Canon Pixma PRO-1
I will write this review from my current learning perspective and will update it as I learn and get better. I am an engineer and like the challenge of figuring out new projects. I build computers as a hobby. I research online extensively and read professional as well as end user reviews.
I ordered this printer after reading the other reviews. The professional reviews were probably the real sell.... I wanted lab type quality. I like the chroma optimizer feature and the large ink tank size. I also preferred the faster speed rating than the PRO-10. I also considered the PRO-100, but then decided on this. Amazon has a good comparison page between the 3. My motivation is that I have a 6 month old daughter and want to capture pictures of her as she grows up.
Receiving the printer by UPS was exciting. The driver asked for help to carry it in and there are "2 man lift" stickers on the box!! The printer is very large and heavy, but I did not have any problem moving it around. I was unable to find a suitable table for it so I've decided to build my own table. This is not out of frustration, or necessary, I could have made it work fine. It is just another project. However, a standard printer table will not work for this printer.
Setup is very simple by my standards, but a bit more complicated than just plugging in a USB cable. There are 12 ink tanks that need to be installed as well as the print head itself. None of this is too difficult. If you can replace ink in an inkjet, you can set up this printer. The ink tanks click in place and each has a red LED that turns on when correctly in place. Everything is clearly labeled so the correct ink tank goes in the correct slot. The printer goes through a priming cycle that consumes about 25% of the ink. Given the price of ink this is a bit alarming, but it is necessary since the ink is transferred to the print head by tubing instead of resting on the printhead itself. The benefit is that a larger ink tank is possible. I have not verified, but my estimate based on reading multiple reviews is that each 8.5x11 print consumes roughly $1 in ink. Best price online is currently just over $300 with free shipping for a complete set of ink tanks. (google shopping for the best price) However, you will likely never replace all ink tanks at any given time. This printer does not have wireless, unlike the lower two models. This was a bit surprising to me, but i just hard wired it to my router without any issue. I can't airprint to it, but don't really think i want to print to this printer from my iPad. My workflow is DSLR to Photoshop to print. The software detects the printer on your network automatically so a network installation adds zero complexity to thebsetup process. From unboxing to first print is slightly less than 2 hours.
My first prints were fairly dark. This is because my monitor was set very bright and brings up a common challenge in digital photography. The monitor must match the prints. I was able to correct this by adjusting my video driver to tune down my monitor a bit and then I used a manual setting on the print driver to increase intensity and increase contrast. Intricate control over color is also possible but I have not done much of it yet.
If you buy this printer you probably have a DSLR and several lenses. I highly recommend that you add a color spectrometer to your kit. After my typical amount of research I have ordered the x-rite ColorMunki and Color Passport. This is another review, but the goal is to match camera, monitor, and printer perfectly. Therefore, no wasted prints, better prints, and an overall more satisfying experience. I have produced some great images without this, but am looking forward to the spectrometer.
So, that's all for now... Hopefully it was helpful.
I recently purchased a Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II Inkjet Photo Printer to help me with a project I was working on. I just wanted to be able to print decent looking images on larger sheets of paper. I was then offered this printer, the Canon PIXMA PRO-1 Professional Inkjet Printer, to review and I thought it would be great to compare them side by side. However, this was not to be as the Pro9000 has caused me nothing but problems and will only print out from the CMY cartridges. I've spent hours on it and since I have the Pro-1 to use instead anyway I decided to give up and compare it with my Epson WorkForce 635 instead.
My WorkForce is a fairly standard all-in-one printer which I like because it connects wirelessly to my network. I mostly use it to print out maps from Google or other things from online like vouchers or tickets. I have used it to print out photos and it does okay but I've had trouble adjusting the colors for very vibrant shots. I wanted to send my mom a print copy of a photo I'd taken that she liked and I couldn't get anything to print out that was frame-worthy, but some stuff with "softer" colors looked pretty decent.
Setting up the Pro-1 took quite a long time. A few hours, actually. I had a little trouble with the driver installation and ended up a few weeks later uninstalling everything and redoing it, and that seemed to fix my trouble with the computer and printer "talking" to each other. This printer does give you the option to hook it up to your network but only by using a cable. I really don't have any place to put a 60 pound printer near my router, so unfortunately that won't work for me. If I can think of a way to reorganize so it WILL work, you can be sure I will do it. It's no fun to only be using it with one computer. One thing I ended up doing was going in to the settings and turning off the "auto power off". Out of the box it's set to power off after 15 minutes and once it's off it takes quite a while for it to get going again.
When I printed out some pictures of my two black and white cats, there was no question that the Pro-1 did a much better job than the WorkForce. The Pro-1 really does a professional job and all those shades of grey and black really help bring out the detail and make the image look as good as it does on the screen. You can even tell the two cats are slightly different shades of black. Even the sheen on some pink bench legs looks shinier and more vibrant, with the subtle tones of blue of the original.
One problem I noticed on 8 1/2 x 11 photo paper was some scratching on the bottom of the picture. Strangely this did not happen with my larger format paper. If anyone has any suggestions for preventing this, I'd love to hear them.
Since my Pro9000 never printed anything out, I can't compare print quality, but I do have to say it is very obvious WHY there is such a price difference between the models just based on overall design of the units and even the way the ink cartridges are designed. Even if the Pro9000 did work properly, I would still choose the Pro-1. The only scary thing is replacing ALLLL the ink cartridges. My boyfriend is a chemist who owns a company that makes ink and I'm hoping I can just get him to make me some ink and then refill it myself otherwise...ouch.
I have 3 SLR cameras (canon film, canon t2i, sony alpha) and tend to print most of my prints at home after I got the Canon Pixma Pro Mark II in 2011 - which is a predecessor of this printer. After I obtained the Pixma Pro-1, i have never looked at ordering prints, choosing to print all my prints on my Pro-1.
The advantages of printing pro quality pictures at your home is not really that of cost - infact it might be more expensive to print at home, but the advantage is the ability to control the image settings and print it exactly as you wish. Not to mention all the fun you can have by printing your own photo books, Calendars with your kids as well as making business prints for a presentation.
The fun is endless, as long as you like photography, trust me, a printer like this is necessary.
If you see an image shot on you SLR on your laptop, LCD/LED screen - they all look different depending on which display you see it, but when you print it on a Pro-1 - it is truly a real representation of the real precise colors of nature stored in depth of each of the pixel on the image. The quality of the images even on a 11x14 print is just not comparable to any print.
Compared to the Pixma Pro-1 and Pixma Pro Mark II 9000 - both are very good, but Pixma Pro-1 clearly shows a greater depth and diversity of colors in detailed nature shots.
Now, coming to the Pro series printers from canon - this is not your level 1/level 2 printers that contain B/W & color or 3 different color cartridges.
Pixma Pro 1 comes with 12 Individual cartridges
Pixma Pro Mark II 9000 contains 8 individual cartridges
The number of cartridges will help in producing the most precise color on your prints. In each print dialog, it displays the quantity of the ink remaining in each cartridge, the cost is pretty expensive about 350 for 12 pack, 120 for 6 pack and 35 for individual cartridge.
Both Pixma Pro-1 and Pixma Pro 9000 Mark II support similar sizes upto 13" x 19"
The ink delivery from the ink cartridges comes in as tiny droplets sprayed in precision, the smaller the size of the drop, the more precise is the print.
Pixma Pro 1 is 4 picoliters and Pixma Pro Mark II 9000 is 2 picoliters.
Pixma Pro Mark II 9000 is a clear winner on this, but the larger droplet size will allow the Pro-1 to print faster.
In summary :
If you are a hobbyist like me - a Canon Pixma Pro Mark II 9000 is a decent printer to play with - this is good to print all your calendars, posters for your small business ...
If you are a professional either sells photographs as a profession or someone who shoots nature photography as a hobby, you should go for a Canon Pro-1. The quality and dept of colors will make a huge difference and impact on your customers perception.
I wanted to love this. Really, I did.
I knew before ordering it that it weighed 60lbs and took up WAY more space than a typical printer (it's 27" x 9.5" x 18.5" without the space needed on the back end to feed paper through). I didn't realize how expensive the ink would be. To save on costs for ink, I use it so rarely that it's very difficult to justify the amount of space it hogs in my home. If it were small and used infrequently, that would be fine, just as I'd be okay with a big piece of equipment that I used often. But the size and the infrequency of use combined? It's just not worth it, and it works better for me to have my pictures printed elsewhere.
This printer is an amazing piece of kit. If you have the money and are debating between this and the Pro 9500 mkII, what you need to decide is how important black and white photography is for you. From the 9500 mkII, you'll get mostly similar results (Canon claims better skin tones from the Pro-1 as well) from all but the black and white. If black and white is what you print most, the question is simple... get the Pro 1. Of course, the extra inks also help with color as well, but the difference will mostly be in the B&W arena. Comparing the prices, you may actually be better off over all to purchase the Pro 1 (based on MSRP)
This printer is MASSIVE. Before you buy, ensure you have somewhere to place a 27" x 9.5" x 18.5" printer. And because the paper is rear fed, you will need some extra breathing room in the back of the printer as well.
This printer doesn't just have a large footprint, it's also heavy. Shipping weight is 75 pounds and full loaded, removed from the shipping materials, you're still looking at 68-70 pounds. Ensure the table you set this on will handle it.
In regards to actual configuration, setup is a snap. It just takes a long time, so be prepared to consume an hour or more of time unboxing, installing cartridges and print head and then installing the printer software.
Make sure you have a friend or helper to remove this from the box. It's not too heavy for one person, but the length and overall size makes it difficult for a single person.
Ensure you follow the directions for installing the cartridges. It's pretty simple, but they have some guidelines you will want to follow, such as not touching the contacts and shaking the tanks.
The other piece to be careful with is the print head. They really go out of their way to make sure you know not to bump it, shake it or touch the contacts. They are also very specific about not shaking it or any other jarring type actions. This is understandable since this is where the magic is performed.
Installing the software, which requires a fair amount of space (500-700 MB), takes time but is also fairly simple. Next. Next. Next. Done.
Print Quality -
I can only compare to a Canon Pixma MP990 for quality as it is the only Canon printer I own. Compared to the top end consumer model from 2-3 years ago (2010 model), this printer is much higher quality and even with the same photos and photo paper (Pro Platinum and Photo Paper Plus Semi-gloss), the results are much closer, I would say nearly exact, to what I see on my calibrated monitor. I might try to calibrate both printers, though I don't own such a device at this time so I cannot compare them side by side with calibration.
Other Notes -
The other very important thing to remember is that the ink for this printer is quite expensive. For a full set of ink, you are looking at an MSRP of about $330. That might seem over inflated given that a full set for the 9500 runs around $130-$150. So this one is more than double that price. The thing you have to keep in mind is that the $330 MSRP involves 4 extra tanks AND the size on these new cartridges is said to be 150% larger, meaning more prints per cartridge, which means it's probably a little BETTER in pricing for the equivalent Pro 9500 mkII.
The other thing to know is that out of the box, the printer will consumer roughly 25% of the ink for print head priming and printer alignment. There isn't anything you can do to fix this, so if you plan to print a lot, you might want to purchase an extra set, just in case.
Print lab quality prints
Fantastic B&W performance
Out of box color very closely matches calibrated screen
Ink price seems expensive (though not too bad when you consider how much ink you are buying)
Big and heavy (again, you have to know what you are buying)
In conclusion, if you can afford this printer and the ink, I do not believe you will be disappointed. Canon support is nothing short of extremely helpful. I haven't used them on this printer, as I've only had it a week or so, but past experience with them has left me appreciating their support.
Worth the money for those with the need.
This is the printer I wanted to get when I bought my PIXMA Pro 9000 Mk II. The reason is because it has several shades of gray ink that help to make black and white prints the best they can be. There are 12 inks in this printer. Five shades of black to gray (matte black, photo black, dark grey, grey, light grey); cyan and light cyan; magenta and light magenta; yellow and red; and a Chroma Optimizer.
If you want to print black and white prints, and you're not going to do it the analog way (dark-room), then this in probably the printer you want.
The set-up was so easy that it was simple. I read through the "Getting Started" guide once, followed the directions verbatim, and about an hour later my printer was installed and ready to print. There are several programs that get installed and requires almost 600MB of space on the hard drive. At one time that would be a formidable space requirement, but these days that's half a GB on drives that support 100's of GB.
You can set the printer up to use USB or Ethernet connected to a switch/router. I used USB because I only print from one computer. You simply chose your connection method when you go through the set-up process.
This printer is HUGE - 27" x 9.5" x 18.5" and weighs about 75 pounds. I have a table that I used for my PIXMA Pro 9000 Mark II. Fortunately this printer fits on the table. It is very ergonomic - the ink cartridges are front-loading (you have to have the printer on to open up the covers) - and each ink cartridge has a light to show that the cartridge is correctly inserted. The printer shows you how much ink you have so you can order new ink and avoid running out. But of course you have to order it before you need it!
It prints 13" x 19" inch prints. The prints are incredible. It's like printing from a commercial lab. I know - I used to work in a commercial lab (color and black & white). I like Canon Pro Platinum. Very glossy and very sharp results. I had no problem printing PSD files from PhotoShop. No problem at all. It will take other brands of paper and you can get other drivers to work with other papers. This is a true beast of a printer. I am very happy with this device. No more dark-room printing for me!
The price is way up there, but if you are trying to make professional prints, you will recoup your money (if you charge the right price for prints you make). Canon says prints in albums will last 200 years; prints on the wall will last 70 years. Sounds reasonable - independent testers came up with these results so in my mind it's not marketing hype.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this printer!
The quality of the prints out of this printer is fantastic. Rich blacks, even grey tones, even color gradations with no banding, fine details, everything I've thrown at this printer it has done well!
I've been looking at pigment printers for a while now. My biggest motivation has been that when visiting galleries and art shows notice is being given to prospective purchasers that the prints have been made with archival pigment inks. My work has risen to that level, and though it may be fine to hang a print on my own wall and reprint it as needed, if somebody is going to pay good money for a print they want it to last. I've sent a lot of work out to be printed, but sometimes the quality has to suffer a bit when I can't crop the print exactly as desired, the brightness and contrast are a little off, or the colors are just not quite what I envisioned, this printer solves all of those problems.
I've spent two full days printing on a variety of media; glossy, lustre, photo rag, and metallic and they all look marvelous. It was very easy to get exactly the looks I wanted with little fiddling as the colors match like I haven't seen before, and I was using custom created profiles for each paper type with my Canon Pro 9000 Mark II. That printer is quite good, but this one blows it away. I've never seen my B&W prints look so good outside of a darkroom, subtle small differences in clouds, for example, come out just perfect, and black is really black.
To the details: It took me about two hours total to set up the printer and start using it. You really need help to lift this monster, it weighs about 60 pounds. I just glanced at the getting started instructions, everything is pretty straight forward, pull off all of the orange tape strips that secure everything, install the twelve ink tanks, and the print head. Turn it on and it primes the head, then just hook up the USB cable and print. I also installed the software that came with the printer, found out later that it is really not necessary, I'm just printing through Photoshop CS6. The driver is much improved from the version I have been using, it now correctly allows you to choose color matching and media types. I'm using OSX Lion by the way. I did try the print software that came with the printer, I can see how it might be useful for those without PS, it allows for a lot of the same options, but will not print from a PSD file, so it has to be saved as a JPEG first. It also has some layout functions that some people may find useful, I tend to just print one print per page. One thing that I haven't had to do yet is to print a clear coat over sections of a print or even over the whole print, there are options to do that, but as hard as I've looked, I can't see any unevenness or bronzing on my prints.
The printer takes about 8 minutes to print a 13"X19" borderless print, 6-1/2 for an 11"X14". Part of that may be the slow USB2 connection, I have yet to try the Ethernet connection. As far as ink usage goes, about 25% of the ink tanks are used to prime the print head. I've printed about 25 4X6, 10 5X7, 10 8X10, 5 11X14, and 5 13X19 prints since then and the ink levels do not seem to have dropped any further. The ink cartridges are unique, they look like an 8-track tape that plug into the front of the printer, with a verification light to tell you the right one is in the right spot. I don't see how you could possibly refill them. When I was printing large quantities of signs and posters I refilled cartridges as a normal course, since I've transitioned to quality over quantity I've just stuck with Canon ink and paper, with the exception of RedRiver metallic paper and Epson Luster paper. I never really got the quality I was looking for with third party ink, too much variance between suppliers and even from batches from the same supplier. (I spent a lot of time creating profiles using Spyder Print.) After I run through some ink tanks I'll update this review to try and express some kind of idea of print cost. One thing I do to mitigate that is to print on 4X6 until I get the brightness and color balance for the environment right, and then go ahead and print bigger sizes.
This is the fourth Canon printer I've owned in the past 10 years. I tried a couple of other brands, but was really put off by inaccurate and finicky paper handling and the awful problem of clogged pint heads. In all fairness, I destroyed 2 of the printers using them in a high volume fashion with cheap ink. The Pro 9000 Mark II I've had for 2-1/2 years now with no problems, and if anything this one is made even better, it is solid throughout.
I can really see this printer improving my work, to the point where I'm now going to be able to confidently sell prints, no longer being at the mercy of print labs in achieving a perfect finished product. Yes, the printer is expensive, too expensive for most people's daily work. However, if you really want prints you can sell, display in galleries and art fairs, and even in local establishments, the expense is more of an investment, well worth the money.
Update 7/4/2012 - I went ahead and switched the printer to an ethernet cable connected to a router. at the same time I also installed the printer on a Win7 computer with no problems. Printing takes significantly longer on my Mac, an 11X14 went up from 6-1/2 minutes to 8-1/2 minutes due to spooling. I also lost access to the printer utility so I can no longer check ink levels, for one thing. Speaking of which, I hadn't used the printer for a couple of days, and when I turned it on it went through an ink readying routine. The level of the Grey, Matte Black, and Chroma Optimizer tanks now read 50% used instead of 25% used as stated above. I now also know why I haven't noticed the need to use clear coat (chroma optimizer), I had it set to AUTO when I installed the printer. There does not seem to be any way to turn it off. I suppose I could make a tiny manual mask in a corner. At $35 a cartridge for clear coat I don't want to be using it if I don't have to.
On the bright side, I was showing off some prints and sold a 13X19 metallic without trying, they really are breathtaking. I guess I'll have to order a set of ink tanks and a bunch of paper and re-print a lot of my old shots.
Update 7/7/2012 - This is downright alarming! After printing about 6 more large prints (11X14 and 13X19) I checked the ink levels this morning and now all of the cartridges show 50%. Ordering ink for sure right now.