As with other Pixmas, Canon's printer driver divides key functions among six easy-to-navigate tabs. The main tab supplies drop-down lists for choosing paper type and input source. You can tell the printer to use the default source specified by the its feed switch, override the switch to use the top tray or the lower cassette, or choose continuous autofeed to switch automatically from one source to the other when the selected tray runs out. The Paper Allocation feature can be used to specify both the size and the surface type of paper loaded into the cassette.
The main tab's Print Quality settings include High, Standard and Draft quality. A Custom setting lets you trade off between Fast/Coarse and Slow/Fine print quality and specify the type of halftoning applied to photo images. Automatic colour adjustment can be tweaked manually with cyan, magenta, yellow and black sliders. You can also use Windows' Image Color Management (ICM) for software-based colour management or the sRGB colour space for automatic colour matching. There's a check box to select greyscale printing and a wizard-based print adviser to provide help for inexperienced users.
The Page Setup tab sets orientation, duplexing and number of copies. It also allocates a margin for stapling along any edge. The Stamp/Background tab lets you mark each page with a notice, such as 'draft', or overprint a page with a background image or a watermark. Other tabs add colour toning such as sepia or pink hues to pages, boost saturation of greens and blues to accentuate the foliage and the sky without affecting skin tones, and apply Canon's Image Optimizer settings to reduce artefacts in low-resolution images. Although noise reduction is better done in a digital camera or an image editor, Canon offers that feature, too, as a quick fix. Any of these settings can be saved as a profile for reuse.
The Maintenance tab has the customary nozzle-cleaning and printhead alignment functions, along with a useful bottom-plate-cleaning step that uses a piece of A4 paper that's been folded and straightened out to wipe the printer clean prior to two-sided printing.
The Canon Pixma iP5000 printed our 10-page plain-paper text-speed test quickly, averaging 7.1 pages per minute (ppm). It performed a little quicker than its slightly less expensive sibling, the iP4000, which scored 6.7ppm on the same test. The iP5000 printed our 200x250mm colour test photo on Canon's Photo Pro paper in 1.9 minutes -- a good, fast time but a mite slower than the iP4000's 1.8 minutes on the same test. This is likely a consequence of the smaller droplets, which we imagine require a slower movement of the printhead to achieve the correct placement and density.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
The gamut produced by the Pixma iP5000's four-colour ink set can't match those of real photo printers. However, its minuscule droplets produced excellent text -- some of the best we've seen -- and allowed the printer to render photos with far more detail and accuracy in the midtones than comparable four-colour models do. Skin tones looked very good, colour gradients showed no colour banding, and small text -- Roman down to 2 points and italic down to 2.5 points -- was surprisingly well formed. We saw a full range of colours with good saturation, particularly in images that had been colour-boosted in Photoshop.
Edited by Lori Grunin
Additional editing by Nick Hide