Large Format Printers; Pro Printers

There was only one major large format printer announcement at PMA, but what an announcement! Canon showed off the new imagePROGRAF iPF5000 printer. This is brand-new from the inside out. Canon's first 17" wide photo printer, the $1945 iPF5000 is a direct competitor to the Epson Stylus Pro 4800. The printer features Canon's new Lucia pigment inks in 12 colors. Both matte black and photo black are loaded at the same time, which means no ink swapping when switching between photo and fine art papers.

I was very impressed with the speed of the iPF5000. According to Canon, this is partly due to using two print heads--each handling six inks and a new custom controller chip. In examining prints from the new printer, I was very impressed with both black and white as well as color. Having two gray inks in addition to the blacks gives prints a much smoother tonal range. Colors are rich and vibrant, very similar to the dye-based printers from Canon, thanks in part to the addition of red, blue, and green inks, and the ability of the printer to output 16-bit color in Photoshop by using the included plug-in.

This is the first desktop (barely) photo printer from Canon to support roll paper, meaning you can finally print panoramas. The iPF5000 also supports borderless printing at any size and will switch automatically between sheet and roll feed, making it easy to keep two types of paper loaded and ready for printing. You can be sure this one is high on my list of printers to try--look for a full review in a future issue.

Manufacturers/Distributors' addresses can be found on page 174.