The Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6100 is one of two new wide-format printers from Canon, both of which use the same 12-ink printing architecture.

Despite Canon's dominance in the professional digital-camera market, the company has not replicated that success with its pro printers. It's not for lack of trying: Canon has released at least four high-end printers over the past two years, but they generally come up short when put up against comparable printers from Epson or Hewlett-Packard.

With the release of the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6100, however, Canon is finally closing in on its peers with a printer that offers excellent print quality and good print speeds at a competitive price.

The £2,699 Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6100 is one of two new wide-format printers from Canon, both of which use the same 12-ink printing architecture.

The Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6100 prints on roll paper up to 24in (610mm) wide, although like many roll-fed units it can take sheets one at a time, from 8x10in up to poster paper at 20x30in in size. Its sibling, the around £2,000 imagePROGRAF iPF5100, which isn't yet available in the UK, has a maximum print width of 17in, and includes both roll support and a paper tray for loading sheets. Both printers can handle paper up to 1.5mm thick.


The Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6100 uses 12 individual, pigment-based ink cartridges: cyan, photo cyan, magenta, photo magenta, yellow, black, matte black, red, green, blue, gray and photo gray.

It uses 11 of the inks when printing, opting for either the matte or the stock black ink (often referred to as photo black) based upon your chosen paper type. If you're printing on glossy or semi-gloss photo papers, the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6100 uses the photo black ink; it uses the matte black when printing on smooth-finish, matte, and fine-art papers. The gray and photo gray are designed to produce enhanced black-and-white images, as those similar inks found in Epson's Stylus Photo R2400 and Stylus Pro 3800 printers do.

As is the case with most wide-format printers, the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6100 is a large, heavy unit, but it is quite easy to set up. You'll need two people to get it out of the massive box and on to its stand, but you can be up and running in a little over an hour, thanks to the printer's clear quick-setup guides and its large LCD screen, which offers helpful, step-by-step instructions for loading paper and ink.

The Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6100 has both USB 2.0 and ethernet interfaces, and once you get it up and running, it's largely plug-and-print.

The discs come with a print driver, online manual, and a well-designed plug-in for printing directly from within Adobe Photoshop (versions 7 through CS3). The plug-in bypasses the print driver, and supports the printing of 16-bit images directly to the printer.

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