Canon Photo Printers

Canon produce a huge range of printers, far too many for anyone to review every single model, but as with all other manufacturers, these are based on a small series of Inksets which are what really determine their print quality, and suitability for photo printing.

Canon Pixma iP5200 photo printerIn general I’m a big fan of Canon photo printers, and the Chromalife inkset used in most Canon printers, the only exceptions are printers that miss out a photo black ink. Canon use some original ideas in what inks are used in their photo printers, and although generally these are very good ideas, there are exceptions. Many Canon photo printers use 5 inks, with two black cartridges - One photo black, and another larger black cartridge purely for text. This system is excellent producing very high quality photo prints, and very economical text printing.  More>>

However, they also produce photo printers like the Canon Pixma iX4000 and iX5000 which use only 4 inks.  Normally that would be fine, but here Canon keeps the text only black and miss out the photo black, using the three other colours mixed together to make black in photo prints.  Photo prints with this system are poor.  Although the highlights and mid tones are excellent, the slightly brownish muddy blacks produced by this 4 ink system mean prints just don’t cut it as high quality photos.   Canon Pixma iX4000 Review.


Higher up the Canon photo printer range the Canon Pixma Pro A3+ printers produce superb photo quality prints. The only downside is that, as with Epson and HP 6 or more ink desktop printers, they are very expensive to run, with lots of low capacity ink tanks to buy. At the very top of the A3+ range is the 10 ink Canon Pixma  Pro 9500 MkII which uses pigment, rather than dye inks and is your best option if you want to produce low volumes of prints to sell - pigment inks resist fading much more than dye inks, but they’re more expensive and have a reduced gamut compared to dye inks.   Photo Print Fade Tests

Canon Photo Printer Inksets

Canon’s Chromalife 100, or Chromalife 100+ inks are used in most of Canon’s Pixma photo printers - some use 4, 5, or even 8 ink cartridges. At the top of the range the A3+ Pixma Pro 9000 uses 8 dye inks, while the Canon Pixma Pro 9500 uses 10 LUCIA pigment inks including a light grey making it the best choice in the Canon range for monochrome and archival printing.  There is also now a new 5 colour plus clear Canon Pixma iX7000 printer which also uses the LUCIA pigment inks, but does have a separate photo black cartridge so should be OK for photo printing. The clear cartridge is a similar idea to the system used in Epson’s R800/1800, and is used to improve the look of glossy prints.

Canon Pixma Chromalife 5 Ink Review >>

Canon Pixma iX4000 Chromalife 4 Ink Review

Canon BCI-6 Review


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