Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 "Real World Review": Worth $1300?
A little while ago a HUGE 85 pound, solid white box with no printing on it showed up on my doorstep. A few days prior Canon had asked me if I would like to review their newest Pro Printer, I said absolutely.
As someone who gets a lot of gear I always keep the boxes so I can return the products when I am done with the review. I was not expecting Canon to tell me to simply “keep it” and “enjoy it” being that this is a $1,300 printer. Non the less I now have a new printer sitting on my desk.
This product is the latest to get my “Real World Review” treatment. If you are new to my reviews a “Real World Review” is pretty much what it sounds like, a review of a product in the real world opposed to in fake lab situations.
I will be the first to tell you that I was anti home inkjet photo printing for a long time. One of the reasons was the expenses involved with purchasing the printer, paper and ink. I much preferred heading over to the local lab to get my prints made that way. On top of that i didn’t like the quality of prints coming off the printers. You would sometimes be able to see the ink dots, skipped lines in printing and bronzing.
With that being said, inkjet printers have improved leaps and bounds in the last few years and have even started to replace wet labs at your local photo / drugstore. A lot has changed with the tech and because of that so has my mentality towards printing at home.
The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 (PRO-1000) is a massive 70+ pound, 12 ink taking massive powerhouse of a printer. In this day and age where printers are generally plastic feeling and cheap, this printer has a heavy feeling and substantial.
When it comes to inkjet printers the most asked question is “How much does each print cost?”. Canon has gone ahead and built software that will tell you exactly how much each print costs, taking into account the paper price, ink price and other misc things you input. I will post the actual print costs for a few of my sample prints below. (the costs may shock you)
The goal of this “Real World Review” was to put the Pro-1000’s prints up against the same exact prints being made from AdoramaPIX. I printed from the same exact files to try and keep this test as fair as possible.
Who’s it for
When you are trying to decide if you should purchase a printer like the Pro-1000 or stick with making prints at a lab you have to ask yourself a few questions.
How often do I print, do I need to spend $1,300 + ink and paper or is that money better spent on getting prints from a lab. The initial costs are not cheap, you can make a ton of prints with $1,300 and not ever have to worry about ink, paper and printer costs.
Will I be selling prints or printing as giveaways to friends and family or simply for personal use. If you don’t print often than the expense is not justified for owning an inkjet printer at home. Sure if you can afford it you can do whatever you want but practically speaking if you don’t print often you don’t need a printer at home.
Do you need speed, aka prints right away? If you’re someone running a photo business and you’re able to have a client walkaway after a photoshoot with a professional looking print than it may be worth it for you. Having the ability to print out a full bleed 17×22 in 5 minutes is a luxury worth having for some people.
Are you printing images that you don’t want others to have their hands on at a lab? For example you have images of celebrities that you don’t want to risk having someone else having the full res images. Or are you a fine art nude photographer that isn’t comfortable sending files out to be printed. These are all valid concerns and should be taken into consideration when deciding if a home printer is for you.
Using the PRO-1000
I don’t want to repeat everything I say in the “Real World Review” video so if you haven’t given that a watch please do so.
I loved using this printer. From the time I took it out of the box, set it up and had my first print going through it I was excited and happy. The simple setup, the software plugins for lightroom and the final print quality wowed me.
Being able to print a full bleed image up to 17×22 in a matter of minutes is mesmerizing. Standing there watching the print come out of the printer and knowing the quality matches and in most cases rivals a lab print makes the price of the printer worth it for me.
As I mentioned above the cost of prints is what worries most people about having an inkjet printer at home. Let’s look at the actual costs of the 17×22 prints below. Please see graphic for full information.
Misterwives 17×22 with white border: The prices reflect the overall cost per print which takes into account paper type and ink consumption.
Photo Paper Pro Luster: $5.44
Photo Paper SemiGloss: $5.45
Photo Paper Pro Premium Matte: $6.09
The same print at a lab would cost over $12 plus shipping to get it to you. But on the flip side you didn’t drop $1,300 on a printer. As you can see the cost per print is extremely resemble and should help peoples understandings of what it costs to operate such a printer.
My Portrait 17×22 printer FULL frame leaving a small white border
Photo Paper Pro Luster: $6.39
Photo Paper SemiGloss: $6.26
Photo Paper Pro Premium Matte: $6.81
Grand Canyon Photo
Photo Paper Pro Luster: $6.08
Photo Paper SemiGloss: $6.08
Photo Paper Pro Premium Matte: $6.98
Train Car Black And White Full Frame with White Border
Photo Paper Pro Luster: $5.30
Photo Paper SemiGloss: $5.31
Photo Paper Pro Premium Matte: $6.13
You may have noticed the Matte Paper prints cost more. This is due to the paper absorbing more ink in comparison to the luster and semi gloss.
I personally like the prints from the Canon PRO-1000 better than the prints from the lab. With that being said let me remind you of something. When I was comparing both prints side by side I was looking at them within a few inches looking for differences. If you were to stand back and look at a print from 5 or 10 feet away it would be pretty hard to tell me which print is which. Both options produce fantastic results and it mostly comes down to if you have a need for a printer at home and you can afford to operate it.
I LOVE how vibrant the prints look. I love the color accuracy, the contrast and the freedom to print quickly and affordably from home. For clarification I did not color calibrate my screen before making the prints. I tell you this because I was extremely satisfied with every print that came out of the printer.
I love the fact that their are tons of paper options to choose from for at home printing. You can purchase papers from multiple companies who have all taken the time to create ICC profiles to make sure you prints will look fantastic on their papers. I say that not to downplay the paper options from a lab because labs offer you pretty much the same finishes as you can get at home.
There are a few types of papers that may still look better from a lab like Metallic and Glossy but I didn’t have those papers at home to test out.
Would I buy this printer, YES. If I was selling my prints, making gifts, wowing clients then the expense is well worth it. I highly recommend this printer to anyone who has a need for it.