Here we take a look at the differences between the Canon PRO-4000S and the Epson SC-P8000 to help those weighing up their options at the moment.

Canon PRO-4000S vs Epson SC-P8000 Comparison

The Canon PRO-4000S and the Epson SC-P8000 are both printers aimed at the Graphic 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.

Overview

Canon PRO-4000S v Epson SC-P8000 touchscreen facilityThe Canon PRO-4000S is an 8 colour printer, whilst the Epson SC-P8000 is a nine colour printer (although it only uses eight colours at a time). The Canon PRO-4000S utilises two black inks and one grey ink, whilst the Epson SC-P8000 utilises two black inks and two grey inks. The Epson SC-P8000 does have a slightly larger colour gamut, however it does also use more ink, which in part can be attributed to the fact that you need to manually swap between Matt Black and Photo Black. The Canon PRO-4000S is able to auto switch the Black ink channels according to the settings you use when sending a job to print.

The Canon PRO-4000S is built to be able to take not only a heavier media, but also a larger roll diameter. The Canon can take a maximum media thickness of 0.7mm on a roll or 0.8mm for sheets, whilst the Epson can take a maximum media thickness of 0.5mm. The Maximum outside diameter of the roll that will fit on the Canon PRO-4000S in 170mm, whilst the Epson SC-P8000 can take a maximum outside diameter roll size of 150mm.

The Canon PRO-4000S has a larger standard memory of 3GB as opposed to the 1GB standard memory on the Epson. The Canon also has a 320GB hard-drive built in, which allows for the storage of commonly used documents and aids spooling workflow. The Epson offers a 320GB hard-drive as an optional extra.

The Canon also offers a Dual Roll unit as an optional extra. The Epson does not offer this feature. A dual roll unit can be added to the Canon PRO-4000S at any point, not just ordered at the time of the original purchase, allowing this printer to grow as your business does. Dual roll units offer a lot in terms of flexibility for businesses as you can use two rolls of the same media to allow for long unattended print runs, or you can load a second roll of different media, meaning that you do not have to keep switching media rolls each time you need the other type of media. The dual roll can also be used as a take up reel, which can take up the printed media onto a roll either facing inwards or outwards ready for the next part of the process.

Both printers can take either 2" or 3" cores, but the Canon can take a slightly larger diameter roll (170mm as opposed to 150mm).

Both the Canon and the Epson offer USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. Only the Canon PRO-4000S offers direct Wi-Fi connectivity, the Epson does not offer this option.

Size

Size comparison of Canon PRO-4000S and Epson SC-P8000The Canon PRO-4000S stands in a slightly smaller footprint than the Epson SC-P8000.

The Canon's dimensions are 1593mm x 766mm x 1168mm (Width x Depth x Height) and 121kg in weight.

The Epson stands in at 1864mm x 667mm x 1218mm (Width x Depth x Height) and 135kg in weight.

So whilst the Canon is a little deeper, overall it will fit more easily into that tight studio / workshop space, as most people are concerned with the width of the printers when working with space critical areas.

Printheads

To replace a printhead on an Epson requires a service engineer call-out and this, along with the cost of the replacement printhead can cost thousands of pounds. More often than not, it is not really a financially sound option to go ahead and replace the part and another printer purchase may be a more viable alternative.

On the Canon however the printhead is user replaceable. This means no expensive engineer call out fees. The replacement itself is pretty straightforward and not expensive. The Canon PF-10 printhead is the replacement part you need and at the time of writing this costs £406.73.

Both printer models showed to have printhead reliabilty and neither had any issues with clogging nozzles during the evaluation. 

Inks

Canon PRO-4000S Hot Swap Ink Tank SystemThe Canon PRO-4000S is an 8 colour printer and the Epson SC-P8000 is a 9 colour printer (although there are 8 ink channels and you need to swap Matt Black and Photo Black in the same Channel). The Epson does offer a slightly larger colour gamut (11.9% larger gamut when printing on photo paper) than the Canon when compared like for like.

Both printers delivered an exceptionally high standard of colour, which is what you would expect for printers that are aimed at the Graphics Art market. The Canon, despite the slightly smaller colour gamut did take the edge overall in the evaluation with crisper text and smoother circles. In the photographic evaluation the Canon PRO-4000S delivered finer detailing in the dark contrast areas and smoother transitions between light and dark areas. The Graphics output for both printers was of a comparable quality, with both delivering natural looking skin tones in photographic images.

One important factor to consider though is that with the Epson SC-P8000 you will have to switch the Black ink, between Photo Black and Matt Black. This process does not take too long – no more than a couple of minutes, but it does waste ink. The Canon PRO-4000S is able to distinguish which black ink is required according to the paper settings when sending to print and will then only use the ink type required for the print. In my opinion this is a more intelligent set up and much less wasteful. Also if you are in a busy printing environment, spending a few minutes switching ink can be a bind.

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 Epson, printing has to stop for the ink cartridges to be replaced, which does mean for more downtime.

Average weight of ink used (grams) between the Canon PRO-4000S and the Epson SC-P8000

When evaluating both the Canon PRO-4000S and the Epson SC-P8000 a Retail Poster print run was completed in Standard / Quality Mode on Matt Coated Media. During this print run the Canon PRO-4000S used significantly less ink - a whopping 56.1% less ink in fact.

During a similar test run printing a Studio Portrait using Standard / Quality Mode on Gloss Photo Media the Canon PRO-4000S used 50% less ink than the Epson SC-P8000.

Power Consumption

The Epson does advertise lower power consumption whilst printing, at 75W compared to the Canon at 107W. However the Canon has the lower power consumption whilst in standby mode at 1.8W compared to 5.4W of the Epson. Lets take a look at this in real terms based on a 8 hour a day, five day week working cycle.

Epson Printing – 75W x 8 = 600W Epson Standby – 5.4W x 16 = 86.4W = 686.4W daily
Canon Printing – 107W x 8 = 856W Canon Standby - 1.8W x 16 = 28.8W = 884.8W daily

Epson Weekend power consumption - 48 x 5.4W = 259.2W
Canon weekend power consumption – 48 x 1.8W = 86.4W

Week total Epson – 945.6W
Week total Canon – 971.2W

As you can see overall, there is not much in terms of gains to be had in power consumption between these two printer models, although the Epson does have the slight advantage.

Colour Management

Epson SC-P8000 wide format printerBoth printers offer ways in which to manage the colour of your printer. Epson offer an X-Rite Spectrophotometer (SpectroProofer) as an optional extra to provide 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 in this class. However it was found that the Canon PRO-4000S does have the advantage with its finer detailing in dark contrast areas and better transitions between light and dark areas.

Neutral grey produced by both printers was comparable. When comparing skin tones from both printers the results were fairly consistent - with both printers producing very good natural looking skin tones in photographic images. The Canon PRO-4000S did display more variance with all three skin shades than the Epson SC-P8000, however, overall there's no meaningful real-world difference that would be discernible to the naked eye.

Both printers offer borderless printing.

Productivity

The Canon has the clear advantage when it comes to speed of print. When printing a single high resolution portrait it was found to be 46.3% faster than the Epson when using Highest / Max Quality setting for the first print out from a ready state. Consecutive print speeds were also measured and again the Canon PRO-4000S was 41.1% faster than the Epson on average.

When printing a single medium resolution retail poster on matt coated media the Canon PRO-4000S delivered first print out speeds that were faster by 47.1% in Standard / Speed Modes, 44.3% in High / Quality Mode and 13.4% faster in Highest / Max Quality Modes, when compared to the Epson.

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 Epson does have the advantage in terms of a larger colour gamut. The Epson also does have smaller (but variable) ink drop sizes.

Advantage comparison between the Canon PRO-4000S and the Epson SC-P8000

In the words of Buyers Lab…

“With its superior productivity performance, better image quality overall, lower ink consumption and richer device feature set, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000S outshone the Epson SureColor SC-P8000 in the major categories evaluated. The PRO-4000S's productivity performance, in particular was outstanding, with a clear speed advantage in all tested modes. It also features a significant productivity boosting hot-swap ink tank design, which lets users replace empty inks while the device is still actively printing.”

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