Why print black when you can Pixma bleck?


I have come to realise that we live in a post-magic civilisation. The details of inkjet printing are more esoteric than anything The Order of the Golden Dawn could have ever thought up, and heaven and hell are separated by a mere razor’s edge between the transitory salvation of printing satisfactorily and the potentially endless purgatory of not printing satisfactorily.

Apart from The Good Lord Himself, who knows what evil lurks in the minds of Canon printer engineers. In Australia Canon used the advertising tag-line “Why print when you can Pixma?” and I’ll tell you why in a moment.

What’s wrong with this picture?


That is correct, the one on the left is black-and-white and the one of the right is blue/black-and-white. Both were printed on my recently purchased Canon Pixma iX6550. The one on the right was printed on the “A3” page layout option and the one on the right with the “A3 (borderless)” setting, both with “grayscale printing” checked.

The iX6550 uses two different black cartridges, a dye black and a pigment black, although there is no user control of which is used. The pigment black is like the pitiless dead eyes of a shark, and the dye black is more like the dewy pupils of an apologetic Care Bear, kinda black-ish but tolerable. For some reason I cannot determine, it uses the dye black (mixed with other colours) when printing edge-to-edge and exclusively the pigment black when not printing borderless. The difference is not just noticeable, it is quite marked, and the pigment black is actually far too black for a mixed colour print compared with the saturation of the CMY colours.

Okay so, what’s wrong with this picture?

Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 16.18.07

That is correct, the scan above is monochrome dithered and the one below is multi-colour blended. Despite selecting “grayscale printing” neither of them is actually gray, never mind grey. I hate to be picky but gray/grey is not a movable feast so mobile that any approximation will do.

Do you think one is the the North American “gray” and the other the British “grey”?

It’s quite possible that I’m missing something and I will be happy to publish my contrition should I be shown to have overlooked a user-definable setting. This printer is perfectly capable of producing outstanding results, it’s just a shame it insists on Pixma-ing rather than printing.

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3 Responses to Why print black when you can Pixma bleck?

  1. Oskar says:

    Did you solve this?

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