How much ink does the printer use per square foot of paper printed?

There is no good answer, as it really depends on the nature of the images you print (and probably the Media Type as well). There is a forum thread with various usage figures. However, here is what I consider a good estimate and fits with my own experience:

"I just made 2 prints on the iPF5000 (glossy photo) both 11 x 17 (actual image aprox 10 x 15 = about one square foot). One was almost white (0.3 ml of ink) and one almost black (1.5 ml of ink). I would use an average of 0.9 ml per square foot so at full retail for the inks I calculate ink cost at about 55 cents per square foot."

JGentry reports using 6,401 ml to print 7,911 square feet of media. This works out to 0.81 ml per square foot.

In comparison, most estimates of ink use I have seen for the Epson 4800 are around 2 ml per square foot, which with 220 ml cartridges at cheapest street price would run about 78 cents per square foot.

DJ Garcia estimates the following ink costs for various print sizes:

  • 8.5x11: $0.71
  • 11x17: $1.42
  • 13x19: $1.88
  • 17x24: $3.10

DJ Garcia has produced a spreadsheet that allows you to calculate ink cost based on your own usage. His figures are included as a start, and show the estimated cost of ink to produce various size prints. Note that this cost figure includes the cost of ink used for cleaning, but not the ink used for initial priming with the starter ink cartridges:

There is also a cost analysis PDF produced by Canon which gives estimates for 3 different images on cost of ink and media:

John Hollenberg used the Canon data to calculate ink usage for each of the three images on ANSI C. The calculation is ml/square foot of printed media (white borders around image not included in figuring square footage of print):

  • Bicycle Image - 0.40 ml/square foot
  • Flower Image - 1.46 ml/square foot
  • Clouds Image - 1.01 ml/square foot

A similar cost analysis PDF produced by Canon is available for the IPF8000 and IPF9000: