November 19, 2013 – Wokingham (UK) – Buyers Laboratory LLC (BLI), has selected Canon as the winner of its 2014 Wide Format Graphic Arts Printer Line of the Year award thanks to the overall strength of Canon’s imagePROGRAF graphic arts product line. BLI’s coveted Line of the Year is awarded once a year to the vendors whose product lines are determined to be the best overall in their respective categories based on their cumulative test results in BLI’s rigorous two-month evaluation. For wide format devices, among the many factors considered are reliability, image quality, ease of use, colour management, productivity and connectivity attributes. Also considered are the breadth of the manufacturer’s line and its ability to produce quality products suitable to a broad spectrum of customer needs.

Canon’s 8- and 12-Colour Models Deliver Innovation, Precise Colour Accuracy and Control
The comprehensiveness of Canon’s offerings, satisfying the production/proofing print markets with the 8-colour models and the high-end graphics markets with the 12-colour models, across all the common size ranges, together with the outstanding lab performance of all the models tested, have justly earned Canon the 2014 Line of the Year award for its wide format graphic arts printers. Indeed, every Canon graphic arts model tested in the past year has earned BLI’s Highly Recommended rating and a Pick award.

In the past year Canon has updated its 8- and 12-colour wide format printers, adding several noteworthy features such as an optional spectrophotometer and Canon’s Direct Print & Share cloud portal solution. Among the new 8-colour units (designated by an S in the model name) BLI has tested are the 24-inch imagePROGRAF iPF6400S and 44-inch iPF8400S, both of which performed extremely well in BLI testing and were selected BLI Picks today in their respective categories. Though not tested, the larger 60-inch imagePROGRAF iPF9400S, released earlier in the season, differs mainly in its width and could therefore be expected to deliver a similarly high quality performance. These stellar performers are joined in Canon’s graphic arts line by several outstanding 12-colour printers. Those include two 24-inch models—the imagePROGRAF iPF6450, a BLI Pick winner last year, and the very similar iPF6400. These models are also offered in 44- and 60-inch configurations—the iPF8400 and iPF9400, respectively.

Most notable among the devices’ numerous triumphs is the ability for users to readily manage colour output using the Color Calibration Management Control (CCMC) software, and more importantly, for the devices to consistently deliver precise colour output across multiple compatible models that employ the same number of inks—even an entire fleet—as long as just one of them is equipped with the company’s SU-21 spectrophotometer. (The SU-21 is optionally available for the two 24-inch models containing a hard drive—the imagePROGRAF iPF6400S and the 12-colour iPF6450.) In evaluating Canon’s claim of being able to achieve tight colour control between multiple compatible devices, with a Delta E value of 2.0 or less, BLI’s testing proved the Canon units were up to the task. In fact, the recent lab evaluation of the iPF6400S and iPF8400S showed extraordinary consistency of colour, with amazingly low Delta E values of 0.92 and 0.79 in output on two non-Canon media types. “This kind of colour consistency is indispensable for proof printing applications,” said Joe Tischner, BLI wide format printer analyst. “Canon builds colour tables directly into these printers for each Canon-branded media, so consistency is the expected result. However, with non-Canon media, users of these Canon devices have the tools to readily achieve extremely stable colour output.” He added that the CCMC utility is invaluable for keeping track of the calibration status of most media and performing the calibrations when needed across all of Canon’s 8- and 12-colour printers. “Conveniently,” said Tischner, “this can even be accomplished remotely for all networked iPF printers no matter their locations.” And since only one spectrophotometer is needed across all S series devices and one for all 12-colour units to perform these tasks, Canon’s graphic arts wide format line makes maintaining fleet-wide colour consistency economical and efficient.

Another feature new to these models is Canon’s Direct Print & Share utility, which enables easy job submission, bypassing software applications and print drivers, thus saving considerable time. Additionally, files stored in the cloud were easily accessible to BLI technicians and will be an advantage to collaborative teams worldwide. Another strength of these models is that Canon’s LUCIA EX ink tanks can be easily replaced on-the-fly, a capability BLI has thus far seen only with Canon large format printers.

“Canon’s iPFX400 and iPFX400S series of printers are known for their high efficiency, reliability, colour consistency and productivity,” said Yuichi Miyano, director of large format solutions, Canon Europe. “It’s an honour to be the recipient of BLI’s Wide Format Graphic Arts Printer Line of the Year Award, and to be recognised for the series’ ability to execute frequent, large-quantity requests that meet the highest standards.

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