Canon has managed to create a number of exceptional large-format or wide-format printers in recent years. Most of these printers have focused on providing working photographers with a way to create lab-quality prints as large as 13x19 inches without needing to rely on a traditional photo lab. Few manufacturers have bothered with making a wide-format printer that also meets the needs of other small and medium businesses, until now.
The Canon PIXMA iX7000 is a wide-format (A3) inkjet printer that includes Canon's new PgR (Pigment Reaction) technology which allows businesses to create commercial quality documents, signs, and posters on plain paper. If you need to print a large number of impressive-looking leaflets or promotional materials then keep reading.
CANON PIXMA IX7000 SPECIFICATIONS
BUILD AND DESIGN
On a desk, the iX7000 is just plain huge. In fact, when I tried to set this printer up in my home office I discovered I didn't have enough desk space and the only place I could put the printer was on the floor. For the uninitiated, the iX7000 (like most 13x19 photo printers) may look like a standard inkjet, but the scale is fundamentally different. By our measurements, with all trays folded up, the iX7000 measures 25.5 by 20.5 by 10.25 inches; compare that to a standard 8.5x11 multi-function inkjet printer which takes up roughly half that space (or less).
The point we're trying to make here is that you'll need some dedicated desk space – or an entire desk – to setup the iX7000 in your office. With all trays deployed, plan on setting aside at least 30 by 40 inches of office space for this printer. Of course, if you're shopping for a wide-format printer then you probably have a dedicated work space set aside for a massive printer. We just want to make that clear for small businesses considering this printer for use in a home office.
While most wide-format printers utilize two paper trays (a multi-sheet and a single-sheet feeder) the Canon PIXMA iX7000 actually features three paper pathways: a rear auto sheet feeder (250 sheet capacity), a front cassette (250 sheet capacity), and front paper tray (10 sheet capacity). The rear paper tray can only be selected as a paper source when printing photos and isn't available for printing on standard paper. On that note, you have to select the paper source using the Canon driver software because there is no way to change the paper source directly on the printer. The rear tray can accommodate paper up to 13x19 (A3+) allowing you to make photo and other fine-art prints on a variety of media.
In testing the iX7000 with several photo stocks, we had no trouble utilizing any of Canon's heavyweight fine-art papers in the machine's rear auto feeder, and with the appropriate settings, the iX7000 handled 280 gsm (100 lb) art stock from other manufacturers with no difficulty as well.
For small business owners and serious photographers, the ability to print at 13x19 is, of course, the primary appeal of a printer like the iX7000, but it's also worth noting that the Ix7000 can print bordered or borderless prints at sizes all the way down to 4x6.
The auto duplexer built into the rear of the iX7000 allows for printing on both sides of a single sheet of paper without having to stop and flip the paper over between printing. Using the duplex feature certainly makes the print process slower, but it also significantly saves on the cost of paper.
Under the hood, the PIXMA ix7000 features Canon's PgR technology to deliver laser-quality text and lab-quality prints on a variety of paper types. PgR works by using clear ink to coat the surface of the paper to provide anti-curing, anti-ink bleeding, improved image and text sharpness, and prevent print-through on thin plain paper. Canon's six-tank ink system, one clear ink and five color inks, means you can replace each ink tank independently ... so you only have to replace the specific ink color that runs out. The Canon LUCIA pigment-based inks also provide superior image quality compared to dye-based inks used in most consumer and even many prosumer photo printers. Pigment inks promise true commercial-quality contrast and color depth, as well as distinctive archival advantages over most dye-based inks. Canon's LUCIA pigment inks also use a pair of black inks (photo black and standard matte black) for better black and white prints.
The tanks install into Canon's user-replaceable printhead with FINE nozzle technology. The printhead, which appears to be identical to the one used in other current-generation Canon PIXMA large format printers, produces ultra-fine 2 picoliter droplets. I like the fact that the ink tanks include LED indicators that light up to let you know when the ink tank is properly installed. No light means you need to re-install the ink tank.
Buttons and controls on the printer itself are minimal to say the least. Two buttons are all you'll find on the front right corner of the iX700: power and sheet load buttons. Ther eis no PictBridge port, but the iX7000 is intended as an office printer that can also handle making large photo prints and posters ... it's not intended to only be used as a photo lab. Likewise, connection to your Mac or PC is via USB only or an Ethernet cable – there's no built-in wireless networking option. While it's easy to connect the iX7000 to a wireless router, you still have to run an Ethernet cable from the printer to your office router if you want to use this printer on your network. A small creative services office probably would have appreciated some built-in wireless network connectivity so this massive printer doesn't have to be within a cable's reach of a network router.
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