After months of grinding my gears about it, I finally bought a decent printer, having convinced myself that it is right what is being said these days - a true photographer must be producing something that exists as an actual object, and not merely a computer file. Actually I've known this all along, which is the biggest part of why I prefer shooting film - at least I'm producing a real negative, but even that, being an object that I can physically store, of course, is barely viewable, and actually more useless than a computer file until it is printed.
So about this printer - it is Canon's new Pixma Pro-100, which I got for $399.00 by asking a chain store to do a price match. They agreed to do so as long as I bought a complete set of (eight) ink cartridges. The printer itself comes with "Setup Cartridges" which are about one-third full - you can actually see inside the semi-clear cartridges that there is a baffle inside each one which is about a third the volume of the entire cartridge.
There are plenty of good reviews out there on the Pixma Pro-100, and it's more up-scale kin - the Pro-10 and Pro-1, so I'm not going to do much in way of a review here. The Pro-100 is the cheapest of the lot, because it uses ten dye-based ink colours, whereas the other two use eleven pigment based colours, and a twelfth one to apply a "clear gloss" to certain paper types. It is generally considered that pigment based prints are better for longevity, and therefore preferable if one is serious about gallery work, I suppose, but the Pro-10 is just beyond my reach for cost. All I'll say in terms of a review is this printer is very big and heavy, meaning I was initially worried about two things -1) especially as the "Safety Warnings" leaflet states this machine should always be carried by two people, would I be able to get it up my stairs, and 2) once I got it up there, would there be room for it in my extremely cluttered and small workspace? Well, in answer to the first question, I was able to get it upstairs, unpacked and in position by myself, even with an already sore back, and as for the second, the pictures above speak for themselves. The only feature I don't have room for is the front-to-back thick media feed, which would require a couple of feet behind the printer.
As for getting this printer ready to go, I found it extremely easy to go through the whole set-up process. The only problem I had was that I would have preferred the Wireless Network set-up and I thought that would've been accomplished in the usual way of simply finding my in-home WiFi and putting in the password, but instead it has to be done by linking to your Router as an Access Point, which requires that you are able to press the WiFi button on the printer at the same time as the Access button on your Router - not possible in my case, as my Router is located downstairs. So instead of WiFi, I had to make use of the USB connection.
I expect to be blogging about my printmaking efforts over the next little while, and this will be somewhat philosophical rather than trying to provide blow by blow accounts of what I run into. I'll briefly touch on one major point right now... can a digital print (or digital imaging in general) possibly take the place of a traditional film darkroom for artistic photography? This is a question I plan to ask of some local art galleries, and am looking forward to giving you their answers. However, in my opinion, I would have to say no, at least not quite. Darkroom printing is still very special, and getting moreso, as it becomes more and more rare. I'm starting off absolutely certain that as far as image quality is concerned, yes - Inkjet based digital printing can be every bit as good as darkroom printing. I say this because most photo speciality shops have long ago abandoned their darkrooms in favour of digital - even for film shooters - I don't think there remains a store in Eastern Canada that produces darkroom prints "in-house"; instead, everybody is now scanning the film negative and printing with digital printers. It is only the film roll itself that sees the dark - inside a canvas bag as it is transferred into a development tank. What's missing is the "Craft" of darkroom printing, which I expect is what I'm going to find is preferred by art galleries. This gives real darkroom prints a true value advantage, to which I would agree ought to be the case, and most likely, the full darkroom work, especially when done by somebody famous, should sell in the thousands, and digital prints would rightly sell in the hundreds of dollars. I should have my true valuations by this time tomorrow, as I plan to visit a couple of local galleries this afternoon, so stay tuned!