This runner-up for the Editors' Choice Award for best overall printer is one heck of a machine. From the superb image quality to a wide range of print mediums and formats to the low operation cost, there isn't much that this printer doesn't do at a high level. Add to the package a modest price tag and you will see why we are so fond of the PIXMA Pro-100.
Canon PIXMA Pro-100 Review
Pros: High resolution, vivid colors, great dynamic range
Cons: Hard to set-up, big footprint
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Our Analysis and Test Results
What sets this machine apart from the pack is the quality of its color and grayscale renderings, the large array of printing formats, and the wide range of print medium options which includes canvas. Unfortunately, the Canon PIXMA Pro-100 doesn't accommodate photo paper rolls, but that is one of its few shortcomings and a small one considering the low cost of this machine. If you are in the market for a large format printer that yields pin-sharp images with high-fidelity, then you can't do too much better than this printer.
The is a lot to like about the Canon PIXMA Pro-100. For starters, its image quality is excellent with few exceptions (see Dislikes below). This machine prints in all formats up to 13" x 19". It will accommodate a veritable cornucopia of print mediums including common photo paper types ranging from super high gloss to matte as well as canvas. This machine also prints 4" x 6" color pics for an estimated 40 cents a pop, which is below average for the class.
Given the quality of the photos rendered by this model, it warrants going into a bit more detail. First off, the color fidelity — that is, how well the rendering matches the original image — is spot on in all but its largest format. The resolution is sharp as a tack and the dynamic range is as good as we have seen on any printer we've tested. As for the grayscale capabilities, this model nailed it here as well. The tonal transitions and gradients were very pleasing, and it rendered great detail in both very light and very dark areas of the test prints.
There isn't a whole lot to criticize this machine for, but here's what we found. The best results were rendered in formats smaller than 13" x 19". In the largest dimensions, the color images took on a slight orangish hue, noticeably warming the colors. We observed a similar warming effect in the black and white images as well. As far as long term costs are concerned, this printer had the best results on the higher-end paper, making achieving the very best results a bit more expensive than some of its competitors.
This printer is one of the largest in the class. As a result, one will likely have printing needs that rationalize the large amount of desktop real estate it will consume. As a final consideration, this printer did frustrate us a bit during the set-up process. The machine is not fully assembled in the box, which is rare, and it lacks an LCD screen to guide one through the process of connecting with the computer. That said, this is a one time process and our frustration faded when the high-quality prints started rolling out.
While the Canon PIXMA Pro-100 is not an inexpensive machine, it is competitively priced for the capabilities and quality that it delivers. Considering the cost to performance ratio that this model boasts, we think that it's one heck of a value. However, keep in mind that it might be overkill for some folks and you might get greater value out of a printer better suited to your needs.
The PIXMA Pro-100 checks nearly all the boxes for a large format photo printer. The machine renders exceptional quality both in grayscale and in color. It covers a wide range of print mediums including canvas. Moreover, it's upfront and long-term costs are very competitive. Our only complaints are that it suffers from a drop-off in quality in the largest picture sizes and there was some frustration during the set-up process. That said, this machine is quite impressive.
— Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer