Conclusion - Pros
- Outstanding print quality for color and black and white
- Large capacity ink cartridges
- Three gray ink dilutions for smooth transitions in monochrome output
- Chroma optimizer eliminates gloss differential and reduces bronzing
- Direct support for third party papers
- High build quality
- Fast print speeds at maximum quality
- Relatively quiet operation
- Printer driver integration with Photoshop reduces chances of user error
- Impressive profiling software included
- Ethernet connectivity
Conclusion - Cons
- Most expensive A3+ printer on the market
- Large footprint for an A3+ printer
- Accurate shadow detail requires a custom profile
- Reduced printable area on some fine art media
- Print plug-in offers no precise control over image size
The Pixma Pro-1 is a very impressive performer and a stylish looking printer to boot. This 12-ink pigment-based inkjet model is capable of producing rich, detailed and color-accurate prints that are among the finest we've seen from a desktop printer. Black and white output is equally impressive, with the printer utilizing 5 shades of black ink when printing on glossy media. Indeed, the print quality advances introduced with the Pro-1 meet and in some areas exceed output from Canon's large format ImagePROGRAF models.
While we suspect out of the box performance will satisfy most home printing enthusiasts, getting the best out of the Pro-1 will probably require the use of custom profiles. Put simply, the more your individual printer differs from the one which Canon used to build the canned profiles, the less accurate your results will be. To this end Canon should be commended for making high quality profiling software available free of charge.
The Pro-1 has a number of other features that users will appreciate, such as fast print times, quiet operation and robust support for third party fine art media. The Pro-1 has a solid and sturdy construction that appears suitable for long term use and in the weeks we spent evaluating the printer we had no maintenance issues.
One feature that users may come to appreciate over time is the large 36ml capacity of the individual ink cartridges. This offers the convenience of extended periods of printing between replacement. And at a US retail cost of $1 per ml, ($.83 per ml for the chroma optimizer) these inks are a better value than those for the Pixma Pro9500 Mark II. With a fresh set of inks installed we were able to make 213 letter-sized prints before replacing an ink cartridge.
A significant concern for potential buyers, other than a price tag that makes it the most expensive A3+ inkjet printer on the market, is the sheer size of the unit. The Pro-1 has a considerable footprint. We would imagine few users able to actually fit the printer on their desk. Canon has included an Ethernet port which means that with a long cable, the printer does not need to be in close proximity to your workstation.
While most enthusiasts and working professionals will be comfortable printing from image editing software like Photoshop, Canon provides its own printing software that contains some useful template layouts. Our chief complaint with the software, however, is that the user cannot set a specific print size; the software automatically scales the image based on the selected paper size. And we are disappointed to see that for thicker matte papers requiring a 'fine art' media type the printer driver sets 35mm margins on both the leading and trailing edges.
We don't want to overstate our relatively minor complaints, however. At the end of the day, a printer stands or falls on the quality of its output. And in this regard the Pixma Pro-1 represents a clear step forward in Canon's printer lineup and easily earns our highest honor, a Gold Award.
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