Canon PROGRAF iPF5000
Intel Mac Driver and Plug-In Update
Anyone who bought a Canon iPF5000 printer and who also uses an Intel Mac has had to suffer through the lack of a printer driver. The Canon 16 Bit printer Plug-In works from within Photoshop and Canon's DPP software, but no regular printer driver has been available over the six months that the iPF5000 has been shipping.
This wasn't that big a deal for anyone printing from within Photoshop, because the Plug-In was a much preferable way to work than using the normal driver. But for anyone wanting to print from within Adobe LightRoom, Apple Aperture, or any other application, the lack of an Intel driver was not just an inconvenience, it was a show-stopper.
Finally though Canon has gotten around to releasing both Intel Mac drivers and a new Intel plug-in.
The drivers work as advertised. Installation is straightforward. A reboot is required, and that's it.
With the Plug you'll need to point to where you want it installed, likely in the Photoshop CS2 Plug-ins directory. It's probably a good idea to delete the old plug-in first so that you don't confuse them.
In my preliminary testing I can see no difference between the old Plug-In and the new one, either in terms of performance or features.
One bit of advice though if you're using custom profiles. The 16 Bit driver definitely needs to be profiled separately from the regular driver. Results will be quite different, unlike what I have read on some discussion forums.
Finally there's the matter of the iPF5000's firmware. It continues to nag and annoy. But I have now grown familiar with its foibles and it no longer bothers me as much as it once did. It does need to be updated though, and I am assured by Canon that a firmware update for the iPF5000 is on the way, likely before the end of this year.
As for my experience with the 12-ink Canon iPF5000 – it continues to be the finest printer that I've ever used. Superb print quality on both glossy and matte media, very wide gamut, and not a single head clog in 6 months of printing. Not one. I haven't gotten around to doing any formal consistency comparisons, but an eyeball check of the same image printed six months and about 500 prints ago, and one printed today, shows them to be visually identical.
I have also found the iPF5000 to be very parsimonious when it comes to ink usage. As this is written I am in the midst of a major printing project, producing about 1,000 11X17" prints over a short period of time, and the ink levels barely seem to be budging. I'll have more to write about this in a future update.
Now if Canon would just hurry up with the new firmware, and Colorbyte with their new RIP, all would be right with the world.
The new Intel Mac iPF5000 driver and plug-in are currently available from the Canon Canada web site.
Ps: Just a word of advise for new iPF5000 users. When the printer starts to warn that an ink is low, it's time to buy a replacement cartridge. But don't install it until the printer actually tells you that it's empty. I have found that, depending on the ink, you will get between 10 and as many as 50 additional prints before the cart actually runs out. The photo black and matte blacks will go the fastest.