Technology Used in Canon's Commercial Photo Printer
Canon's DreamLabo commercial photo printer, newly developed for the retail photo industry,*1 employs a variety of printing technologies made possible by Canon's extensive product development ranging from consumer-use inkjet printers to commercial digital multifunction printers.
- *1 Over-the-counter and Web-based print-service business targeting the production of photo prints, photo albums and other high-value-added photo materials.
Technologies Delivering Superior Image Quality
High-Quality Photo Prints with a Feeling of Translucence, Weight, and Depth that Comprehensively Surpass Silver Halide Photography*2
Professional printing equipment used in the retail photo industry must deliver a level of image quality that equals or surpasses that of conventional silver halide photographs. Canon's DreamLabo commercial photo printer incorporates a range of high-image-quality printing technologies cultivated by the company, including FINE high-density print head technology.
DreamLabo employs a seven-color dye-based ink system that includes the standard cyan, magenta, yellow, and black colors, as well as photo cyan, photo magenta and gray. This ink system makes possible the realization of smooth gradation, even in the bright areas of color photographs. Conventionally, gray is produced by mixing cyan, magenta, yellow and black, which tends to create red or blue overtones. But, by employing gray ink, DreamLabo offers stable color reproduction without color imbalances while also enabling excellent gradation performance when outputting monochrome images.
Creating images with a sense of translucence, Canon's DreamLabo is capable of reproducing a wide range of colors in addition to bright blues and yellows, colors which have traditionally been difficult to reproduce in silver halide photographs. The printer excels at reproducing dark colors in the dark areas of an image to create a feeling of both weight and depth-two factors considered strengths of silver halide photographs-for color reproduction performance that comprehensively surpasses that of conventional silver halide photography.*3
The DreamLabo is equipped with an advanced photo correction function that brings together face detection, scene categorization, and light-source calculation technologies to automatically analyze images and adjust color and skin tone (note: function can be disabled). This feature eliminates the need for experienced operators to adjust color tone during printing.
The printing of such items as catalogs requires not only high image quality, but also high text quality. With conventional inkjet technology, dots become misshapen when ink droplets are ejected onto the paper, resulting in poor legibility when printing text of 3 points or smaller. DreamLabo consistently ejects uniform microscopic ink droplets, placing them accurately on the page and, through high-precision control, ensures that each dot is a near-perfect circle. This technology reduces the occurrence of text smearing, making possible sharp, beautiful text.
- *2 Compared with conventional silver halide photos. Based on Canon research
- *3 Based on Canon research
Canon's Cutting Edge Technologies Deliver High-Speed Printing and Minimal Downtime for High-Productivity Performance
In addition to superior print quality, the retail photo and commercial printing industries require high productivity, which includes such factors as high-speed printing, ease of maintenance and minimal downtime. The DreamLabo incorporates Canon's high-productivity technologies to meet these needs.The greatest factor contributing to the printer's high-image-quality performance is the use of FINE high-density print head technology. In addition to incorporating FINE technology, the DreamLabo's newly developed print head can print at a width of up to 12 inches (approx. 30 cm) over a printing length of up to 25 inches (approx. 63 cm). With this capability, the printer can produce impressive albums with double-page spread layouts of 12 inches by 12 inches (approx. 30 cm by 30 cm). Delivering print speeds befitting a professional printer, the DreamLabo's One-Pass Printing can produce as many as 2,600 L-size (approx. 3.5x5 inches, or 89x127mm) photographs per hour with a single pass of the printing paper while the print head remains in a fixed position. The DreamLabo is equipped with automatic double-sided printing, which eliminates later manual processes, and is capable of printing a 20-page A4-size photo album in 72 seconds and 50 albums per hour.*4
Realizing minimal downtime, the Double Paper Magazine and Double Ink Tank Systems ensure that the printer is able to operate uninterrupted for extended periods of time.
The Double Magazine System makes use of two rolls of paper so that, when one roll runs out, the printer automatically switches its paper supply to the other magazine, enabling rolls to be replaced without interrupting operation. When equipped with an optional paper deck, up to four rolls of paper can be used, delivering even longer continuous printing. The DreamLabo's Double Ink Tank System helps prevent downtime caused by ink running out. Ink from the main ink tank is temporarily stocked in a buffer ink tank, which supplies ink to the print head. This system enables continuous printing, even when the main ink tank is empty by making use of the ink stocked in the buffer ink tank. The main ink tank can then be replaced without interruption.
The DreamLabo supports easy maintenance through a body design that consolidates parts into units as much as possible, enabling regular maintenance procedures, such as the replacement of consumable parts, to be carried out by users.*5 Through its easy maintenance design, the DreamLabo minimizes downtime and makes possible continuous printing over extended periods of time.
- *4 Album production requires a separate bookbinding process.
- *5 Requires Canon service training and certification.