Comparison of the Epson 4900 and the Canon Pro-100
|Epson Stylus Pro 4900||Canon PIXMA Pro-100|
|Max Paper Width||17”||13”|
|Max Paper Length||I printed over 6’||26”|
|Print Speed||The Pro-100 is faster, but I don’t have the Epson around anymore to give specifics.|
|Cost||$1,795||$398 – $250 rebate – 38.41 paper = $109.59|
|Number of inks||11||8|
|Size of ink cartridge||200ml||tiny|
|Permanence (framed under glass)||many decades||The jury is out.|
|Width||34.0” (864mm)||27.2” (691mm)|
|Height||16.0” (406mm)||8.5” (216mm)|
|Depth||30.0” (762mm)||15.2” (386mm)|
So the question on your mind is, why compare two printers that are so completely different? The Canon Pro-100 is less than a quarter the volume of the Epson 4900 a little over a third of the weight and a fraction of the cost. The Pro-100 is a small 13” printer with home/consumer sized ink cartridges while the 4900 handles 17” roll paper with a flawless automatic cutter and production sized 200ml ink cartridges. Most telling, the Epson uses “permanent” pigment inks while the Canon uses “temporary” dye inks. The reason for this comparison is that I own both printers and the differences/similarities are worth reporting.
Image Quality: The Epson 4900 image quality is excellent unless the LLK ink is clogged, in which case the image quality drops to very poor. As I said before, the Canon Pro-100 images are excellent. In some cases slight nuances in a very dark background are lost but overall image quality is excellent. Some prints actually look better out of the Canon Pro-100 than the Epson 4900.
Printing on Canvas: The Epson 4900 does an excellent job on Epson canvas. I have yet to get the Canon Pro-100 to give me what I am looking for on my Epson Glossy Canvas. When I come up with an acceptable solution for canvas prints I’ll modify this article.
On the issue of permanence: I am concerned with permanence, but until Wilhelm comes up with a rating for the ChromaLife100+ ink, I’ll go with the Canon statements:
“Prints can last over 200 years in the photo album, approx. 40-years on display behind glass (light fastness) and 10-years without the glass (gas fastness).”
“The combination of compatible Canon genuine dye inks and Photo Paper Plus Glossy II PP-201 or Photo Paper Pro Platinum PT-101 resists fading for approximately 30 years (when displayed in a glass frame in a typical indoor space – estimating 500lux/10hours per day – without direct sunlight).”
I use Canon’s Pro Platinum (for 13 x 19 and below) and Canon inks to ensure as much permanence as possible.
Print size: The Canon Pro-100 can only print 13 inches wide while the Epson 4900 can go 17 inches. I used roll paper exclusively in my Epson 4900 and in the two plus years I owned it I only replaced the cutter once. The only issue I every had with the cutter was on canvas. The best way to handle canvas is to shut off cutting during the print and activate the cutter from the front panel after the print. If cutting fails during the print it will mess up your image while cutting after the print never fails. I have personally printed an image over 5 feet long on the Epson 4900.
On the other hand, the Canon Pro-100 maximum length is 26 inches. For those who need a 1×2 crop for a landscape you can do it on 13” paper. For those who need 1×3 crop you can do it at 8.5 inch high. For 13”x26” paper I am currently cutting sheets from an Epson Roll. I’ll let you know the final solution. FYI there is no way to jury rig a roll to this printer because of the way it feeds the sheet through after a print.
Canon Pro-100 custom size paper settings: To give credit where credit is due I would like to excerpt the following from the Red River Paper review of the Canon Pro-100:
Paper Width: 12.95″ – After some experimentation, we found that a custom size set to 13″ causes a print error. Using 12.95″ fixed that issue.
Paper Height: 26.61″ – We found the effective maximum print height is 26″.
In verifying this information I was able to get a paper width of 12.96 inches without the error message. The important issue here is that you will have to define your paper size as 12.96 in order to print on 13″ x 26″ paper. Also note that the paper can be any length the printer will simply feed it all through after the image is printed. I actually cut my sheets to 30 inches and notice Red River makes a 13″x38″ sheet.
Conclusion: The Canon Pro-100 is the best deal on the market. I had an Epson 4900, but lost the LLK channel and would have to pay more than B&H or Adorama charges for the new printer to fix it. For the cost of the Canon Pro-100 printer I can implement hot backups. The Canon Pro-100 images are excellent, although you can only get a maximum 13″x26″ print. The ink cartridges are small, buy several. What you save in initial cost you will invest in ink, but I don’t mind paying for ink and paper I just cannot keep buying multi-thousand dollar printers. It is a huge hassle to haul large heavy printers to the dump and extremely painful to have to pay to dispose of them. For details on how to prevent head clogs in the Epson x900 printers see Jeff’s video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf6kOEtgQqE