, and there was enough ink in the cartridges to allow me to have my head, more or less, in printing quite a few of my favourite photos. I did everything using Adobe Photoshop, so others’ mileage may vary.
I guess one might develop a work flow if you’re doing the same kind of printing all the time. But I was doing all ad hoc work, so I found that a three step process worked best. First, I’d decide what type and size of print I wanted. Then I’d resize the picture for the size. Not resample it. No pixels were damaged through this process. But a photo does contain a resolution setting that controls how those pixels are turned into physical dimensions on paper. So I’d set that for the right dimensions (and have “Resample” de-selected).
Then through the print dialogue I’d go into the full print settings and choose the paper source (manual feed, roll or cassette) and size and paper type. (The printer optimises the laying down of the ink differently for, say, matte fine art paper than who it does for high lustre photo paper.)
The photos I used were mostly around 12 to 16 megapixels, and the results were simply amazing. At the very least as good as you can get in any photo shop. I turned a five year old wedding photo to black and white and printed it on A2, virtually filling the whole 420mm by 594mm surface. The graduations in grey were smooth, the blacks deep, the detail glorious.
An Eastern Rosella came out on the high lustre paper from the roll with its colours bright and powerful, while a Galah on a nearby light pole had subtle greys and pinks just about perfect. Sixteen megapixel pics came out very well on A2, and really popped on A3.
The convenience of the paper roll paper was first class. Manually loading the heavy weight (they were 330gsm) cut sheets wasn’t hard, and the display on the printer talks you through it. But just printing to the roll – and it cuts off the sheet after printing – made this my preferred option except for special jobs. I was able to print a panorama shot I’d taken on my phone, and even at one metre length it was exceptionally sharp. I was tempted to take it up to two and a half metres in order to use the full width of the paper, but I figured I’d never find anywhere to put it.
Print speed? Not bad at all. A full colour A2 sheet of exquisite high resolution printing took around five minutes.
For this quality some of the papers can be quite expensive. The Fine Art A2 sheets are available in boxes of 25 and come to about $7 per sheet. A 30.5 metre roll of Signature Worthy Premium Lustre 16 inch paper will cost $187. That’s what you pay for quality paper.
If you’re the kind of person who gives a high financial priority to your photographic hobby, you will find that this printer probably isn’t out of reach financially, and will allow you to produce truly professional works. On one proviso.