Good afternoon, Geektimes. My name is Nikolay Vetrov, I am the managing manager in the Moscow photo studio network. We in our company quite often interact with Canon, and they offered us an experiment that we could not refuse.
As you probably already understood, they provided us with a review of a new large-format photo printer - Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2000.
To begin with, I will list the main features of this model, which the manufacturer claims:
- 12-color LUCIA PRO pigment ink system for more contrasting black and rich color shades.
- New 1.28-inch wide print head that delivers faster print speeds without sacrificing quality.
- Optional optional roll unit for continuous paper feeding or automatic capture of prints.
- Ergonomic design with a flat top surface and a window for checking prints.
- Control panel with 3.5-inch color LCD touch screen.
- Print PDF and JPEG files directly from a USB flash drive.
- Support wired and Wi-Fi network connectivity.
- Declared guaranteed color stability in various print jobs.
- Roomy, hot-swappable ink tanks.
- Print Studio Pro plug-in for profile software (for example, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop and Canon Digital Photo Professional).
Appearance, design and dimensions
As they say, they are met by clothes, so in my review I decided to start with exactly what strikes you in the first place: design.
Unlike its predecessor models - imagePROGRAF, iPF6300 and iPF6400, which are installed everywhere in our offices, - the new model looks more attractive and “more expensive”. It is clear that for such a device is far from the most important thing, but the appearance is really captivating. PRO-2000 wants to fit into the interior, and not to hide in the far corner of the technical room.
Other models of the PRO line (PRO-4000 and PRO-6000s) that I saw in the Canon office are made in the same new style and look like a large-scale copy of the PRO-2000. But the desktop PRO-1000 is a bit apart, thanks to its compact design.
The company claims that the design with a spectacular red line is a continuation of the style of lenses from the premium line L, as well as the flagship EOS cameras, and should be associated with high quality standards and Canon technologies. But honestly, when I look at a new device, images of an expensive sports car appear. But all this, of course, tastes, so we will not dwell on it.
As for the dimensions, here the printer has become a little larger and a little heavier than the predecessor models. The increased weight, as Canon representatives say, is a consequence of the introduction of a heavy monolithic frame, which reduces extraneous vibrations and allows ink to be applied more accurately.
In addition (we will consider, as compensation for the increased parameters), PRO-2000 has acquired a greater volume of ink tanks. More precisely, the possibility of their installation: in each of the two sections with 6 slots, you can now install ink tanks with a volume of up to 700 ml. By the way, the sections themselves are now in the back of the device, which was probably done to reduce the width of the machine.
The ink set itself has been revised, and now instead of an additional green one there is an inkwell with a special composition Chroma Optimizer, which is used for finishing glossy coating when printing on glossy paper. If you do not go into technical details, this composition corrects the refraction of light on the print and provides a display of natural colors. The number of application of the composition can be adjusted in the driver settings (depending on the type of paper selected) or set to automatic mode. Probably, this will not be a key advantage in the eyes of the average client (in the industry, whatever one may say, the low cost of consumables and the reliability of the device are most valued), you can turn it into the main competitive advantage of your business.
Let's look inside. After lifting the locking lever, sheets are fed into the work area with golden lifting rollers at the back of the device. The paper is aligned with special rollers between the rollers and from the sides.
See the holes and cuts in the center of the work area? This is a vacuum system that keeps the paper in a perfectly flat state and picks up any overspray of ink particles during borderless printing.
The light blue element in the photo above is a precision cutter. Its design is designed in such a way that it is possible to replace the blade at any time and without any problems. I tested several types of materials, including glossy paper with a density of 305 g / m² and thin paper of 80 g / m² - the trimmed area was perfectly flat and did not cause any complaints.
Perhaps this will be the statement of “Captain Obvious”, but I want to note that this printer is primarily intended for roll printing. I don’t want to say that it doesn’t work well with printing on ordinary sheets, just compared to the younger 17-inch PRO-1000 model, the printer seems a bit more sluggish to use this type of media.
The paper basket, thanks to special telescopic slats, can be customized to accept printed copies of various sizes. In addition, for this model, you can optionally purchase an additional roll block.
Setup and print
As mentioned above, the printer supports connection via Wi-Fi and Ethernet, plus also a direct connection via USB. Available direct printing from mobile devices (for the same Wi-Fi).
All the controls and most of the configuration functions are on a color touch screen, which may seem like a controversial decision to some users, but personally I have not experienced any problems when interacting with the device. Moreover, I would even say that the screen makes you feel that you are facing a new generation device.
The indicator above the screen indicates either the normal operation of the device (is green), or any events that require the attention of the operator (for example, orange indicates the end of the ink).
When you first set up and install paper media, brief instructions are displayed on the touch screen to help you quickly prepare your printer for printing. The installation process itself, in my experience, does not take much time, but some skill is required.
For users of previous models (remember, this is iPF6400 / 6300), who are used to printing on sheets, the lack of a top-loading slot will be a frank inconvenience. Now the paper is loaded from the front - just like on most other larger printers.
But let's get to the main point: print quality and speed. Canon representatives talk about the four pillars on which the high performance of the device rests:
- LUCIA PRO ink technology (taking into account the special composition of Chroma Optimizer and separate b / w components for printing on matte and glossy surfaces);
- 1.28 ”compact printhead (18432 nozzles) with a print quality automation system (built-in color temperature sensors and ink output monitoring to evenly distribute ink even if nozzles are clogged);
- color calibration function (reading of print data due to special sensor and immediate real-time calibration);
- L-COA PRO modernized image processor (Canon’s advanced image processing algorithms and a new high-resolution integrated circuit (ASIC)).
According to the manufacturer, the print speed of A0 format paper varies from 1 minute 37 seconds on plain paper in fast printing mode to 10 minutes 5 seconds on glossy photo paper in high quality mode. As for the real indicators, it all depends on the content, paper type, selected color profiles and the size of the file sent to print, as well as the use of Chroma Optimizer.
I tested various printing options, including using large files, and the maximum printing time I had reached half an hour. However, according to subjective feelings, imagePROGRAF PRO-2000 copes with printing faster than its younger brother PRO-1000 and certainly faster than predecessor models.
With regard to the experience of using a double roll unit for the continuous feeding of paper, I would not recommend too heavy paper. With other types of paper, this function works well.
Another important point concerns borderless printing: iPF PRO-2000 prints perfectly on roll media, but as I found out in practice, I’m not able to do the same on separate sheets.
As an employee of a company working in the field of printing, I liked the opportunity not only to control ink consumption in real time, but also to calculate the cost of a print for each specific operation due to the special Accounting Manager software included in the package. Not to say that it is the height of clarity and informativeness, but for those who know how to dig into tables and work with numbers, this will not be a difficulty, since all data can be exported to CSV.
As for the hot-swapping of ink tanks, I haven’t managed to test this opportunity yet, but my colleagues say they printed several meters of the image before the printer stopped printing.
Driver and software
The computer can interact with the printer in many ways, including setting up a PRO-2000 as a web printer through a special page.
Installing drivers also does not cause any difficulties on both Mac and Windows-based devices. As for Linux, in our office there was not a single machine for testing, but judging by the list of supported OS on the official website, Linux is not supported.
There is one more feature that I and many of my professional colleagues didn’t really like: replacing a simple and well-customizable plug-in for printing with Print Studio Pro, which is aimed more at ordinary consumers than at professionals. On the other hand, most of the functionality of the old plug-in is now available through the printer driver interface, for which you can thank the developers.
Canon is the first in the industry to offer a two-year warranty on graphic printers.
According to the product manager, Canon is ready to replace every printhead that failed during the warranty period for free. Of course, subject to the use of original ink. However, usually such statements are made only with full confidence that replacement will not be necessary, and the printing mechanism will deliberately work out the due date.
As a conclusion
So that I was not accused of advertising, and Canon company in unfair competition, I basically did not compare the new model with other new products on the market. Nevertheless, I can say with confidence that this is one of the best models (in its segment) and a worthy replacement for its predecessors.
Yes, it has its drawbacks, such as expensive components and official consumables. But, on the other hand, for this money you get high quality, stable reliability and wide printing opportunities that will help you open new niches in the development of your business.Thanks for attention.