Martin with the Canon PRO-4000 44" Printer

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000 Printer Review (Podcast 536)

As I mentioned in a recent post, my old large format printer has given up the ghost, so I've just had a new Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000 installed, and today I'm going to walk you through some of the key new features and provide my opinion of this new printer. To be...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
35 Comments
  • John Wilson
    Posted at 20:49h, 15 August Reply

    Hi Martin

    With this printer will you be fulfilling all your print orders in future or do you still need to use 3rd parties?

    Cheers
    John

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 21:19h, 15 August Reply

      Hi John,

      In the most part, yes, this printer will enable me to fulfill all orders in house. There may be some edge cases, like printing on special substrates or wall coverings, although I could do that myself as well with Breathing Color’s Art Peel, as well, so long as I could get the correct dimensions etc.

      The other thing that I still need to do is develop a good box to protect large gallery wraps, to add an extra option over rolled prints, but as far as the size goes, this should have me covered now.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • John Wilson
    Posted at 21:32h, 15 August Reply

    Hi Martin

    Will you be updating “MAKING THE PRINT” ebook. I think this is about 5 years old now although not sure where I saw that so may be wrong.

    Cheers,
    John

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 23:13h, 15 August Reply

      Hi John,

      I would like to update Making the Print at some point, but it’s not yet that out of date. A lot of what I wrote is still very valid. Hopefully at some point though.

      I’m also trying to make the time to do a video series covering my workflow, which may well happen in place of, at least if not before a second edition Making the Print.

      Thanks for asking!

      Martin.

  • John Dillworth
    Posted at 03:26h, 16 August Reply

    Thanks for another excellent review. Truth be told I don’t have really have a need for such a behemoth but it’s nice to dream. you had mentioned that you can now track the cost of a print. Would you care to share the a range of your ink costs to produce a 24′ print with this ? thanks

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 08:58h, 16 August Reply

      You’re welcome John. Thanks for stopping by.

      I haven’t done any 24 x 36 inch prints on this yet, but the 18 x 24 inch prints that I’ve done in my tests range from the cheapest at $4.55 to the most expensive at $8.15, Of this, around 15 – 20% is actual ink used, and the rest is for the media. Note too though that I add $50 per roll to my media costs, because I have to ship it all over here from the states. Either way, just ink costs around $0.45 to $0.80 per 18 x 24 inch print.

      Cheers,
      Martin..

  • Luc Renambot
    Posted at 06:48h, 16 August Reply

    I mostly used ‘Print Studio Pro’ to print: are you sure you can’t get what you want in the layout tab ?
    I can set the margins and image size and position precisely (sliders and text-boxes).
    The funny thing is I didn’t know I could do it with the mouse (imprecise indeed).

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:00h, 16 August Reply

      Hi Luc,

      Thanks for the pointer, I had looked in the Layout tab, but there was nothing. But, I just went back and took another look, and the border dimensions fields were there. I’m not sure what could have happened there, but you’re right, it’s doable, and actually not that bad. I’ll have another poke around later.

      Thanks for the pointer!

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • Mark Overgaard
    Posted at 07:14h, 16 August Reply

    Thanks for the detailed review, Martin. I remain interested in getting at least a 24″ printer, and the Canon PRO-2000/4000 products a very strong candidate for this investment.

    One concern I have about the new Canon printers is that (as far as I know) the published print longevity info for these printers suggests a much smaller print life than the published ratings for the new Epson printers. In the best case, Wilhelm or other comparable longevity data will be available that eases this concern. If that info is already available and I’ve missed it, I’d welcome a pointer. If not, I assume that you satisfied yourself on this front before proceeding to install this behemoth on your second floor; any comments you could make would be welcome.

    As I’ve commented previously, your enthusiasm for Breathing Color media is one to the reasons why I’m using BC products for almost all my printing. I’m intrigued by their recently announced Allure Photo Panels that allow direct printing on a metal substrate. As I understand it, the PRO-2000/4000 printers are fundamentally incompatible with this substrate, because it needs a straight through paper path and these printers do not have that. I’d welcome your comments on this topic, also.

    I look forward to seeing you for the wildlife tour in January!

    Mark

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:25h, 16 August Reply

      Hi Mark,

      Although I realize Canon have not been very transparent on the longevity of this new set of inks yet, they are still pigment inks, and I don’t use Canon media for fine art, so I still believe that Pura Bagasse or Pura Smooth from Breathing Color will maintain their archival nature with this new ink set. The Lucia Pro inks can’t be that inferior to the previous inks that it would affect this. If it does, I’d be very surprised. I am also confident though, that if tests were to show a significant reduction in longevity, Canon would probably adjust the formula. They aren’t going to release a range like this and then just ignore the fine art community.

      My printer is number 21 off the production line, with the first 10 or more going to Canon showrooms etc. The sales rep says I’m the first person in Tokyo to have a PRO-4000 installed. In buying something like this so early after release, I’m assuming a certain amount of risk. If my iPF6350 hadn’t broken, I’d have considered waited a little longer, or perhaps skipped another generation, but not for longevity concerns. Call me over-optimistic, but I’m pretty confident that there won’t be any issues. At least not issues that won’t be put right.

      You are correct on the Allure printing. There is no path through the printer to work with any kind of stiff media.

      I look forward to seeing you in January too!

      Regards,
      Martin.

      • Mark Overgaard
        Posted at 10:35h, 16 August Reply

        Thanks, Martin. Your comments on the longevity front make sense to me. I hope that there’ll be concrete data on this front, soon!

        And, BTW: congratulations on snagging serial #21!

        Thanks also for confirming my understanding regarding Allure Photo Panels in connection with this printer.

        Mark

  • BJ Mason
    Posted at 14:25h, 02 September Reply

    With the Pro-4000, had Canon done anything to improved the reliability and robustness of the printer relative to the iPF-8300? My iPF printer is a disaster. Leave for a a month or so, come back and you need new heads. Try to clean the heads too much you burn out the main board. My ethernet connection doesn’t work. Thankfully the USB connection still works or I’d have to spent $1500 to get that fixed. The 8300 is fragile, overly sensitive to non-use, and expensive to fix. It has reliability issues that my Epsons never had. The Epsons had clogging issues — so I tried Canon. Now clogging issues mean I have to replace heads at $400 a pop. My Espons never needed repair and never broke — whether I used them a lot or ignored them for months — I just might have to spend a fair amount unclogging them (although I still have an Epson 380o and it never clogs, even after ignoring it for a few months). I like the printer when it works, but I wouldn’t buy another one until I can be assured of greatly improved reliability and robustness.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 19:03h, 02 September Reply

      That all sounds pretty nasty BJ. I had one cause to call out Canon in the 5 years that I owned my iPF6350, and only had to change the heads once, after a head strike caused by me, so as far as reliability is concerned, I’ve been happy with my experience with Canon.

      I was not happy that my iPF6350 broke after just five years though, so I do kind of agree that these machines are not made as well as they could be. Having said that, this time I have taken out the full protection, and will extend it from the sixth year on, so that Canon has to continue to fix my printer, rather than right it off.

      I should also note that I also sometimes didn’t print on my old printer for a few months at a time as I traveled, and the only problem it caused me was that the printer would do a few head cleaning sessions more than usual, which wastes ink, but it never burned out the heads.

  • stefano gardel
    Posted at 02:09h, 23 September Reply

    Hello Martin,

    I just got the ipg-4000. one quick question…when I send the print command from lightroom the printer on its display says “saving job” and its been on like that for more than 15 min..Is it actually saving the file on its hd? why it is not printing immediately? im printing wifi a 36″ wide pitcture..
    thanx!!!

    stefano

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 07:22h, 23 September Reply

      Hi Stefano,

      Congrats on the new printer!

      You can make the job save to the hard drive before printing, but it probably wouldn’t take that long. As it’s been more than 15 minutes since you posted this, I imagine you are already closer to finding the answer, but I can’t really help without more information, and I’m not the support team, so I recommend you contact Canon if your problem persists.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • Jeff Burtonq
    Posted at 03:22h, 30 September Reply

    Nice review, on the comparison between your old printer and new one showing the yellow ink issue. Could this be an ink limit issue? It seems to be over inking as it seems the magenta is also overpowered slightly. Are you using a RIP or i1 profiles straight out of Pshop?

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:54h, 30 September Reply

      Hi Jeff,

      No, I don’t think it’s over inking. I can see that the areas that are not printing well are out of gamut. The printer doesn’t know how to print those colors. I’ll try reducing the ink in a future test, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the issue.

      I’m not using a RIP, but I plan to evaluate Overdrive RIP (http://www.overdriverip.com) at some point. I was literally sending my first RIP print to the printer when my iPF6350 broke, so that got put on the back burner as I got the Pro 4000 installed.

      I create my own profiles using 2,380 patches and the X-Rite i1 Pro 2, and for these tests I was printing directly from Capture One Pro.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • Brad Orner
    Posted at 23:52h, 15 December Reply

    Hi Martin, Thanks for the great review. I’m researching replacing my old 24″ HP DesignJet 130. I’m curious what other, if any, printers you considered before choosing the Canon? My HP has been a great workhorse over the past decade. I’ve heard of reliability issues with both Epson (clogging) and Canon (various mechanical problems), and HP (generally initial quality issues). What criteria were your must-haves?

    thanks,
    Brad

  • ROBERT SMITH
    Posted at 10:00h, 05 March Reply

    Hi, Thanks for the great article. I’m considering purchasing the 4000 printer. I’m a bit confused on he specs I rad as far as dimensions. I’e read different spec, some not agree with others. I’m trying to plan my space. Can you tell me the width/depth or the printer on the stand (basket both opened and closed). One demension I saw said you plan on 66.3 inches Deep, that seemed alful deep. Thanks

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 10:08h, 05 March Reply

      Hi Robert,

      The printer is 63 inches wide and 33 inches deep with the basket closed. I don’t have time to check the deepest configuration with the basket open at it’s longest right now, but 66 inches sounds about right.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • John
    Posted at 03:45h, 12 September Reply

    Hey Martin,

    Thanks for the great article! Any suggestions on how to earthquake brace this fella?!

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:14h, 12 September Reply

      Thanks, John!

      You know, I’ve thought about that myself too. We had a bit of a shake a few weeks ago, enough to make a few things fall over, but the PRO-4000 didn’t budge. The problems will start if we get a really big one of course. The three meters between the PRO-4000 and our living space is probably enough room for him to have a dance around without hurting anyone, but we’re standing near it, we’ll need to get out of the way quickly.

      As for actually bracing it, I don’t think there is anything in our place strong enough to anchor a brace.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

      • John
        Posted at 09:49h, 12 September Reply

        Hey Martin,

        Yeah, I’ve got some space around my PRO-4000 as well, though just a meter and change. I’m still skittish about the thought of a big one coming and someone being squeezed by this big guy. Here with wood frame construction in California, I’m thinking of bracing the printer by attaching it to the wood frame wall studs, but don’t know where I’d attach the printer itself. Odd that Canon, having developed it in Japan, doesn’t have documentation/resources around earthquake proofing…

        -John

        • Martin Bailey
          Posted at 12:17h, 14 September Reply

          Hi John,

          Yeah, I can’t find any information on this here in Japan either.

          You know, although I am gradually changing their thoughts on this, Canon still consider these large format printers to be a business tool, and never really thought they’d be installed in peoples’ homes, so this is probably an area that is still lacking some serious thought.

          Of course, you’d think that even businesses need to think about this, but in Japan, corporations have pretty much zero protection when it comes to earthquakes and other natural disasters. You can’t even insure corporate owned equipment against natural disaster. Basically, if your building falls down and you lose everything, it’s tough luck. You have to start again from scratch, or don’t if you don’t have enough funds in the bank.

          Cheers,
          Martin.

  • Gene Brown
    Posted at 00:25h, 19 September Reply

    I’m just curious how many ml of ink a cleaning cycle uses on the 4000. I’m considering switching from Epson and I know that theirs is variable. Just wondering what to expect.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:39h, 19 September Reply

      Hi Gene,

      The tanks hold so much I haven’t really noticed or kept track of how much ink the cleaning cycles use. I switched to Canon because I was tired of clogged heads, or using up paper and ink testing and preventing them on my old Epson printers. I’d like to think Epson is better now, but I’ve never really worried too much about Canon’s preventative cleaning because it’s much easier than having to do a test print and clean heads manually each time I print.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • Alyssa Eby
    Posted at 02:46h, 13 October Reply

    Hi Martin,

    Thank you for the wonderful and in depth article!

    I am wondering if this printer is suitable for printing on vinyl? I am in the scenic fabrication industry, often making custom signage and large backdrops, and am looking for a high quality wide format printer, specifically for vinyl prints. Your review has made me very interested in this printer!

    Thank you!
    Alyssa

  • Penny Eisenhauer
    Posted at 07:44h, 25 January Reply

    Do you use a RIP with this printer?

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:23h, 25 January Reply

      No. I evaluated a few and gave the one that looked the best a good test, but couldn’t see any image quality improvements, and I don’t do a high enough volume of printing to warrant the price for a possible efficiency improvement.

  • Marcio Silva
    Posted at 01:08h, 21 March Reply

    Hi Martin, great review!

    I have a question which hopefully you will be able to help. How does the Canon PRO 4000 behave when printing on a good Canvas media (for example 18mil polycotton 35% cotton), is there a big difference in regards to photographic paper? Do you think other types of printers will handle the quality of these medias better, such as HP Latex 315? Im looking to sell fine art on both prints / canvas but i am afraid that this printer wont be dealing the great quality it does on photographic paper as well as in canvas medias, also afraid that even after applying a coating to it it will crack the edges when stretching to a canvas structure.

    Thank you in advance!

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 10:07h, 21 March Reply

      Hi Marcio,

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the review.

      As for printing on Canvas, this printer does a great job on Breathing Color’s aqueous canvases. I personally have tried Lyve and Silverada Metallic, which can be found here: https://www.breathingcolor.com/aqueous-canvas

      If the canvas you want to print to has been treated correctly for inkjet printing it will probably be fine, and as I have no experience with other printers (except my old experience with Epson) I can’t really say if it will be any better or worse.

      If your canvas is not aqueous or treated for inkjet printing, you probably won’t be able to print on it with this printer.

      Regards,
      Martin.

  • Marcio Silva
    Posted at 18:28h, 21 March Reply

    Thanks for the info and the link, i just reviewed their products and i have to say they look good, i like the texture that the Lyve canvas gives, i was aiming at that one and then applying a Satin coating to make the colors pop a little more, but seeing the photo comparasion between the Matte on the Lyve (https://www.breathingcolor.com/system_uploads/productimages//p1alvegcc81da91cuq12dmqohdga4.jpg) against the Satin/Gloss of the Crystaline sample (https://www.breathingcolor.com/system_uploads/productimages//p1alveqk4qke519lunj5e0aq7tm.jpg), its really making me reconsider if a canvas should just stay Matte, of course all these visualizations depend on the lighting of the enviroment, but since i will be selling these online i will have no control on the display area they will end up on.
    But i do have to say the colors look good on the Lyve, i just hope thats a real sample that hasnt been work out digitally to deepen the contrast and color gamut haha

    Thanks for your help!

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 20:28h, 21 March Reply

      Hi Marcio,

      I agree. I’ve actually only ever done matte laminate with Lyve. It looks beautiful.

      I’ve also tested Crystalline gloss, and it looks nice, but I prefer Lyve in matte. Also Crystalline is quite a lot stiffer, so you have to staple it to the back of the frame or it will come unstuck.

      Silverada Metallic canvas is more flexible, like Lyve. It’s lovely, but can’t be hung opposite light sources because it can be too shiny.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • Fernando Paramio Alamillo
    Posted at 21:34h, 22 January Reply

    Hi Martin,

    Thanks for your article. I have Canon PRO-6000. Very happy with it, apart from for the permanence ratings from Wilhelm, which I find disappointing.

    Would you have new information about how Canon is going to address the low results?

    I use Canson papers. Have you used them? Do you find them similar to Breathing Colors or do you see big advantages using them?

    Thanks so much

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