Canon has unveiled three new printers designed for the professional photographer: the 8-colour dye-based ink PIXMA Pro9000 and 10-colour pigmented ink-based PIXMA Pro9500, both 13x19 inch desktop printers, as well as the imagePROGRAF iPF5000, a wide format printer capable of prints up to 17 inches in width that features a 12-colour pigmented ink set.
PIXMA Pro9000 and Pro9500
The Pro9000 is a 13 x 19 inch printer sporting a 6,144-nozzle print head for speedy printing, can emit a droplet of ink as fine as 2 picolitres and uses 8 dye-based ChromaLife100 inks (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Photo Cyan, Photo Magenta, Black, Red, and Green) in individual cartridges. If this printer effectively combines the brisk operation of the current Canon i9900 with ChromaLife100's promised longer print life and stable colour as the print is emerging from the printer, Canon may have a quality and efficiency winner here.
Also a 13 x 19 inch printer, the Pro9500 uses Canon Lucia pigmented inks for maximum print life from a Canon desktop inkjet. There are 10 colours in all, including three neutral inks - Photo Black, Matte Black and Gray - as well as Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Photo Cyan, Photo Magenta, Red and Green. All 10 inks can reside in the printer at the same time, eliminating the need to swap black/gray inks for different types of printing, while the printer includes a 7680-nozzle print head that can lay down a droplet as small as 3 picolitres. This is Canon's first challenger to the pigmented ink-based Epson Stylus Photo R2400.
Canon PIXMA Pro9500 (Photo courtesy Canon)
A price and ship date for the Pro9000 and Pro9500 were not listed in the Canon USA press release.
Canon is clearly targeting the photographer considering the purchase of an Epson Stylus Pro 4800 with this one. The 17-inch carriage wide format iPF5000 features no less than 12 Canon Lucia pigmented inks - Red, Blue, Green, Gray, Photo Gray, Cyan, Photo Cyan, Magenta, Photo Magenta, Yellow, Regular Black, and Matte Black (all 12 high-capacity ink cartridges are installed simultaneously) - and a dual print head design that incorporates a whopping 30,720 nozzles in all, each capable of a 4 picolitre minimum droplet size. Canon claims that all those nozzles enable the iPF5000 to output a 16.5" x 23.4" (A2) size print at 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution on glossy photo paper in under 3 minutes. The maximum printer resolution is 2400 x 1200 dpi.
The iPF5000 offers four media feed options -a front-loading cassette for pre-cut sheets, a rear manual feed, a front straight path manual feed for thicker media up to 1.5mm, or an optional roll paper adapter. Automatic media switching between the cassette and roll paper is possible so users can keep two media types loaded and ready to print, making their paper selection from the print driver.
The printer ships with a built-in rotary media cutter. The optional roll paper adapter comes with two and three inch cores to accommodate all 17-inch Canon roll paper. The optional roll feed and included rotary media cutter enable the creation of borderless prints.
Software will include printing plug-ins for Digital Photo Professional (DPP) 2.1 and Photoshop for Windows and Mac that bypass the operating-system-dependent print driver to enable the sending of 16-bit RGB data to the printer. The result is promised to be an improvement in print gradation smoothness (current operating system print drivers limit the data path to 8-bits per colour).
Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5000 (Photo courtesy Canon)
The imagePROGRAF iPF5000 printer is slated to ship in April 2006 at a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of US$1945 in the U.S.