Canon Pixma Pro-100 review

£364
Price when reviewed

Any doubts that the Canon Pixma Pro-100 is a heavyweight piece of kit will be dispelled the moment you (attempt to) take this A3+ printer out of the box. It’s astonishingly hefty – so much so that the first thing we did was lift the lid to see where Canon had hidden the bricks.

Canon Pixma Pro-100 - the ultimate inkjet for professional prints

It’s a big printer, too – the size of a carry-on suitcase – and the fold-out paper trays/collectors occupy even more space when in use. It will almost certainly require a dedicated desk, especially if you need to access the rear paper input, which is used for stiff card and other materials that won’t go round the roller easily.

Thankfully, Canon hasn’t ignored the aesthetics: the two-tone silver and black case means the Pro-100 isn’t an eyesore, and it’s remarkably quiet in operation. The gentle whirr of the carriage shuttling back and forth would only disturb the most sensitive of souls in a busy office or even at home.

Inside that cavernous unit is an eight-ink dye-based print engine that delivers some of the most beautiful prints we’ve ever seen from a desktop printer. Photos aren’t only rich in detail, as you’d expect from a printer with a 4,800 x 2,400dpi maximum resolution, but also rich in tone.

Print quality

On our Colour Collective test print, the Pro-100 delivered slight variations in skin tones on the model’s face that most of the other printers in this test blended into one indistinct mass. Likewise, there were clear visual steps between the darker greys and black on the test sheet that cheaper printers are unable to reproduce. This is no doubt because three of those eight inks are light grey, grey and black, where cheaper printers rely on a single black cartridge.

This means the Pro-100 is also brilliant at printing black-and-white photographs. The subtle gradient in the background of our black-and-white product shot dissolvedbeautifully, and while many cheaper printers deliver an unwanted colour tint on black-and-white photos, the Pro-100 left them perfectly clean.

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The skin tones on our studio portrait were entirely natural looking, too, where consumer-level inkjets often give this test a slightly ruddy complexion. Our only criticism of the Pro-100’s output is that it veers towards over-saturation on bright reds.

It should be made clear that we were able to achieve such superb results only after tweaking the colour-management options in Photoshop.

Canon also provides its own colour-management utility with the Pro-100, and perhaps more usefully for professional photographers, a plugin for Photoshop, which helped match the colours we were seeing on our calibrated monitor. Left to its own devices, however, the printer veers way off-course, turning greys into murky browns and leaving skin tones bleached out.

Running costs

Print costs are reasonable: you’re looking at around £2.37 for a borderless photo print at A3+ size (excluding the cost of the paper), which translates to around 22p for a 6 x 4in snap. Each of the eight ink tanks can be replaced individually, and an LED flashes above each individual cartridge to help you identify which one needs replacing, making the switchover as painless as possible.

Each of the print cartridges cost around £11 and you can buy a value pack containing all eight for around £75, although the Photo Magenta (169 10 x 15cm photos) and Photo Cyan (292 10 x 15cm photos) will run out far more quickly than the black cartridge (900 10 x 15cm photos), so you’re unlikely to be replacing them all at once.

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Despite being primarily a photo printer, the Pro-100 is also perfectly capable of delivering colour documents on plain A4 paper. However, it’s pretty slow, taking 2mins 11 seconds to print a five-page colour brochure. In addition, there’s no higher-capacity pigment black cartridge, which means document printing costs will be brutal. This certainly shouldn’t be your sole printer, unless you very rarely require document prints.

Indeed, the Pro-100 is little other than a remarkably good photo printer. It’s comparatively and commendably light on features, with only two buttons on the front and no whiff of a touchscreen or other needless fripperies. The Ethernet port may appeal to businesses, and there are Wi-Fi and AirPrint facilities for domestic users.

Yet, without doubt the Pro-100’s chief selling point is the stunning quality of the prints that flop into the output tray. If you’re looking for nothing more than exceptional photographs you can hang on your wall and admire for decades to come, the Pro-100 is the only sensibly priced choice.

Details

Basic Specifications

Colour?yes
Resolution printer final4800 x 2400dpi
Ink-drop size3.0pl
Integrated TFT screen?no
Maximum paper sizeA3+

Running costs

Cost per A4 colour photo97.0p
Ink typeDye-based

Power and noise

Dimensions689 x 385 x 215mm (WDH)

Media Handling

Borderless printing?yes
CD/DVD printing?yes
Input tray capacity150 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection?yes
Ethernet connection?yes
Bluetooth connection?no
PictBridge port?no

Flash media

SD card readerno
Compact Flash readerno
Memory Stick readerno
xD-card readerno
USB flash drive support?no
Other memory media supportnone

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported?yes
Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported?no
Operating system Windows 98SE supported?no
Other operating system supportWindows 8, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
Software suppliedPrintStudioPro, Colour Management Tool Pro, My Image Garden, Easy-WebPrint EX, Quick Menu

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