Printers… my on and off relationship with photo printers over the years is a somewhat painful story one could argue. And since I went pro a few years ago I haven’t looked back much… much is the key word here though. I always had an eye lurking over to colleagues with their fancy printers, producing some great prints of their work. I have not printed anything myself for a long long time. I used some of the printing services we have available here in Germany and I have always been very happy with the results. Whether brick and mortar or web. Depending on what you want to have in the end it might become quite costly, but it most certainly was always worth it. Having a good photo printer at home might have to scratch a somewhat different itch though than printing something of a huge piece of aluminium or a photo behind some glass.
It is funny how one neglects prints and you focus on editing editing editing and then exporting everything in the right formats and resolutions so it looks nice on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and and obsess about all that, but most of us never spend a minute thinking about printing our work… And I am not trying to be all analogue for ever blablabla, but no matter how big or small, you should have one of your own prints in your hands every now and then. Also one of the reasons why I love shooting film or my Instax cameras. Holding a physical copy of your work just gives you a connection you don’t have when your photos just live in the digital realm. So when I had the chance to test the Canon Pixma Pro-1 for a while I got very excited.
Well, the printer arrived (in one of the biggest boxes I ever had anything delivered) and I felt my inner dare devil coming up, I just hooked it up to my computer and started printing. My screens are obviously calibrated, but I just wanted to see how the whole colour-management would work and if there was any kind of magic going on. I still remember those dark times of calibrating your printer for hours and hours, printing tests, recalibrating and so on… To my big surprise not only the first print come out great, but also the 18 others that followed. That actually leaves one photo and that needed to get a little brightness correction, with everything else I was very pleased. The quality of the prints is great. There obviously is room for improvement, especially if you use any of the custom profiles and calibrate everything perfectly, but it seems so much easier than before. I used Canons own paper for all the 20 prints and in that combo and a bit more time I know you can perfect those prints in a short amount of time.
I have to admit that I am hooked. More on the printing itself than the printer though. Even though it is a great printer, that is quite easy to use and that produces very beautiful prints, it has a few problems that make the Pixma Pro-1 not so desirable for me as I had hoped for.
Number one is its sheer size (695x462x239mm – 27.4″x18.2″x9.5″) and especially its physical size compared to the size of prints that it produces. I for one do not have the space for this printer at the moment, would I have the space, I might actually go for a printer that producers bigger prints than the A3+ the Pro-1 does. And that really is my main “problem” with the printer. A smaller footprint would be nice, but I also see myself longing for larger prints.
Number two and this is not related to the Pixma itself, but again to myself and my taste, but I also see myself longing for prints that are not only on photo paper. Some nice prints behind acrylic glass or some nice black and whites directly on aluminium would be nice every now and then… And I know what you are probably thinking, why not to those special prints outside and have the Pro-1 for everything else. That brings me back to the size of the printer and the prints. For that scenario I need a smaller printer that either produces the same size of prints or I would be ok with smaller prints too. Just print every new batch of photos you have, change and mix ’em up every now and then and hang them everywhere.
That actually brings me to a point I am still struggling with… how to hang those prints I made with the Pixma Pro-1. Hope this was at least a bit informative or sparked a little something in you. This might be the right printer for you or not, just remember one thing… START PRINTING and enjoy not only the prints, but also the process.