We had been anticipating our new Canon Pro-1000 machine for weeks. Our fine art printing workshop was scheduled for last Saturday and by Friday afternoon the printer still had not arrived. Then, mercifully, at 6:45 PM the printer was delivered to our studio. Bob, our Master Printer, had already left for the day. Frankly, I did not think we’d be able to use the Pro-1000 for the all-day workshop. Bummer!
After dinner, I decided to give it a try. I unpacked the machine, set it up and was printing with it within two hours! I could not believe how easy the setup was. Everything was thoughtfully designed, even including a heavy-duty plastic bag with handles that made it a snap to lift the printer out of the carton and onto the table. Canon includes online video clips that take you through the setup in a ridiculously easy, step-by-step fashion. Thank you, Canon!
The next day, Bob arrived early, installed the paper profiles and drivers and we were ready to welcome our clients by 8:30 AM! I’m not one to do highly technical reviews. I’d much rather focus on actual, practical field reviews, based on the real life experience of a working pro. So, with that in mind here is my take on the Canon Pro-1000.
For the record, our studio houses a Canon Pro-1 (13"), a Canon iPF 6450 (24") and a 44" Epson 9900, which we plan to replace with a Canon printer in the near future (anyone interested in buying the 9900?). We use our Pro-1 primarily to produce 8.5 x 11" proofs before committing to an large format print on expensive archival paper. We have had the Pro-1 for about three years now and it has been nothing short of a dependable workhorse.
We use our printers to generate fine art prints for our clients, both private individuals and corporate. We also teach four fine art print workshops for beginner to intermediate printers and a two-day advanced workshop. Finally, we are frequently asked by my professional and amateur photographer colleagues to make custom large format prints for them. So, between all these activities our printers get a lot of use. Enter the Image PROGRAF Pro-1000.
I first laid eyes on the Pro-1000 at the PDN showcase in New York City back in October, when Canon gave me a demonstration. I was impressed, both by its specs and its phenomenal price, let alone its fantastic print quality. Who would have imagined a 17" wide printer, with Canon’s legendary quality, priced at below $1,500! The major photo sites now list it at $1,300!!
With our machine set up for our workshop, we began sending client files to it shortly after lunch. For the next five hours, the workshoppers had printed dozens of 8.5x11" proofs and several 17x22" fine art prints.
Here is what we noticed. First, we were surprised by how quiet the printer was. No clacking sound as the print head came to the end of each row, and no other “mysterious” sounds like breaking plastic or grinding metal that some printers we have owned are known to exhibit. A couple of times I noticed our clients looking into the machine to see if it was even printing.
Next up was the speed. Wow! The Pro-1 has been a steady, sure-footed printer for us for several years now. So we expected the same slow but steady output from the Pro-1000. Instead we found that the Pro-1000 kicked out prints in half the time. The new anti-clogging technology built into the Pro-1000 helps increase print speeds, always a plus with us due to our printing schedules.
The Real Pluses
But, let’s face it; if I had a choice between speed and luscious color rendition, I would pick the latter any time. With the Pro-1000 we didn’t need to choose. Canon claims its vacuum air feeding system improves droplet accuracy and we saw that in our prints. Sharp lines and beautiful tonal gradations were evident on each and every print. The 11-color inks (plus Chrome Optimizer) generate full color works of art. Period.
The color prints we made during the workshop and in the days afterwards on our Museo Fine Art and Moab papers were dense, with colors popping off the page. The black and white prints were tonally perfect. We are definitely impressed. If those impressions last through a couple more client print cycles, we plan to purchase another Pro-1000
I know this sounds like a commercial, but those of you who have struggled through the infancy of digital printing know from where I come. The advances in digital printing over the past 10 years is nothing short of astounding, but are still short of Valhalla. Droplets have gotten smaller and more precise, logarithms are more intelligent, software interpolation is lightyears ahead of a decade ago.
Perhaps this is a small point, but as you can see from the photo, the footprint of the 17" Pro-1000 is about the same as the 13" Pro-1, which is a real plus when real estate is an issue.
We found the Pro-1000 to be perhaps the harbinger of the printer experience yet to come. Easy set up, lots of online help, denser blacks, a wider color gamut, better shadow detail… what more can one hope for in a printer? Yes, the entire process from post-processed image to final output on fine art paper could be made simpler and even faster, but the Pro-1000 is a huge step in that direction. Take a look at these prints for an idea of its capabilities on the very first day we put it into operation in our workshop. Our clients were indeed happy and everyone went home with at least two large format prints.
As we continue to use the Pro-1000 I plan to give you updates. But for now, if you are a pro or serious amateur photographer looking to get into printing, or to upping your game, now is the time. From our vantage point, the Canon Pro-1000 looks to be a winner.