Canon Pixma iP8500

The iP8500 photo printer features the Canon Think Tank Systemâ„¢, an intelligent ink-management system that uses individual ink tanks for each color. You replace only the color that runs out rather than an entire cartridge.

This is the sight that greets you when you lift the cover on the iP8500 printer. Canon's new ChromaPLUS 8-color ink system adds individual red and green ink tanks to the cyan, magenta, yellow, black, photo cyan and photo magenta inks that are found on the six-color printers. The red ink tank allows for an approximately 60% increase in the orange/red gamut over six-color printing and provides for previously unobtainable orange hues and well as richer reds. The green ink adds about 30% increase in green gamut as compared to six-color printing and creates more accurate and deeper greens in grass and foliage.

The iP8500 features the world's longest and highest nozzle-density print head in a consumer printer and has 6,144 nozzles (the same print head used on the top of the line i9900 wide carriage printer), capable of ejecting a staggering 122 million droplets per second that are a mere two picoliters in size. The print head uses Canon's exclusive advanced MicroFine Droplet Technologyâ„¢, which ejects consistent prescribed-volume ink droplets for smooth gradations, accurate skin tones and rich, vibrant colors. Not only can the user replace the individual ink tanks, you can also replace the entire print head if necessary. (Replacement print heads are available from Canon Service after it is determined that a replacement is necessary.)   Epson printers require a trip to the service center when they encounter a print head problem.

Optical ink sensors automatically monitor all ink color levels and communicate with your computer--giving you a pop-up message indicating exactly what colors are running low. You can also check the status of the ink tanks at any time using the Status Monitor of the driver as shown above. Canon's optical low ink detection system prevents wasted printouts by notifying you via the Printer Status Monitor before any ink tank becomes empty, so you'll never unexpectedly run out of ink in the middle of a job again.

A light beam shines through a prism located at the bottom of each ink tank. When there is sufficient ink, the light is detected by the sensor. When only about 20% of ink is left in any of the ink tanks, the light beam is refracted, triggering the sensor which tells the printer driver to display a low ink tank notification for that ink tank.