Canon Expands Wide-Format Line, Adds Innovative Capability

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11/02/2012

Daria Hoffman

At Graph Expo last month, Canon U.S.A., Inc. added five models to its product line, which, thanks to the Océ acquisition, is the broadest in the industry. One is the 60-inch 8-color imagePROGRAF iPF9400S, designed for production-level commercial photography and retail signage applications. The other models, which use a 12-color LUCIA ink set, are the 24-inch imagePROGRAF iPF6400 and iPF6450, the 44-inch imagePROGRAF iPF8400 and the 60-inch imagePROGRAF iPF9400, each designed for photographers, fine art printing and proofing applications.

Particularly noteworthy is the imagePROGRAF iPF6450, which accommodates both cut-sheet and roll paper. Previewed to the industry press in Japan this spring, this model is available with an optional spectrophotometer, developed exclusively for this product by X-Rite, that, working in conjunction with a built-in color densitometer (which Canon calls a multi-sensor because it does much more than a densitometer), has the ability to provide consistent color output across a fleet of compatible Canon devices that may be located anywhere in the world. Although competitive devices are available with spectrophotometers, they ensure consistent color output for only that one device; maintaining consistent output across multiple devices requires the purchase of a spectrophotometer for each one, significantly driving up cost. What’s unique with the iPF6450 is that only one spectrophotometer is needed within an organization for consistent color across all compatible Canon wide-format devices (i.e., any of the company’s iPFX400 series devices, which include the iPF6400, iPF6450, iPF8400 and iPF9400).

To achieve consistent color, users create a profile for any compatible Canon or third-party media using the spectrophotometer, which reads a chart containing multiple color patches. The newly-created media profile can then be uploaded to any Canon iPFX400 device via Canon’s Media Configuration Tool. Once the profile is in place, a calibration can performed by that device. The company states that this process will result in a Delta E color difference of 2 or less in the output of the iPFX400 devices. Moreover, Canon’s new Color Calibration Management Console enables administrators to conveniently track the calibration status of each device in the fleet.

The SU-21 spectrophotometer, priced at $1,795, is available only for the iPF6450, which has the required 250-GB hard drive, whereas the iPF6400 does not. Supported by a range of third-party RIPs, the iPF6400/6450 is claimed to provide a printing speed in highest quality mode that is nearly double that of previous models with certain media.

All new models use Canon’s own LUCIA EX inks, which the company maintains offer deeper blacks and better scratch resistance than competitive inks, and which now offer up to a 20 percent wider color gamut and better scratch resistance than the previous ink set. The imagePROGRAF iPF6450 was recently installed in the lab for testing. First Looks are available now.