Hi John, thanks for the article, also thanks for mentioning my name, I am emailing copies to all my friends and family . I hope my posts on the Wiki are helping out. I feel that I am probably one of the least experienced users on the Wiki. I will normally post my views and thoughts even when they might not make any sense.
Well, for the sake of trying to keep this short I just deleted 2 pages of my journey into digital photography/printing to give the view of a beginner/intermediate user of the iPF5000.
A quick rundown. I have been using letter sized consumer photo printers for about 6 years. All for personal/gift use, no selling of prints. I used 3rd party inks because OEM inks costs to much (for my purposes 10x more for OEM inks over 3rd party inks). Also, I have never been worried about fading (even though some ink/paper combo’s fade very quick). I had never thought about a pigment printer because of ink costs. I then heard about the iPF5000 (and Epson 3800) that, for me, would bring pigment ink printing costs down to a reasonable level. I bought the iPF5000 printer. I knew it was big and I have the space for it but it is BIG compared to the 3800. But if you want a roll feeder and a cassette it is still the only cost effective option out there. Only thing would be if it was able to print on smaller sheets (4x6) like the 3800. I would not buy a 13x19 pigment printer at this time because of ink costs.
Anyways, the printer arrived (took another week to get the roll feed unit). During initial setup the printer had a printhead error. The 1st call to Canon had them sending me a new printhead and new set of inks for that printhead (6 cartridges) overnight. Installed the new printhead and ended up with a ‘maintenance cartridge full’ error and could not continue. It was Friday night and I had to go buy a new maintenance cartridge on Saturday. Installed and the printer finished initial setup. 2nd call to Canon on Monday had them sending me a new maintenance cartridge (now I have an extra when needed).
After setup used Qimage to make my 1st print. Came out ok, used Kirkland glossy paper with Canon Photo Paper Plus profile. Anyways, the prints came out as I would expect from reading the forums. Quality wise looked the same as my consumer letter sized photo printers. They now have gloss differential that to me is not that bad. You have to get the light just right to see it. But, now I hope I do not have any fading issues. Going from dye to pigment is like going from a p&s camera to a Dslr because of the saturation. I got so used to over saturated colors that when going to less saturated images it took awhile to get used to even though the less saturated images are normally more accurate to the scene.
I personally do not think that having to let the printer know what paper you load is a big deal. You are at the printer loading it, it only takes 15 seconds to select the correct paper/size settings in the printer. Then no more hassle until you load more paper. I do not use the tray so I do not have to set it after each use (even though it keeps the last selected items as default).
Also, no difference printing on a large format printer over a small home printer. Yes there are more options in the print driver for color settings and stuff but nothing to make printing any more difficult.
Once my roll feed unit arrived I went and purchased the least expensive roll of paper I could find, Canon Heavyweight Matte-coated. This is so I can get used to printing on the roll and learning proper post processing for larger prints. My roll feeder was bad from the beginning but at this time it does not cause me much grief. I have to push the paper into the printer for it to load (I guess normally the roll unit will take the paper once inserted ˝ to 1 inch. I also get errors when ejecting the roll but those just need to be cleared to print from the cassette. The tray also does not work but I have not needed the tray yet. I will get with Canon at some point to get the roll unit repaired.
With the far edge banding issue that was out there. I only had 2 or 3 photographs that it would show up on. I even downloaded and printed the banding test file that John had and could not see the banding in his file, also for me only noticed on glossy paper. For me, I knew it was there but most people (friends and family) did not notice (or at least not mention it). The upgrade to firmware 1.23 with the updated far edge adjust fixes that concern. The 1.08 firmware far edge adjustment did nothing. I also had a period of good prints with glossy, going to matte for a week, then back to glossy only to find carriage strikes on the prints. I head height adjustment fixed that but later changed back to auto and no longer had carriage strikes, not sure what happened there.
For me the issues are ink longevity and printhead life. I do not print a lot. At the rate I print I think it will take me a couple of years to replace all cartridges. I just hope the printheads can last 5 or more years.
I think right now with the new line of printers if someone wants a large format printer (ok a 17" printer) that has a cassette the only options are the Epson 3800 and Canon iPF5000. My printing needs do not need over 17" at this time. I also would not get one without a cassette. If they want cassette and roll then it is the iPF5000. If any family or friends asked me what one to get it is an issue with wanting a roll and space requirements. If they would like a roll option it would be the Canon, if not probably the 3800 because of size. I know printhead life and ink longevity are big considerations but at this time you have to guess that they would be similar to Epsons. I also hope if I ever have a ink cartridge chip failure it gets replaced. Another thing is how necessary the vacuum system of the Canon iPF5000 maybe it really helps keep the paper flat, maybe necessary for rolls, I do not know.
Anyways, so far I am happy I bought the printer even with the few issues I have had and still have (roll feed unit). A lot of that still goes to the fact that ink costs seem to be much less than the 3800. It would be nice to have a better manual but who reads the manuals anyways , thats what the Wiki is for. I really like what HP has been doing with the technical newsletters that they have been putting out. Also, it would be nice to know what changes are being made with newer firmware.
Well, if you got this far thanks for reading.