Canon PIXMA Pro-1


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    Canon PIXMA Pro-1

      In Summary

      The PIXMA Pro-1 is the latest - and most sophisticated - model in Canon's A3+ printer range. Announced in October 2011, the Pro-1's release was delayed by the flooding in Thailand but it's just gone on sale locally. The Pro-1 uses LUCIA pigment inks, which dry quickly and have lightfastness ratings of up to 200 years under archival storage conditions. . . [more]

      Full Review

      The PIXMA Pro-1 is the latest - and most sophisticated - model in Canon's A3+ printer range. Announced in October 2011, the Pro-1's release was delayed by the flooding in Thailand but it's just gone on sale locally.  The Pro-1 uses LUCIA pigment inks, which dry quickly and have lightfastness ratings of up to 200 years under archival storage conditions. 

      Front view of the PIXMA Pro-1set up for printing directly from a camera

      With a capacity of approximately 35 ml, each ink tank in the Pro-1 holds 2.5x more ink than those of the previous models (around 14 ml). There are 12 inks in all: Yellow, Photo Cyan, Cyan, Photo Magenta, Magenta, Red, Light Grey, Grey, Dark Grey, Matte Black and Photo Black plus a new 'Chroma Optimiser'. The latter is like the Gloss Optimiser used by some Epson printers and overlays a coat of resin on the paper to ensure a uniform, glossy surface.

      What's in the Box?
      The PIXMA Pro-1 comes with a user-installable print head plus 12 ink tanks, an 8 cm disc adapter and optical disk printing tray and a mains power cord. Three printed manuals are provided: a large user manual and a slightly smaller Network Setup Troubleshooting  guide (each in 29 languages) and a slim leaflet titled 'Read before Setting Up the Machine' in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

      Two sheets of matte photo paper (MP-101) are provided for automatic print head alignment. No cables are included for the USB or Ethernet connections.

      Build and Ergonomics
      The Pro-1 is significantly larger and more substantial than Canon's previous A3+ printers and technically more complex. Consequently, it weighs 27.7 kg, compared with roughly 15.2 kg for the PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II. Hi-Speed USB and Ethernet support are included, along with direct-from-camera printing via a PictBridge interface.

      Like previous PIXMA Pros, the Pro-1 is essentially a rectangular box. The front panel drops down to form the output tray, which pulls out in three sections. The slot for the CD/DVD printing tray sits above it. Power on/off and resume buttons are located on the top right corner of the front panel.

      Looking down on the front of the PIXMA Pro-1 to show the CD/DVD printing facility.

      Above them on the top panel is a button for opening the compartment holding the ink tanks (as they are now termed). A lift-up cover towards the front of the top panel provides access to the print head. Further back is another cover, which folds out in four sections to provide the rear paper tray.

      Side view of the PIXMA Pro-1 showing the manual paper feed in use and the front delivery tray open.

      The back panel has a fold-out manual input slot for A3+ paper. Sliding guides in this slot allow you to position the paper snugly. The power cord plugs into a figure-eight socket on the left side of the rear panel while the USB  and Ethernet ports are located on the right side.

      Setting Up
      Unpacking the Pro-1 is a challenge because the printer is heavy (more than 27 kg without the head and inks) and it's wrapped in a kind of plastic bag with cut-out handles. Two people are needed to extract the printer and manoeuvre it from the box to a desk.

      Unfortunately, the printer we received to review had been used previously, which meant the inks and print head were already installed. Going by the instructions provided, fitting these components is pretty straightforward. Canon recommends allowing at least 25 cm behind the printer and 35 cm in front of it free so the paper feed trays can be pulled out.

      When the printer is in position you can connect the power cord (supplied) to a figure-eight socked in the rear left hand corner of the machine. The printer is powered-up by pressing the Power button on the front right side panel. It takes a few seconds for the Power button to react and begin flashing, which continues for a couple of minutes, after which it glows steadily.
      Once the Power button light stops flashing, you can begin to install the ink tanks. They go into on bays covered by drop-down doors on either side of the paper delivery tray. The doors are released by pressing a button on the front of the right side top panel. (We found it took roughly a minute for the doors to drop after the button was pressed.)

      Front view of the PIXMA Pro-1 with the doors covering the ink tank bays opened.

      As well as labelling ink tanks with their colours, Canon has made it impossible to misplace them by 'keying' each tank's interface with the printer.  There's a different configuration of box-shaped 'plugs' (indicated with an arrow in the illustration below) that will only fit into the socket corresponding with the ink colour in the printer.

      The red arrow indicates one of the 'keys', which are different for each tank, as shown in this illustration.

      Before installation each ink tank must be held horizontally and shaken to ensure the pigment particles are in suspension. It is then slotted into place in the marked bay. Once the ink tanks are installed, the print head is simply dropped into its holder and locked in place.

      Fitting an ink tank.

      The ink delivery system is quite different from those in previous  PIXMA Pro printers because the tanks don't ride on the print head. Ink is transferred through a series of flexible tubes to a sub-tank on the print head in much the same way as in Canon's large format printers.

      The diagram above shows the ink delivery system for the PIXMA Pro-1.

      Roughly one third of the ink in the first set of ink tanks is used to prime the tubes between the tanks and the print head. Thereafter, the full capacity of each tank should be accessible for printing.

      Once the inks and print head have been installed, you close the covers and wait for roughly 20 minutes while the printer makes itself ready for use. During this time you can connect the USB cable and install the software from the supplied CD.

      After loading the software disk, a screen is displayed offering the choice between an Easy Install or a Custom installation. The former installs the entire software suite; the latter lets you choose which applications to install (see below) and should only be selected if you have a good understanding of printing.

      Next you're asked to choose between USB and Ethernet connections. The former is good if the printer will only be used by one computer, while the latter allows the printer to be shared on a network. A cable will be required which ever connection you choose.

      The next step is print head alignment, which takes roughly eight minutes to complete. New printers come with two A4 sheets of Canon's Matte Photo Paper MP-101 for this purpose but, as that had already been used in the unit we received, we substituted the Longbottom 170 gsm double-sided matte paper we use for most printing projects and found it acceptable.

      Unlike previous models, the paper loads into the middle of the top sheet feeder; not the side.  It's held in place with two guides which converge as you move one into position. Before printing can start you must close the flap in front of the feed slot. It takes roughly two minutes to print the alignment patterns on both sheets.

      According to the user manual it should take roughly 40 minutes to set up the hardware and an additional 20 minutes to install the software. Both times appear credible. A good part of the hardware set up involves removing multiple strips of orange tape, some of which are concealed below covers.

      The user manual states firmly that the printer should always be switched off with the Power button before it is unplugged from the mains. This 'parks' the print head safely so it won't dry out and cause the inks to clog.

      What's New?
      The PIXMA Pro-1 introduces some interesting technological innovations, the most significant being its sophisticated ink deposition system. Almost every component in this system is brand new or substantially redesigned, from the inks to the ink delivery mechanisms.

      Canon has designed the print head of the PIXMA Pro-1 for both high-resolution and high-speed printing so it can accept input resolutions of up to 1200 pixels/inch (ppi).  This is double the capability of the previous generation of PIXMA Pro printers. It can also deliver an output resolution of 4800 x 2400 dots/inch (dpi) for highly detailed prints.

      The number of ink nozzles within the print head has also been increased to 1024 per colour, up from 768 in the previous models. Swapping between Matte and Photo Black inks is automatic and based on the paper type selected in the printer driver.

      Three grey inks provide smooth tonal transitions and minimise unwanted colour casts in black and white prints. Canon has reduced the solid components in the inks and controlled the ink volumes even more tightly to ensure inks are deposited in a thinner, flatter layer.

      To minimise changes in volume when the print head heats up while printing, a misting fan circulates air around the print head to regulate ambient temperature. This enables real-time droplet control, ensuring consistent output quality from the first print in a run to the last.

      Removing the inks from the print head makes it a lot lighter and allows it to be moved along the carriage a little faster. However, although we noticed a marginal improvement in printing speeds, the actual timings measured in our tests were somewhat longer than those claimed in Canon's press release. Our results can be found in the 'Printing' section below.

      The 'Chroma Optimiser' is new to Canon printers but similar to Epson's Gloss Optimiser. It's laid down over prints on glossy and semi-gloss papers to fill in the gaps between ink drops and create a uniform surface of ink on top of the media, as shown in the illustration below.  

      The upper diagram shows the surface of a print without Chroma Optimiser, while the lower one shows how the gaps between ink droplets are filled in to control surface reflections and increase the colour gamut, especially in the darker tones.

      Although this coating produces a smooth, attractive surface that is supposed to minimise gloss differential. Canon claims the colour gamut and density of blacks in prints are increased when the Chroma Optimiser is used, especially in the darker tones as a result of the reduction in surface reflectivity. However, we found these benefits to be quite slight on glossy papers, whereas the coating tended to reduce overall brilliance of colours on semi-gloss prints.   

      The printer driver gives you very little control over how the Chroma Optimiser is used. Settings on the Clear Coating page in the printer driver enable you to choose from three settings: Auto, Overall and Custom (circled in the screen grab below). 

      Chroma Optimiser settings.

      Auto automatically selects the areas to be clear-coated and whether clear coating is to be executed, while Overall is supposed to coat the entire print area but can only be selected for glossy or semi-gloss papers. The Custom setting lets you coat specific areas of prints for decorative effects and can also be used for watermarking prints without substantially altering output tones and colours.
      We found the Auto setting tended to emphasise gloss differential because it didn't apply the coating to specular highlights (white areas). Consequently, these parts of prints appeared relatively dull when prints on glossy media were viewed from an angle.

      Using the Custom setting isn't easy and it's only possible with glossy or semi-gloss papers. First you have to create a 'form' to specify the clear coating areas before it can be applied. This adds several steps to the printing process and, although you can save forms for re-use, we suspect most photographers who buy this printer will seldom use this setting.
      The PIXMA Pro-1 also provides three colour modes. The default 'Linear Tone' mode is used for images that have been edited when no in-printer adjustments are required. It should suit the majority of potential users.

      With 'Enable ICC Profile' set, the printer will use the ICC profiles embedded in the image and combine them with the 'canned' paper profiles in the printer to produce images that accurately match the colours of an image shot with Portrait or Landscape Picture Style on an EOS DSLR camera. (If you want to use 'third party' fine art papers, you can download ICC profiles for media from manufacturers such as Ilford, Canson, Hahnemuhle,  Pictran and Moab from Canon's website at http://support-au.canon.com.au/P/search?model=PIXMA%20PRO-1&filter=0&menu=Download.)

      ICC Profiles for popular fine art media from other manufacturers are available through Canon's support website.

      The Photo Colour mode favours key colours like blue sky and green grass and  is designed to produce images that look natural to the human eye. This mode can also improve tonal gradations between shadows and highlights and, according to Canon, may reveal details that could otherwise be lost in prints.

      Bundled Software
      Installing the software is straightforward, regardless of which operating system you use. If you're running Windows Vista SP1 or later, choosing custom installation will enable you to include a second driver, the XPS printer driver, which supports full 16-bit workflow and  advanced colour profiles and provides enhanced performance for both .NET Framework and Win32 based applications.

      In addition to the printer driver and user manual (which is split into Basic and Advanced Guides), the software disk contains two Canon applications: Easy-PhotoPrint EX and Easy- WebPrint EX. It also includes Easy-PhotoPrint Pro, a plug-in for Adobe's Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Lightroom and Canon's Digital Photo Professional.

      Also on the disk is Canon Solution Menu EX, a pop-up screen that provides quick access to the software applications supplied with the printer, along with user manuals and online product information. Icons for Solution Menu EX and the on-screen manuals are installed on the desktop when the software is loaded. We loaded Solution Menu EX but never used it. 

      Canon's Solution Menu EX pop-up screen.

      The same applied to Easy-PhotoPrint EX, which is pretty basic and very slow. It's only worthwhile if you want to print labels on CDs or DVDs. Easy-WebPrint EX is designed to enable users to print selected sections of web pages directly but since it didn't support the latest versions of several popular browsers we use we couldn't see much value in installing it, either.

      The adjustments page in Easy-PhotoPrint EX.

      That leaves the Easy-PhotoPrint Pro plug-in, which supports the latest versions of Photoshop, Lightroom and Photoshop Elements. It's accessed via the Automate sub-menu in Photoshop, as shown below. Although not particularly fast to use, it provides a good range of adjustments and integrates well with editing applications.

      Accessing Easy-PhotoPrint Pro through Photoshop.

      If you like to produce your own ICC profiles for third-party media, Canon's support website (listed above) provides a free downloadable colour management application called Colour Management Tool Pro.  It supports the most popular X-Rite colorimeters, including the Color Munki and i1Pro.

      Canon's Colour Management Tool Pro makes it easy to create ICC profiles for all media you may wish to use.

      Printing
      When you start printing with the PIXMA Pro-1, it's difficult not to be impressed by how quiet this printer is. At times the noise level is so low you wonder whether it's printing at all.

      Another noteworthy feature is its efficient paper handling. You can load a stack of sheets into the rear tray and they should pass through without problems.

      A flap at the leading edge of the rear tray prevents the paper from curling and shifting. The printer won't operate while this flap is up and quickly 'trains' you to flip it down before embarking on each print.

      We had no media feeding problems with standard-sized papers, including heavyweight papers, which are loaded through a pull-out slot on the rear panel that accepts one sheet at a time. Printing on coated optical disks was also trouble-free.

      However, a few issues occurred when printing custom paper sizes (see below) and the driver contains some quirks that can restrict the user's capabilities. Some of the most annoying are listed below.

      1.  When printing through Easy Photo Print Pro, you have to close the dialog box before you can open another image file. This means you can't work on one image while another is being printed, and is a good reason for printing directly through Photoshop and letting Photoshop handle colour management.

      2. The driver's default setting is for Borderless printing, which restricts you to 14 standard paper sizes and images will invariably be cropped if the image and paper don't have the same aspect ratio. When printing through Easy Photo Print Pro you can adjust the cropping position, as shown in the screen grab below.

      3. Paper size selections include two settings for A4, A3 and A3+, one with the preface Art, which applies a margin of 35 mm to the top and bottom of the image when it's printed. Even when the other paper sizes are selected, the 35 mm margin will also be applied automatically when the Bordered layout is selected. Borderless printing is not available.

      The paper size selections available for Borderless printing.

      The paper size selections available when Borderless printing is un-checked. Note the additional 'Art' settings with (Margin 35) and the Custom option at the bottom of the menu.

      While you may be able to enlarge the image in the set-up window, areas outside of the margins won't be printed. You can get around this problem by changing the paper type from fine art to matte, although this changes the paper profile and you may need to make adjustments to the image contrast and colours. (We suggest producing test prints for each image before it's printed.)

      On the positive side, when you check the Preview before printing box in the driver,  Easy Photo Print Pro displays a message over the preview that enables you to check the paper size, type, colour mode, profile and rendering intent before making the print. It's shown in the screen grab below.

      The print preview window is set up for images in portrait orientation. Landscape images are rotated accordingly, with the leading edge facing down, as shown in the illustration below.

      EPP-Pro-preview

      When printing through Easy Photo Print Pro with ICC profiles, you should set the paper profile in the editing application before accessing the plug-in. Otherwise, it doesn't seem to matter whether you access the printer driver through an image editor or one of Canon's 'solutions'.

      Selecting ICC profiles in Easy Photo Print Pro.

      Interestingly, when using Easy-PhotoPrint Pro through Photoshop and letting the printer handle colour management we found the resulting prints were slightly more contrasty than those made with Photoshop controlling colour management. Any differences in colour reproduction were so slight as to be negligible.

      The XPS printer driver is available for Windows OS users with Vista or later and requires the regular printer driver to be installed. It's useful for printing images with a wider colour gamut and provides greater colour accuracy, particularly when printing 16-bit TIFF files.

      The user interface is slightly different in the Pro-1's XPS driver, particularly for print previews. However, most controls are the same as in the regular printer driver.

      The preview window in the XPS driver, shown for an image to be printed on a Custom paper size.

      Printing on Non-Standard Paper
      Custom printing is useful when you want to print to a specific image size because you can set up the image dimensions in your image editor and print the image with the same dimensions by selecting Normal Size on the Page Setup page in the printer driver. It's also handy when the dimensions of the image are larger than the limits imposed by the Borderless pre-sets.

      As mentioned above, to print on paper that is a different size from those listed, you must uncheck the Borderless box and select the Custom setting from the dropdown menu. This opens the Custom dialog box (shown below) in which you enter the dimensions of the printing paper.

      The maximum paper width supported in the printer driver is 356.6 mm, which is slightly wider than A3+ paper, while the maximum length is 676 mm. Unfortunately, the printer can't quite match the specified width.

      When feeding papers through the rear tray, the printer can only accept 329 mm wide paper. However, according to our colleague, Trevern Dawes, who has conducted extensive testing on a wide range of printers, Canon's A3+ printers can accept papers up to 355 mm wide via the manual feed slot. This allows you to make prints that are only 65 mm narrower than A2-sized (420 x 594 mm) prints.

      When printing on custom-sized papers, make sure you enter the precise measurements of  the paper you are using. The PIXMA Pro-1 includes automatic paper detection and will post an error message (shown below) if the paper size and media type aren't set correctly.

      The paper must also be totally flat when it's fed into the printer because even a slight curvature (more than 3 mm in height at the corners, according to the user manual) can cause head strike (ink marks), particularly towards the ends of the sheet. To correct paper curl, roll up the paper in the opposite direction to the paper curl and secure it with rubber bands (not too tight) then leave it overnight.

      Head strike may also occur when printing on thicker fine art papers. You can reduce the chance of it happening by selecting the Prevent paper abrasion setting from the Custom Settings sub-menu in the Maintenance page of the driver. This widens the clearance between the Print Head and the loaded paper so it's not recommended for normal media.

      Because the extension trays at the front of the printer don't pull out far enough to support longer sheets, you must be on hand to support the paper as it exits the machine unless you're happy for it to land on the floor.

      Performance
      As with all printing, output quality depends on matching the image to an appropriate paper and the PIXMA Pro-1 is no exception to this rule. Interestingly, although pigment ink printers are renowned for producing better prints on matte papers than glossy media, one feature that really stood out in our tests was the Pro-1's performance on glossy media, particularly Canon's Photo Paper Pro Platinum, which delivered outstanding tonal depth and image sharpness in all the prints we made.

      We weren't quite as impressed with prints made on Canon's Photo Paper Plus Semi-Gloss, which tends to have a slightly cold base colour that can 'flatten' the image and make bright highlights appear slightly grey. This paper was also the only one of the sheet papers we tried that was affected by head strike (which occurred only once).

      Prints made on the Longbottom Digital 170 gsm Double-sided Matte paper we use for printing calendars and photo book pages were slightly flatter looking than similar prints from our Canon iPF5100 A2 printer and also the prints made with the PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II. Selecting the Vivid Photo setting on the Quick Setup page boosted both contrast and saturation and mostly corrected this problem although, at times, the adjustments were slightly too high.

      As with the PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II we found printing on Fine Art Museum Etching paper to be highly image-dependent. This paper contains no optical brighteners so its overall hue is pale buff, which works best with images where warmer, even slightly yellowish, tones predominate.

      For images that required relatively low contrast, we obtained the best results when the Vivid Photo setting was used, which lifted saturation slightly without boosting contrast too much. We also tried printing this paper using the canned profile for matte photo paper to overcome the 35 mm margins imposed by the Museum Etching profile.

      Both profiles produced satisfactory results, although they were slightly different. Prints made with the Museum Etching profile had slightly better detail rendition, particularly in shadows, but saturation was a little lower than in prints made with the  matte paper profile.

      Regardless of which paper was used, black and white prints were most successful when made from B&W originals and printed through the normal (colour) settings. Using the Greyscale setting in the printer driver resulted in decreased contrast and some loss of shadow detail, although we found no evidence of unwanted colour casts when using either method. Superb results were obtained on Canon's Photo Paper Pro Platinum from both B&W and colour originals.

      Unfortunately, Canon doesn't provide B&W driver settings that resemble the Advanced B&W Driver provided with Epson's A3+ printers. Consequently, if you want to make fine adjustments to print contrast and colour toning you must do so in your image editor when converting the image to B&W.

      Common pigment printer defects like bronzing and metamerism were relatively rare, although traces of gloss differential could be seen on some prints made on the Pro Platinum and Semi-Gloss papers, even when the Chroma Optimiser had been applied. They were almost always around areas with wide differences in contrast and would be barely noticeable once the prints had been framed behind glass.

      We found the Chroma Optimiser wasn't applied on white areas of prints, even when the Overall setting was selected. This tended to emphasise gloss differential. The coating also slightly reduced the overall contrast in the print, making it look a little less 'punchy' than an uncoated print of the same image.

      During our tests, the review printer failed to meet the printing speeds claimed by Canon for the Pro-1. However, with most papers it yielded printing times that were close to, but slightly shorter than the times we measured for the PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II.

      Printing times are largely irrelevant when you're focused on output quality, particularly if you can work on another image while a print is in progress, as you can when printing through an image editor. Professional users are likely to feel frustrated by the unproductive waiting times imposed  by Canon's bundled software.

      Like most printers, the review unit showed some variability in printing speeds. As well as the paper size and quality setting, the type of paper loaded can also affect printing speeds, with thicker, 'fine art' media taking slightly longer to print than normal media. Interestingly, differences in printing speeds between colour and B&W prints were negligible.

      Spooling times tended to be similar for all paper types and sizes at around 30 seconds (+/- 5 seconds). We measured the following average output times, recorded over at least 5 prints for each paper size.

      Regardless of whether we printed through Easy-PhotoPrint Pro or directly through Photoshop via the printer driver, the average times the printer took to produce an A4 print with 10-15mm borders on Canon's Museum Etching paper (a relatively thick, fine art paper) were 2 minutes and 54 seconds at Standard quality and 3 minutes and 30 seconds at High quality.

      For  an A3 print with 10-15mm borders on Canon's Photo Paper Pro Platinum glossy media, the average printing time was 5 minutes and 30 seconds at Standard quality and 7 minutes and 2 seconds at High quality. With A3+ sheets of the same paper and margins of 15-20 mm, average printing times were 6 minutes and 12 seconds and 8 minutes 9 seconds respectively.

      Similar times were also recorded when printing at A3+ size on Canon's Photo Paper Plus Semi-Gloss. On Museum Etching paper, average times to produce an A3+ sized print were around  7 minutes with Standard quality and close to 15 minutes with High quality.

      Using the Custom setting for paper size, we also printed several 65.3 x 24.4 mm images on roll paper we had cut to 676 x 329 mm size using the High quality setting through the XPS driver. We measured an average spooling time of roughly 35 seconds and a total printing time of 8 minutes and 40 seconds.

      The warning message displayed when a tank should be replaced. Over-riding this message can cause the paper to be ejected once the tank runs dry, which is usually before the full image has been printed.

      The Pro-1 provides plenty of advance warning when ink tanks are running low. You should be able to produce at least 20 A3 prints before a tank is depleted. It will also keep running until there isn't enough ink left to make a print of the specified size before requiring you to replace a tank.

      Running Costs
      Despite being unable to calculate the running costs for the review printer precisely, the PIXMA Pro-1 appears to be more economical to run than previous Canon A3+ printers. It's also cheaper to run than its main rival, the Epson Stylus Photo R3000, which also carries an RRP of $1499.

      The number of prints you can obtain from any set of inks will depend on the ink density required to print the image and the area of paper covered by the print. The quality setting in the printer driver also plays a role, with higher quality settings depositing more ink than standard quality.

      In practice, we couldn't see much difference between prints made with the Standard and High quality settings. Experience has shown average ink consumption with Standard quality for an A3 print with 35 mm wide white margins to be between 0.5 and 1.0 ml. A4 prints use a little less and A3+ prints slightly more (up to 1.8 ml for low key images).

      In Australia, the colour cartridges for the Pro-1 are priced at $44.99 , with the Chrome Optimiser at $39.99, making the cost of a full set of inks total $534.88 for 420 ml of ink (roughly $1.27 per millilitre). Compare that with the cost of running the PIXMA Pro 9500 II, which uses nine 14 ml cartridges, each priced at $31.50. Total ink cost is $283.50 for 126 ml of ink or $2.25 per millilitre.

      The Epson Stylus Photo R3000 uses nine ink cartridges, each containing 25.9 ml of ink. The ink cartridges were listed on Epson's Australian website at $47.99 each, which brings the total cost of a set of nine inks to $431.91. This works out at just over $1.85 per millilitre of ink.

      Our international readers in the US can buy the PIXMA Pro-1for just under US$1000 and the colour inks at US$35.99 per tank with the Chrome Optimiser at US$29.99. This represents an ink cost of just over one dollar per millilitre. UK-based and European buyers will pay just under £799 or €899 for the printer, with the full set of ink tanks selling for almost £350 or €396 which works out at 83 pence or 94 Euro cents per millilitre.

      Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. (www.wilhelm-research.com) hasn't published lightfastness ratings for the PIXMA Pro-1 yet, although it has rated colour prints from the PIXMA Pro9500 (which uses an earlier generation of Lucia inks) at 95-104 years for colour prints framed under glass and at over 300 years for B&W prints. Canon claims a print life of up to 200 years under archival storage conditions.

       Buy this printer if:
      - You're looking for a solidly-built A3+ printer that produces long-lasting prints.
      - You want to produce exhibition-quality prints on a wide variety of normal and ‘fine art' media.
      - You want relatively low running costs.
      - You require support for ICC profiles.
      - You want to produce monochrome prints that are free of colour casts.
      - You'd like to be able to print labels on CDs and DVDs.
      Don't buy this printer if:
      - You'd like to be able to print panoramas or banners longer than 676 mm. (This printer lacks facilities for roll paper printing.)
      - You require high-volume production performance.

      Specifications

      Printer type: A3+ professional pigment-ink photo printer
      Print head: Total 12,288 nozzles; (Y/M/C/R/PM/PC/MBK/PBK/DGY/GY/LGY/CO 1024 nozzles each)
      Resolution: 4800 x 2400 dpi, with 4 picolitre droplets
      Paper sizes: A3+, A3, A4, Letter, Legal, Ledger, A5, B5; Photo cards (4x6, 5x7,  8x10)
      Max. paper weight: Approx. 350 gsm (up to 0.6 mm thick via manual feed slot)
      Ink cartridges: 12 LUCIA ink cartridges: Y, M, C, R, PM, PC, MBK, PBK, GY, LGY, DGY + Chroma Optimiser
      Ink yield: PGI-29Y - 290, PGI-29M - 281, PGI-29C - 230, PGI-29R - 454, PGI-29PM - 228, PGI-29PC - 400, PGI-29MBK - 505, PGI-29PBK- 111, PGI-29DGY - 119, PGI-29GY - 179, PGI-29LGY - 352, PGI-29CO - 90
      Interfaces: Hi-Speed USB (B Port), Ethernet; PictBridge Camera Direct port
      Power consumption:  Max: 24W, Standby: 1.6W, Off: 0.4W 
      Acoustic noise: 35.5dB(A) in default setting
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 695 x 462 x 239 mm (min. dimensions, paper trays & other extensions closed)
      Weight: 27.7 kg (including print head and ink tanks)

      Rating

      RRP: $1,499

      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 9.0
      • Features: 8.5
      • Print quality: 9.0
      • Print speed: 8.5
      • OVERALL: 8.8

      BUY

        No