on April 27, 2013
First, some background: I am a digital artist. I judge a printer on two main criteria: how well does the printer match the picture on my monitor and the color gamut of the printer.
I have spent a lot of effort to figure out how to match screen to print. For a monitor, I use an NEC PA271W calibrated using NEC's X-Rite based sensor. I calibrate the monitor to a color balance of 4000K. I view the print next to the monitor under a 4000K Solux lamp (50W low voltage halogen). Using my old printer, a Canon iP6700D, I can get excellent screen to print match using Canon glossy papers (Photo Paper Plus Glossy) and standard Canon printer profiles for those papers. I use 4000K color temperature because I have found (using the X-Rite sensor) that my house is around 4000K on the interior during the day and is in the 3200-3300K range at night (artificial light). I find the 4000K screen color balance makes the screen look like the prints when hung on the wall. This all has taken me years to figure out. I also demand a high level of quality and I am very sensitive to color shifts.
Now for the Canon PRO-100 printer. I first printed on stock Canon papers using standard Canon profiles: Platinum Pro, Semi-Gloss, Luster, and Photo Paper Plus Glossy. I was somewhat disappointed with the results--they were OK. I found the screen match wasn't as good as with my older Canon iP6700D printer. So, I started to print grey scales (neutral, warm, cool, 21 points each). I found that for all the papers, the results were similar: highlights were significantly too dark, midtones were light and dark tones were light. I found that overall prints felt dark. I speculate this is because of the compressed contrast and especially missing highlights. I now was thinking I would need to make custom profiles for these papers---I assumed that the issue was with the stock Canon profiles, but couldn't be sure it wasn't a general printer issue. (I found these problems surprising given my past experience with Canon papers and profiles).
So, I tried some 3rd party papers. I tried 11 Hahnemuehle and Canson Infinity papers. What a difference! I got outstanding screen matches and color gamuts with the following papers: Hahnemuehle: Fine Art Pearl (my personal favourite), Photo Rag Satin, Photo Rag Pearl, Fine Art Baryta. Canson Infinity: BFK Rives, Platine Fibre Rag (very nice), Photo Satin Premium PC, PhotoArt HD Canvas. In each case I use the stock paper profiles for the PRO-100 supplied by Hahnemuehle and Canson Infinity. The PRO-100 definitely produced lovely prints with better screen matching and color gamut than my old Canon iP6700D. The general color tone was a significant improvement also.
So, in summary, the PRO-100 is an excellent printer when used with high quality profiles. For Canon paper, the stock Canon profiles are subpar and I would not recommend them.
on June 6, 2013
இ Fuzzy Wuzzy's Summary:
ѾѾѾѾѾ Highly recommended with warm fuzzies!
փ This printer can output superb gallery-quality prints with exceptional detail and resolution, while being significantly less expensive than the higher-end Pro-10 and Pro-1 printer models.
փ This Pro-100 prints better blacks and grays on monochrome prints than the older Pro9000 printer that it replaces.
փ The new wireless connectivity options of using 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi or Apple's AirPrint, along with a wired Ethernet option, provide flexibility of shared usage and printer placement by not needing to be physically connected to a USB cable.
փ The dye-based inks used in this Pro-100 can retain their colors for 100+ years.
ჯ While black-and-white prints are better than the previous Pro9000 printer, monochrome output is still inferior to the pricier Pro-10 and Pro-1 printers.
If you have never used a prosumer-level dedicated photo printer like this before, prepare to be surprised... both by the size and weight of this printer's box and by the stunning quality of color photos that you can print out, with exceptional detail and resolution even if you press your nose close to a 13"x19" print. Weighing a very hefty 56 pounds in its shipping box, the box that this printer is shipped in resembles a two-drawer file cabinet laying on its side (and it is heavier than most empty two-drawer file cabinets). This printer was shipped to me in its original Canon box package; the big box was not placed inside another bigger Amazon box.
Having previously used Canon's excellent PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II printer, this Pro-100 printer has a number of differences and improvements over that older model. First of all, this Pro-100 is bigger in size and about 10 to 12 pounds heavier than the Pro9000. Along with the USB 2.0 cable connection and Wireless PictBridge connection to Canon cameras that are also used in the older Pro9000 printer, this Pro-100 also adds wireless AirPrint printing from iPad/iPhone/iOS devices and, most significantly, both wireless 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet printing from your LAN. While the ability to print directly and wirelessly from an iPad or Canon camera is useful, I think that for a professional-grade photo printer like this, most people will want to view, edit, adjust, and tweak their photos on their computer first before printing them, so being able to add this printer to my router's wireless LAN is a huge convenience, making it easy to both share the printer between different laptop and desktop computers on the LAN, and to have extra freedom in placing this large printer in an optimum location.
While both the Pro9000 and this Pro-100 use eight ink cartridges, the Pro9000's black/cyan/photo-cyan/magenta/photo-magenta/yellow/red/green colors are now represented as black/gray/light-gray/cyan/photo-cyan/magenta/photo-magenta/yellow in this Pro-100, with three inks dedicated to blacks and grays instead of just the one black ink cartridge on the Pro9000, resulting in noticeably better black-and-white monochrome prints on this Pro-100 when compared to the Pro9000.
The 10-cartridge Pro-10 printer also has three black/gray colors along with adding a red color back into the mix, while the 12-cartridge top-of-the-line Pro-1 dedicates five ink cartridges to black/gray colors. If you mainly print a lot of black-and-white photos, you should seriously consider spending the extra money on the Pro-1. While the Pro-1 has better overall color resolution than this Pro-100, one of the Pro-1's greatest strengths is in the range of blacks and grays that it can accurately print. High-resolution monochrome prints are one of the toughest tests of photo printers since some inkjet printers leak a slight bit of color cast onto black-and-white prints while other inkjets do not offer enough grayscale resolution, and this Pro-100 is not consistently perfect with its black-and-white output and its printing of the deepest black regions. While this Pro-100 prints better grays and blacks than what the Pro9000 prints, both Canon's Pro-1 and Epson's R3000 can print noticeably superior black-and-white prints when compared to this Pro-100 monochrome prints. These are not glaring deficiencies in the print quality, but there are subtle differences in the accuracy and resolution of black and gray color gradations when you compare an image printed on this Pro-100 with the same image printed on the Pro-1.
Although I have not precisely measured how long each ink cartridge lasts when printing the same photo each time, I have always believed that Epson's printers drink up their ink faster than either Canon or HP inkjet printers, and Epson ink cartridges seem to be more prone to clogging, both on Epson's photo printers and their printer/copier/fax multi-function printers. On average, I get about 7 to 10 large 13"x19" color prints from this Pro-100 before I have to replace some of the color ink cartridges. This is comparable to the previous Pro9000 printer. The more expensive Pro-1 uses ink cartridges that are almost three times larger in ink volume, and its colors are distributed across 12 ink cartridges versus the 8 cartridges used by this Pro-100. So this Pro-100 needs more frequent ink replacements than the Pro-1 printer, although it uses up the ink at a rate that is comparable to the older Pro9000 printer. But I seem to replace ink cartridges more frequently on Epson inkjet printers than on Canon printers. As with "razor blade marketing", I think that all inkjet printer manufacturers earn the bulk of their printer hardware profits from the ink cartridge refills. If you regularly print 11"x14" or 13"x19" prints with this Pro-100, at the current price of about $17 per ink cartridge, using up a set of all eight ink cartridges will cost you about $125 to $135 to replace all eight refills.
When using a sophisticated photo printer like this to print 13"x19" photos, you should likewise use a camera that is better than a $200 point-and-shoot camera. This printer's output quality is ideally suited for photos shot using a better SLR camera. And instead of printing photos directly from an iPad via AirPrint or directly from a Canon camera via PictBridge, you should carefully review and select your photos on the computer first, applying post-processing edits, aligning/straightening/cropping, sharpening, and other enhancements as needed. As with the computer lingo of "garbage in, garbage out", if your photo is not sharp or if your camera's autofocus locked onto a tree that was behind the person you were photographing, this printer will expose those problems far more if you output a 13"x19" print than what can be noticed on a 4"x6" print. I never print smaller than 8"X10" prints using this Pro-100 printer, and I certainly do not print text documents on this Pro-100, because printing small 4"x6" photos is both a waste of this printer's capabilities and is a waste of its beautiful pricey inks. For printing 4"x6" photos that I share with other people, using a less fancy inkjet photo printer or a printer/copier/fax multi-function inkjet printer suits me just fine. I only use this Pro-100 for printing photos that will be framed, and my favorite sizes have been 8"x10", 11"x14", and 13"x19". Once I became addicted to printing beautifully colored and richly detailed 13"x19" photos from this Pro-100, it is hard for me to go smaller than 8"x10" now :-)
Since you will likely be editing and adjusting your photos from your computer prior to printing them on this Pro-100, you should invest in some color calibration hardware if you are not already calibrating your monitor and printer. So along with spending money on ink refills, expect to pay at least several hundred dollars for calibration hardware. If you edit your photos on your computer, viewing them on an uncalibrated laptop/display screen, and then send the images to this printer, the coloration of the resulting prints may be different from the images that you were looking at on the screen. Datacolor and X-Rite both make excellent color calibration tools. Both the Datacolor Spyder Studio S4SSR100 and X-Rite CMUNPH ColorMunki Photo are great for ensuring that the display screens, printer, printer ink, and printer paper that you use are all calibrated together so you get exacting control over the how the image will look in going from your computer onto the printed page. Although I have both Spyder and ColorMunki calibration tools, I prefer Datacolor's Spyder more than X-Rite's ColorMunki. X-Rite's hardware, overall, is faster than Datacolor's hardware, but I think that Datacolor's software is far better than X-Rite's software with respect to software features, quality, and stability.
If you are thinking: "Whoa, this display and printer calibration gear can cost more than a new Pro-100! I just want to print my photos the way that my camera captured them!", you can still usually get excellent print results without calibration by using Canon inks and Canon papers with this printer. You can also get a visual feel for how light/dark/red/green/blue/yellow your images appear on the screen when compared to how they print out by holding a large print next to your monitor displaying the same image. Some people adjust color hues and temperatures by visually comparing printed output to the screen display, using a combination of soft-proofing and hardcopy proofing. This is combined with using the paper profiles supplied by Canon or the manufacturer of the printer paper you are using. While that approach helps to prevent too much discrepancy between what is displayed on screen and what is printed, it is also fraught with potential human error and variations as you switch papers and inks, as your monitor ages and shifts in its color response, and as the brightness and subtle hues of the ambient room lighting change in between each visual screen-to-print comparison. In addition, an image on a monitor projects additive colors through its pixels, whereas an image on a print is subtractive in that it absorbs and reflects ambient light, and this can significantly alter your visual comparison of hues and contrast when comparing the same image between display and print.
If you are a graphic artist or you want to control the colors/hues/saturation/brightness in Photoshop, calibrating your display screen to produce custom monitor profiles and calibrating the printer to get a custom ICC printer profile is the best way to ensure that what you see on screen is what you end up printing. Only by generating a custom printer profile can you accurately connect the dots between your display, your printer (which can also have variations in print output even between two printers of the same model), your ink, and your paper. Because a display monitor's color response slowly shifts as it ages, you should calibrate a newer display every one or two months and calibrate an older display every two weeks. As anyone who has ever painted the inside of a house realizes, each gallon can or custom-mix of a specific paint color can have slight variations that make it visibly different in between batches. The same variation can happen in between batches of printer paper and ink cartridges made by the same manufacturer. So to take into account these variations in printer-ink-paper combinations, you should generate a new custom printer profile every time that you switch to a new package of paper and every time that you replace ink cartridges.
Also introduced in this Pro-100 is a new "Print Studio Pro" plug-in that provides a printer interface to Photoshop CS/Elements/Lightroom and Canon's own Digital Photo Professional (version 2.1 or later). If you are printing from either Adobe's or Canon's software, this plug-in lets you adjust printer settings, manage color settings (e.g. via an ICC profile), etc. If you mainly just change some common print options using the standard Microsoft Windows printer pop-up windows, the large number of options available in this "Print Studio Pro" plug-in may be a bit bewildering. After all, both this printer and the "Print Studio Pro" plug-in are targeted towards professional-level photographers. Luckily, most of the default settings in this plug-in provide for a good starting point. But for people who are accustomed to tweaking specific color profiles and printer profiles, these available adjustments should be reasonably easy to set up and the options are nicely grouped together in logical functionally related layouts.
Other software packaged with this printer include a "Easy Photo Print" and an image filters application that lets you apply basic special effects to your photos, along with tools to print onto CDs and CD/DVD case covers. This printer includes a tray to hold a CD or DVD so you can use this printer, along with the included "Easy Photo Print" software, to easily print professional-looking disc labels. The color labels that are directly printed onto the CD/DVD may have the inks smear and smudge if they get wet, unless you use a water-resistant disc like Taiyo Yuden/JVC WaterShield (in fact, *all* of Taiyo Yuden/JVC CD and DVD media are excellent in general).
Upon opening this printer's large shipping box, I was able to fully set up this printer for wireless Wi-Fi printing, including installation of all software, after a little over one hour's time. All of the contents inside the shipping box were neatly packed together with lots of tape holding various parts and pieces in place. This printer has impeccable build quality, with an excellent fit and finish, and it is a very solid piece of equipment. Any large-format photo printer like this will not be compact in size, and this Pro-100's size of 27.2"x8.6"x15.2" (Width-Height-Depth) needs extra room on a desk or table. In particular, the 27-inch width is wider than many large-format photo printers that can output 13"x19" prints. And Canon's Pro-1 is still even larger in size. I have my Pro-100 placed sideways on top of a two-drawer file cabinet.
After installing the included software, you should go to Canon's Web site to check if there are updated versions of firmware, drivers, and software. This really applies to any kind of software that you install; periodically check for new updates or patches that can be downloaded from the software company's Web site, first verifying that the updates are newer than what you have installed and that the updates apply to your specific setup. Whenever I install new software, I immediately check for new software, firmware, or driver updates or patches before I begin to use the software. Some software updates are major and can overwrite or reset any changes that you have configured in the software, so it is best to download and apply all new updates before proceeding to use the software. As with the software and firmware for their cameras, Canon frequently releases updates that may include bug fixes or extra features. For example, there are Pro-100 software updates on Canon's Web site that add support for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 along with support for more paper types.
Connecting this printer using the supplied USB cable is the easiest setup method. My iPad also easily detected this printer's AirPrint capability. The included software guides you through either the USB or network connection menus. To initiate the connection to the printer, you press and hold down the [Resume/Cancel] button and then let it flash 6 times for a wireless WPS connection or let it flash 11 times for a wired USB connection. This printer connection setup process is quite cumbersome, but its wireless printing is very reliable once it has been configured. Canon needs to make the setup software and connection configuration easier and quicker to use. If your wireless access point or router is not able to connect to this printer using the WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) mode, a more reliable approach is to choose the "Wireless Setup Using the USB cable" connection method that Canon's software also offers as a setup option. If you do encounter problems during setup of the printer or configuration of the printer's network connection, you can phone Canon's customer service at 1-800-OK-CANON (1-800-652-2666) Monday through Friday 10:00AM to 10:00PM EST, and you can talk to their knowledgeable staff who have good English skills.
The print quality of this printer is excellent, even when compared to other dedicated photo printers. A dye-based printer like this will naturally produce better color saturation than a pigment-based printer such as Canon's Pro-1 or Pro-10, or Epson's R3000. But a pigment-based printer will usually produce deeper blacks and dark tones. This Pro-100 is an excellent printer especially for landscape and nature photography because the colors are very rich and saturated. However, when printing portraits, skin tones can sometimes appear a bit ruddy or suntanned. I think that this is more due to the natural characteristics of dye inks, and not an issue with the color accuracy of the printer itself. The printer is not changing the hues of the skin by adding too much red color, but the existing flesh tones, and all colors in general, may be slightly more saturated than what is depicted in the actual images when using a dye-based inkjet printer. Slightly oversaturated skin colors in people are more noticeable than extra saturation of colors in animals, objects, landscapes, and nature scenery. In fact, if you show people two landscape/nature/floral photos where one photo accurately depicts all colors and the other photo shows the same scene but with more color saturation, most people will prefer the more colorful saturated photo than the photo with accurate colors. But the "more colorful is better" preference does not apply to extra saturation of skin colors. By slightly toning down the saturation of my photos that contain people in them prior to printing, I can get more natural skin tones on my prints from this Pro-100. For printing portraits and photos that include people in them, I reduce the saturation of the skin areas by about 5% to 10%. But for printing landscape and nature photos, the rich coloration is quite appealing, so I usually do not reduce the saturation levels on most of my landscape and floral images. For a photo of people surrounded by colorful scenery, I often slightly decrease the saturation just on the skin areas while letting the surrounding background stay the same. For photos that I have processed through HDR, which are usually a bit more saturated, I may reduce saturation by 5% or as much as 10% prior to printing them on this Pro-100. And most of my HDR-processed photos are far less saturated than many people's HDR processing since I prefer more natural and realistic-looking HDR-processed images instead of the wildly colored HDR images of some people that I think are tiresome to look at. If you normally post-process your photos to have extra color saturation, keep in mind that a dye-based printer like this Pro-100 will slightly bump up the saturation even more when compared to a pigment-based printer.
௫ Fuzzy Wuzzy's Conclusion:
Dye-based inks previously were not as colorfast as pigment-based inks over the long term. But the technology has improved so the dye-based inks used in this Pro-100 can retain their colors for 100+ years. You can expect excellent results for both image quality and color longevity if you use Canon's Pro Platinum, Luster, or Premium Photo Gloss or Semi-Gloss papers with this Pro-100 printer. Dye-based inks do not perform as well on porous matte photo papers and other uncoated fine art papers. If that is your preferred printer paper, instead of using a semi-gloss or gloss paper, then a pigment-based ink printer like the Pro-10 or Pro-1 may be better suited for your photo paper preferences. The longevity of all printed photos depends upon various factors such as whether the photo is protected in a frame or photo album (longer life) or is frequently handled (shorter life), whether the photo is framed (shorter life) or stored inside a photo album (longer life), and whether the framed photo is exposed to bright light (more fading) or displayed more in the shade (less fading). Dye inks are absorbed into the paper, whereas pigment inks stick to the surface as small pigment particles that are not absorbed into the paper. Using a t-shirt analogy, dye printer inks are like a t-shirt design that has dyes soaked into the cotton while pigment printer inks are like a t-shirt design that uses an iron-on applique. Because of this, pigment inks are more easily damaged due to scratches, chipping, or flaking, whereas a dye ink photo can be framed or mounted without glass covering it and it will be more resistant to mechanical damage. However, if a dye-printed page is exposed to water or high humidity, since dye inks easily dissolve in water, the dye ink photo can smear, bleed, or fade, whereas pigment inks are more resistant to water because they stick tighter to the surface of the page and will bleed less if exposed to moisture. The appearance of dye-ink prints can be affected by the texture of the paper being used, taking on some of the characteristics of the paper, whereas pigment-based prints look more consistent across all kinds of printer paper. Dye-based inks previously could produce a much wider color gamut than pigment-based inks. But just as dye inks have caught up to the colorfast longevity of pigment inks, pigment inks have now caught up to the wide color gamut that was previously an exclusive advantage of dye inks.
Overall, the detail, resolution, and color accuracy of this Pro-100 are superb, worthy of gallery displays and at least as good as, or better than, prints that you order from a drug store or retail department store. I print a lot of 11"x14" and 13"x19" photos of my nature, landscape, and macro photography that I frame, give as gifts, and hang on walls around my house, and visitors are often surprised that I printed these photos at home instead of using a commercial service. With a simple black frame and a white wall background, each large print looks glorious with its rich colors and fine detail. From a cost perspective, if you also take into account the cost of display and printer calibration hardware and replacing expensive ink cartridges, using this Pro-100 to get professional lab-quality large-format prints may not be much cheaper than paying a high-quality commercial photo lab. But printing at home does offer a more immediate and convenient printing of photos and, if you calibrate both your display and printer, you can have more precise control over how your prints will look with the specific papers you are using. Even if you do decide to send most of your images to commercial photo labs for printing, calibrating your monitor will assure that the colors you are viewing and editing are accurately displayed. So if color accuracy is important to you, monitor calibration is a must.
As mentioned, if you want incrementally better color accuracy and resolution and better black-and-white prints that compare favorably to the high-end prints offered by photo labs, you have to step up to the Pro-10 or Pro-1 printers. But those two printers cost two to three times more than this Pro-100, so this Pro-100 may be totally sufficient for most amateur photographers unless, again, most of your photography is black-and-white, in which case I would recommend the Pro-1. If most of your photography involves portraits and weddings, you may also want to consider the Pro-10 or Pro-1 because their pigment-based inks produce slightly more natural-looking skin tones, unless you sometimes slightly reduce the saturation on the skin areas prior to printing on this Pro-100, or you can also create custom profiles by calibrating this printer's output along with the display monitor and printer paper being used. I should emphasize that the slightly deeper saturation of colors on this dye-based inkjet printer is not very noticeable on the skin colors of all photos that I print out, but the subtle differences are more noticeable if I compare an image showing close-ups of faces printed on this Pro-100 and place the Pro-100 print right next to the same image printed on Canon's Pro-1 pigment-based inkjet printer. And you may actually prefer the slightly richer skin tones printed by the Pro-100 when compared to a pigment-based printer like the Pro-10 or Pro-1. Dye-based printers just have a slightly different look and feel than pigment-based printers. Other than those two caveats, the quality of the photo prints from this Pro-100 should satisfy all but the most discerning amateur photographers. I rely both on my own research and the opinions of others to help me make informed buying decisions. I hope that this review helped you to be a wise shopper! :)
I currently have 2 printers that I use for my printing needs. The first is a Canon PIXMA MP990. The second is an Amazon Vine provided Canon PIXMA PRO-1. I've also had, and since discarded, a few Epson Work Force printers via Amazon Vine. The Canon printers have always performed at the level I've expected and the Pro 100 is no exception.
It was with some excitement that I was offered the Pro 100 to compare to my current models.
Printer was installed on a Win 7 64 bit based laptop with 8 GB RAM.
Instead of using the enclosed CD for software installation, I decided to download the drivers and software directly from Canon's website. Based on this, the installation was pretty simple. I used the printer connected directly via USB because the printers are all very close to my work PC. I have a nice USB hub that I use the two printers and other devices.
While I say setup was simple, please don't confuse this with it being a quick process. The process is quite lengthy, much like the Pro-1. I didn't time it completely, but it was at least an hour from start to finish, not including the unboxing. Installing the print head and cartridges just takes time - you can't get around it.
Installing the software is pretty easy -- just keep hitting next mostly.
Another thing to note is that, like the Pro 1, this printer is HEAVY. It's roughly 45 lbs and you will almost certainly want someone to help you move the boxed printer around, along with pulling the printer out of the box and placing on the desk/table.
Here's where the Pro 100 comes into it's own.
The Pro 100 is a dye based printer. The prints from this, on Canon paper with proper paper profiles chosen, results in some vibrant and amazing results. In comparing this to the MP990, prints from the Pro 100, as expected, are better. Doing a blind comparison with family members, everyone prefers the Pro 100 results to the MP990. This isn't unexpected, given this printer uses many more inks to provide the results.
The Pro 100 isn't amazingly better than the MP990, but the results are much, much closer to what's on screen. The MP990 also has some minor issues with gradients that I'm not seeing from the Pro 100 results.
The Pro 1 printer is a pigment based printer. Pigment based printers are, generally speaking, not nearly as vibrant as dye based printers. So comparing the Pro 100 results to Pro 1 results kind of leaves you with a mixed bag. Black and White from the Pro 1 are phenomenal. Great highlights, midtones and shadows. The Pro 100 is quite nice in B&W and if you didn't have a Pro 1 result sitting next to it, you wouldn't know any different. The differences are subtle but noticeable under scrutiny.
In terms of color, this is also a mixed bag. I like the vibrancy from the Pro 100 for some prints and the more subdued look of the pigment. For those that can afford both printers, the ink tanks for both and the large amount of space required, I can see that someone might actually make the argument to use both for different photos. No question.
I using Canon Pro Platinum paper and the cheaper Semigloss plus paper in my testing. I prefer these two papers for my prints but hope to invest in some other types to compare results there as well.
In terms of print cartridge costs, using less in this case, helps you save a few dollars compared to the Pro 1. Of course, the Pro 1 uses massive "tanks" of ink while the Pro 100 still uses standard cartridges. It's too difficult to compare price per sheet, but given there are less tanks and they are smaller, you may end up breaking even between these inks and those in the Pro 1 in terms of cost.
Dye based printers, like the Pro 100, get a bad rap. Everyone claims dye based prints don't last nearly as long as pigment. This is true - or was true. The ChromaLife 100+ system from Canon claims longevity of up to 300 years for some prints on this dye based printer. I won't be around long enough to verify that, that's for certain. And I think pigment based printers boast the same or similar longevity. Minimum life claims seems to be 100 years on Canon paper and using Canon ink... I probably won't be around to verify that either.
The Pro 100 printer is a great printer. If you can afford the printer and not the Pro 1, don't fret. You're still getting a great printer that outputs stunning results. Both do amazing jobs with prints that accentuate their positives.
Amazing print quality - these are professional results
Easy to use
Supposedly near pigment level longevity of prints
Expensive (relative to say, the $75 all in one, but average for a PRO quality printer)
Ink is expensive
Big and Heavy (not as big, or heavy, as the Pro 1 though)
I owned the Pro9000 for 5 years and loved it for detailed glossy color images. It was not great for black & white, and there was the untouchable rule that dye-based inks were not professional and would fade quickly.
Thank goodness it's 2013, things have changed.
First, dye-based technology has gotten nearly as good as pigment inks for longevity. This was a hot topic at the most recent NAB show. Pigments inks have their place and I will discuss that in a minute (I purchased a Pro9500 6 months ago and discovered it has its own drawbacks). Also, Canon has replaced the 9000 with this new KILLER Pro-100, and the improvements are phenomenal. Let's do a bullet list and get right to the new & improved regarding the Pro-100:
* New Dye-based inks now last well over 100 years (and the Pro-100 is dye-based)
* The Pro-100 has been redesigned to now include THREE shades of black/gray ink. This means AWESOME black & white out of this printer. Why is that important? Pigment-based inks will never print luscious black tones like dye inks can when using coated papers, at least with the technology available today.
* If you have high detail full color landscape images to print, there is nothing more breathtaking than bold dye-based inks on quality high gloss "wet" look paper such as Canon Pro Platinum paper. Absolutely remarkable.
* Canon added Wifi and AirPrint to this printer. Wireless and Droid and iOS and bears oh my, nuff said.
* CD tray to print discs, awesome.
* Feeding thick Fine Art Paper manually: HUGE win here, you no longer have to pull the printer a foot away from the wall like with the 9000 and 9500, Canon redesigned it to feed in curved from the top.
OK, pigment inks and the Pro 9500/Pro-10/Pro-1, what's the advantage? Skin tones for one, pigment inks print skins tones better than dye based. Also, when you want to print a luscious landscape scene on paper like Somerset Velvet Enhanced and want that textured painting look, pigment inks rule. And they last 200 years and are considered the desired tone for fine art prints. Pigment inks are not as bold and saturated, and blacks are a bit faded, but pigments no doubt provides a gorgeous art look. That's not to say you can't do that with the Pro-100, but for me there's no way I can survive with only one type of printer, I use the Pro-100 now along with a Pro9500. BUT, for the money, the Pro-100 is a SUPERB place to start as you get into learning print profiles and fine art imaging. (to really get a handle on profiles and all that, see Tim Grey's Color Confidence: The Digital Photographer's Guide to Color Management... 7 years old and still as relevant as ever).
What's not so great about the Pro-100?
* The CD software that Canon provided... wow, what a klunky user interface. I develop software for my day job and I still have a hard time figuring out what Canon's engineers have put together, lol! It's so limited in design features, it's better to do all your graphic work in Photoshop and just send that image to the disc (which takes a little fancy footwork to NOT have the CD software impose its text boxes over your image!). Oh well, small price to pay, and this affects ALL models, not just the Pro-100
* The CD Tray: the way you snap a disc onto the tray takes a little more force than it should, and it feels like the thin tabs will break one day. Meh on that feature.
* When you change an ink cartridge, Canon printers use a lot of ink in the other cartridges while charging the new one.
* Minor beef: to setup the printer and do the initial head alignment and configuration, you have to plug the printer into the USB port of your PC initially. So don't toss the cable until you're fully set up. (UPATE, 6/3/2013: See comments, one owner did set up everything wireless. Canon's manual says you can't but it's obviously wrong!).
Why I'm done with anything Epson...
* Epson printers are psycho clog machines and constantly need maintenance. I owned 4 Epsons since 2001 and have fought with every one of them. I owned the Canon Pro9000 for 5 years and n-e-v-e-r had to run the head cleaning utility, EVER. Same with the past 6 months with my Pro9500. Sometimes it's off for a month, and when I fire it up, all jets work. Epson needs to get a grip on that.
* Interchangeable print heads: Canon has them, Epson does not. If your print head dies (the thing that the cartridges sit in and contains the spray heads) in a Canon, you order a new one and pop it in and you're on your way. Epson requires a costly repair that makes it better to toss the thing and buy a new one.
* BEST FOR LAST, and the reason why I am through with Epson: I print landscapes that often have dramatic skies, and in order to get smooth colors without banding, you have to be able to print 16-bit, 8-bit does NOT cut it. Windows does not natively support 16-bit printing, but Windows 7 and Macs do provide the 16-bit path if the printer manufacturer decides to provide 16-bit drivers, which means the manufacturer has to take the initiate to do that even though there's no monetary profit. That is exactly what Canon has done: you first download the regular Canon printer drivers and install them as normal, then you download the printer driver update that's named "XPS". Then you use the XPS driver on your PC when you go to print, and you will have 16 bit printing! Actually, images are 14 bit but that's still way better than puny 8-bit. The difference in skies is huge. For some weird reason, Epson has NOT provided 16 bit drivers, at all. What a shame. For B&W it won't matter but for color it means everything. BTW, JPEGs are 8-bit, so if you use the XPS print driver you need to print from your photo editor while still in 16 bit mode. ANYWAY, the Pro-100 prints no short of stunning with the 16-bit XPS Canon drivers.
UPDATE 7/26/2013: I did some reading and discovered that Epson drivers print 16-Bit theoretically on Mac OSX because Macs do 16-Bit native printing. For Windows 7 & 8, again the manufacturer has to make drivers that utilize XPS Path, and Windows will shoot the 16-Bit data through. That's where Epson has dropped the ball and why I like Canon printers. I've also seen, more than once, where Epson users say they don't see a difference between 8 and 16 bit printing, so I have to wonder what's really happening inside the Epson driver. Looking at skies in landscape shots will reveal the power of 16-Bit on a huge way, the tones are amazing smooth. Interesting subject matter, that's for sure.
Last thought on the Canon 13x19 printers, all of them: Canon imposes a 35mm border when you use fine art photo rag paper, it's their way of "ensuring" that the paper won't cause problems being that type of fine art paper tends to curl up. So they actually stop you from printing on the whole paper! Goofy. Here's how you get around that: in the print driver, select A3 13x19 Matte Paper regardless of what fine art rag you use. Canon will think you are using a flat coated matte paper. Then in Photoshop or whatever you use, select your paper profile there for the paper you'll really use, and you'll be able to print nearly full page with the standard ¼" border.
Please, avoid borderless printing on any printer whenever you can. It's difficult for manufacturers to ensure that ink won't spray all over the inside of the printer when the head reaches the paper edge, but it always does. They continue to push borderless as a feature for marketing reasons, but it destroys all printers eventually, regardless of make or model. Print 13x19 paper with a ¼" border and then trim it with a ruler and blade if you want borderless.
Happy art creation!
In the entry-level category of wide-format color inkjet printers there are essentially three brand-names that are available to the consumer ... HP, Epson and Canon. As a professional in the graphics arts industry I have owned all of the above as small-format home printers yet none of the above as pro or semi-pro wide format models. There is a reason. People who take photographs professionally (and probably at one time spent many hours printing photos in a darkroom) tend to shy away from these types of ink jet printers and outsource our printing work to specialty labs who own and maintain equipment far beyond our budgets. Although I have done darkroom duty, the vast majority of my chemical processing and now digital processing is done by one or two highly trusted print houses.
While my experience in photography gives me some special insights into what a good print (color or B&W) should look like, I'll cut to the chase and tell you right now you won't find it in a sub-$300 inkjet printer.
Don't take that as a negative ... today's inkjet printers from all of the major manufacturers can deliver incredible enlargements. It's just that when you make your living at it, the standards just get out of the reach of a low-cost printer.
So, first off, I won't try to compare this printer with a lab quality machine, nor will I try to tapdance a litany of impressive sounding specs, but rather give you, based on my experience, some insight that hopefully will help you decide if this printer will meet your home-printing needs.
Starting with brand-name ... one thing in life I have an inordinate amount of experience with is color inkjet printers. Right at this moment I own 6 that are active and have at one time or another owned close to 30. I have consulted with the manufacturers, did technical training on the products, and had hands-on experience with more brands (there used to be a lot more) and models of printers than most people can imagine. I have personal preferences but I can state flat out that among the current "Big 3" listed above, there is no "best" brand. Sometimes the differences between models between one brand name and another would have you think that certain models aren't even made by the same brand, in other words I have used some great and some terrible individual models from all of the companies. I have zero vested interest in any of the major brand names so, trust me, this review will not lean pro or con for Canon or anyone else.
FIRST TOPIC - EASE OF SETUP: when other reviews you may have read warn you that this is a BIG printer, don't just gloss over that ... this is a BIG printer. When it was delivered the burly UPS driver was sweating as he brought it to the door. I am so happy I was expecting it because it arrived in the OEM box and if I had not been at home you would likely be reading a review on it right now from one of my neighbors. Setting it up isn't magic for someone who has set up an inkjet printer before. Open box, install printhead and ink cartridges, run software, run a test print to auto-set alignment. Being a printer designed for more of a purist you will also want to run through some tweaking of the color controls using 4 x 6 paper before you insert that first sheet of pricy 13 x 19 paper. Canon's setup "manual" is a simplistic fold out road map but they supply an electronic user manual that is highly detailed and useful.
QUALITY OF CONSTRUCTION: I won't compare it to other brands or models for the reason I described above ... there is no definite consistency of virtually anything between different models from the largest home printer manufacturers. Rated on its own merit, the quality of the plastics used is a little heavier duty than average, the onboard controls are definitive (the two main buttons are almost comical, huge stainless steel-looking buttons that dominate the right-front side of the printer), the paper trays are a little above average, noise level is average, paper handling is smooth and less jerky than some others I have used and the overall feel is of a product that will probably serve well for at least a few years.
SPEED: Inkjet manufactures like to spout off ridiculous speed specs that are meaningless in everyday life. When it comes to a printer that has a purpose of primarily printing photo quality prints, speed is not a virtue, in fact a slower speed can assure more accuracy in the placement of the ink droplets. This printer to Canon's credit does not claim unrealistic speeds. On an average 8 x 10 print I would say the speed differs very little from the Epson, HP and Canon printers on my desktop.
INK ECONOMY: Canon is the only company I have seen who publishes a realistic guide to real-life ink usage (available at the PRO-100 support site online). It is frustrating to see printer manufacturers advertise their products on the basis of the price of the ink cartridge without factoring in the actual usable amount of ink contained in the cartridge or better yet, the actual real-life yield of a cartridge. Canon's chart attempts to give you a track to run on for each of the 8 cartridges when used in a real-life situation. Kudos Canon! Over time I will compare Canon's estimates to my actual usage and update this review as necessary. It is good (in a way) to know that not all of the inks are expected to drain equally in real life, but real life also requires that I tell you that if you replaced all 8 cartridges at once you will be writing out a check for at least $125. No small investment.
HOW DO THE PRINTS LOOK: the question is so subjective with so many variables I simply can't answer with anything that won't sound like an ad for Canon or one of its competitors. I would be suspicious of any review that attempted to do that. I will give you the results of one carefully controlled printing episode as an example. The digital image was taken under challenging conditions of a white egret against a dark swampy pond which resulted in a high contrast ratio that I managed in-camera. The image size was sufficient to warrant a 13 x 19 print. I selected Canon's own brand of paper because it would not be fair to judge a printer with paper and ink that it was not optimized for. I went for one of Canon's best papers (Pro Platinum) to make the test effective. I supplied that same image to a highly regarded and trusted lab for them to also make an analyzed digital print on a super-expensive non-Canon paper. I hung them both in a gallery side-by-side and only stated that the photos represented "different conditions". The results didn't skew noticeably toward either print, but I had more favorable comments about the lab print like "I feel I could stroke those feathers they are so real" but the Canon print also got favorable remarks like "the egret is so 3D I feel I could walk around it". Net result? "Better" is in the eye of the beholder.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW: The supplied setup CD includes a baffling amount of apps, more than I have ever seen for a printer. You are warned that it could take a long time to load the drivers and apps and they aren't kidding ... it took almost 30 minutes plus another 30 minutes to run the mandatory alignment process and do some basic color matching setup. You should also know that, while all of those apps may be useful, in no place does Canon give you a simple guide to what they are all meant to be used for. You may not actually need to know that to print a nice picture but if you can print a "better" picture using the apps it would be nice if Canon would take you by the hand and walk you through the process. I will give a shoutout to Canon, though, that the install process went seamlessly, which seems to be a bit rare with some of the rushed-to-market software being delivered today. I did not have to disable my virus app or have any user intervention for the most part. My only concern is if you choose to perform the optional user registration ... the questions asked are invasive and if you are not careful you can agree to let Canon snoop into your printer usage for the next 10 years (you can decline this if you catch it). I have no objections to market research but still fail to understand what my marital status has to do with making a better printer.
If you are serious about this printer but will not be making an immediate decision I invite you to check back to this review. I plan to update it at some point with real-life ink consumption stats and with additional detailed feedback after I have run samples of various brands and types of photo art paper.
I have these two pro-photo printers from Canon and I'm going to take advantage of this opportunity to not only review them as to their capabilities, but to compare them to each other as to advantages and disadvantages. One (the Pro-10) uses a pigment-based ink system; the other (the Pro-100) uses a dye-based ink system. There are pros and cons to each of those types of inks, and the performance you can expect from the respective printers.
For background, I originally entered the realm of pro photo printers about a decade or so ago with the Canon Pro-9000, which used dye-based inks. This was in the era before Canon developed their ChromaLife dye inks, and those early inks weren't rated highly for longevity, an issue of great import to most who print pro-level (or prosumer) photos, and an issue of which I wasn't yet informed because I was a newbie to digital photography. It was an excellent printer as to print quality, but when Canon came out with the first line of ChromaLife inks, I educated myself on the subject, and since the Pro-9000 wasn't able to accept the new inks, I decided to switch to an HP 8750, which used Vivera inks which are highly rated for longevity.
The HP 8750 has served me very well for the intervening years, but they stopped supporting driver and software upgrades with Windows XP, so when I transitioned to Win 7 several functions of that printer were no longer available. A very strange - and alienating - decision on the part of HP, which prompted me to finally switch to the new Canon printers.
As far as set-up, these two Canon printers are nearly identical. The set-up is easy and intuitive, but time-consuming as these are complex pieces of equipment with sophisticated software. You can install from either the included discs, or on-line at Canon's website.
As I mentioned, the Pro-10 is a pigment ink system and uses 10 inks, including several different photo grays and an Optimizer. The Pro-100 uses an 8-ink dye-based system. My understanding is that the Pro-100 approaches blacks using a different print strategy from the Pro-10. It does have 3 photo black cartridges, but also uses other colors to create grays. We'll come back to this later.
Both units can print directly from your handheld devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.) via Bluetooth connectivity, a terrific and innovative convenience, as well as from your other devices which are part of your wireless LAN.
An almost universal problem in digital photo printing is the phenomenon of the finished prints looking different from what the user sees on his monitor screen; the finished prints are typically darker. Trying to get matching prints and screen image usually entails extensive monitor calibration, which in my experience means I'm looking at what I consider to be a pretty dark monitor image. Canon addresses this issue with an included program called Optimum Image Generating System (OIG). This program works in conjunction with later versions of Photoshop and Lightroom. My Photoshop is an older non-supported version, so I used in it Lightroom, and found it to be surprisingly effective in addressing the issue; the prints came out much closer to what I was seeing on the screen - without a lot of tweaking - than I've been used to up to this point. We have to bear in mind that some prints are going to be trickier than others, and the OIG may give mixed results - YMMV - but this system is a HUGE step forward in home printing technology. Kudos to Canon for that alone!
The Pro-10 and Pro-100 have very different price points, and for that to be so there must be some significant differences between them, so let's take a look at those.
Of course, those differences all revolve around the different ink technologies: pigment (Pro-10) versus dye (Pro-100). Let's start with ink cost. The Pro-10 uses 10 ink cartridges, and a full set of inks here on Amazon runs roughly $150. The Pro-100 uses 8 cartridges for a total cost of about $125. Not much difference in price for the ink; your price per print will probably be roughly equivalent.
According to Canon's documentation the Pro-100 uses smaller ink nozzles, probably possible due to the differences in the physical properties of the different inks. You'd think that this would lead to a higher level of fine detail by the Pro-100, but in a side-by-side comparison of prints of the same picture from each printer I couldn't discern any difference between the two.
Print speed: Both units will create true borderless prints up to 13" X 19"; the Pro-100 will do it in less than half the time the Pro-10 takes, under 2 minutes versus about 5 minutes. To me this is a non-issue, but there it is, FYI.
Color prints: Both printers produce color prints that are absolutely beautiful. Color transitions are subtle and utilize the full gamut of shadings. To me, the prints from the dye-based Pro-100 seem to "pop" just a bit more, probably again due to the physical property differences between dyes and pigments. But both produce true gallery-quality prints that anyone would be proud to display.
B&W prints: This is one of the bigger differences between the two. The B&W prints from the Pro-100 are also beautiful, but when held to a side-by-side comparison with B&Ws from the Pro-10, the pigment system's superiority in the blacks becomes apparent: Deeper, richer and cleaner. Again bear in mind: these are differences noted in that side-by-side comparison. As a stand-alone, the B&Ws from the Pro-100 are still perfectly acceptable, though there is a slight "tinge" noticeable when light reflects off the print from an angle, probably due to that grays "strategy" I mentioned earlier.
Print longevity: Probably the biggest difference between the two. Both inks will yield 100+ years longevity when stored in an album in the dark. Who cares about that? Let's face it; it's display life - on the wall, under glass - that really counts in this department, and that's where the pigment inks enjoy a clear edge.
Wilhelm Image Research is the industry standard for image longevity. They've conducted tests on the Lucia pigment ink system that yield results showing that display life for the pigment inks exceeds 75 years. Wilhelm hasn't yet published findings on the ChromaLife100+ dye system, but on their website Canon published their own testing research indicating a display life of approximately 30 years.
There's absolutely no question about it; when it comes to print longevity, the pigment-based Pro-10 wins running away. If that's an important issue to you, as it is to me, you'll definitely want to factor it into your buying decision.
In summary, both of these fine machines are at the top of their class of the pro printers currently on the market; 5+ stars to both. A slight edge to the Pro-100 for color vibrancy; a slight edge to the Pro-10 for B&W performance. The biggest difference is in print longevity which may or may not be important to each individual buyer.
Kudos to Canon for two exceedingly fine offerings.
on March 10, 2014
Printer died when it was less than a year old, so I went through the painful process to get it to the nearest Canon repair facility - 120 miles approx. - yep, that is a lot of gas!! A couple of weeks later, I call and find out it was not repairable and they are waiting to hear from Canon. A couple of weeks after that, they sent me a new one - I had to pay the shipping costs to for the new one, I might add. Got the new one and it worked for approximately a week and would not print any black or grey colors - yep, mostly pinks! I called the repair shop again - yep, the one 120 miles away - they determined it was probably my print head, which they informed me was the old one from previous machine - it went into the new machine they sent me along with my old ink cartridges. So, I got a new machine, but with the old print head - hmmm!! So, after a week or so, I am still waiting for a new print head to show up. So, a printer that was about 7-8 months old, has worked less than 6 months and I am still without a printer....waiting. My previous machine was an HP and it worked for 10+ years. I don't really know why I quit using it - thought it was getting old and I should upgrade - I was foolish to get rid of it - it would probably still be running! This machine has been a HUGE disappointment! Oh - another downside - the ink cartridges are small and you get very little in the way of color pages from the ink - it is costing a fortune for very little color printing - unlike my former HP - so completely bummed!!
Update: Got the new print head today - did not fix the problem. Called Canon and they will not refund my money, but they will send me another new Pixma Pro-100 machine. I don't want another one of these, but they give no other option. So, here I sit and wait. Oh, did I mention I have been without a printer for almost two months now?!! Not happy with Canon! At what point do you give the customer their money back if they don't want another machine?? They tried to blame Amazon - said I bought it from Amazon and not them. I told them that they should not blame Amazon as Canon manufactured the machine that is not working, not Amazon!!
I think what most of you will want to know is what the difference are between this Pro100 and the previous Pro 9000 Mark II. The first regrettable difference is that it uses different ink cartridges. They are the same size, but have a different number. I imagine they changed the electronic interface or something, and they also use 2 additional gray inks.
The second, and what I think is the more important difference, is they added both wireless and wired network interface. This allows you to put this massive printer in a side room or somewhere out of the way if you don't have a lot of room by your computer, and it also means all the computers in your house can easily use it to print without sharing it between computers.
Printing on the luster paper samples that were included with the printer, I couldn't tell a difference in detail between this printer and my old Pro 9000 MkII. Even for my black and white test shot the shadows and details looked virtually identical. For my color print, my Pro 9000 MkII always had a magenta cast to it. I think that is gone, but it might be slightly green now. Both can be calibrated, but that takes a significant effort. I mainly use mine for printing contest photos, so as long as they look fine by themselves I don't care too much if they are color matched. Again, detail wise I couldn't identify which print came from which printer.
So bottom line is I don't see much reason to upgrade from the Pro 9000 MkII unless you want wireless/wired network printing. Also be aware that this printer is about 1" larger in every dimension than the old 9000 MkII which was very large.
As far as home printing is concerned, I have won several contests with my old Pro 9000 MkII so it does a good enough job for prints. You really can't tell them from a pro shop for the most part. Longevity wise, my prints look fine after a year from the 9000 (similar Dye based) and are supposed to last 100 years. Although I don't believe that, as long as you buy genuine inks you should get pretty good life out of them. If you really need archival prints you should probably look at a pigment based printer.
on June 20, 2015
I really wanted to like this printer. The inks aren't cheap but it prints outstandingly well.
Unfortunately it failed after four months and that kind of takes the edge off the positive feelings. I've seen other reviewers report the same thing - Paper feed error / Paper jam and a blink code. My wife was using it when it happened - it printed a page just fine, ejected it cleanly, and reported a paper jam. There was no paper damage on the sheet that it had just printed. All the paper is accounted for.
If you look carefully you can see where the paper sensor / micro-switch mechanisms are and they are quite clear. Manually feeding a sheet through will cause an audible "click" as the paper reaches it and another other click when it clears.
Repairs and warranty.. What a nightmare. It still is in limbo. The service center tech confirmed that there is no paper jam, but we're still waiting.
I've tried the Pixma Pro-1 and the Pixma Pro9000, basically two ends of the Canon Pixma Pro spectrum, and with both of them I've lamented the lack of Wifi. Finally I got my hands on this Pixma Pro-100. WiFi...woohoo...woot woot! Now I can print from both my mac and my pc and put the printer anywhere within the feeble range of my clearwire router.
I had some trouble hooking up the wifi, I was trying to use WPS to network the printer to the router using my Windows 7 pc to help. Since there is no control panel on the printer (it's kind of funny you can get a cheap all-in-one printer with a zillion buttons, a full keypad and a display screen, but these more expensive printers are so much more basic in that area) you need some way to input the PIN from the printer. I followed the instructions as best I could but I ended up connecting the Windows 7 PC to the SnowLeopard Mac using bluetooth, which I was kind of excited about but in the end simply meant that whenever I played music on the Mac it would come out the PC speakers and I had to figure out how to undo it. Finally I tried WCN, and THAT let me fairly easily connect to the network with the Pixma Pro-100 printer.
The printer comes with a separate cd for both the mac and pc os and I installed all the software available for both platforms. It is basically the same as the software that comes with the Pro-1 and the Pro9000 and the one for the mac is harder to navigate through than the pc version when it comes to the printing from Photoshop dialogues. At first I couldn't even find all the options.
I was hoping that the quality of print would be the same on this Pro-100 as it is on the Pro-1, but the Pro-1 does have 12 ink cartridges to the Pro-100s 8, and those extra cartridges are an extra black (one for matte and one for photo), a few extra shades of gray and a chroma optimizer. I printed out a 13x19 collage I'd made of pictures from Casa Batlló in Barcelona with both printers. At first glance both prints looked gorgeous. At second glance, the shadows are lacking with this Pixma-100. Images just don't have as much depth, and the less color in a photograph the more noticable it is.
If you are a professional photographer, an art photographer, a perfectionist...comparing them side by side I don't think you are going to be satisfied with this Pixma Pro-100. It simply is not as good as the Pro-1. Unless you HAVE TO HAVE the WiFi, if you can't afford the Pro-1 or can't justify the cost you are probably better off with the Pro9000, which has 8 ink cartridges as well but they are currently much cheaper to replace than the Pro-100 cartridges and it prints pictures equally as well as the Pro-100.
There is one other option I haven't tried: the Pro-10. It has ten ink cartridges including the two blacks and the chroma optimizer. It only has one shade of gray ink, but I think it's likely to have most if not all of the POP and the subtle shading of the Pro-1 while being significantly cheaper.