This article will review the Canon iPF6300, iPF6350 and iPF8300. Readers will learn about the differences between the three models. Also discussed will be the print head technology, operating system and connectivity options, supported and borderless paper sizes, ink technology and the software that is included with these printers.
Differences between the three models
There are few differences between the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6300, iPF6350 and iPF8300. The iPF6300 and iPF6350 have the same footprint and both print to a maximum width of 24″. These two printers use twelve 130 ml ink cartridges. The iPF8300 allows users to print to a maximum width of 44″ and uses twelve inks sized at either 330 ml or 700 ml. The iPF6350 and iPF8300 both come standard with a built-in 80GB hard drive designed to help relieve the workload from the host computer.
Print head technology
The iPF6300, iPF6350 and iPF8300 all employ two thermal print heads that allow users to print images up to a resolution of 2400×1200 dpi. The use of two print heads also allows these printers to run faster than most comparable models. Unlike piezoelectric print heads, thermal print heads tend to clog far less. These print heads are user-replaceable. If a print head needs to be replaced, the user simply needs to order a new head and replace the old one. This process takes less than 5 minutes.
Compatible operating systems and connectivity
The iPF6300, iPF6350 and iPF8300 can be run from either a Mac or a PC. Mac users need to be using OS X 10.3.9-10.6 (32-bit) or OS X 10.5-10.6 (64-bit). PC users need to be running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit).
Each of the three printers comes standard with two connection options. The first option is to connect via High-Speed USB 2.0. Those individuals opting for this connection type should use a USB cable that is no longer than ten feet to avoid potential connectivity issues. Essentially, the longer the cable, the farther that data needs to travel to get from the computer to the printer. Longer cables will typically cause issues. The second connectivity option is Ethernet. This connection should be used by individuals that cannot place their printer in close proximity to the host computer or those businesses where multiple users will be utilizing the printer.
Supported paper sizes and borderless printing
All three printers can use cut sheets or rolls with a minimum width of 8″. The maximum media width for the iPF6300 and iPF6350 is 24″. The maximum media width for the iPF8300 is 44″.
The iPF6300 and iPF6350 can print borderless images on rolls sized at 10″, 14″, 16″, 17″, and 24″. The iPF8300 can print borderless images on rolls sized at 10″, 14″, 17″, 24″, 36″, 42″ and 44″. Borderless printing can be a huge time-saver since it can greatly reduce or even eliminate post process trimming of prints.
The iPF6300, iPF6350 and iPF8300 all employ Canon’s latest ink technology – the Lucia EX Ink Set. This reformulated 12-color ink system increases the achievable color gamut by 20% over previous 12-color imagePROGRAF models. Users can expect outstanding photographic output with smooth color gradation, fine detail in shadow areas, and better black tones.
The iPF6300, iPF6350 and iPF8300 all come with a great software package. The main components are the imagePROGRAF Media Configuration Tool, Print Driver, Print Plug-in for Photoshop and the Accounting Manager software.
The imagePROGRAF Media Configuration Tool was designed by Canon keeping in mind the vast array of media choices available to end users. The Media Configuration Tool allows users to create custom media types or import those made by third parties. Users can make a number of adjustments when creating media types. The end result is an even more precise reproduction of their images.
The imagePROGRAF Print Driver is a full featured driver that allows users to select all of their printing options like media types, color management settings and page setup options like paper width and length, reduced/enlarged printing, and borderless printing. The driver also contains Canon’s Free Layout Tool which allows users to layout multiple images on a page to make the best use of media to reduce waste.
The imagePROGRAF Print Plug-in for Photoshop is an alternative, and in my opinion, the preferred way to print from Photoshop. This easy to use export plug-in makes printing a breeze while reducing the likelihood of using incorrect settings. Users select their quality settings, media type, ICC profile and rendering intent all in one area and then select their page setup options in another. This plug-in simplifies the printing process.
The Accounting Manager software is a new piece of software that was added to the newest 12-color imagePROGRAF printers. This software allows users to track their printing costs on a job-by-job basis. Individual costs can be assigned to ink cartridges and any media type to give users job costs down to the penny. Other costs like labor can even be built-in. This information can also be exported to Microsoft Excel for billing and long-term cost tracking.
The iPF6300, iPF6350 and iPF8300 will meet and even exceed the expectations of the most color conscious work environments. Photographers, Giclee printers, and those companies reproducing fine art or printing to canvas will benefit greatly from the wide color gamut and high quality output produced by these printers. The ease of use combined with the software options provided with these printers, would make any of the three a great addition to any business wanting to produce high quality color or black and white wide format prints.