The best Canon photo printers for pro photographers

How do you choose a pro photo printer to produce your own gallery-quality prints? We look at the key benefits of the Canon PIXMA PRO-200, imagePROGRAF PRO-300 and imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 with advice from photographer and print specialist Clive Booth.
A professional home photography studio containing a laptop, a large screen showing a photograph of a woman in a blue veil, a Canon camera and several Canon printers.

Portrait, fashion and beauty photographer Clive Booth, whose home studio is pictured here, believes that creating prints is the best way to share your photographs. "You can guarantee they'll be seen how you want them to be seen, rather than sharing digital files that are bound to look different on various monitors and other devices," he says.

Each model in Canon's professional range has its own set of core strengths, meaning there's a printer to suit the varying needs and budget of every pro photographer. But how do you decide which Canon pro photo printer is right for you?

Clive Booth had a long career in graphic design before becoming a professional photographer and whether he's shooting high fashion and portraiture or moody monochrome landscapes, he is passionate about printing his photos. The Canon Ambassador has not one but three Canon photo printers at home, installed in a purpose-built live-streaming studio from which he runs online print workshops to share his enthusiasm and pass on his knowledge.

Clive believes professional photographers should buy and run their own photo printers because of the control it gives them. "For very little investment, you can create a colour-managed workflow at home or in your studio," he explains. "You can then monetise your work, selling prints with complete confidence."

So, what should a professional photographer look for in a photo printer? "Top of the list would be colour fidelity and integrity to the original image," says Suhaib Hussain, Canon Europe Product Marketing Lead and print specialist. "Photographers put a huge effort into capturing images and painstakingly processing them, and they want that to be represented in print. Cost is another major concern, so our aim is to make the printing process simple, quick and cost-effective. Photographers need to feel confident that they can get the results they want without adding complications to their workflow or wasting ink and paper."

Here, we take a closer look at three Canon pro photo printers – the PIXMA PRO-200, imagePROGRAF PRO-300 and imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 – to see how they compare.

A hand holds one of several prints on a table besides a Canon PIXMA PRO-200.

The hardware and software in Canon's latest PIXMA and imagePROGRAF professional photo printers make it quick and easy to get the best possible results.

How to choose the best Canon pro photo printer for your needs

There are several key factors in selecting the best printer for you. Size is important, not only in terms of the largest prints that you want to create, but also in the form of the printer itself and how much room it takes up in your office or studio.

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Then there's the type of photos that you want to print, which means thinking about whether you want a printer that uses dye-based or pigment-based inks. For example, dye-based inks are more affordable and are ideal for colour vibrancy, which brings out the best in portraiture and landscapes. On the other hand, pigment-based inks are very versatile and capable of printing on to a range of media, including gallery prints. Pigment-based inks are also ideal for monochrome printing with rich blacks.

Finally, speed can also be an issue if you need to create big batches of large-format prints. To help you make the best Canon printer choice, here's how the latest PIXMA and imagePROGRAF professional printers compare. (If you're new to photo printing, read our best printers and best printers for photo printing guides for home and workplace solutions.)

A Canon PIXMA PRO-200 prints out a photograph of a forest. On the wall above it are four colourful prints of various sizes in black frames.

"The eight-ink system on the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 is unbeatable for delivering vibrant colour photo prints on glossy paper with real pop," says Suhaib. "The archival longevity of the ChromaLife 100 ink set is also very good for dye-based inks, at over 100 years."

A Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 prints out a striking black-and-white image of a boat.

"The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is nice and compact and, if you don't need to go bigger than A3+ (33 x 43cm), it can deliver fine art prints that are virtually indistinguishable from those created on the bigger imagePROGRAF printers, even though it uses 10 inks rather than 12," says Clive Booth. "I don't know how Canon has managed to do that!"

Canon PIXMA PRO-200 vs imagePROGRAF PRO-300 vs imagePROGRAF PRO-1000

The Canon PIXMA PRO-200 is Canon's entry-level professional photo printer. Based on eight ChromaLife 100 dye-based rather than pigment-based inks, it's particularly good for printing on glossy and lustre photo papers. The relatively small molecules of ink are fully absorbed beneath the protective top layer of the media giving a real shine to glossy prints. This also means photo prints are touch-dry as soon as they exit the printer.

Printing speed itself is also fast and longevity is very good for glossy prints, rated at over 100 years when stored in an album. Colour rendition is vibrant, suiting high-impact fashion and advertising photography, along with vivid colourful landscapes.

The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is nearly identical in size and weight to the PIXMA PRO-200, but is a more advanced printer. It runs on 10 LUCIA PRO pigment-based inks, which are better suited than dye-based inks for printing on matte and fine art paper. That's because the pigments are more robust and deliver gallery-quality prints with exceptional colour and really deep blacks for superior black and white photo output on these types of papers.

The longevity and archival quality of prints is excellent, which can be very important when creating prints to sell to clients. The imagePROGRAF PRO-300 can also deliver excellent results on glossy paper, thanks to the inclusion of a Chroma Optimizer cartridge, which enhances uniformity and minimises bronzing.

A Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 with the ink tray open revealing the 12 pigment-based LUCIA PRO inks inside.

Earning its red stripe, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 tabletop printer uses 12 pigment-based LUCIA PRO inks, just like the larger roll-feed printers in this line-up. Like all current imagePROGRAF PRO printers, the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 also includes a Chroma Optimizer, which greatly reduces bronzing and gloss differential when printing on glossy photo papers.

The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 takes everything up a level. It's an A2 printer, so you get a bigger maximum print size of 43 x 56cm, and a longer panoramic length of up to 1.2m. The gamut is even wider, with 12 pigment-based LUCIA PRO cartridges, again including a Chroma Optimizer but also adding photo grey and blue inks. The cartridges themselves each have a much higher capacity of 80ml, compared with 14ml for the imagePROGRAF PRO-300 printer. It's therefore better suited to higher-volume printing as well as simply for creating larger prints. Advanced features include a vacuum-based paper transport system to ensure the utmost accuracy, and additional software for keeping tabs on the price of each print, based on ink and paper costs.

Maximum print size

A3+ borderless

(329 x 483mm / 13 x 19in)
A3+ borderless

(329 x 483mm / 13 x 19in)
A2 borderless

(420 x 594mm / 16.5 x 23.4in)

Maximum custom page length

990.6mm/ 39in (bordered)
990.6mm / 39in (bordered)
1200mm / 47.2in

Ink type

8x dye-based ChromaLife 100 cartridges
10x pigment-based LUCIA PRO cartridges
12x pigment-based LUCIA PRO cartridges

Ink cartridges



12.6ml per cartridge


14ml per cartridge


80ml per cartridge

Maximum printing resolution

4800 x 2400 dpi (horizontal/vertical)
4800 x 2400 dpi (horizontal/vertical)
2400 x 1200 dpi (horizontal/vertical)

Print speed

Photo (A3+ with border)

Colour/PT-101 paper: approx. 1m 30s

Black/PT-101 paper: approx. 2m 55s
Photo (A3+ with border)

Colour/PT-101 paper: approx. 4m 15s

Black/PT-101 paper: approx. 4m 15s
Photo (A2 with border)

Colour/LU-101 paper: approx. 3m 35s

Colour or mono/PT-101 paper: approx. 6m

Paper feed

Top tray, Manual feed, Multi-purpose tray
Top tray, Manual feed, Multi-purpose tray
Top tray, Manual feed


USB B (Hi-Speed), Wi-Fi, Ethernet
USB B (Hi-Speed), Wi-Fi, Ethernet
USB B (Hi-Speed), Wi-Fi, Ethernet

Display screen

3in / 7.5cm colour LCD
3in / 7.5cm colour LCD
3in / 7.5cm colour LCD

Dimensions (WxDxH)

639 x 379 x 200mm (639 x 837 x 416mm with trays extended)
639 x 379 x 200mm (639 x 837 x 416mm with trays extended)
723 x 435 x 285mm



1. Best entry-level professional photo printer: Canon PIXMA PRO-200

  • Competitive entry-level purchase price
  • Eight dye-based inks 
  • Excellent quality for glossy prints with completely uniform reflectivity 
  • Extended gamut compared with conventional six-ink photo printers 
  • Three black and grey inks for enhanced black and white photo output
  • Very fast, with A3+ bordered photo prints in as little as 90 seconds1
  • A3+ borderless output on gloss or matte media
  • Panoramic prints of up to 99cm in length 
  • Sturdy build quality based on a metal chassis 
  • Compact footprint for an A3+ pro printer 
  • Compatible with Canon's free-of-charge Professional Print & Layout software 
  • Wide-ranging support for Canon and third-party photo papers

Unlike the other printers here, the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 uses dye-based rather than pigment-based inks. Colour accuracy and print longevity are excellent thanks to the eight-ink ChromaLife 100 ink system. "As an A3+ printer, it can output 13 x 17in (33 x 43cm) prints, as well as longer prints up to just under a metre in length, but it's nice and compact so it's easy to fit in any home or studio," says Suhaib. "As a dye-based printer, it's very fast and can output A3+ borderless photo prints in under three minutes, which are touch-dry on completion."

Although inexpensive for an A3+/13in printer, the PIXMA PRO-200 shares many features with the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300. "The new paper transport system has auto skew correction and retracting paper guides," explains Suhaib. "This avoids wastage of ink or paper due to paper misalignment. The greater accuracy also enables borderless edge-to-edge printing for matte and fine art media, instead of just on glossy paper."

The Canon PIXMA PRO-200.

Canon PIXMA PRO-200

Focused on vibrant colour photo printing, versatility and usability, PIXMA PRO-200 uses eight dye-based inks and is the ideal choice for photo enthusiasts and aspiring photographers.

To build confidence and streamline the workflow, pro-level software is consistent across the range. "The whole range of printers is very robust and has the same simple interface," explains Clive. "Canon Professional Print & Layout (PPL) software is like the glue that sticks everything together, which I absolutely love. When you buy a Canon photo printer, you're supported by software that works with your workflow and really simplifies the process."

A Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 prints a black and white portrait of a man in a black top and trousers posing across a chair in front of a window.

Clive used the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 to produce a set of large-format portraits of ballet visionary Carlos Acosta. Like the Canon PIXMA PRO-200, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is relatively compact and lightweight, so it's easy to find a place for the printer in a busy studio. © Clive Booth

2. Best A3+/13in photo printer: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300

  • 10 pigment-based inks for enhanced gamut
  • Includes both photo black and matte black inks for matte and glossy paper 
  • Outstanding colour quality on matte and fine art media 
  • Superior black and white photo print quality, especially on matte and fine art paper 
  • Borderless A3+ output on both matte and glossy papers 
  • Chroma Optimizer cartridge to minimise bronzing on glossy photo paper 
  • Direct support for fine art papers from suppliers like Canson and Hahnemühle 
  • Panoramic prints of up to 99cm in length 
  • Automatic detection for blocked print head nozzles to avoid degradation of quality 
  • A3+ borderless prints in approximately 4 minutes 15 seconds 
  • Compatible with Canon's free-of-charge Professional Print & Layout software 
  • Sturdy build quality based on a metal chassis

"When you're making prints to sell, you've got to know that they're going to last," says Clive. "The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 uses 10 pigment-based LUCIA PRO inks that can create prints with an archival life of over 200 years. I can't think of any form of digital storage where you can guarantee it'll still be around that far into the future.

"The ink in the PRO-300 has been reformulated to give even deeper, richer blacks," he adds. "It's stunning for monochrome photo prints. I made some landscape prints and was just amazed at the subtlety of the detail in the shadows and highlights, and the overall sharpness. It was like looking through a window to the moment I took the picture. That's how good the print was."

The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300

A desktop imagePROGRAF professional printer delivering A3+ gallery quality prints from 10 pigment-based inks with an easy workflow for confident printing.

Suhaib points out that the pigment-based LUCIA PRO ink set is formulated for creating gallery-quality photo prints. "Compared with dye-based inks, this is what we recommend if you're selling prints, creating prints to hang in galleries or for exhibitions, and for archival purposes. With the addition of matte black as well as photo black and grey inks, monochrome photo printing is absolutely fantastic on all kinds of photo paper and fine art media. And the Chroma Optimizer used in all imagePROGRAF printers really helps to minimise bronzing."

A Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000, situated on a marble table in a small office, prints out a picture of a sandy red landscape.

Automatic scanning of the print head on the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 detects if a nozzle becomes blocked and, if so, activates backup nozzles to avoid any irregularities spoiling the print. "It's another feature that enhances reliability and avoids wasted ink and paper," says Suhaib.

3. Best photo printer overall: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000

Although Clive owns a number of pro-grade printers, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is his go-to workhorse. "For anything up to and including A2 or 43 x 56cm printing, I've been using the PRO-1000 ever since its launch. For any pro photographer who's thinking of getting into printing, it's an ideal solution. The 12-ink LUCIA PRO system gives incredible range but this is still a compact printer compared with one of the bigger, roll-fed imagePROGRAF models. Even so, it can take sheets of paper up to 1.2m in length. It doesn't have a roll-feed adapter but, where possible, I prefer using flat sheets of cut paper anyway."

The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000.

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000

Print with confidence and in stunning detail with the A2 format imagePROGRAF PRO-1000. It has an advanced 12-ink system for a wider colour gamut and a seamless print workflow from input to output.

Reliability is a key requirement for any professional kit, and Clive confirms that none of his Canon printers has ever let him down. "These are immensely complex machines that work to the tightest tolerances, and I've been amazed at how Canon manages to build such reliability into them," he says.

"The PRO-1000 has a vacuum-based paper transport system that keeps the media absolutely flat as it passes through the printer," adds Suhaib. "For ink reliability, every current imagePROGRAF printer features an automatic nozzle recovery mechanism. The molecules of pigment-based inks are larger than those of dye-based inks, so nozzles are more at risk of clogging. However, the thermal inkjet design of Canon's FINE technology in the print heads enables an extremely high density of nozzles."

Like other printers in the PRO line-up, the PRO-1000 includes direct support for Canson®, Hahnemühle and other paper brands, so you can make the most of fine art media, with quick and easy application of ICC printer profiles to ensure that prints look their absolute best.

So which Canon professional printer is the best? In summary, Suhaib says that the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 is a comparatively entry-level professional photo printer that's very affordable and equally well suited to photography students and enthusiasts, as well to pro photographers on a tighter budget. It's perfect for creating glossy and lustre photo prints. The pigment-based imagePROGRAF PRO-300 and PRO-1000 are superior for printing on matte and fine art media, as well as for creating black and white photo prints. There's little to choose between the print quality of the PRO-300 and PRO-1000 printers, but the pricier PRO-1000 wins out if you want to make prints larger than A3+. Also, its high-capacity ink cartridges make it ideal for printing in higher volumes.

Matthew Richards

1. Photo print speed is based on the default setting using ISO/JIS-SCID N2 on Canon Pro Platinum paper, A3+ with border.

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