By Neil Bennett | on November 20, 2011
Price When Reviewed: £665 plus VAT
Pros: Exceptional prints on both gloss and matte stocks. Wide colour gamut. Large ink tanks. Good stock support.
Cons: Photoshop plug-in needs work
Canon’s new A3+ photo and artwork printer is the first outside the company’s large-format range to offer 12 inks – and is also the first to feature product design ‘inspired’ by the company’s EOS line of digital SLRs.
While its looks make absolutely no difference to the quality of its prints, it does make you feel better about forking out over £650 than some of Canon’s and Epson’s older pro models – where only their size visually distinguished them from £50 throwaway home printers.
The 12-ink system is two more than the previous flagship model, the Pixma Pro 9500 Mk II. For the Pro-1, Canon has dropped a separate green ink, added two extra grays – and dropped in the mysterious sounding Chroma Optimizer, which essentially makes glossy prints, well, glossier. And our test prints bear this out – on Canon’s own Photo Paper Pro Premium stock we saw exceptionally rich results.
The Pro-1 is just as capable with matte media. On Canon Fine Art Paper, we printed out Minni Havas’ (minnihavas.fi) coloured pencil-drawn work – as seen on page 3 of our November issue – creating a print that many would find indistinguishable from an original (especially when hung). Canon bundles profiles for Hahnemühle and Ilford papers with the printer, and it’s easy to create your own using the included Color Management Tool Pro software and X-Rite hardware such as the ColorMunki. Both matte and gloss blacks are available from the print head without having to switch, losing precious – well, expensive – ink and wasting time.
We profiled the Pixma Pro-1 to evaluate its colour gamut and found it to be notably – if not incredibly – wider than the Pro 9500 Mk II or Epson’s Stylus Photo R3000.
The Pro-1 takes advantage of the same Easy Photo-Print Pro plug-in for Photoshop, which ensures prints come out colour accurate. While still overburdened with time-consuming ‘helpful’ features, it’s a lot better than Epson’s onerous Print Plug-in.
Another feature of the Pro-1 not found on the 9500 Mk II (but is on the Stylus Photo R3000) is an ethernet port, which helps you share the printer round a studio, for example.
The printer has large ink tanks that are quick and easy to replace, which makes life easier if you’re producing a lot of prints on a regular basis.
Owners of the 9500 MkII may not not find an immediate reason to upgrade to the Pro-1, but if you do need a new printer – whether a proofer or a way to produce saleable prints, the Pixma Pro 1 is the new
one to want.