The Canon PRO-100 was announced in September of 2012 and is the successor to the Canon Pro9000 MkII. It is a 13" wide, eight color, dye based photo inkjet printer. Designed for bold color reproduction on any quality inkjet paper, the PRO-100 is a robust photo printer that should be considered by the photo enthusiast, graphic designer, business user, and anyone else needing 13" capability.
Just the Facts
13" wide photo quality inkjet printer
Print 4" x 6" up to 13" x 26" banners
Eight Dye Based Inks - Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Black, Photo Cyan, Photo Magenta, Gray, Light Gray
Estimated Retail Price $499
Ink Cost - About $16.99 per tank retail
Standard Ink Tanks - Holding about 13mL of ink each
Opening the Box
The Canon PRO-100 box arrived in good condition after its long journey. The printer came well packed with all of the accessory pieces stored in separate bags. The printer was in a heavy duty plastic bag with handles, which made getting it out of the box a breeze. After plugging in the printer, the quick start guide got us started in a few simple steps.
The Canon PRO-100 shipping box includes:
- Canon PRO-100 printer
- CD/DVD printing tray
- Print Head
- Power Cord
- Setup CD
- USB Cable
The printer comes with a full set of CLI-42 ink cartridges. A small amount of ink will be used in the printer setup, but you will still have plenty left to make prints and become familiar with the machine.
Anatomy of a Canon ink tank
A - Bottom of ink tank and ink outlet. The orange cap will be removed before ink is installed
B - Ink reservoir. Canon inks have two chambers. The rear area is open, allowing you to visually inspect the ink level. The forward area is packed with absorbent material and holds a portion of the ink volume above the outlet to the printer head.
C - Onboard chip. The onboard chip stores and reports ink level. It does not really know how much ink is physically in the tank. Rather, it starts at 100%, then records nozzle firing data sent from the printer and subtracts volume. The system is very accurate, and you will indeed see a dry tank when it comes time to do a replacement.
The PRO-100 print head / ink cartridge assembly comes in a separate sealed bag. A large orange plastic cover must be removed to reveal the head (see at right). Installing the head, then inks into their carriage is simple and takes about a minute.
Being able to inspect an inkjet print head up close is very interesting. It gives you a good idea of the amazing technology involved in inkjet printing and the truly small scale of a print head.
Once installed you will see a light on the front of the ink tank illuminate and glow steady red. The same light blinks slowly when you're low on ink and quickly once the tank has been depleted.
Canon PRO-100 Ink Tanks Included
- Black CLI-42
- Cyan CLI-42
- Magenta CLI-42
- Yellow CLI-42
- Photo Cyan CLI-42
- Photo Magenta CLI-42
- Gray CLI-42
- Light Gray CLI-42
Getting Ready to Print
Once all of the inks were installed, the printer charged up and was ready to begin printing in less than five minutes.
The assembled printer is 27.2" wide, 15.2" deep, 8.5" high, and weighs 43 pounds.
You'll want at least 10" of clearance from the back of the printer to the wall for proper operation and use of the specialty paper tray.
When fully extended, the front paper tray extends 12.5" from the front of the printer.
Front Control Panel
The front control panel of the PRO-10 consists of three controls:
- Power button with light
- Resume / Cancel button with warning light. Errors will be identified by different sequences of blinking. Consult your online manual for help with decoding the sequence should you have a problem.
- Wireless connectivity button with indicator light
The PRO-100 can connect to your computer via USB 2.0, wireless network, or ethernet.
The PRO-10 has two media feed paths and a CD/DVD printing tray
- Rear tray - for the majority of media you'll use
- Manual feed - single sheet tray for heavy and specialty media
Canon notes that the recommended paper capacity for the rear tray is 20 pages for 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" photo media, 10 pages for letter and 8" x 10" photo media and a single page for larger sizes. A single page is also recommended for Fine Art papers.
Red River's experience thus far is that the rear tray can hold up to 50 sheets, depending on the thickness of your paper. Photo papers like luster, satin, and glossy at 10.4mil are expertly handled by the PRO-100 with no misfeeds. If you're using matte paper or thick media, fewer sheets should be fed in at one time. Fine art stock, canvas, and specialty paper should be fed into the manual single sheet path. For some driver media settings, the printer will only allow the single sheet path to be used.
CD Printing Capability
Above you can see the CD holder that comes with the printer. The holder is placed into a front slot on the left side of the machine. Please note that you'll need specialty CD or DVD media coated for inkjet printing.
Canon's My Image Garden software is provided to set up and print discs.
Print Speeds and Results
The Canon PRO-100 offers what we can only describe as continuous tone photo printing. That is to say when you're printing a typical photograph, the dots of ink that make up the photo are not visible at normal viewing distance or even fairly close inspection. This is especially true when printing on satin, luster, and glossy media. Solid blocks of color are uniform and smooth looking. Only in some mid-tone areas will you occasionally see a few dots. Again, one would need to be unnaturally close to the print to see them! As far as inkjet printing goes, the PRO-100 produces outstanding photo quality.p>
An 8" x 10" file at 240ppi (shown above) was printed and timed using the settings listed below:
Luster Paper Highest Quality (Level 1) = 2 minutes 21 seconds
Luster Paper High Quality (Level 2) = 1 minute 36 seconds
Luster Paper Standard Quality (Level 3) = 50 seconds
Matte Paper High Quality = 2 minutes 19 seconds
Matte Paper Standard Quality = 1 minute 34 seconds
We printed the target file on UltraPro Satin and 47lb. Premium Matte using the Photo Paper Pro Luster and Matte Photo Paper media settings, respectively. The prints were allowed to dry eight hours, and then evaluated under balanced 4700k Solux lights.
Our initial evaluation revealed little obvious difference between the prints. Saturation and color balance were similar. Even solid color patches and transitions were hard to distinguish upon casual viewing.
Closer inspection of the Standard quality print revealed a slight reddish cast, especially in grayscale transition areas. The cast disappeared and grays shifted back to neutral at the higher settings.
The biggest difference between Standard and higher quality settings was edge definition and clarity. You can see the difference in these macro shots below.
The difference between Standard quality level 3 and the higher quality prints is apparent. Keep in mind that these are macro image and the difference is not striking at viewing distance. Still, the smoother dot pattern and cleaner edges of quality level 2 and 1 will result is sharper looking prints.
Our conclusion is that Level 2 High print quality is the best setting for most photo projects. The Level 1 setting does not result in appreciably better print quality and takes 38% longer to complete.
Black & White
For the first time, Canon has included gray and light gray inks in a PRO level dye based printer. In combination with black, these two new tanks greatly help the B&W output of the PRO-100. Another first is detailed printer driver control of grayscale output. Our tests consisted of printing the 8x10 test print (shown above) using the driver B&W feature. Photoshop was set to Printer Manages Color and no adjustments were made to the target file. We printed the target using the default, Cool Tone, and Warm Tone settings. After drying for eight hours the prints were evaluated under balanced Solux light.
Neutral - neutral grays with little or no color cast
Cool Tone - a very slight shift to blue and a cooler look
Warm Tone - a light but noticeable warm shift with a slight yellow tone
Tone can also be controlled via X and Y variables, slider bars, or by placing your mouse inside the Tone box.
Brightness settings include normal, light and dark. Intensity and contrast are sliders allowing for finer adjustments.
All of these adjustments will be "previewed" using a standardized sample image. The drop down menu below the pencil photo at right allows you to choose different preview samples. What actually happens on your printed image may be different. We suggest being judicious with changes and make small test prints when getting started.
Overall we were pleased with the results. You will benefit from well prepared files, which means proper exposure as well as some additional mid-tone contrast. Both are helpful in adding the proper amount of intensity and life into a black & white print.
Printer Driver Tour
Quick Setup Tab
The Canon PRO-100 printer drivers are basically unchanged from previous PRO printer models. We're starting on the Quick Setup tab, which contains most of the controls you'll need for printing.
From this menu you can choose the media type (paper type), paper size, print quality, and other important features.
We recommend using this screen as much as possible as it gives you access to the custom print quality and manual color controls.
When setting up a print job, you must tell the printer the type of inkjet paper (media) that you are using. Think of the media type as part color profile and part ink throttle. Different inkjet papers need different amounts of ink to perform properly - and this is where the media setting becomes important.
If you are using ICC color profiles, the media type is critical. You have to set the media according to your profile's instructions in order to get the best results.
Note! You will not see alternative paper brands, such as Red River Paper, in this listing. Only manufacturer inkjet media are in this drop down.
Fine Art Margins - If you choose a fine art or non-Canon specialty media type, the printer driver forces a 30mm (1.18") margin to the top and bottom of your print. The left and right margins are set at 3.4mm (0.13"). The media settings also limit the available paper size you can use to:
- A3+ 13x19
The feature is most likely an attempt to minimize possible head strikes at the beginning and ending of a print when using "fine art" papers. As a result, Red River Paper and other paper companies have chosen to make their fine art printer profiles with the Matte Photo Paper setting, which avoids the size and margin constraint.
Print quality can be controlled from the Quick Setup and Main tabs.
On either the Quick Setup or Main tab, quality settings of Standard and High are available when using photo quality media.
To access the custom quality menu, go to the Main tab, click on the Custom radio button, and then click Set. A slider controls the print quality setting. Level 2 corresponds to High and Level 3 to Standard quality. You will also find a third quality choice, the Level 1 setting. Canon has not given this setting a named label. We will call it "Highest" for the purposes of this review.
Only glossy, semigloss, and luster media settings have Highest quality as an option. Lower quality settings, such as Fast (Level 4), are available when plain paper or envelope media are selected. You would choose this setting for text and light graphic printing.
Color / Intensity