Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Printer
Review Summary: The Canon PRO-1000 is an excellent printer and an excellent value. Selling for US$1300 and coming with a full set of inks, the PRO-1000 makes fantastic, professional-quality prints. Colors are rich and vibrant, and the black levels are very good. Prints have a wide dynamic range and images show great detail and depth. Canon's latest pro photo printer blends a footprint similar to the PRO-1 with technology from their large-format printers for the ultimate desktop-sized professional photo printer.
Pros: Rich, vibrant colors; Automatic black ink switching; Deep blacks; Very good dynamic range and shadow detail; Large ink cartridges; Simple setup & configuration.
Cons: No roll-paper media support; "Standard"-quality prints are fast, but highest settings can take a while; Surprisingly heavy & awkward to remove from box.
Pricing and Availability: The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 has been available since late October 2015 for US$1,299.99, with ink cartridges retailing for US$59.99 each and the Chroma Optimizer for US$54.99. The printer is supplied with a set of full-size, full-volume ink cartridges.
Canon PRO-1000 Printer Review
New pro desktop printer makes fantastic prints with deep blacks
by Jeremy Gray
12/22/2015: Added print sizes
07/13/2016: Firmware v1.1 increases max print height to 25.5" or 647.7mm
Canon's new imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer is a statement that Canon is very serious about the professional desktop printer market. The 17"-wide desktop printer combines features from Canon's large-format imagePROGRAF series of printers with the size of their pro-oriented desktop models. Canon has succeeded in their efforts to produce an affordable 17" printer that offers excellent, professional-quality performance. Retailing at US$1299.99 with a complete set of inks included, the Canon PRO-1000 goes head-to-head with Epson's recent SureColor P800 printer.
Anti-clogging technology: Canon's FINE print head uses a tubular ink delivery system which leads to faster print speeds and a reduced risk of clogging. The printer uses sensors to check the condition of nozzles (the PRO-1000 has 18,432 of them), and if a nozzle is clogged, the PRO-1000 automatically uses surrounding nozzles to compensate for the clogged nozzle. This feature helps prevent wasted prints and reduces the frequency that the nozzles must be cleaned.
Air feeding system: The PRO-1000 uses an air feeding system to help to keep paper aligned and flat, which results in more accurate ink placement on the paper. The air feeding system allows the printer to maintain a consistent height between the print head and the paper.
Lucia Pro Ink System: The Lucia Pro Ink System in the PRO-1000 utilizes an 11-color plus Chroma Optimizer ink system. The PRO-1000 has the following eleven inks in addition to the Chroma Optimizer ink tank: matte black, photo black, cyan, magenta, yellow, photo cyan, photo magenta, gray, photo gray, red, and blue. The Lucia Pro Ink System leads to denser droplet placement, which results in a larger color gamut and better gloss uniformity. The new formulas for the blue and magenta inks provide better nightscape and sunset prints as well. The newly-formulated photo black ink and Chroma Optimizer work together to provide deeper blacks, and there is also enhanced detail in darker areas. The new ink system doesn't need to switch black inks, either, so there is no fuss or delay when switching to and from matte media. Additionally, ink cartridges are 80mL in size and have an MSRP of $60 each. The Chroma Optimizer costs $55.
Fast printing: The PRO-1000's print head is 1.28" wide, which expands the printing area by 50% compared to the PRO-1. The L-COA-PRO control engine in the PRO-1000 can process a high volume of data and quickly generate print data and control the ink layout of the prints. In addition, the PRO-1000 includes 1GB of on-board memory to help the printer handle large files. The PRO-1000 can print a color bordered 17 x 22" photo in 4 minutes 10 seconds.
A straightforward set-up process
The PRO-1000 printer comes very well-packaged, but its hefty size (the PRO-1000 weighs a hair over 70lbs) means that it's a two-person task to get the printer unpacked and set up. The printer comes covered with a lot of protective tape and materials, which can be a bit tricky to get all of it off as some is in various nooks and crannies. While the weight of the printer doesn't matter much once you've gotten it unpacked and set up, the footprint of the printer does matter to many people. The PRO-1000 is 28.5 x 17 x 11.2" (72.4 x 43.2 x 28.4cm). For a 17"-wide printer, that's a pretty large footprint and quite a bit of height. To put that in perspective, Epson's new SureColor P800 is 26.9 x 14.8 x 9.9" (68.4 x 37.6 x 25.0cm). That's a noticeable difference in size. The Epson does not have the dual air feeder system nor as many ink cartridges as the PRO-1000 though, so Canon needed some additional size to accommodate these features.
The Epson SureColor P800 side-by-side to the Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-1000.
The printer comes with all of the necessary documentation and setup materials, of course, but it also comes with a full set of inks. Some printers come with 'starter' inks, which is just a buzzword for 'less-than-full,' but the PRO-1000 comes with full 80mL cartridges. You also get five 8.5" x 11" sheets of Photo Paper Pro Luster (LU-101) paper and a couple of special sheets of paper for getting the print head set up.
Regarding the print head, it does not come installed. Installing the print head is pretty simple though, as the printer shows you how to do it via a series of images on the printer's 3" LCD display. Likewise, for installing the ink cartridges, the printer shows you how to do it, although it's very simple. The display also shows you a real-time image of which inks are installed and how much ink the cartridges contain. The ink cartridge door itself is manually opened rather than electronically-controlled, which I like a lot.
After you've installed the inks and the print head, the printer has to put itself through a series of initialization tasks. These tasks took the PRO-1000 about a half an hour for me. This time allowed me to get the printer set up on my LAN and make sure that all of the necessary software and drivers were installed. Getting the printer to play nicely with Photoshop CC was easy. The PRO-1000 also comes with various management tools like Print Studio Pro v2 and the Device Management Console. Using the Device Management Console, you can manage multiple printers no matter where they are, provided that they are connected to the internet. For businesses and schools, there's also the Accounting Manager software, which allows you to account for every sheet of paper and the quantity of ink that was used, allowing for easy tracking and cost calculation.
Connecting the printer to my network was as simple as plugging it in via its Ethernet port. I also tested its wireless LAN capabilities (802.11b/g/n), and it connected to my wireless network easily and printed over wireless just fine. The PRO-1000 also allows for wireless printing via AirPrint, although printing from an iOS device is hampered by a general lack of control within most apps on my phone. This isn't Canon's fault, but I'm always going to print from my computer if possible. AirPrint is a nice feature for those who want it, though.
Overall, the most difficult part of getting the PRO-1000 up and running was getting the printer out of the box, which is to say that the set-up process was really simple.
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The PRO-1000 made a good first impression
Now that I had the printer set up, connected to my network, and fully initialized, it was time to make some prints. But first, I'd like to talk briefly about the printer itself. It has a very distinctive look and is much flashier than most pro-series printers I've seen. The printer looks uniquely 'Canon' with an L-series red stripe all the way across the front of the unit. The top of the printer also has a textured black finish that is reminiscent of the texture of an L-series Canon lens. Much of the printer has a smooth matte black finish which looks very nice, but the textured finish adds a bit of flair to the device. The 'power' and 'stop' buttons on the front of the printer are large and shiny. It's never a bad thing to have distinctive buttons, but they're surprisingly large. On the top of the front of the printer is a 3" LCD and operation panel. There is also an alarm lamp to the right of the operations panel that lights up orange when there is an issue.
The 3" LCD on the Canon PRO-1000 looks good. You can see the estimated ink level display here. To the right of the display is the home button, back button, and the navigation buttons with an 'OK' button in the center.
So, making my first print. The first thing I noticed is that the air feeder system (which works great by the way) is quite loud. For most people, I can't imagine that this would be an issue, but it is still something worth mentioning. There is a 'quiet mode' option within the printer's device settings that reduces the printer's volume, but it's still pretty loud. As a side note, while the PRO-1000 is printing, you cannot access any options on the printer except for 'Job Management.' The second thing I noticed is that the PRO-1000 prints very fast at the 'standard' print quality setting. Using the 8.5 x 11" luster paper supplied with the printer, I made an 8 x 10 print in a couple of minutes, and the print looked really good.
Superb print quality
No matter which of the three papers I printed on, Photo Paper Pro Luster (LU-101), Photo Paper Plus Semi-Gloss (SG-201), or Photo Paper Pro Premium Matte (PM-101), the PRO-1000 made fantastic prints with rich, vibrant colors and deep blacks.
Canon's newly-formulated inks look excellent. When printing at "highest" quality, ink is distributed well, evenly, and with a density that creates very rich, vibrant colors. Details are excellent as well. I threw some of my most challenging images at the PRO-1000, and it handled them easily. Not a single color or situation tripped the printer up. Reds and blues can sometimes prove tricky for a printer, but the PRO-1000 has dedicated red and blue inks that allows the PRO-1000 to handle these colors (and purple) with ease.
The PRO-1000 handled the difficult colors in this print very well. Note that images of prints in this review were taken with a Sony A7S II with 90mm macro lens. 'Magenta,' copyright Jeremy P. Gray
The Chroma Optimizer ensures smooth, consistent color on all types of paper. In my testing, this technology did its job. On luster and semi-gloss paper, color was very consistent with no bleed and no areas with inconsistent ink placement. From all angles, the prints look great. On matte paper, which can be a bit tricky to work with at times, the PRO-1000 delivered surprisingly vibrant, rich colors.
Utilizing 1,536 nozzles per ink (18,432 nozzles total as there are twelve inks), the PRO-1000 prints excellent detail. While prints are best viewed from a reasonable distance rather than with your face right up against it, prints look very sharp at unreasonably close distances. Fine details are rendered well on the three papers I tested. Canon's FINE (Full-Photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) technology works wonders. Put simply, what that mouthful of an acronym actually amounts to is great prints.
The print above on luster paper at 'highest' quality of 'Indigo' managed to retain detail in the very dark shadow areas of the image. A crop from the actual image can be seen below. It's difficult to show a print via an image, but to the naked eye, the print and the image on my display are very close in overall brightness and tone.
The colors are very impressive from the PRO-1000, but even better are the black levels. My very first print on the PRO-1000 took me by surprise. Compared to prints from my Epson 3880, which is an excellent printer in its own right, the PRO-1000 produces noticeably deeper blacks. (For reference, I'm currently also testing an Epson SureColor P800, and the black levels from the P800 are very impressive as well). Prints from the PRO-1000 just have a special quality to them because of the deep blacks. Contrast is more impactful and the dynamic range of the prints is very high.
With excellent black levels, black and white prints from the PRO-1000 look fantastic. The PRO-1000 is able to automatically switch between photo and matte black inks without any delay whatsoever, which is something that the competing Epson SC-P800 cannot say. Further, because the PRO-1000 doesn't have to switch inks, it also doesn't waste ink. Despite being monochrome, photo printers like the PRO-1000 do use color ink when making monochrome prints, so a test of the printer is whether or not it is able to make monochrome prints that lack any real color casting issues. The PRO-1000 avoids this issue very well, printing very neutral black and white prints. The only noticeable impact on the color cast of a black and white print from the PRO-1000 will come from your paper selection.
This monochrome image with a large dynamic range and a lot of detail was printed very well by the PRO-1000. The black shadow of the rock in the bottom left corner was rendered essentially pitch black, as it is meant to be viewed. Despite printing very deep blacks, the PRO-1000 retains detail in shadow areas.
Through Canon's print driver, you can also print a color image in black and white if you'd like, but you will get better control over the final quality if you do the black and white conversion yourself outside of the print dialog. In any case, monochrome prints from the PRO-1000 have excellent dynamic range, excellent shadow detail, and very deep blacks. My black and white images have never looked as dynamic and rich in detail and depth as they do coming from the PRO-1000.
Ultimately, the PRO-1000 passes the 'eye test' with flying colors. I've seen my images printed on a variety of printers over the years, and the PRO-1000 renders my images better any of them.
The PRO-1000 prints well on multiple Canon papers
Prints on Canon's luster (LU-101) paper look great. The paper has a slightly textured finish to it and a subtle sheen. The luster paper provides a very wide dynamic range. It is a bright white paper, but it also provides very deep black levels. Colors are rich and vibrant, and the paper can present fine details well. Of the three papers Canon sent me, luster was definitely my favorite.
The semi-gloss paper (SG-201) was good as well, with a slightly smoother finish than the luster paper. The semi-gloss paper printed deep blacks and vibrant colors as well, but in my opinion lacked a bit of the punch of the luster paper.
While I prefer the luster paper slightly, the semi-gloss paper is able to print very fine details as well. This is a close-up image of a 17 x 22 monochrome print of my 'Staring into the Sun' image on Canon's semi-gloss paper.
The matte paper (PM-101) is thick and heavy-duty, which means that it has to be fed through the manual feed slot in the back of the printer. The quick and automatic switching from photo black to matte black ink really shines here, as the PRO-1000 doesn't miss a beat when changing the kind of media you're printing on. The paper itself is quite nice, although obviously the blacks don't render as deep as they do on the luster and semi-gloss papers. Colors are rendered with a good vibrancy on the matte paper, however.
On matte paper, the PRO-1000 printed 'Dusk at Pemaquid' with deep blacks and a lot of shadow detail.
Regarding the manual feed slot on the PRO-1000, it's simple to use thicker media with the PRO-1000. The automatic rear tray can take media up to 11.8 mil (0.3mm). For media thicker than that, you have to pull the manual feed slot open on the back of the printer. The manual feed slot can take media from 3.9 to 27.6 mil (0.1 to 0.7mm) thick.
The Canon PRO-1000's specifications state the maximum print size is 17 x 22 inches and the minimum size is 4 x 6 inches. According to the user manual, though, the maximum print size is 17.00 x 23.39 inches for either the rear tray or manual feed slot, while the minimum size supported by the rear tray is stated as 3.5 x 5.0 inches and 8 x 10 inches for the manual feed slot.
To determine what the actual maximum print size possible is, I tried a 17 x 25" print using a custom size in Photoshop's print dialog box. That caused issues as the printer took 10 minutes to even start printing and then only printed a roughly 8 x 10" section of the print. After that I tried making a second custom size using the PRO-1000's custom size dialog, which allowed a maximum size of 17.01 x 23.39 (with a maximum printable length of 23.07 inches due to a software-enforced non-printable area). So in the end, I was able to get an image to print 23 inches long, which is still a full inch longer than the maximum 17 x 22" print size as stated by the printer's specifications.
Note: Canon has since released firmware version 1.1, which expands the maximum printable height up to 25.5 inches or 647.7mm. Click here for details.
'Standard' quality is very fast, but 'High' quality looks noticeably better
While Canon advertises the printer as being very fast, and it is when printing at 'standard' print quality, the PRO-1000 has a few different print quality options to choose from (available options vary from paper to paper). The default print setting is "standard," but there are also "high" and "highest" options available ("high" is not available with all paper types, like semi-gloss paper for example). When printing at standard quality, the PRO-1000 is very fast, capable of printing a full 17 x 22" print in just over 4 minutes.
The print speed story is very different when you print at "highest" print quality. During my testing, printing an image at "highest" quality led to a very large increase in the time it takes to print an image. During my testing, 17 x 22" prints at "highest" quality on both luster and semi-gloss paper took between 20 and 22 minutes. This extra time gives you prints that are slightly more detailed with denser ink distribution, richer colors, and deeper blacks. The difference, however, is subtle. From a distance, 'Standard' and 'Highest' prints are nearly indistinguishable. It is only up close and when you're looking very carefully that the difference can be seen.
Monochrome print of 'Autumn Storm' at 'standard' print quality on luster paper.
Monochrome print of 'Autumn Storm' at 'highest' print quality on luster paper. You can see in these close-up images that the ink is denser on the 'highest' print and fine detail is slightly sharper. At normal viewing distances, only the overall richness of the 'highest' print is noticeable whereas you must view the print at close distances to see any difference in sharpness.
With that said, there is a visual difference and for fine art prints, I would always opt for the highest possible print quality, especially with 16 x 20 or 17 x 22 prints. For 8 x 10 or 11 x 14 prints that will not be used in critical settings, however, the much faster “standard” option is a good choice. Also, if you're needing to churn out a lot of images in a short period of time, 'standard' will suit many applications well. It is also worth noting that 'standard' print quality uses a fair bit less ink than 'highest' print quality does, with 'standard' using about 3/4 of the amount of ink that 'highest' uses. For being both dramatically more time efficient and moderately more ink efficient, the small decrease in print quality will make sense for some applications.
Print speed results tell an interesting story
|Size||Color or BW||Quality||Paper Type||Time|
|8 x 10||BW||Highest||Luster||04:30|
|8 x 10||Color||Standard||Luster||02:30|
|8 x 10||BW||Highest||Matte (manual feed)||03:00|
|11 x 14||Color||Highest||Matte (manual feed)||04:50|
|11 x 14||Color||Standard||Luster||02:35|
|11 x 14||Color||Highest||Luster||06:45|
|16 x 20||Color||Standard||Semi-gloss||04:00|
|16 x 20||BW||Highest||Matte (manual feed)||07:30|
|16 x 20||Color||Highest||Semi-gloss||18:00|
|17 x 22||Color||Standard||Luster||05:00|
|17 x 22||BW||Highest||Luster||15:15|
|17 x 22||BW||Standard||Semi-gloss||04:55|
|17 x 22||BW||Highest||Semi-gloss||14:30|
|17 x 22||Color||Highest||Luster||22:00|
|17 x 22||Color||Highest||Matte (manual feed)||10:00|
|17 x 22||Color||Highest||Luster||17:10|
|17 x 22||Color||Highest||Luster||18:20|
For a wide variety of print qualities, sizes, and paper types, I kept track of the time it took for the image to complete printing from me clicking 'Print' in the print dialog box in Photoshop. To account for any minor differences in timing, I rounded the times to the nearest fifth second. Every image and media is different, so take this chart simply as a guideline to what you might expect for print speeds. The most important thing to takeaway is that 'standard' print quality is much faster than 'highest' print quality while reducing overall print quality only marginally.
Canon PRO 1000 versus Epson SureColor P800 (and Epson 3880)
While I was reviewing the PRO-1000, an Epson SureColor P800 arrived for me to review. The PRO-1000 is Canon's direct competition to the P800 (and to a lesser extent, the Epson 3880, which still remains popular). Pitting these two very capable printers against each other led to some interesting results.
I utilized various test images from here and here and printed them both on 17 x 22" luster paper at their respective highest quality setting, which was 'Highest' for the PRO-1000 and 'SuperPhoto' on the P800. The PRO-1000 printed the image in 15 minutes 57 seconds and the P800 printed the image in 20 minutes 30 seconds. That's a pretty big difference in print speeds.
Comparing the two prints, you have to really study them up close to see any noticeable differences. Firstly, black levels are pretty much indistinguishable. Both printers do a fantastic job. For reference, I printed the same test image on my own Epson 3880 printer, and they both easily surpass the black levels of the 3880. For sharpness and detail, using a magnifying glass I could see a very slight difference between the two printers as the P800's print was the tiniest bit sharper. The difference is ridiculously small, though, and maybe comes down to a difference in paper rather than in the printer itself. The only noticeable difference between the two prints is that the PRO-1000 produces slightly different colors than the P800. The PRO-1000's print has more vibrant reds (and to a lesser extent, oranges) than the P800. Looking at indigo and violet on the test prints revealed that the PRO-1000 produces slightly cooler and darker purples, but I wouldn't say that they're necessarily more vibrant. They are, however, more similar to the test image on my calibrated display. On that note, the Canon actually pushed reds a bit further than they appear on my display.
When you get right down to it, the Canon PRO-1000 makes fantastic prints. It makes prints that are noticeably better than those from the Epson 3880, an excellent printer in its own right, and that are very similar in quality to prints from the Epson P800. The differences in color rendition between the PRO-1000 and P800 could come down to the difference in media, but in any case, it's difficult for me to say that one prints better than the other, as it is a very subjective issue. The PRO-1000 makes prints much faster than the P800, though, and does give reds and blues a bit more impact than either Epson printer (probably due to the PRO-1000 having dedicated red and blue inks).
My PRO-1000 is not a retail version, so it did not come with full ink cartridges, and thus it is not possible for me to give specific details on how long a set of inks last. Printing is very much a 'your mileage may vary' situation as it is, because print quality and image selection has an important impact on ink usage. However, I did take screenshots of my supply levels after setting the printer up and after printing a wide variety of color and black and white prints, including: eighteen 11 x 14 prints (three of which were on matte paper), five 17 x 22 prints, eleven 8 x 10 prints (one of which was on matte paper), and nine 16 x 20 prints (one of which was on matte paper).
PRO-1000 ink after setup (left) and ink after a wide variety of prints (right)
Looking at job history information for the printer, I'm able to see how much ink was used for a few different prints. Obviously this is a case-by-case basis and every image is different. For a 17 x 22 color image printed on luster paper at 'standard' quality, the PRO-1000 used 2.9mL of ink. The same image printed at 'highest' quality used 3.8mL of ink. A black and white image printed on 17 x 22 semi-gloss paper at 'standard' used 2.8mL of ink, and the same image printed at 'highest' quality used 3.7mL of ink.
You're also going to want to stock up heavily on gray ink because the PRO-1000 went through gray ink much faster than any of the other inks, as can be seen in the screenshots above. I printed more color images than black and white images during my testing, but it was not a dramatic difference. Gray ink was the most used ink in the 17 x 22 color prints referenced above by 0.6mL and 0.1mL with the 'standard' and 'highest' quality prints respectively. A 17 x 22 black and white print referenced above used more photo black (printed on semi-gloss paper) than gray ink, but gray ink was still heavily used. The majority of the increase in ink usage on the 'highest' quality black and white print came from blue ink and the Chroma Optimizer (0.2mL and 0.7mL more respectively were used printing the image at 'highest' quality).
What about roll paper? A potential blemish on an otherwise excellent printer
So the PRO-1000 is excellent, but there must be a catch, right? Well, maybe there isn't, it depends on how you intend to use the printer. The one potential issue for some users is that the PRO-1000 doesn't accept roll paper, and doesn't support panorama printing. The P800, its main competitor, can accept 17 wide roll paper. If you want to use roll paper, then the PRO-1000 won't fit the bill. Other than this, which will not be an issue for some users, the PRO-1000 is fantastic.
Canon PRO-1000 Review Conclusion
An excellent printer at a great price
What I like:
- Stylish. The PRO-1000 has a distinct look to it that makes you think of Canon's professional-quality lenses.
- Automatic black ink switching. The PRO-1000 switches black ink automatically and without delay.
- Black levels. The PRO-1000 produces prints with very deep blacks.
- Speedy. While the advertised speeds rely on printing at 'standard' quality, the printer is still fast at 'highest' print quality.
What I dislike:
- No roll paper or panorama printing. This is a big one for some people. The PRO-1000 cannot accept roll media.
- Ships with set of full-size, full-volume ink cartridges ($715 worth of ink)
- 80mL cartridges mean fewer refills and cartridge swapping
- Built-in sensor identifies clogged nozzles, uses others to compensate. BIG reduction in wasted in for cleaning cycles.
- Chroma optimizer works well to avoid bronzing
- Very neutral black & white prints
- Temperature-controlled ink delivery system for reduced clogging
- New ink composition permits denser pigment lay-down
- Increased color gamut from new ink system
- Vacuum feed system for more precise ink droplet placement
- Good support for thick media
- Device Management admin tool helps maintain consistency between multiple printers
- Accounting Manager software great for educational settings or per-print customer billing
- Big push by Canon to support better print profiles for other paper brands
- Plug & play Ethernet connection
- AirPrint support
- Air feeder system is fairly loud
- Big and heavy (Likely not a make/break issue, but make sure you have space and a sturdy table)
- Maximum print size is 17 x 23 inches (17 x 25.5 inches with firmware v1.1)
The Canon PRO-1000 is an excellent printer and an excellent value. Selling for $1300 USD and coming with a full set of inks, the PRO-1000 makes fantastic, professional-quality prints. Canon nailed it with the PRO-1000 as colors are rich and vibrant and black levels are very good. Prints have a wide dynamic range and images have great detail and depth.
You can crunch numbers and run extensive tests on color gamut, color accuracy, and ink density, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters about print quality is how a print actually looks. When you frame and hang a print, how it looks on the wall trumps everything else. I'm pleased to report that prints from the Canon PRO-1000 will look fantastic on any wall.
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