Forget four, six or even eight inks: Canon’s new high-end Pixma Pro-1 uses a 12-ink system, including four greys for smoother monochrome prints.
With regard to the Canon Pixma Pro-1's multi-ink capacity, the company claims these inks provide a wider gamut and will last 200 years in an album.
The Pro-1 is big even for an A3+ printer and is also unusually heavy. USB and Ethernet interfaces mean it can be positioned anywhere in the office or studio. Unlike the Epson Stylus Photo R2000, for example, it does not have a roll paper feed, but there is a second tray, confusingly located behind the rear tray.
The software comprises print drivers, Canon’s Easy-PhotoPrint EX (standalone) and Pro (Adobe plug-in) utilities for print projects, Easy-WebPrint EX for printing portions of web pages (apparently only for older versions of Internet Explorer), a pair of front-end programs and the customary Adobe RGB profile. No user interaction is required during installation until the time comes to identify a networked printer.
Canon claims an A3+ photo print can be produced in two minutes 55 seconds, but we timed it at exactly seven minutes. Paper selection seems to play a part: the same image on a different grade of Canon A3 paper took over 10 minutes. For comparison with other printers, 15 x 10cm prints took one minute 56 seconds.
The Pro-1 is wasted on general office printing, but our test document took just short of two minutes for the first page and 37 seconds for the second. The quality was generally good, but the text appeared charcoal grey rather than black.
The combination of high print resolution and additional inks gave superior results to most photo printers we’ve tested, but there was little to choose between the Pro-1 and the R2000. We couldn’t distinguish the greyscale performances, but -- despite our general liking for Canon photo prints -- the less-expensive Epson was fractionally ahead with more natural rendering of skin colours and especially sky blues, which tended towards indigo shades with the Pro-1.Available from Canon, retailing for $1,450
.APC rating: 7/10