The benefit of digital cameras with resolutions of 8 megapixels and higher is the ability to make larger and larger prints. It’s because of these increased resolutions that large-format inkjet printers have gained in popularity among professional labs and photographers producing their own enlargements. With its imageProGraf iPF5000 printer, Canon offers a printer capable of producing exceptional color and black-and-white prints.
The iPF5000 creates prints using its Lucia pigment inks, which consist of 12 colors (red, blue, green, gray, photo gray, cyan, photo cyan, magenta, photo magenta, yellow, regular black, photo matte black). Offering a lightfastness of more than 100 years, these inks are delivered via 30, 720 nozzles using dual print heads, which help to produce fine detail and color transitions at high speeds.
A welcome feature of this system is its ability to go between printing glossy or matte black-and-white prints without having to replace ink cartridges. Unlike some other similarly featured printers, the iPF5000 just switches between the inks as needed. This results in no wasting of ink from the 130ml cartridges, especially if you frequently go back and forth between printing on matte and glossy surfaces.
The wider color gamut provided by the Lucia pigment inks was evident across a variety of prints I created. This was seen in hues of blues and greens that have been challenging to render with other printers. But I was particularly excited by the black-and-white prints produced. Even with no tweaking on my part, the first batch of monochrome photographs was more neutral than I had expected. Though I made some adjustments when I wanted a particular look to my prints, the adjustments were minimal.
It was the big enlargements that made using this printer a real joy, however. I started with 13x19-inch prints. The paper, which could be loaded through a top-loading tray or front-loading cassette, traveled easily with no problems. The type and size of the paper did have to be input directly into the printer control panel, as well as through the software. Having to remember to change the paper size and type at the printer was an inconvenience I forgot to do a few times.
The printer accepts media as thick as 1.5mm via its front-loading mechanism, while paper up to 0.5mm can be inserted through the cassette or top-loading manual feed. Paper width ranges from eight to 17 inches. The maximum roll print length is 59 feet. The roll paper component of the printer gives me the opportunity to make 17-inch-wide panoramas, which looked stunning, as well as produce borderless prints.
Weighing in at 99 pounds and with dimensions of 39.3x28.9x12.5 inches, the printer isn’t for the casual user with limited space. If you regularly produce sizeable color and black-and-white enlargements, however, there’s a lot to like in this printer. List Price: $1,995.
Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
1 Automatic switching between black inks for glossy or matte prints
2 Features a standard media cassette tray, a rear manual feed and a front straight-path manual feed, and an optional roll feed unit for printing long-length output
3 Inks are deposited in droplet sizes of 4 picoliters for optimal detail and color and tonal adjustments
4 Provides a wide color gamut with Lucia pigments with 100+ year lightfastness
5 Both USB 2.0 and Ethernet connectivity
6 Cassette and roll paper can be loaded simultaneously