Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5000 large format compared with HP Designjet Z3200.
This innovative printer is not like the 11-color or 12-color ColorSpan DisplayMaker printers that we have at FLAAR. The 11-color ColorSpan uses, simultaneously, full quad-black + 7 additional individual colors. The 12-color ColorSpan version uses 12 different colors, simultaneously.
With Epson, and Canon, you get one, or the other, but not full quad-black. So you get regular black or matte black: but these are not intended to function duo-tone blacks. Gray gives you duo-tone, but not three tones.
Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5000“12-color inkjet printer”
The Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5000 large format uses dual printheads to provide 12-channels of ink. Do not confuse 12 “ink channels” with “12 colors.”
If the place you are buying from claims 12-colors, that means they either don’t understand extended gamut printers or they are misleading you.
Here are the ink channels:
Here are the colors
So you see there are seven colors.
So these ink combinations are for sophisticated users who feel able to get into printing at a higher level; the level that Epson has staked out, with the K3 ink in the Epson Stylus Pro 4800, 7800, and 9800. People know what to expect with an Epson printer. The question is that people are unsure about Canon printers because they are not what most fine art giclee ateliers use, or most digital photographers. We have a Canon EOS 5D camera, but since we don’t have any recent Canon printers, we continue to use our faithful HP 30 and HP 130 and our Epson printers.
Price comparisons, ratings and evaluations will be forthcoming as this Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5000 becomes better known. In the meantime the Epson 3800 has come out. And now Epson is attempting to finish their Epson Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900 printers. There is a new FLAAR Report on these.
Comparative prices; comparative reviews of the Canon iPF 5000
We have the Canon iPF5000 under evaluation. Our university cut all budgets the month before it arrived, so without funding there was no staff to handle it. So we first sent it to Gary Kerr, Fine Art Impressions for a face-to-face comparison with an Epson 9800 and an Epson 9600. Gary Kerr is a long-time Epson user. He is a professional giclee atelier and also prints fine art photography. This is a kind of independent evaluation that is not widely available elsewhere.
The Canon iPF 5000 is now being reviewed by Jim Trotter, one of the leading professional photographers of St Louis . We want to insure that FLAAR Reports cover the full range of applications and that you get the documentation from diverse resources that are available to an international evaluation institute of the status of FLAAR. But the sheet-feeding mechanism on the Canon iPF 5000 did not work when Jim Trotter tried it, and 24" was too small for serious glicee or photo printing, so he abandoned the Canon iPF 5000 and bought a Canon iPF 9000.
It will be interesting to get to know, and compare, the new 12-color HP DesignJet Z2100 and Z3100The details will be in new FLAAR Reports under preparation (since November 2006).
We are also curious about the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6000, IPF8000, and iPF 9000, but these have not appeared at PMA, were not at ISA, and there is no Canon booth listed for FESPA Digital (the largest international digital printing trade show in Europe ). However I did see the iPF9000 in Istanbul and then in Atlanta trade shows.
Nicholas Hellmuth and FLAAR continue to keep their eyes and ears open relative to the Canon iPF5000 in general and also the Canon iPF8000 and iPF9000. The feedback is very consistent from all directions: a few issues with the printer itself, end-users continually report problems obtaining adequate information from distributors and resellers (lack of experience using the printer themselves because most resellers are copier dealers, not printer dealers). The other dealers also sell HP or Epson printers, and now that HP has also dedicated a billion dollars in research to develop the HP Designjet Z3100 series, dealers who offer both HP and Canon tend to favor HP, in part due to better tech support, more familiarity with wide-format printers in general from HP.
The earlier problems of excessive dot pattern with the Canon iPF5000 is not quite as much of an issue now, but remains infamous in the memory banks of giclee, fine art photographers, and commercial photographers. The problem that has continued is the feeding issue: ours ground to a halt, but since it's under warranty it will be repaired or replaced.
Daily, sometimes hourly, people ask us, "should I buy the HP Z3100 or the Canon iPF5000, 8000, or 9000?"
Every several years there is either a new Canon iPF printer or a new Epson or a new HP water-based printer. It is hard to keep track of the advances in inks and color management features. FLAAR is keeping track by visiting printshops around the world that have these various brands. Each brand has its good points and a few issues and an occasional deficiency.
Most recently updated December 15, 2008.
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