Canon Pixma Pro-1 Review

Review posted 03/26/2012

canon_PIXMA-PRO1-BW-1.jpgCanon's latest professional series printer, the PIXMA Pro-1, is aimed directly at photo enthusiasts and professional photographers, with features and a price point that both will appreciate. The successor to the popular Pro9500 Mark II, the Pro-1 is now the Flagship model in Canon's Professional Photo Printer line up. On top of various other upgrades over past models, the biggest improvement is the Pro-1's new 12-ink system, which incorporates a tubular ink delivery system, an all new FINE Print Head (4800x2400 DPI), as well as 5 new monochrome inks (Photo Black, Matte Black, Gray, Dark Gray and Light Gray). Canon claims this new ink system combination, along with their new Chroma Optimizer, allows the Pro-1 to produce stunning color photos, along with unmatched black density for creating beautiful B&W photos with smoother gradations, and less graininess.

The tubular ink system has several advantages over past systems where the ink tanks rode on the print head itself. For one, the reduced mass on the print head allows it to move faster, thus improving printing speed. Canon notes that the Pro-1 can churn out a bordered 13x19-inch print in just 4 minutes and 20 seconds; which is about 1.8x faster than the 9500 Mark II. Secondly, because the ink tanks are not restricted in size by having to fit on top of the print head, Canon was able to increase their size by approx. 157% (about 2.5 times larger), giving you greater ink tank life; without a 157% increase in the price of these new larger tanks.

Canon PIXMA Pro-1 Main Features:
  • 12-color FINE print head with 4 picolitre Micro-Nozzles
  • LUCIA 12 Pigment Ink System
  • OIG (Optimum Image Generating) System carefully calculates the best results for each print mode and paper type used, giving you optima results no matter what you're printing
  • New tubular ink delivery system; ink tanks no longer ride on the print head
  • Individually replaceable ink tanks are 157% larger than with past models
  • 5 new monochrome ink tanks for unmatched black density (Photo Black, Matte Black, Gray, Dark Gray and Light Gray)
  • Chroma Optimizer
  • Top rear, Auto feed loading tray for semi-gloss and glossy media
  • Manual paper feed on the back for fine art media
  • Photo lab quality 13x19"color prints in approx. 4 minutes and 20 seconds; 11x14" in 2 minutes an 55 seconds; or 8x10" in 2 minutes and 10 seconds
  • Support for fine art paper up to 13 x 19" sizes
  • Easy-PhotoPrint software for Windows
  • USB 2.0 high-speed interface (Windows Vista/7 or Mac OS X)
  • Direct USB printing from most modern digicams and dSLRs via PictBridge
  • Ethernet port for network printing

The Canon PIXMA Pro-1 is available now with a bargain prince of just $999 USD. See our buy box below for the most current online pricing from various vendors. 


Unboxing



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When FedEx dropped off the Pro-1 box at my doorstep, I was shocked at how much this thing weighs. I nearly threw my back out trying to pick the monster up to bring it inside for safe keeping. According to the FedEx label, the box weighted in at 77 pounds. Once I got it to my office, I was worried the desk / table I had setup aside for the printer would hold the thing up. 


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Opening the box reveals a wealth of packing materials, a slim box containing the manuals, software CD-ROM, the print head alignment paper, etc., and the ink tanks and print head wrapped in protective materials. 


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Once you've removed the printer from the box (I highly recommend you get someone to help you), these are the main components you're left with; the printer body, print head, and 12 ink tanks (not taking into account the Disc printing tray, manuals, power cable, and such). Thankfully the printer body, which weighs over 60 pounds, is in a thick plastic bag. This allowed me to carefully lift the body out of the box by myself, without any problems. Having an extra hand would have been a huge help though, and much less stressful.



Features & Controls 


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Once you've removed all of the orange protective tape, installed the ink tanks, and the print head, you're about half-way through the setup process (which we'll get into more later). Here is what the printer looks like closed up in "stand by" mode. This printer is sexy in every way, and we give kudos to Canon for its elegant, yet simple, design.


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Here we can see the Pro-1 opened up and ready to work. This is a large printer, which takes up approx. 27.25x18.5x9.5 inches (WxDxH) when it's fully closed up. Opening the rear paper feed and the front catch tray extends the depth from 18.5" out to approx. 35.5", and the height jumps from 9.5" inches up to 16". That's a lot of desk space, and you'll want to ensure you have a nice sturdy table or desk for the Pro-1 to sit on due to it weighing in at 60.9lbs. 


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Here we can see a close-up of the rear auto paper feed with the feed slot cover open to expose the paper guides. It's always best to raise this cover when inserting paper, just be sure you close the cover, otherwise you'll get a prompt from the printer to close it before it will print. This rear tray can accept paper from sizes of 4x6" up to 13x19". Below is a chart from Canon that shows the compatible paper sizes. The number of sheets you can load depends on the paper size (plain paper=150 sheets, 4x6=20 sheets, 5x7 - A4=10 sheets, 10x12 and 13x19=1 sheet).

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The manual feed tray is hidden behind the auto feed tray on the back. This try is used for manually feeding heavier paper types one at a time, as well as 14x17" media. 4x6 and 5x7 paper sizes can not be fed through the manual feed.


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Another view of the manual feed tray.


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Here we have the front tray fully extended. It extends approx. 9" from the front of the printer's body, however it has a total surface length of almost 16". When printing 13x19s, they hand over the front just a tad. The max capacity of this tray is rated at 50 sheets (with plain paper).


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Looking in the printer from the paper tray reveals the Disc feed door.


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Flipping it down using the tab to the right allows you to insert the included Compact Disc printing tray for adding labels to your CDs, DVDs, etc.


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Here's a top view of the tray partial inserted in the disc feed. You can do one disc at a time, and Canon notes to, "obtain a 4.72 inches / 12 cm or 3.15 inches / 8 cm printable disc with a label surface compatible with inkjet printing.".


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They also include an adapter for printing on 3.15 / 8 cm media.




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The printer has only two controls, which are located on the front of the printer; upper right in this photo. From left to right, we have the Resume/Cancel button, and the main Power button. Above each button is a small LED lamp, which help communicate to the user what the printer is doing, or if a problem has occurred. To the left you can also see the printer's USB port.

Power and Alarm lamp indicators:

  • POWER lamp is off: The power is off.
  • POWER lamp lights white: The printer is ready to print.
  • POWER lamp flashes white: The printer is getting ready to print, or printing is in progress.
  • Alarm lamp flashes orange: An error has occurred and the printer is not ready to print.
  • POWER lamp flashes white and Alarm lamp flashes orange alternately: An error that requires contacting the service center may have occurred.


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To the left of these controls is the Pro-1's USB 2.0 port. This port is used when one wants to print directly from their camera using the camera's USB cable. You can use any PictBridge or Direct Print compatible camera, and all printer settings will be handled via the camera's interface. Here you can see my EOS 50D plugged into the Pro-1.


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While my 50D was plugged into the Pro-1, here are the screens I was given for direct printing. Entering playback with the camera connected to the printer would activate the Blue LED on the Live View / Print button. Pressing this button will start printing immediately, however be warned that you should always check that the settings are correct for paper size, type, etc., before pressing this button. Pressing the Set button brings up the available printing options, like the paper settings (Size, type, border settings), number of copies, trimming, etc. Selecting the Print option will then start printing.