Printhead & Ink Tank System

The PIXMA Pro-1 is the first printer from Canon to offer their unique tubular ink delivery system, when offers several benefits over their typical design when the ink tanks ride on the print head itself.

In this schematic (provided by Canon - click to enlarge), you can see how the ink delivery system works. Instead of the tanks hitching a ride on top of the print head, they are conveniently located at the left and right sides on the front of the printer. The ink is then feed into the tubes and delivered to the print head. The pros of this system are the ability to offer larger ink tanks (2.5 times larger in this case), less mass on the print head for faster operation, and easier ink tank changes. The only con we really see is that the first time you setup the printer, you have to prime the ink system; fill up these tubes. This means you'll get less prints per cartridge then you will once the system is initially primed.

Normally we would take a close-up shot of the camera's print head, however I chose to forgo this with our Pro-1 review. Due to the print head being delicate, and me not wanting to risk getting some sort of dust lodged in the nozzles, I skipped this picture and installed the print head as quickly as I could.

The print head itself offers 12,288 nozzles (1024x12), with a droplet size of 4 picoliters. The head is compatible with PGI-29 inks. The print resolution for both Color and Black is 4800x2400 dpi.

Here we can see some of the ink tanks installed on the left side of the printer. Everything's color coded, and each port has the color and ink cartridge label at the top, so it's very hard for you to put the wrong cartridge in the wrong slot; user error can be the only explanation if you do. Once the tank locks in place, a small Red LED lights up at the top of the cartridge. This indicates that the tank is seated, and has ink. When an ink tank is ready to be replaced, on top of the Alarm lamp flashing, the small Red LED on the top of the in cartridge will also blink to inform you which of the tanks needs replaced. These tanks continue the use of Canon's prism technology to allow the printer to monitor ink levels constantly.

To open the ink tank compartment there is a handy button located on the top right of the printer. Pressing it will release the doors, which fall downward on their own. The button will flash blue as the doors are opening (not shown above).

Here we have a close up of one of the Pro-1's ink tanks. Like we have already mentioned several times in this review, Canon notes that these tanks hold approx. 2.5 times (157%) larger than the tanks used with past models. They also use Canon's LUCIA pigment inks, which Canon claims this ink system "expands the color gamut with improved saturation of colors and darker, deeper blacks which allows the professional photographer to achieve new levels of skin tone reproduction, accuracy and quality, so your prints exhibit stunning detail." Another benefit of LUCIA inks is that they are resistant to fading for a 100 years (when stored in archival quality photos albums, etc.), meaning your prints will last over a lifetime (depending on the material used for printing, storage technique, etc.).

Here's an up-close look at the connector port on the ink tank, which is used for the printer to communicate with the ink tank to determine ink levels, etc.

On the back you can see where the tubular ink system connects to the cartridge, with the o-ring type seal to ensure there are no leaks.

As you're printing, Canon's software will display a small status box that gives you details on the current print job(s), including how graphical ink level indicators of each of the 12 inks tanks, what page of the total pages is printing, etc.

Clicking on Ink Details will bring up this screen showing a closer look at the ink level indicators.