Last week I reported on print quality with the 8-color Canon PIXMA Pro-100, which I had purchased from B&H Photo (I bought two more locally off CraigsList.com for the ink and paper, amazing deals).
But having seen really gorgeous results with the Pro-100, my interest also turned to 10-cartgridge pigment printer*, the PIXMA Pro-10 (about $499 after mail-in rebate). Ink sets for all ten cartridges are about $135. Canon sent me a PIXMA Pro-10 for evaluation, after I explained that I would like to see how a pigment printer performed versus the PIXMA Pro-100.
The PIXMA Pro-10 has the same physical dimensions and layout as the PIXMA Pro-100, but it’s 10 colors, and these colors are pigment inks for archival longevity of a few hundred years.
Compared to the Pro-100, the Pro-10 takes a lot longer to print a 19 X 13 print, for reasons that are not clear to me—I presume it is the greater number of colors and probably longer drying time required for the pigment-based inks and the printer apparently also applies some kind of clear coating to the image as well.
According to a Canon representative:
The ink system features three black inks for amazing monochrome prints, and a Chroma Optimizer to ensure the inks lay smooth on the paper which reduces metamarism and bronzing. Since the Lucia inks are pigment based, your prints will have incredible longevity and phenomenal photo vividness.
I’d have to say that claim holds true to my eyes: in terms of color, the PIXMA Pro-10 offers outstanding results in detail and color gamut and just the gorgeous quality of the images. I printed a wide range of color images and compared to the results from the PIXMA Pro-100; quality appeared to be a match, but of course the Pro-10 prints should have an extreme lifespan on archival media.
When I think back to darkroom days, or even the digital prints of ten years ago, the quality out of a printer at home is astounding.
* 10 cartridges = 9 colors three of which are black inks, and one chroma optimizer. It’s unclear if there are really three black inks at work non glossy or semi-gloss paper (e.g. whether matte back is relevant).
The color results are superb, but I was really thrilled with the dead-on neutral black and white results for this image (toggle).
I plan on running more prints on the Pro-10 for further evaluation, my focus being printing images with unusual color or tonal range. I don’t yet have a handle on how long the ink cartridges last (e.g. how many 19 X 13 inch prints I can make before the first one goes dry).