Well, the new Canon has been on location for a few days. I’ve started working through all the documentation, and of course, a few initial experiments. Of course, until I work on the calibration I won’t be able to give a final feel for the system. But I thought I’d share some initial observations with readers.
First off, this is a BIG machine. When delivered we found that the boxing would not fit through the gallery doors. So, the system had to be un-crated in the courtyard area and moved in that way. The delivery driver and I had our work cut out for us, but we did manage to get the main print unit in undamaged. So, that’s a plus.
In comparison to the HP Z3100, I think I can safely say that the packaging was not as elegant. The HP came into the gallery boxed, and the layout of the packaging was extremely conducive to setting up the printer easily. I think HP put a lot of thought into the engineering that went into the packaging and assembly, and I was impressed by it in 2008, and find myself still impressed by it today.
That said, once all the stand parts were laid out, putting the stand together wasn’t difficult. The big issue was getting the heavy printer body onto the stand. The images in the instructions showed 3 people on each side of the printer to get it onto the stand. For that, I went next door to the Firehouse Kitchen and a few servers came over to give a hand. We didn’t have 6 people, only 5. But it set easily onto the stand!
Once assembly was completed I rolled the 8300 into the print room and got a look at it against the Z3100. The 8300 is a lot larger than the 3100. It’s pretty impressive looking!
Putting the print heads and inks in was a snap. No issues there. And while the system charged the heads I loaded up all of the software. Easy enough to do as well. When that was all done I loaded the test paper that Canon provided so the printer could go through its initial startup.
Here’s one thing I really like. The paper rolls load from the front of the system. Very nice, very easy. And very different from the Z3100. I think I won’t mind swapping papers on this new printer! 🙂
Once the initial setup was complete I decided to give printing a whirl. Unlike the Z3100, there is not a calibration system that comes with the printer. With the HP a built in spectrophotometer, and an EyeOne for my screen came with the unit. In the case of the 8300 I’ll be getting a color munki in this week and really fine tuning the system.
But before the fine tuning I had to try it, right? So I loaded up Red River’s Polar Pearl Metallic and went at a few prints from my standard workflow. Using Lightroom 3 as my print management system I ran off a few images, and tried to dial in with the ICC profiles I currently have at my disposal. No dice though, the prints came out horrible. Colors way off, desaturated areas, the works.
However, I didn’t stop there. Canon has included a Photoshop Plugin for the IPF8300. I decided to give that a whirl. A few photos were opened in Photoshop and I made use of the export feature to the plugin. The results for those prints? Really, really close. A little darker (maybe a -.25EV), and a little more saturated. But close enough to keep me happy on my photos. Very encouraging, and it leads me to believe that once I’ve dialed the system in I’ll be a happy camper.
I’ll be comparing the final setup to that of the HP, and I’ll report what I find here. I’ve got prints on hand from the HP before it decided to give up on Glossy, and I’ll use those prints as a baseline for comparisons. Should be interesting.
Overall, I’m initially satisfied with the Canon. I’m looking forward to printing with it for years to come! As with anything new, there is a startup phase, and I’m in it. Stay tuned to hear more about the learning curve and further observations!
As the old saying goes, it’s not the size that matters, it’s how you use it. This, of course, is a reference to the recent Stimulus Packages. Please feel free to insert your joke here…
Seriously (as if I weren’t before), I hope all goes well getting this monster up and running.