Epson Stylus Pro 4880 printer user experience report
Part five: printer driver

As I mentioned in part two of the report, my printer arrived essentially without any software. As far as printer driver of the Epson 4880 is concerned, the situation was not handled very professionally by Epson, too.

The original official Epson driver for the 4880, v3.90, was released on 25 October 2007 and, according to Epson, "This driver is OS X v10.5 compatible, not full–featured, and therefore, will offer only limited printing support". It was unclear which printing features it supported.

Later Epson offered a beta version of a new driver describing it as follows:

"The following Epson drivers are for use with Apple Macintosh OS 10.5—10.5.x. These drivers are offered for public beta testing only, so Epson provides them "as is," without any warranty, support or liability of any kind. Final release of these drivers is expected to be Q1 of 2008.

These Epson Leopard drivers are all new. They are being designed to take advantage of the latest technologies introduced with the Leopard OS. One major feature is the 16–bit printing path. We are designing the drivers to function so that if you are printing 16–bit files from 16–bit capable printing applications, the data remains untouched in native 16–bit form as it arrives into the Epson printer driver for color and screening processing."

The wording in the above paragraph leads me to think that the original printer driver (v3.90) did not support 16–bit printing.

The current official version of the driver, v6.12, was released on 18 September 2008. This driver is finally fully functional and supports all features of the printer. Looking at what has changed from the original version of the driver, it seems that AccuPhoto™ HD Screening Technology was not supported in the beginning, too.

Installation procedure for the latest driver was not documented by Epson properly either. According to Epson, it has to be done as follows:

1. Download the file.
2. Double–click the downloaded file to create a disk image on your desktop.
3. Open the disk image.
4. Double–click the installer icon to begin the installation.

What this does not mention, and has caused quite a lot of confusion, is that if you have a previous version of the driver installed then the old driver must be deleted and the printer removed and then added again. Otherwise, when you send a file to print, the status shown for the file in the printer utility will be "Stopped". Clicking the "Resume" button will not change anything and if you click a few times more the system will report the following error: Operation could not be completed. Client–error–not–possible.

Part one: why Epson?

Part two: Epson 3800 vs. Epson 4880

Part three: unexpected surprises

Part four: swapping matte and photo black inks

Part five: printer driver

Part six: 8–bit vs. 16–bit printing

Part seven: print head clogging

Part eight: final thoughts