Canon Pixma Pro-1 review

Canon’s new A3+ photo and artwork printer is the first model outside the company’s large-format range to offer 12 inks – and the first to feature a design inspired by Canon’s line of DSLRs. While the Pixma Pro-1’s appearance has no effect on the quality of the prints, it does make you feel better about shelling out for this printer than for some of Canon’s older pro models, whose size was the only thing that visually distinguished them from £50 throwaway home printers.

The 12-ink system goes two better than the previous flagship model, the Pixma Pro 9500 Mk II. For the Pro-1, Canon has dropped a separate green ink, added two extra greys, and dropped in the mysterious-sounding Chroma Optimizer, which essentially makes glossy prints, well, glossier. Our test prints bear this out: we saw exceptionally rich results with Canon’s own Photo Paper Pro Premium stock.

The Pro-1 is just as capable with matte media. Using Canon Fine Art Paper, we printed out some of Minni Havas’ (www.minnihavas.fi) brightly coloured, pencil-drawn work. The result was a print that many would find indistinguishable from an original (especially when hung up).

Canon bundles profiles for Hahnemühle and Ilford papers with the printer, and it’s easy to create your own profiles using the included Color Management Tool Pro software and X-Rite hardware such as the ColorMunki. Both matte and gloss blacks are available from the print head without having to switch, saving precious – well, expensive – ink and time.

The Pixma Pro-1’s looks are derived from the stylings of Canon’s EOS digital SLRs, such as the EOS 1Ds Mk III

We profiled the Pixma Pro-1 to evaluate its colour gamut. It was noticeably (though not exceptionally) wider than on the Pro 9500 Mk II or Epson Stylus Photo R3000.

The Pro-1 takes advantage of the same Easy PhotoPrint Pro plug-in for Photoshop, which ensures prints come out colour-accurate. While still overburdened with time-consuming ‘helpful’ features, it’s a lot better than rival Epson’s onerous Print plug-in.

Another feature of the Pro-1 not found on the 9500 Mk II is an Ethernet port, which makes printer sharing easier.

OUR VERDICT

Owners of the 9500 Mk II may not find an immediate reason to upgrade to the Pro-1, but if you do need a new printer for proofing or making saleable prints, Canon’s Pixma Pro-1 is the new one to want.

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