Canon iPF6450 Review
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Canon has been making serious inroads into an area that was essentially a one player game for years - large format printing. Their imagePROGRAF series of 24, 44, and 60 inch printers offer replaceable printheads, 12 pigment inks, optional internal hard drive on the 24” model, and optional spectrophotometer unit. I’ve used the Canon printers starting with the 6100 several years ago, so when I was given the chance to look at the newest models, I was interested in seeing what had changed. For this review, Canon loaned me a iPF6450 - 24” wide printer with built-in 250GB hard drive.
Unpacking and Setting Up
If you’ve never setup a large format printer before, make sure you have a helper. For the 24” model, I was able to get it assembled in about an hour with help from my wife. It arrived on a pallet. The printer itself, including the stand weighs in a bit over 150 pounds, so it’s best to plan where you’ll be putting it before you get too far into the process.
Assembly itself is very straight forward. The stand comes in several well marked pieces that are put together, and then the printer is secured to the stand. Once assembled, it’s easy enough for one person to roll it around as needed.
Once you have it all together, the process of installing the inks and print heads begins. Canon uses two user replaceable print heads.
There are a total of 12 ink cartridges:
PFI-106MBK Matte black
PFI-106BK Photo black
PFI-106PGY Photo grey
PFI-106PC Photo cyan
PFI-106PM Photo magenta
The included carts are 90ml starter cartridges. You’ll get a fair number of prints from the starter set, but you should consider ordering a full set of ink to be ready for the long term use of your printer. Inks are available in 130ml and 300ml sizes (about $60 and $160 each, repspectively).
tal of 30,720 nozzles (2,560 per color). The print heads detect any clogs and automatically remap output to unclogged nozzles. If too many nozzles are clogged, you would replace that head. In all my use of Canon large format printers, I have never had to replace a head, they run about $450 each - certainly not cheap unless you consider the alternative printer that requires a service call and about $1,000 for the new head.
Once initialized, you’ll be prompted to print a calibration chart. This shouldn’t be confused with a profile chart, it’s specific for this printer, but calibrates the heads. What this does is to allow the printer to verify that the nozzles are working properly, paper feed is correct, and alignment is within tolerances.
The printer setup and initialization went flawlessly. I did have a bit of an issue installing the software on my Mac though. The Mac was running 10.9 and the software shipped with the printer was not compatible. I had to go to the Canon website and download all new software and drivers in order to get the printer recognized on my network.
After setting up the printer, you’ll need to install the software. Canon supplies a full suite of utilities - printer driver, a tool to manage media, a plug-in for Photoshop and Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (more on that in a bit), and for Windows users a plug-in that works with Microsoft Office.
Installation of the software brought up another issue, when I got to the plug-in installer, it didn’t recognize current versions of Photoshop, with CS6 the newest version listed. I selected the option to specify Photoshop folder and installed for CC. If you have an older version of Photoshop installed as well, You can copy the files to the CC folder with no problems.