Digital Photography Review

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Printer – Photo Review

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Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Printer - Photo Review

In summary

When it comes to output quality, Canon’s imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 will meet the expectations of demanding photographers on virtually any suitable inkjet paper. Its paper handling is efficient and designed to minimise wastage through accidental damage.

Compact for its type and attractive looking, it should fit well into many different environments, whether they be business or domestic. And it’s versatile enough to meet the essential requirements of both situations ““ provided you’re happy with the A2 size limit.

If you’re in the market for a new A2 printer, the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is certainly worth looking at. Provided you can live with its limitations (see full review), you can be confident it will deliver excellent colour and monochrome prints on both Canon’s and other manufacturers’ media.

Full review

This review supplements the First Look article we published in October 2015 and covers setting up and printing with the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer. Introduced as the flagship model in the company’s desktop line-up, it sits between the PIXMA PRO-1, which is a desktop A3+ model and uses the same ink configuration, and the imagePROGRAF iPF5100, which has a slightly different ink set and includes roll paper support. The iPF5100 can also be mounted on an optional stand.

Angled view of the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer. (Source: Canon.)

We’ve covered the main features of this printer in detail in our First Look so in this review we will concentrate upon things we’ve discovered while using the printer. Interestingly, most of them aren’t obvious when you read the promotional blurbs and peruse the specifications list.

We would advise anyone considering this printer to read the user manual beforehand in order to set the printer up correctly and understand all operating procedures. Even though the thought of working through roughly 750 pages can be off-putting, there will be a few sections you can skip, notably those dealing with printing from web services and smart devices if you always print from a computer. The Troubleshooting section (which takes up about a third of the pages) can probably be left for when you need it.

Concentrate on the sections covering the printer driver and LCD panel as well as the installation and transportation procedures. Paying strict attention to the latter will help you to avoid some potentially costly mistakes (outlined below). The manual can be downloaded from the Canon website.

What’s in the Box? The printer comes in a cardboard box that is just over a metre long, 556 mm deep and 433 mm in height and has an all-up weight of roughly 38 kilograms, much of it accounted for by the solid metal chassis. Inside you’ll find the printer, 12 ink cartridges (the full 80 ml capacity), the user-replaceable print head, a power cord, software CD-ROM, two set-up manuals printed on A2 sheets of paper and a package containing two sheets of paper for carrying out head alignments.

The contents of the box are packed in Styrofoam, which is split to enable the top sections to be removed. The printer comes in a heavy-duty plastic bag with a thin foam-sheet inner lining. The bag has handles at each end and is strong enough to hold the printer while you lift it onto the desktop. Two people are needed for this task since the printer itself weighs about 30 kilograms.

It’s easy enough to remove the bag and foam sheeting by lifting each end of the printer and pulling the packaging out together. Like the PIXMA PRO-1, the Pro-1000 is essentially a rectangular box when the coverings are removed.

The first step in the setting up process is to remove the strips of orange tape that keep everything in place while the printer is in transit. We counted 17 pieces of orange tape plus two sheets of transparent plastic.

Setting UpAllow at least an hour to make the printer ready for printing. Detailed instructions are provided the printed sheets supplied in the same plastic envelope as the software CD. The steps involved in setting up the printer are similar to those required for other large-format desktop printers and almost identical to the PIXMA PRO-1, which uses the same ink set.

The ink tanks slot into a compartment behind a drop-down flap on the lower edge of the front panel below the output tray (shown above). Each bay is colour-coded and the tank is inserted with its label correctly orientated. The tanks push into place with a soft click.

The print head is installed in a dedicated holder under the top cover. Once it’s been installed The LCD screen will display a message: Processing … Please wait momentarily.

After a few minutes the displayed message will change to: Head alignment is required. Load a sheet of specified paper (MP-101) in the rear tray and select OK. The paper comes in a package that contains two sheets plus instructions on how to orientate them. Make sure the support flap behind the rear tray is raised and the loading flap at the front of the tray has been lowered. The front tray should also be lowered to receive the paper as it exits the printer.

It takes a few minutes to print the head alignment test, which should be accomplished successfully if the printer is new. The LCD screen then prompts you to select the connection method from three options: USB, Wired LAN or Wireless LAN. We chose USB because it’s the best option when you want to print images that have been edited.

Windows users can install the printer driver and software directly from the supplied CD-ROM; Mac users need to download them from topdeblogs.comtup. In each case, the computer screen should display the message shown above. Installing the printer driver takes several minutes, during which time the printer checks for updates.

The next screen, shown above, prompts you to connect the printer to your computer. No USB cable is supplied with the printer but any cable with a Standard A plug at one end and a Standard B plug at the other will be adequate. Prepare for a further wait of several minutes while the printer completes the installation of the driver and displays the screen shown below.

Clicking on the Next button begins the software installation. The screen will display a list of applications (shown below) that you can keep checked or uncheck at will. Installation should take between five and 10 minutes, depending on how many applications you install and your network environment.

During the following half hour or so the printer channels ink into the ink lines and generally prepares itself for printing. Once this is completed, the LCD screen on the printer will display a ‘Ready to print‘ message along with an abbreviated ink status tab and the normal interface items for selecting the paper type and size and maintenance operations. Note: The Maintenance Tank, which soaks up stray ink droplets, is pre-installed in a special compartment on the rear panel. When it needs to be replaced, full instructions for fitting the new tank are provided in the user manual (it’s a straightforward process).

Using the LCD Panel The printer’s LCD panel displays status messages and lets you access a number of functions. The arrow pad to its right is used for shifting between settings and selecting menu items or options.

At the top of the menu is an ink status display. Selecting this item enables you to check ink levels, view the ink tank replacement procedure, or check ink tank numbers.

Below it is a paper settings display that enables you to specify the size and type of paper loaded in the rear tray. The screen grabs below show the sequence of actions required for registering a paper setting. |

Registering a paper setting: top row, from left – selecting the page size; bottom row – selecting the paper type and registering the selections.

Below the paper settings is the Maintenance tab, which includes roller and bottom plate cleaning, colour calibration and maintenance tank info. Be particularly careful to avoid selecting the Prepare to transportation tab as it could cost you dearly (see below).

The Job management tab lets you view the job history data from the last 10 prints. Selecting a print job and pressing the OK button displays the job details, which includes the document name, print result (success or not), printing start and end times, page size and paper type, print quality and ink usage, covering both total ink consumption and usage for individual ink tanks.

You can also opt to print the job history by selecting Yes and pressing the OK button. Unfortunately, the PRO-1000 doesn’t support duplex printing (on both sides of the paper). Be prepared to use up a large quantity of paper whenever you want to access this information for calculating the costs and ink usage for a large job.

You can also download the jobs history file directly from the printer is via Wi-Fi fusing the Web Browser function, which requires you to set up a password and enter the printer’s serial number. Once this is done you should be able to download the jobs history file and save it, giving you greater control over how and what you want to print it.

The Template print setting lets you print forms like lined paper, graph paper, or checklists on A4, B5, or Letter-sized plain paper. Options also include handwriting paper and weekly and monthly schedule forms.

Accessing the LAN settings requires administrator privileges. This section covers setting up the printer for wireless LAN, wired LAN or direct connection and enables users to print out details such as the printer’s IP address and SSID.

Most items in the Various settings require administrator privileges to adjust. Among them are whether you will send the printer usage information to Canon server and whether the printer will display the printing job history and enable remote operation. Firmware updates are also installed through this setting and you can also check the firmware version, or re-set a notification screen, a DNS server and a proxy server.

The Printer information tab displays the printer’s system information and error history.

Transportation Read this section of the user manual VERY carefully if you need to move the printer from one location to another. Failure to do so will cost you dearly because selecting Prepare to transportation and pressing the OK button will cause the printer to dump all its ink into the maintenance cartridge.

Be careful not to select this item in the Maintenance section of the CLD menu inadvertently.

An initial warning states: Do not tilt the printer or turn it on its side or upside down. Doing so may cause ink to leak during relocation. We found it’s possible to move the printer without going through the Prepare to transportation routine ““ provided the printer is kept level and NOT tilted.

If there’s a chance that the printer may be tilted the manual states; ALL the ink in the printer and ‘a certain amount of ink in the ink tanks need to be ejected into the maintenance cartridge’. The process takes approximately six minutes and up to three maintenance cartridges may be required to accommodate this ink. Because it’s all mixed up in the maintenance cartridge itwon’t be recoverable.

Assuming you’ve used up most of the ink in the cartridges before you have to go through this procedure, at the best estimate, you will have wasted at least half a litre of ink, which Add to that the cost of the maintenance cartridges (which will also be thrown away), which probably amounts to somewhere upwards of $50 each (Canon doesn’t provide RRPs to reviewers and few local resellers were listing cartridge prices when this review was published so we can’t be more specific).

All up, that’s a lot of ink ““ and a lot of money ““ to throw away. And that’s one of the reasons for the ‘Overall’ rating we’ve listed for this printer isn’t quite as high as it might otherwise have been.

What’s Good? The first factor to highlight is the quality of the prints from the printer ““ which is generally excellent. We began our tests by making prints from standard images that have been prepared for this purpose and are published on the web. This enables us to compare output with printers we’ve reviewed recently. The images we used are:

1. The Datacolor Matrix (shown above) a 3744 x 2844 pixel JPEG file used for checking colour calibrations.

2. The Northlight Images B&W test (shown above), a 3503 x 2480 monochrome JPEG file.

3. The PrinterEvaluationImage_v002_ProPhoto (shown above), a 3600 x 2700 TIFF file, which was chosen because it contains colour patches and gradations and it is in TIFF format.

Prints from these images made with the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 using the printer driver and enabling the printer to handle colour management were almost indistinguishable from prints made of the same images with the Epson P800 and our older Epson 3880 printer. This was true across a wide range of papers, from Canon’s Pro Platinum (which is regarded as the highest quality glossy paper), through lustre and semi-gloss to matte papers. The slight differences between the prints were almost entirely due to differences in the base colours and surface textures of the papers.

On the Pro Platinum paper, the PRO-1000 delivered slightly richer blacks than the two Epson printers, probably because of the Chrome Optimiser. However, there was very little difference between prints from the P800 and the PRO-1000 on the other media.

We found the ‘canned’ profiles in the printer driver were perfectly matched to each of the Canon paper types we used. They also worked well with papers from other manufacturers, provided they were used with the same paper types. Note: you should check the LCD panel on the printer to make sure the paper type matches the paper in use and the paper selected in the printer driver, although we found the driver would ignore the LCD panel settings in most situations.

We noticed some minor gloss differential and bronzing in prints on glossy papers with the default settings; but this was expected and it was much the same as we found with the P800 and 3880 prints. This problem is largely due to the fact that pigment inks aren’t absorbed into the top layer of the paper coating and, therefore, sit on top of the glossy surfaces.

In contrast dye inks are absorbed into the glossy coating and seldom produce gloss differential or bronzing. Since there’s no dye ink printer available with A2 output both phenomena are inevitable if you require glossy A2 prints, although they can be minimised to some degree.

We found the same issues with the Chroma Optimiser on glossy media as we did with the PIXMA Pro-1, although the PRO-1000 provides only two of the Clear Coating Area settings found in that printer, with the Auto setting being the default. Unlike the PIXMA Pro-1, you can’t turn the clear coating off in the PRO-1000.

The Pro-1 also has a separate Clear Coating page in the driver. Unfortunately, the controls for this function in the PRO-1000 are hidden away in the Colour/Intensity settings dropdown menu on the Main page. Checking the Manual button and selecting Set opens an interface with three pages of colour adjustments, the Clear Coating Area settings (containing the Overall option) being on the third page.

As with the Pro-1, the Auto setting on the PRO-1000 failed to coat specular highlights, which tended to emphasise gloss differential in prints containing them. The Overall setting did a better job and produced a nice even gloss coating across the entire sheet of paper, making these highlight less noticeable.

Bronzing was only noticeable on large areas of dark tones and only occurred with glossy media. Overall coating with the Chroma Optimiser made it less obvious but didn’t completely remove it. We concluded that predominantly low-key images would look best when printed on matte papers.

The PRO-1000 isn’t as quiet as the PIXMA Pro-1. This is largely because of the vacuum paper feeding system, which keeps paper flat as it’s fed through the printer. You can hear the suction as the printer chugs away in an almost industrial fashion. It’s not exactly noisy; but you certainly know when it’s running. The intermittent agitation cycle that shakes the ink tanks to keep pigment particles in suspension is also quite noisy (and surprising if you aren’t expecting it).

The advantage of the vacuum paper feed is that it almost totally eliminates paper feeding problems. All standard sizes of paper we tried from A4 through to A2 went through the printer completely straight and there were no signs of skewing or head strike or other damage to paper, even when we loaded a stack of eight to 10 sheets.

However, we encountered a few instances of head strike with stacks of custom-sized papers, although not if there were fewer than about three sheets in the stack. The marks on one corner of each affected sheet covered a very small area, which would be easy to hide when the print was framed or trimmed off when binding a book.

Large format printers commonly enforce a margin of 25 mm when printing on some types of paper, preventing users from making borderless prints or printing to a specified output size. This can be deeply irritating if, for example, you want to make a print to fit into an existing frame. With most printers, there’s no workaround for this problem.

However, with the PRO-1000, a workaround is available, although you need to look for it. On page 3 (Page Setup) in the driver menu, you’ll find a box labelled ‘Print Options’ in the second-to-bottom line of the page. Click on this and the screen below appears.

The lowest check box on the list lets you ‘cancel the safety margin regulation for the paper size’. When you check this box, the screen changes to the warning reproduced below.

You can ignore this for most paper sizes, particularly if you don’t want to make borderless prints (where ink is inevitably wasted). We found we could apply a margin as narrow as 10 mm on an A2 sheet of matte or lustre paper without creating any paper handling problems or causing unwanted ink wastage. We feel this feature should be available in all large format printers.

Unlike most printers, the PRO-1000 includes a colour calibration function that can adjust the output colour tones any time you think the printer isn’t producing the correct colour balance. We had no need to use this function in the course of our tests because colours were consistently correct. However, it’s easy to accomplish via the Maintenance function on the LCD panel.

Selecting Colour calibration lets you choose between the default Auto adjust setting and two manual adjustments. You then select a paper size and type and load a single sheet of the paper in the rear tray. Pressing the OK button causes the printer to check environmental conditions and paper parameters and then carry out the auto calibration. It couldn’t be simpler. (Calibration can also be performed for other networked printers via the Quick Utility Box.)

The PRO-1000 also provides all of the normal options for remote printing that amateur or professional photographers would require, including wireless and wired networking, remote printing from smart devices (Android and iOS) and printing from cloud-based storage. We doubt many of the images that could be transmitted to the printer in some of these ways would be good enough to print at A2 size but providing them makes the printer versatile enough to support a wide range of output sizes.

Business users who need a printer that can be shared will also find plenty of handy settings, including a number of administrator-only functions that can be used to set up passwords and device user settings. Energy saving and quiet setting modes are also available under administrator privileges.

Printing Times Most photographers expect large desktop inkjet printers to be slow and the PRO-1000 is no exception. When printing a series of images on separate sheets of paper the printer will pause for between 15 seconds and a minute between prints, instead of running straight from one print to the next. This is normal for a printer of its calibre.

During our tests we measured the following average printing times and ink consumption: A4 borderless: 2 minutes and 47 seconds, total ink consumption of 0.61 ml. A4 with white borders: 1 minute and 51 seconds, total ink consumption of 0.41 ml. A3 borderless: 5 minutes and 6 seconds, total ink consumption of 1.35 ml. A3 with 25 mm white borders: 4 minutes and 30 seconds, total ink consumption of 1.08 ml. A2 with 25 mm white borders: 8 minutes and 15 seconds, total ink consumption of 1.70 ml.A2 with 10 mm white borders: 9 minutes and 25 seconds, total ink consumption of 2.39 ml.

We found the low ink warning started to appear well before the ink tanks are actually depleted. We estimate you could probably make at least 40 A3 prints before there was any risk of the ink running out.

Estimating printing costs is tricky because they depend on many different factors, including the cost of the paper, the print size and the quality settings used in the printer driver. Assuming minimal wastage, these costs are relatively low when compared with commercial printing. They are certainly in line with other A2 and A3+ printers.

If you eliminate ink wastage, at an approximate cost per cartridge of AU$83, the ink costs AU$1.02 per millilitre. This puts the average ink costs for an A4 print at around 50 cents, an A3 print at around $1.50 and an A2 print somewhere between $2 and $2.50.

However, bear in mind the other factors that can influence overall ink usage, which include the types of images printed, how long the printer is left unused and the frequency of automatic cleaning and maintenance cycles. Some of these are controllable by the user; others aren’t.

Output Size RestrictionsWe’ve penalised the PRO-1000 a little because of the restrictions it places on overall print size and how much of the paper you can cover with the image for different types of paper. These restrictions run counter to the margin handling flexibility in the driver so we don’t understand why Canon applies them ““ particularly when other manufacturers aren’t as strict.

For starters, this printer can’t use roll paper. But that’s not all; the largest print you can make with the PRO-1000 is 594 x 420 mm, which is the size of a sheet of A2 paper. In contrast, the maximum supported length for the PIXMA Pro-1 is 676 mm, while its maximum supported width is 356.6 mm, which is slightly wider than A3+ paper.

All of Canon’s A3+ printers can accept papers up to 355 mm wide via the manual feed slot. That’s only 65 mm narrower than A2 width, so if length is important (for example if you make a lot of panoramic prints) you would probably be better off with an A3+ printer.

Ink UsageInk usage is another issue to confront; not because the printer has high ink consumption while actually printing (it doesn’t) but when you set up the printer roughly half of the ink in the first set of ink tanks you install is used to prime the tubes between the tanks and the print head. Since each tank holds 80 ml of ink, this amounts to 480 ml of ink ““ almost half a litre! At an approximate cost of around $AU83 per cartridge is about $500 worth of ink.

The ink status monitor before any prints were made showed roughly half of the ink had been used to prime the tubes between the tanks and the print head.

The ink status monitor at the end of our tests, showing the relatively even usage of inks and high level of discarded ink in the maintenance cartridge.

When the maintenance tank indicates it needs replacing it contains about 280 ml of ink, which has to be discarded with the tank. Keep an eye on the status of the maintenance tank to monitor possible ink wastage and contact the re-seller who sold you the printer if you think it is filling up too quickly. You should be able to go through roughly two sets of ink tanks before a replacement is needed.

Assuming you keep the printer in the same place, it seems you could add up to 10% to these costs to allow for maintenance tank replacement and the ink lost in the initial charging of the ink lines. (This percentage will reduce over time as the link lines only need charging once if the printer isn’t moved.)

ConclusionPhoto Review was one of two reviewers who received the first PRO-1000 printers to be imported into Australia. And, in the course of our extensive tests we identified several issues that were reported to Canon. This delayed the release of our review.

Canon has addressed the issues we reported by issuing a firmware update for the printer and invited us both to check that the problems had been corrected. We found this to be the case but urge anyone who buys the PRO-1000 to check the System Information page and make sure Firmware version 1.070 is installed.

When it comes to output quality, Canon’s imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 will meet the expectations of demanding photographers on virtually any suitable inkjet paper. Its paper handling is efficient and designed to minimise wastage through accidental damage.

Compact for its type and attractive looking, it should fit well into many different environments, whether they be business or domestic. And it’s versatile enough to meet the essential requirements of both situations ““ provided you’re happy with the A2 size limit.

We have some concerns, however, about the potential for ink wastage when setting up the printer initially (the ink used for priming the tanks must always be considered ‘lost’ ink) and if you have to move the printer. Consequently, we wouldn’t recommend this printer to anyone who moves home (or offices) frequently.

We concluded our ‘First Look‘ with the statement that ‘Epson has a serious competitor to contend with in the A2 arena’. We still think this is the case, although the differences between the PRO-1000 and the Epson 3880 and more recent P800 printers are not enough to justify upgrading to the Canon printer at this point in time.

However, if you’re in the market for a new A2 printer, the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is certainly worth looking at. Provided you can live with its limitations, you can be confident it will deliver excellent colour and monochrome prints on both Canon’s and other manufacturers’ media.

ADDENDUM, 19 February 2016. Our colleague, Trevern Dawes has carried out further tests on a couple of additional printers and confirmed our findings with respect to printing times, ink usage and gloss differential and bronzing on glossy media. He has also provided the information that 0.3 ml of ink passes to the maintenance cartridge with each print made. His conclusion (with which we agree) is that the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 should not be used for making small prints because there will be substantial ink wastage. However, 0.3 ml represents relatively little wastage with an A2 sized print. He also found the maintenance tank will have filled by the time two sets of inks have been consumed. This is a higher rate of ink wastage than some A2 printers but within a ‘workable’ range if you only make large prints. Canon’s technical specialists tell us the delay between prints is due to the PRO-1000’s extensive use of technologies developed for large-format printers. To take advantage of benefits like the vacuum-based paper feeding system, some delay between prints is inevitable.

SPECS

Printer type: 12-colour pigment ink printer Printing method:Bubble-jet on demand Head configuration: 4 colours per chip x 3 chips Nozzle pitch: 600 dpi x 2; 1,536 nozzles per chip Minimum droplet size: 4 picolitres/colour Resolution: 2400 x 1200 dpi Paper sizes: A5, A4, A3, A3+, A2, B5, B4, B3, 4×6″, 5×7″, 8×10″, 10×12″, 14×17″, 7×22″, Letter, Legal, Ledger; maximum printable paper length – 594 mm Max. paper thickness: 432 mm (via rear tray) Roll paper support: No Ink supply: Tubing system; with level detected by dot count and electrode (empty); each ink tank is equipped with EEPROM which stores its ink level Ink cartridges: MBK (matt black), PBK (photo black) C (cyan), M (magenta), Y (yellow), PC (photo cyan), PM (photo magenta), GY (grey), PGY (photo grey), R (red), B (blue), CO (Chroma Optimiser) supplied in 80 ml tanks Print speed: PT101 Photo Paper – approx 6 min.; LU-101 Photo Paper – approx 4 min 10 sec.(colour/B&W print mode) Interfaces: Hi-Speed USB (2.0), Ethernet IEEE 802.3 10base-T/IEEE 802.3u 10base-T, Auto-Negotiation Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Control panel: 3.0-inch TFT LCD, 13 Keys, 2 LEDs Power consumption: 37 W; 2.5 W in standby mode. 0.4 W with power off Acoustic noise: Approx. 41.0 dB(A); Quiet mode on approx. 40.4 dB(A) Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 723 x 285 x 433 mm Weight: Approx. 32 Kilograms (including print head and inks)

Canon Australia topdeblogs.com

Rating

RRP: n/a ARP: ~AU$1800; US$1300

  • Build: 9.0
  • Features: 8.6
  • Print quality: 9.0
  • Print speed: 8.3

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