Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Long-Term Report: Canon PIXMA PRO-1 (Review Part II)

PIXMA PRO-1
Canon PIXMA PRO-1 Photo Printer (Adorama, Amazon, and B&H)

Today is the 1 year anniversary date that I’ve been using my Canon PIXMA PRO-1 printer, so I thought I’d follow up with a long-term report about how I’ve enjoyed this printer over the last year. Here’s the first two articles I’ve done about this printer in case you’d like to catch up on the prior articles before reading this sequel:

New Firmware & Drivers

If you’ve are a PRO-1 owner and haven’t upgraded your firmware yet, now is the time to do so. Readers in the United States can update here:

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/PRO-1_firmware_upgrade

This update adds better default color, increased printable area (5mm closer to the paper edge), Canvas media setting, and improve messaging about the ink levels.

After your firmware is updated, nice links are included to get all of your drivers and software up to date as well.

Living with the PRO-1

While this isn’t the speediest printer in the world, I enjoyed using this printer. It’s been reliable with no clogged print heads which even included a long-term endurance test where I did not run the printer for 6 months (due to testing of other products). I was able to fire the printer up, replace a few inks that were low, print a test pattern (which came clean) and print without any problems. I can’t go a week without massive head clogs in my Epson 4900, so this is a really big deal!

It’s Ink Thirsty

The ink consumption never improved on the second set of inks, so I’d classify this as a thirsty printer when it comes to ink. It’s small cartridges mean that you are going to go through one to two boxes of ink each year in what I’d call light duty usage. The inks don’t deplete evenly either, so you’ll want a box of all inks handy at all times. This makes this a rather expensive printer to operate compared to models with larger ink tanks.

Great Profile Availability

Even more so than most other printers, you’ll want to always use printer profiles for your papers rather than choosing “Printer Manages Color”. I felt the printer managed color was too green and not to my liking.

One area where Epson rules is the availability of great paper profiles for nearly every paper on the planet, but Canon has done a phenomenal job of working with paper distributors to have great printer profiles readily available. In fact, during my year of testing there wasn’t a single case where I had to generate my own paper profile for third party papers. This was a pleasant surprise for a printer that hasn’t been on the market all that long.

Photoshop CC

PRO-1 Printing in Photoshop CC

Using the latest firmware, I had no problems printing from my Windows 7 system using both the XPS and standard OS driver in the latest version of Photoshop CC (14.1.1 x64) at the time this article was written. I had printed using my Macbook Pro with Snow Leopard with the previous driver and had no problems, but I didn’t test on the Mac with the latest firmware simply because the Mac is not part of my standard print workflow.

My preference was for the standard OS driver and most often I was pleased with Perceptual as the rendering intent (whereas on my Epson’s I use Relative Colormetric most often). I saw no obvious advantage to the XPS driver.

Lightroom 5 Support

PRO-1 Printing in Lightroom 5

Using the latest firmware, I had no problems printing from my Windows 7 system using both the XPS and standard OS driver in the latest version of Lightroom (5.2) at the time this article was written. I had printed using my Macbook Pro with Snow Leopard with the previous driver and had no problems, but I didn’t test on the Mac with the latest firmware simply because the Mac is not part of my standard print workflow.

4x6 Prints

One area where the cheapo small printers shine and larger printers tend to fail is in handling small 4x6” prints. I’m pleased to say the PRO-1 makes printing this size paper fairly hassle free. Here’s an article that shows you how to do it:

Conclusion

Overall I’ve been happy with my Canon PIIXMA PRO-1 printer. It’s been reliable and produces great results on the papers using the sizes that I care about.

It’s a very large printer so I’ve had to put it on the floor of my studio instead of a more ideal desktop location. This seems to translate into great build quality though as this printer is built like a tank.

The absence of a front panel LCD really bugs me when I’m changing inks, but the rest of the time the software tools for alerting me to matters that need my attention have been fine. I still wish Canon would add a small and cheap display, plus throw in wireless to make it as easy to use as the Canon consumer multifunction printers.

As a print master with both Epson and Canon printer experience, I’ve been very satisfied with both the color and B&W prints made with this printer. They are every bit as good as what I get with my Epson and large format Canon printers.

My future feedback for Canon would be to make this printer have a smaller footprint, weigh less, add wireless networking and large capacity print tanks. With these issued addressed, I think this could be a compelling choice for people retiring their older Epson printers.

Where to order

Please support this blog by buying your Canon PRO-1 Photo Printer at Adorama, Amazon, or B&H using links from this blog. NOTE: Your cart must be empty before clicking the links for me to get credit. Thanks for your support!

You can also now purchase the PIXMA PRO-1 direct from Canon and get FREE shipping when you use the coupon code SHIP75 and order more than $75 USD worth of products. Click the image below and search for PRO-1 to learn more:

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2 comments:

JSipe said...

Has this taken you 'favored' spot from the R3000?

Ron Martinsen said...

JSpipe,

I'd put this printer in a separate class from the R3000. I prefer the R3000 as a light duty personal everyday printer that does an excellent job with both photography prints as well as regular business print jobs.

I consider the PRO-1 to be a Fine Art printer more suitable for thicker media than the R3000. I wouldn't use the PRO-1 as a daily printer though simply due to the cost of operating it and its startup warm up time vs the R3000.