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My main studio printers are a Canon iPF 5000 and Canon iPF8100. Both have been workhorses for me over the years, and I’ve printed hundreds of prints on each one. I’ve had the iPF5000 for 3 years, and aside from some software related issues, it has been a great printer for me in terms of maintenance and the quality of the prints. Within a few weeks of purchasing it, the automated roll feeder stopped working, and Canon promptly sent a technician to my studio to repair it which involved replacing some parts. It has worked perfectly ever since.

During the Fine Art Printing Workshop this weekend, it came as a surprise when I attempted to print a student’s image and the iPF5000 gave me a “Nozzle Check” error. This is not the sort of message you want to see in the middle of a workshop while 6 students stand over your shoulder! I reset the printer, tried to run a cleaning cycle and tried other quick fixes, but the error remained. Luckily I have a backup in the iPF8100, so I switched to that printer for the remainder of the workshop.

The next day, after reading the manual and searching online, I was pretty sure I needed a new print head. Unlike Epson printers, which do not have replaceable print heads, Canon’s can be serviced and replaced over the life of the printer. The downside is they are expensive ($525), and according to my dealer, once one print head goes, the other usually follows (most Canon printers have two separate heads). The dealer suggested I just buy a new printer which would be the same cost as two new print heads. Needless to say, I was disappointed and frustrated, but heeding my wife Brenda’s advice, decided to call Canon just to confirm.

Once Canon had indeed verified that I needed a new print head, to my surprise they offered to replace the head at no charge as a courtesy to those who had purchased this printer – their first generation model. Their new line of printers have redesigned heads which last much longer. Instead of a 1 year warranty, they were replacing the heads if it had printed less than 10 trillion drops of ink. This they were able to determine through a diagnostic mode they had me run in the printer.

I’ll be receiving a brand new print head today, and if the other fails, I’ll be able to have it replaced under warranty as well – not bad for  a three year old printer. I am thoroughly impressed with Canon’s service, as well as the friendliness of the technician I spoke with. These are compelling reasons for me to continue to purchase Canon equipment, where service and  uptime is of paramount importance. As someone who regards customer service as the most important aspect of my interaction with customers and clients, it was great to receive much of the same from Canon.

Of course, following Brenda’s advice is the real key.


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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Robert,
    Noticed your post on your Canon printer and wanted your thoughts on Canon vs Epson-I know long lasting debate!
    I have been a long time user of Epson, and would like to upgrade one of my printers so I can produce 16 x 20’s and bigger, plus the option of being able to print with roll paper. Epson printers and maybe Canon is the same but you have to by one printer to get a particular feature. Epson’s use of switching black inks in the bigger format printers is really mind boggling to me. Waste of time, ink, and money. I know why they do it so your forced into buying something else or both. Is Canon the same way?
    Just wanted your expertise on this and suggestions since you are knowledgeable with Canon.

    Thanks and have a great day!

    1. Like you mentioned, this is a very competitive field amongst printers, and there is also HP to consider. I can only speak from my own experiences, but in the end, I believe any of the top printers will deliver excellent results. While I also started with Epson, I switched to Canon a few years ago because of better pricing, an automatic roll feeder, much less clogging, and the ink savings since you do not have to change inks for matte or glossy papers, and the 16 bit plugin for Photoshop. I have not regretted my decision – the Canon’s have been very reliable and the quality superb.

      Paper profiles are available from most of the paper manufacturers for Canon printers, so this is an important consideration if you plan to use third party papers. (Most are available for Epson as well.) In the end, I think it comes down to your budget, and what your goals are. Like cameras, learning the strengths and weaknesses of your tools will result in far better results than just having the perceived superior product – which changes rapidly these days. Good luck, and if you choose a Canon, I’ll be happy to lend assistance when I can.


  2. I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

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