By Daniel M. East

Canon’s US$3,695 imagePROGRAF series ( not only raises the bar for quality and performance, it also places new hurdles in the track of its competitors. The primary concern is always output quality, and the 24″ iPF6300 produces stunningly beautiful color representations that are both accurate and impressive.

Sharpness in the highest-quality output settings is edge-to-edge with substantial improvements over the last two models in this class. Truly amazing are gradients that show up without extra grain or staggered lines as the colors merge. It was so impressive, in fact, that finding a challenge for this goliath printer was a task.

At nearly 150 pounds with its included stand, the footprint of this printer is substantial once you add the slightly awkward paper catch basket. The iPF6300 is also quieter and faster than previous models, and as always, calibration is essential. It can print directly from Adobe Photoshop via a plug-in, saving time and steps. Canon includes other software but after three attempts (and a lot of wasted paper and ink), a Spyder3Studio calibration tool brightened up some of the output that had more visible density than preferred.

Canon reports reduced ink consumption from the 12 color tanks, while still producing a broader color range and a 4-picoliter drop size at up to 2400×1200 resolution. The iPF6300 tracks output and costs per page and also supports all major RIP formats. The specs are great, including top, front, and roll-feeding paper transports, but your eyes will tell you who won this race. If more speed is key, you can always run with the iPF6350, which adds an onboard hard disk to reduce buffering lag, but the 384MB of RAM in this model doesn’t drag its feet by any means.

Rating: 8 out of 10

(This review is brought to you courtesy of “Layers Magazine”: .)