Canon IP4700 personal mini review.....
I also have a Canon PIXMA PRO9000 MK II and IP4300 that I'm comparing the IP4700 to. The PRO9000 and IP4300 both use the same CLI-8 cartridges, the IP4700 uses the newer PCI-220 and CLI-221 cartridges.
I had a Canon 6 color I950 that had great image quality, small size and 6 colors (BCI-6) that I loved, print head went bad, no new print heads available, bought a mint I950 on Ebay, but had bad print head, trashed the 2 I950s.
So looking for a nice smaller than the PRO9000 to keep right atmy small desk I was concerned about the newer Canon printers image quality with only 4 colors and a pigment black that is used for text only as compared to the 6 color I950. I found a nice used IP4300 on Ebay which uses 4 colors plus a pigment black to evaluate the 4 color print IQ against my 8 color PRO9000. I was impressed! No one that I have shown the prints to can tell any differences between the IP4300 and PRO9000 IQ, they are clones. So that alone sold me on the 4 color Canon printers that there should not be any concerns for IQ at all, no banding or gradient issues were noted.
Unfortunately on my IP4300 the nozzle check on the pigment black test pattern showed some squiggly lines so I looked at getting a new print head for $50 or at the time noticed that the IP4700 was $55 with free shipping but used different cartridges than the IP4300 and PRO9000. I refill my own cartridges. I bought the IP4700.
Construction wise there are small issues, the gloss black case is a super finger print and dust magnet, plus it scratches just looking at it. The case should have a dark grey matte fininish to look better over time and use. The other concern is that the print head now rides on a bent sheet metal lip than the previous Canon design using a nice solid bar rail. Time will tell if the new design will last.
Othwise, the printer is small, fast and quite.
My extensive print IQ evaluation using the OEM ink indicated that the color gradients on test patterns had what I call not smooth transistions, more step like. This was using the standard print driver. Reinstalling the rpinter driver a few times in Windows 7 finally fixed the issue. There was also an extremely slight magenta color cast especially noticeable in B&W prints that was resolved when I generated custom printer profiles using the the X-rite Pulse Color Elite system and all the papers (Canon and 3rd party) that I normally use.
Now I received a few days ago OCP compatible ink for the PGI-220 and CLI-221 cartridges along with a special PGI-220 & CLI-221 chip resetter (the CLI-8 chip restter will not work, looks the same, and can damage the 220 & 221 chips if used). These new 11 ml cartridges refill the same as the CLI-8, only issue is that Canon placed back plastic around the cartridge sponge chamber (CLI-8 cartridges are all clear) so it is difficult to see if you cleaned the sponge properly when flushing and how well the sponge absorbed the ink on initial refill. Well I flushed the cartridges the best I could, purged the moisture, let air dry for 4 days. The sponge chamber uses about 66% of the 11 ml capacity so I injected 8 ml of ink and it was absorbed immediately so I felt comfortable that the sponge was doing its job even though I couldn't see it. I topped off the fill chamber with another 3 ml of ink.
The OCP ink with the standard driver produces an over saturated purple red than the targeted correct red color. Thus the gamut swings towards red and blue over the OEM gamut. A custom profile quickly produced great colors and monitor matching. The OCP prints matched the IP4700 custom profiled OEM ink prints exactly, and also the IP4300 and PRO9000 custom profiled prints. So can you use the OCP ink directly with the standard IP4700 print driver and be happy....NO! You need to generate custom printer profiles and that is what I have normally found with the last 7, 3rd party ink sets that I have evaluated.
The bottom line, the IP4700 printer produces outstanding image quality prints with OEM or OCP compatible ink, nice small size, fast and quiet! Most , if not all, owners will be happy.
I highly recommend refilling with OCP ink as 5, 16oz bottle cost me $70, near the price of a single set of 5 OEM cartridges which by the way don't last too long due to the small volume. The 5, 16oz bottles will give you about 250 refills....probably more than the life of the printer! The cost savings over time will justify buying a ColorMunki to calibrate your monitor and generate the required custom printer profiles.
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