By Andrew Darlow
The Canon PIXMA iP8500 is an 8-color dye-based ink printer with features similar to the Canon i9900, but in an 8.5-inch width, as opposed to the i9900's 13" width. Some of the iP8500's features include:
- 8 individual ink cartridges (ChromaPLUS ink system), including Orange and Green to increase the number of printable colors.
- Mac and Windows compatibility
- 2 picoliter droplets for very fine detail
- Borderless capability
- Dual paper path with 2-sided printing capability
- USB Hi-speed interface
- 6,144 nozzles for very fast print output
I've had experience with the Canon i9900, but not hands-on experience with the iP8500. Since the specs are very close, and both printers use the same inks, I expect the iP8500 to be a great performer, with vivid color and very sharp output. One suggestion I have after testing the Canon i9900 was with regard to full-color B&W printing (using all 8 inks). I recommend printing slightly warmer than you would like the final prints to be because over a day or so, the ink will dry and become cooler in overall tonality. One way around this is to make custom profiles, or have a company make custom profiles for you a day or more after printing.
Something new from Canon is its ChromaLife100 system. According to its website, ChromaLife100 is a system comprised of Canon's FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) printhead, along with Genuine Canon inks and select Canon photo papers." (visit WWW.USA.CANON.COM/CHROMALIFE100 for additional details).
(Approx. price $349)
Also announced at PMA in Orlando was the Epson R1800, a 13"-wide 8-ink inkjet printer. The R1800 uses special UltraChrome high-gloss pigment inks and the printer shares many of the same features as the R800, which is 8.5"-wide. Those features include:
- 8 individual cartridge slots with gloss optimizer for a more even glossy surface on semi-gloss and glossy papers. Matte and Photo black inks are installed at the same time (no need to interchange as with some other printers) to optimize Dmax on matte papers (Matte Black) and smoothness on glossy and semi-gloss papers (Photo Black).
- CD/DVD printing capability
- Excellent longevity testing results on both gloss and matte substrates (check http://www.wilhelm-research.com for a specific 6-page PDF on the printer)
- Up to 5760x1440 dpi resolution
- USB 2.0 and FireWire connectivity
Although I have not printed any of my own work on the R1800, prints that I've seen exhibit very uniform gloss on glossy and semi-gloss papers, and image sharpness and saturation are excellent. Prints made with the matte black ink on matte papers also looked very good, but I recommend checking some other reviews and I also recommend joining a Yahoo Newsgroup that discusses Inkjet Printing. One that I moderate is called the DigitalFineArt Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/digital-fineart/.
(Approx. price $549)
Announced at the Photo Marketing Association's Annual Convention and Trade Show in Orlando PMA, ErgoSoft's d'Vinci Hi-Fi JET Fine Art Printing System is a 12-color fine art reproduction system utilizing the company's StudioPrint RIP and Roland DGA (www.rolanddga.com) printers. The inkset includes CMYKLcLm ink, plus OG (orange and green), and four additional dilutions of black. At PMA, I viewed a number of color and B&W images coming off the 54'' Roland Hi-Fi JET Pro II FJ-540 printer at ErgoSoft's booth, and they looked extremely sharp. Color images were bright and saturated, and B&W images were very neutral tones across the entire tonal scale.
(Approximate price: $25,795 for printer and RIP only, $28,990 for printer, RIP, ICC Profiler and Spectrophotometer)
Andrew Darlow is a photographer, consultant and Editorial Director of Digital Imaging Techniques magazine (www.imaginginfo.com). His Inkjet & Imaging Tips Newsletter is available free to subscribers at www.andrewdarlow.com.