Here we take a look at the differences between the Canon PRO-4000 and the HP Z9+ DR V-Trimmer to help those weighing up their options at the moment.

Canon PRO-4000 vs HP Z9+ dr V-Trimmer Comparison

The Canon PRO-4000 and the HP Z9+ DR (Dual Roll) V-Trimmer are both printers aimed at the Technical, Photographic and Graphical  Arts Market places. They pretty much are direct rivals in terms of the job they do and the market they are aimed at. If you have found you’re way here, I am guessing that you may be considering a purchase of either one of these wide format printers.

Hopefully this short guide with a quick look at the main features should help you decide which printer will be best for your needs. We review the findings from the vigorous BLI tests on these two 44" printer models.

Overview

HP Z9+ Location of Dual RollsThe Canon PRO-4000 is a 12 colour printer, whilst the HP Z9+ is a nine colour printer (with an optional Gloss Enhancer Kit addition making ten). The Canon PRO-4000 utilises two black inks and two grey inks, whilst the HP Z9+ DR V-Trimmer utilises two black inks and one grey ink. The image output in colour and monochrome from both printers was found to be of an exceptionally high standard as you would expect for printers designed for their respective target market.

Both the Canon PRO-4000 and the HP DesignJet Z9+ DR V-Trimmer can take a maximum media thickness of 0.8mm. The Maximum outside diameter of the roll that will fit on the Canon PRO-4000 is 170mm, whilst the HP Z9+ DR V-Trimmer can take a maximum outside diameter roll size of 136mm. Again both printers are able to take either a 2" or 3" core, but the HP will not be able to accommodate as long a roll as the Canon can. 

The HP Z9+ printer model we are discussing here comes with the dual roll (DR) included. HP also do another HP Z9+ 44" model without the dual roll option. The Canon PRO-4000 is available with a dual roll unit too. To give you an idea on the pricing on these as a direct comparison, today the HP Z9+ DR V-Trimmer would cost £4635.00 and the Canon PRO-4000 with the Dual Roll option added would cost £4890.00. One thing to note is that the location of both roll units on the Canon is at the front of the printer, whilst the location of both rolls on the HP is at the back. Therefore you will need space to pull the printer away from the wall to change the second roll (the first roll can be reached from the front if you reach over). This printer cannot sit flush against a wall either or you might have paper feed issues. There are built in wall spacers located towards each end of roll one, which you need to pull down and this will give you the minimum spacing required to clear your rolls.

Size

Size comparison of Canon PRO-4000 and HP Z9+ DR V-TrimmerThe Canon PRO-4000 stands in a slightly smaller footprint than the HP Z9+ DR V-Trimmer. 

The Canon's dimensions are 1593mm x 766mm x 1168mm (Width x Depth x Height) and 123kg in weight.

The HP stands in at 1802mm x 695mm x 998mm (Width x Depth x Height) and 98kg in weight.

So whilst the Canon is a little deeper, overall, it will fit more easily into that tight studio / workshop space. Most people are concerned with the width of the printers when working with space critical areas. Also as we said above, you will need space to get around the back of the HP Z9+ to change rolls.

Printheads

Both the Canon and HP have user replaceable printheads. This means no expensive engineer call out fees to replace the printhead as you would with some other manufacturers printers. The replacement of these printheads on the Canon and HP is also pretty straightforward. On both printer models to replace the printhead takes less than five minutes. 

On the Canon PRO-4000 the Canon PF-10 printhead is the replacement part you need and at the time of writing this costs £406.73. With the Canon it is just one printhead that you need for all twelve colours, making this a super simple replacement.

On the HP Z9+ you will need the HP 746 printhead and as of today this costs £69.10. Each HP 746 printhead takes two colour channels and is universal- meaning it is not colour specific until loaded into the printer. On the HP Z9+ you will need five of these printheads, so to complete the job this will cost you £345.50.

During the BLI evaluation it was found that the printheads in both the Canon and the HP performed reliably. The Canon also suffered no issues when powered off for the weekend, whilst the HP Z9+ did require a clean cycle of the printhead after powering off for the weekend to resolve issues with nozzle clogging. 

Inks

Canon PRO-4000 Hot Swap Ink Tank SystemThe Canon PRO-4000 is a 12 colour printer and the HP Z9+ is a 9 colour printer with the option to upgrade and add a Gloss Enhancer as a tenth colour channel. The Canon uses a Chroma Optimiser in one of its channels as standard and this is basically like the HP equivalent Gloss Enhancer, which is to minimise bronzing on gloss and satin photo papers and produce images with uniform gloss.

In the BLI evaluation the Canon delivered superior image quality overall, with better fine detailing in dark contrast areas, more natural looking skin tones and exhibiting more vibrant colours on photographic images. Text and fine line reproduction was also better on the Canon PRO-4000 and there was no overspray as observed on the HP Z9+.

Another significant time saving feature is that of the hot swap ink tanks with the Canon, which means you are able to swap an ink, even when the printer is active during a print job without interruption. With the HP, printing has to stop for the ink cartridges to be replaced, which does mean for more downtime.

The Canon PRO-4000 offers three replacement ink cartridge capacity options - 130ml, 300ml and 700ml for all colours. You can also mix and match the different sizes, so if you use more Photo Black ink for example you might want to install a 700ml cartridge and if you use Yellow least often you might want to only install a 130ml cartridge. With the Canon you have the flexibility to be able to do this. The HP Z9+ only offers a 300ml cartridge for all colours.

Average weight of ink used (grams) between the Canon PRO-4000 and the HP Z9+ dr V-Trimmer

When evaluating both the Canon PRO-4000 and the HP Z9+ DR V-Trimmer when printing a Packing Proof on semi-gloss proofing media in Standard / Normal mode the Canon PRO-4000 used 34.5% less ink. 

When printing a Retail Sales poster in Standard / Normal Mode on Matt Coated media the HP Z9+ used 41.2% less ink.

Again when printing a Studio Portrait in Standard / Normal mode on semi-gloss photo media the Canon used 26.4% less ink.

These results are worth noting as it would seem that if your media of choice is usually a Satin finish, then you will gain the most cost savings on ink with the Canon PRO-4000. However if you usually print on Matt finish media then the HP Z9+ will deliver better cost savings on ink based on the results analysis in these tests.

Power Consumption

The HP Z9+ DR V-Trimmer does advertise lower power consumption whilst printing, at 100W compared to the Canon at 112W. However the Canon has the lower power consumption whilst in standby mode at 1.8W compared to 32W of the HP. Lets take a look at this in real terms based on a 8 hour a day, five day week working cycle.

HP Printing – 100W x 8 = 800W | HP Standby – 32W x 16 = 512W = 1312W daily
Canon Printing – 112W x 8 = 896W | Canon Standby - 1.8W x 16 = 28.8W = 924.8W daily

HP Weekend power consumption - 48 x 32W = 1536W
Canon weekend power consumption – 48 x 1.8W = 86.4W

Week total HP – 2848W
Week total Canon – 1011.2W

As you can see overall, there are considerable savings to be had in energy usage with the HP using well over double the energy than that of the Canon. If you are going to be using your printer less frequently than we have outlined here, then these savings will be even greater.

Colour Management

HP Z9+ DR V-Trimmer wide format printerBoth printers offer ways in which to manage the colour of your printer. HP offer an inline X-Rite i1 Spectrophotometer to provide precise colour management control.

The Canon has a built in densitometer as standard, allowing you to re-calibrate the printer at regular intervals, thus preventing colour drift. This can be done via the free software provided – Device Management Console in the Quick Utility Toolbox.

Print Quality

Both printers offer excellent image quality as would be expected for printers aimed at the Graphic Arts marketplace. Both the Canon and the HP deliver a very high standard of output in colour, appropriate for any poster and photo printing application. Both printers deliver highly accurate colour reproduction, consistent skin tone colours and smooth halftone coverage in both colour and black. However it was found that the Canon PRO-4000 does have the advantage with its finer detailing in dark contrast areas and better depth of field. The colour gamut offered by both these printers is almost identical, too close for it to be of any consequence.

Neutral greyscale produced by both printers was equally good and was maintained well. The HP's greyscale output did display a 'truer' neutral grey. Both the Canon and the HP delivered an impressive range of halftone fills in colour mode with no banding or graininess. 

When printing skintones the Canon yielded fairly consistent results and whilst the HP displayed a greater variance by comparison with two of the three skin tones, this variance would not be considered significant enough to be discernible to the naked eye.

The Canon was found to deliver better output quality overall, with more vibrant colours and superior fine detailing in light and dark contrast areas. The output from the HP was slightly darker and therefore suffered from a loss of integrity in dark contrast areas.

Both printers offer borderless printing.

Productivity

The Canon has the clear speed advantage when it comes to speed of print. Both printer models were only tested in either Standard / Normal mode or High / Best mode. These printers were not tested in Fast / Draft mode given the nature of the job that these printers were created to complete. 

When printing a single high resolution portrait as the first print from a ready state in Standard / Normal mode the PRO-4000 was 35.6% faster than the Z9+ and in High / Best mode the PRO-4000 was 31.6% faster.

When printing a medium resolution retail poster from a ready state, the Canon PRO-4000 was 8.3% faster in Standard / Normal mode and 12.1% faster in High / Best mode.

When evaluating page throughput for speed, both printers were asked to print five A1 copies of a high resolution portrait. In Standard / Normal mode the Canon was 28.4% faster and when printing in High / Best mode the Canon was 25.8% faster.

It was found with the HP Z9+ that the speed of printing when using the V-Trimmer was slower than when printing without using the V-Trimmer. On an A1 high resolution portrait the use of the V-Trimmer increased the time it took to print a page by over 23 seconds. However, arguably, if you had to then take that same print to trim it separately, then the increased time it takes to print becomes negligible. 

Final Thoughts

The Canon PRO-4000 offers a clear print speed advantage, lower ink consumption, overall superior image quality, less downtime with its hot swap ink tanks and user replaceable printhead, a densitometer as standard to ensure colour consistency throughout the life of the printer, to name just a few of the advantages.

The HP does have a stronger device feature set overall with the built in Dual Roll, built in Vertical Trimmer, built in Spectrophotometer, a larger 500GB hard drive (320GB on the Canon PRO-4000) and a larger memory to aid job processing and job storage.

Both printers produce excellent quality output and someone purchasing either one of these printers would not be disappointed with the results.

Advantage comparison between the Canon PRO-4000 and the HP Z9+ dr V-Trimmer

In the words of Buyers Lab…

“All things considered, the Canon PRO-4000 had the advantage in Buyers Lab's large-format evaluation delivering faster productivity, lower ink consumption overall, a stronger driver feature set and better image quality.”

CLICK HERE to view the full BLI Comparison Report for Canon PRO-4000 vs HP Z9+ dr V-Trimmer  

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