Which printer is right for you? The Canon PIXMA Pro-200 vs the Canon ImagePROGRAF Pro-300

Canon Rumors Guy

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Which printer is right for you? The Canon PIXMA Pro-200 which was announced this past September, vs the Canon ImagePROGRAF Pro-300, which was announced this past July.
Keith at Northlight Images has done two exhaustive reviews of the Canon PIXMA Pro-200 and the Canon ImagePROGRAF Pro-300. Two extremely capable printers, but at different price points.
You can read Keith’s reviews of each printer over at Northlight Images.
Canon PIXMA Pro-200 Review \\ Canon ImagePROGRAF Pro-300 Review
It looks like both of these printers is a winner, which is always great for consumers. The...

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privatebydesign

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I strongly recommend not dipping your toes in the printing pond it is a gateway drug! Keith is the reason I ended up getting a Pro-2000 a few years ago....

But seriously, Keith’s printer reviews are some of the very best on the internet anywhere and for many of us keen photographers nothing beats making your own prints. It’s funny when I started back in the 70’s a lot more photographers had dark rooms than seem to use printers regularly nowadays. Why spend $1,000’s on bodies and lenses only to stop your creative process a few hundred dollars short of the complete package?
 

LDS

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Great deep reviews as usual. Happy to see Canon eventually fixed the most glaring issues of the -10(S). the paper border and length limitations, although there is no still any roll paper add-on, but in this range it is more acceptable than 30mm borders. Also the software looks more "pro" oriented than the "merry utilities" previously packaged. Sadly, I have no reason to upgrade my Pro-10 yet :)

PS: Bought Keith's T/S book... hope Brexit won't delay its delivery, LOL!

Why spend $1,000’s on bodies and lenses only to stop your creative process a few hundred dollars short of the complete package?

You need people happy to look carefully at well-printed photos, instead of just swiping across them briefly on screen....
 
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ethanz

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You need people happy to look carefully at well-printed photos, instead of just swiping across them briefly on screen....

Did it actually used to be mainstream for people to go look at galleries/photographs (and even buy some...)? Not just from the handful of popular photographers nationwide, but local photographers too? Now it seems like photographic prints are mainly for the photographer themselves to hang up or to give to the people they know. I'm talking fine art photos, not portraits.
So yes, you seem to be correct LDS. Printers seem pointless for most photographers.
 
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privatebydesign

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Did it actually used to be mainstream for people to go look at galleries/photographs (and even buy some...)? Not just from the handful of popular photographers nationwide, but local photographers too? Now it seems like photographic prints are mainly for the photographer themselves to hang up or to give to the people they know. I'm talking fine art photos, not portraits.
So yes, you seem to be correct LDS. Printers seem pointless for most photographers.
I'm not sure, there are plenty of photographers at art shows and fairs making a reasonable living judging by the numbers of them there are at any given show or fair.

But the main thing for the prints to do when we had darkrooms wasn't to sell them, it was to have control over the entire image process, that was what being an amateur photographer meant for generations!
 

amorse

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Great review. I have a pretty general question on printing if some of the avid printers here will indulge me.

I've been thinking about getting a pro-200 but I don't think I'd print enough and run the risk of a clogged print head. How often do you need to print to maintain the printer, and if you're printing just to prevent clogs, how small a print will suffice (to prevent wasting too much ink)? Or am I thinking about this wrong?

I'd expect to print maybe 30 prints a year, but I really want the fine control that comes with owning a printer, and the freedom to make prints when I want to. The pro-200 looks to be a reasonable fit for me, depending on maintenance and upkeep.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

privatebydesign

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Great review. I have a pretty general question on printing if some of the avid printers here will indulge me.

I've been thinking about getting a pro-200 but I don't think I'd print enough and run the risk of a clogged print head. How often do you need to print to maintain the printer, and if you're printing just to prevent clogs, how small a print will suffice (to prevent wasting too much ink)? Or am I thinking about this wrong?

I'd expect to print maybe 30 prints a year, but I really want the fine control that comes with owning a printer, and the freedom to make prints when I want to. The pro-200 looks to be a reasonable fit for me, depending on maintenance and upkeep.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
There are several ways of going about it. If you leave the printer powered on it will do occasional self maintenance that will use just enough ink etc to keep the printer in good order. Though some people say the ink usage in these maintenance cycles is too much.

Alternatively you can pull the power plug so it can't look after itself and instead you do some occasional printing, though it will run some self checking as soon as you switch it back on.

But dye based printers are not as prone to catastrophic clogging as pigment based ink sets are and Canon print head technology allows for redundant head nozzle capacity so minor clogging will not make your printer a paperweight.

Actual lengths of time for clogging really vary a lot and depend on things like humidity, temperature etc etc but in my experience Canon printers can self recover from almost any clogging issue and there are well known workarounds for those particularly stubborn times if needed. But the truth is most of these printers are very reliable and clogs, whilst not entirely unknown do not affect as many people as they once did.

If you spaced out the 30 prints a year and printed every couple of weeks I wouldn't hesitate to recommend going for one of these printers.
 

amorse

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There are several ways of going about it. If you leave the printer powered on it will do occasional self maintenance that will use just enough ink etc to keep the printer in good order. Though some people say the ink usage in these maintenance cycles is too much.

Alternatively you can pull the power plug so it can't look after itself and instead you do some occasional printing, though it will run some self checking as soon as you switch it back on.

But dye based printers are not as prone to catastrophic clogging as pigment based ink sets are and Canon print head technology allows for redundant head nozzle capacity so minor clogging will not make your printer a paperweight.

Actual lengths of time for clogging really vary a lot and depend on things like humidity, temperature etc etc but in my experience Canon printers can self recover from almost any clogging issue and there are well known workarounds for those particularly stubborn times if needed. But the truth is most of these printers are very reliable and clogs, whilst not entirely unknown do not affect as many people as they once did.

If you spaced out the 30 prints a year and printed every couple of weeks I wouldn't hesitate to recommend going for one of these printers.
Thanks a lot! Much appreciated! It sounds as though it may be a good fit for my use.
 

LDS

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But the main thing for the prints to do when we had darkrooms wasn't to sell them, it was to have control over the entire image process,

Yes, and we probably have to thank Adams's books for that. But it was mostly B/W, because colour was far more complex and expensive, and beyond many grasp. Still, back then the print was the only way to show photos to other (but the slide shows, which were less practical). Now people outside exhibitions mostly "consume" photos on screen - and software post processing enabled a great deal of control on the image process - actually printing became far less controlling the final output to achieve the desired result, it's mostly matching exactly what you achieved on-screen already - unless looking for some kind of "pictorial" style on some kind of specific paper.

Still a good print allows for fined details than available on screen without magnification (we still don't have 600ppi screens), and being able to peruse photos comfortably with less incentives to quickly swipe to the next one is priceless. But it's true it's not what most photographers today look for.

It's good anyway Canon is still delivering good printers at different price points, so photographers can enter the world of printing without being forced to use or printers designed mostly for too simple needs, or spend too much for high-end printers. For my personal needs it would be hard to justify anything above the -300.
 
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rbr

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These reviews were helpful, but only confirmed what I already assumed. There is very little difference in the output between the PRO-200 and the PRO-100 it replaced, and that if you're going to spend the money on the 300 you might as well just get the 1000. I have several PRO-100's that I'm happy with. They were selling for very little with rebates that made buying new ones with free paper less expensive than a set of ink. I've been very happy with the PRO 100. I have made hundreds of prints with that model and have never had problems. I have sometimes let it sit unused for months at a time, and it has always been good to go whenever I use it again. In a few years the PRO-200 will probably be available with huge discounts and rebates. It seems silly to spend money on one now. Unless you're actively marketing large prints, I would find it difficult to justify buying a printer that prints larger than 13"x19" and the ink for it. For a few large prints a year it's much more cost effective to take them to a lab to print. If you're doing all the preparation for the print, you still have full control for the output.
 

YuengLinger

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Did it actually used to be mainstream for people to go look at galleries/photographs (and even buy some...)? Not just from the handful of popular photographers nationwide, but local photographers too? Now it seems like photographic prints are mainly for the photographer themselves to hang up or to give to the people they know. I'm talking fine art photos, not portraits.
So yes, you seem to be correct LDS. Printers seem pointless for most photographers.
Personally, nothing improved my composition, including more constant awarness of backgrounds and frame borders, more than learning how to print. Printing has also helped me with lighting, with striving for better exposures, and deeper understanding of color.

I question whether any photographer can hope to reach full potential without hands on, frequent printing.
 
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keithcooper

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These reviews were helpful, but only confirmed what I already assumed. There is very little difference in the output between the PRO-200 and the PRO-100 it replaced, and that if you're going to spend the money on the 300 you might as well just get the 1000. I have several PRO-100's that I'm happy with. They were selling for very little with rebates that made buying new ones with free paper less expensive than a set of ink. I've been very happy with the PRO 100. I have made hundreds of prints with that model and have never had problems. I have sometimes let it sit unused for months at a time, and it has always been good to go whenever I use it again. In a few years the PRO-200 will probably be available with huge discounts and rebates. It seems silly to spend money on one now. Unless you're actively marketing large prints, I would find it difficult to justify buying a printer that prints larger than 13"x19" and the ink for it. For a few large prints a year it's much more cost effective to take them to a lab to print. If you're doing all the preparation for the print, you still have full control for the output.
Yes - the biggest 200 improvements are in usability and paper handling. Anyone happy with a 100 probably wouldn't see it as useful. However, I never really liked the 100 that much and for myself the 200 is a solid improvement. It was also only dirt cheap in a few markets - never here in the UK, so delaying in the hope of a bargain is, shall we say, optimistic at best ;-)

I can see reasons for not going to the 1000, the upfront cost does matter for some. The 300 is definitely a better option for B&W than the 200
 
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David - Sydney

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I'm not sure, there are plenty of photographers at art shows and fairs making a reasonable living judging by the numbers of them there are at any given show or fair.

But the main thing for the prints to do when we had darkrooms wasn't to sell them, it was to have control over the entire image process, that was what being an amateur photographer meant for generations!
I agree that some togs are making sufficient money at markets but I am not sure that is their primary income. I could see myself doing something like this when/if I retire and would probably spend the time to understand printing and get a printer then.

I am not sure whether the relatively few togs with galleries print themselves given the size of the prints in general but I could be wrong.

I never had a darkroom but I did spend a lot of money to get ~5k 6x4 standard photos scanned from the 90s which I then have in my Lightroom catalogue. I have used them many times since. AI helps trying to find photos on phones but most will never be seen again after posting on facebook.

My house is full of (painted) art so no real space for my prints unfortunately. What I did recently get was a Samsung Frame TV. I only use it for my shots rather than subscribe to gallery art. Almost as good as Meural but Netgear completely botched the acquisition for anyone outside of the US. Frame auto-turns off with low light, controllable via app and can modify the display matt etc. The image quality can't compete with a print of course but it my best display option for now.
 
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armd

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Answer is neither. I just picked up a new Canon Pro 2000 for 1.5x the Pro 300. For that I have a commercial grade printer which prints 24” wide, larger gamut, built in roll cutter, reliable roll feed, auto calibration, and more. Though it’s a beast, the ink alone obviates the cost.
 

privatebydesign

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Answer is neither. I just picked up a new Canon Pro 2000 for 1.5x the Pro 300. For that I have a commercial grade printer which prints 24” wide, larger gamut, built in roll cutter, reliable roll feed, auto calibration, and more. Though it’s a beast, the ink alone obviates the cost.
That is a stupid comparison. I have the Pro-2000 and I have over $3,000 worth of ink in it! It is comically bad at printing sheet media too, of course it can print sheet media, but very very inefficiently.

If everything you print can come off a roll, you have a lot of space, you print a lot, And can leverage the benefits of buying ink 700ml at a time get a Pro-2000, if not then the smaller printers are much better buys.
 
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armd

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That is a stupid comparison. I have the Pro-2000 and I have over $3,000 worth of ink in it! It is comically bad at printing sheet media too, of course it can print sheet media, but very very inefficiently.

If everything you print can come off a roll, you have a lot of space, you print a lot, And can leverage the benefits of buying ink 700ml at a time get a Pro-2000, if not then the smaller printers are much better buys.
Talk about stupid responses. A 160ml ink cartridge for the 2000/4000 can be had for $50 on flea bay. You would pay that much or more for a dinky cartridge in those machines. No problems whatsoever using sheet media - which costs way more than rolls from letter size to 17+”. If you don’t want to print large then don’t bother. From a value comparison, it’s difficult justifying $900 + ink costs to print small.
 
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