The tech inside Canon pro photo printers

Discover some of the advanced technologies in Canon's professional photo printers, which help ensure top quality A3+ prints.

Canon's range of pro photo printers is designed to produce high quality A3+/A2 prints from your images. As of mid-2021, there are three models in the pro range, each of which is aimed at slightly different uses. With a focus on versatility, ease of use and vibrant colour photo printing up to A3+ size, the PIXMA PRO-200 is the ideal choice for photo enthusiasts. The imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is a desktop professional printer delivering gallery-quality A3+ prints with an easy workflow for confident printing. For the most demanding applications, the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 will faithfully reproduce your images with its high-longevity 12-ink system and capture all the subtleties of your photos from 4x6-inch prints right up to A2 and even banner size (1.2 metres).

FINE print head technology

Canon's pro photo printers use an innovative print head technology called FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering). Conventional inkjets spray ink out onto the paper, which makes them vulnerable to airflow disturbances from print head movement and to changes in ink viscosity due to temperature fluctuations. Canon's FINE technology works in a slightly different way. Instead of being sprayed out, the ink is ejected by heating it, which makes it much less susceptible to airflow disturbance over the print head and produces a highly uniform droplet size, consistent ink dot placement, and placement speed more than 1.5 times that of conventional systems. Print heads are manufactured using the same nanometer-precision fabrication technologies employed in semiconductor production. Depending on the model, the ink droplet size can be as small as 3 picolitres. The result is a print resolution of up to 4800x2400dpi for exceptionally detailed prints with dramatically improved image quality.

A photo print emerges from a Canon PIXMA PRO-200 printer on a dark wood sideboard, with four colourful framed prints of different sizes on the wall behind.

The PIXMA PRO-200 has an ink droplet size of just 3 picolitres for fine detail reproduction and utilises Canon's ChromaLife 100+ ink system, which uses 8 dye-based inks for print longevity.

Colour profiling

Ensuring colour-accurate prints has traditionally been considered one of the trickiest parts of printing images. With Canon's pro photo printer range, this has been simplified with the inclusion of print profiles for a wide range of media, both Canon's own and also third-party media from manufacturers such as Hahnemühle and Canson. Printing with the right ICC profile for your printer and media helps ensure quality and consistency for perfect prints every time.

ChromaLife 100+ ink system

The PIXMA PRO-200 uses Canon's ChromaLife 100+ ink system. The 8-ink dye-based system delivers an expanded colour gamut with deeper black impression and more vivid reproduction of reds and blues, in a more durable print that will resist fading. When used with selected Canon photo paper, the combination of paper and ink forms a bond that ensures colour-fastness under archival storage conditions for up to 100 years, approximately 40 years on display behind glass (light-fastness) and 10 years without the glass (gas-fastness).1

LUCIA PRO pigment ink technology

The imagePROGRAF PRO-300 and imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printers feature Canon's LUCIA PRO pigment ink technology. This is the same ink technology as used in Canon's Large Format Printers. The LUCIA PRO pigment inks combine the glossiness normally associated with dye inks plus the colour vibrancy and durability associated with pigment inks. The PRO-300 printer utilises a 10-ink system while the PRO-1000 has a 12-ink system.

A diagram representing light reflecting evenly off the Chroma Optimiser layer on a photo print, with coloured ink droplets on the paper surface.

Chroma Optimiser acts like a clear coating on a print, ensuring that there is no uneven light reflection off glossy paper so there is a uniform level of glossiness across the surface and all colours can be perceived at the desired intensity.

Chroma Optimiser

The imagePROGRAF PRO-300 and imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 both feature an additional ink tank called the Chroma Optimiser, which helps to produce prints with uniform glossiness. During printing, Chroma Optimiser is laid over the top of the print, a bit like a clear coat. This has the effect of filling in the gaps between the different ink droplets and so creating a uniform layer of ink with no troughs or ridges. As a result, light can reflect back from the print evenly, giving a uniform level of glossiness across the entire print. In darker tones, Chroma Optimiser will also increase the colour gamut of the print – because it reflects less light back than black ink alone, it has the effect of showing the true depth of the blacks in a print.

For both colour and monochrome printing, the Chroma Optimiser coating also reduces bronzing. Bronzing is a reflectance phenomenon where tones in the print, especially grey tones, take on an iridescent appearance, a lot like bronze metal. This effect is closely related to metamerism, where two colours can appear to match under one set of lighting conditions but look different under different lighting conditions (like when you put on a pair of socks and only later discover that one is black but the other is navy blue). The use of Chroma Optimiser will reduce both these effects, giving a more visually pleasing result that is also more colour-accurate.

A view from underneath of the print head in the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000.

The advanced technology in the print head in the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 includes sensors that continuously monitor the status of the 18,432 nozzles, and if they should detect any clogging, another nozzle automatically provides backup to compensate. This clever system not only ensures uncompromised print quality and prevents wasted prints due to clogging, it also means nozzle cleaning is not required as frequently.

A screenshot of Canon's Professional Print & Layout software.

Canon's Professional Print & Layout (PPL) software, which can run on its own or as a plug-in within your preferred image-editing software, provides all the settings required for perfect printing.

Professional Print & Layout plug-in

When taking an image from screen to print, people sometimes find it challenging to get the best results. Because Canon provides an end-to-end system, however, producing great prints is easy with Canon's Professional Print & Layout software, which is designed to help you get the best with all Canon's pro photo printers. You can use PPL as a standalone application or as a plug-in within your preferred image editing software – Canon's free Digital Photo Professional (DPP), Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe Photoshop Elements or Adobe Lightroom®.2

PPL makes it simple to select all the settings required for printing, including layout, paper size, paper type and any colour management requirements, so you can set up the printer for best results without an in-depth knowledge of print technology.

For monochrome printing, a Print black and white photo option helps ensure that colour images are converted to mono simply and effectively and your monochrome images are rendered more naturally.

Canon's pro photo printers

Print size


Ink type


Number of inks


Ink tank size


Ideally suited to

Colour gloss
Mono or Matte
Colour and Mono

Alex Summersby

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