Download Movie Comparing Gamut of Canon iPF8300 to Epson 9900 on Canson Baryta

Here is a movie showing a comparison showing the Canon 8300 in green, the Epson 9900 in red for different L* values:

A second version is available showing both printers with True Color and Tone Using L*. The Epson profile is the one with an advantage in the lighter oranges, pinks and reds. The Canon profile is the one with the advantage in the darker blues and purples:


--ICC profiles of Canson Baryta were made with Monaco Profiler by Scott Martin
--Colorthink Pro 3 was used in 2D mode using the slicer with settings of True Color and Tone Using L*
--Each Level of luminosity is captured in a movie using SnagIt


There are a couple of artifacts at specific Luminosity levels where one of the boundaries jumps way in. These are presumably due to a bug in Colorthink.

Gamut volumes from Colorthink 3:

Canon 8300 - 888,343
Epson 9900 - 927,347 (4.4% larger)

Dmax L* (from reading curves in Colorthink):

Canon 8300 - 3.9
Epson 9900 - 4.7

Dmax measured by Scott Martin:

For DMax and Dmin numbers I like to break out an unfiltered EyeOne and use MeasureTool to take some measurements by hand. I take several and average the results. This is more accurate than using the profile for this, especially when a UV filtered device is used to make the profile. Different devices for different purposes.

I just took out some Canson targets from the 8300, 9900 and z3200. On a black patch I'm seeing an averaged L value of 3.1 from the 8300 and a value of 6 from the 9900 and 8.2 on the Z3200. Visually you can just barely make out these differences under bright light. For those that don't know, lower L values are better, and translate into darker, richer blacks!

Dmax measured by Realman10:

From my observations on my 6300 and a friend's 7900 I have found these consistent numbers:
  • Gloss/Baryta color print: L=1.8 for 6300 and L=4.5 for the Epson
  • Same but B&W driver for Epson L=2.2
  • Matte, both around L=15
All measured with an Eye-one Pro no-UV with Measure Tool

The depth of Black of the x300 is absolutely stunning and unmatched on color prints.


Epson has the larger gamut above L* of 50, particularly in oranges and pinks at L* of about 60-75.
At L* 50, the gamuts are almost identical.
Below L* of 50, Canon gamut is larger, particularly in the blues and purples at L* of 10-25.

Softproofing using perceptual rendering intent of some bright flower images and Fall Color images, including oranges, yellows, magenta, purple and red in Photoshop showed no significant differences, with the following exceptions:

--some bright saturated orange poppies at L* = 70, where the Canon wasn't able to reproduce the bright saturated orange as well as the Epson.
--some bright saturated yellow-orange leaves at L* = 75-80, where the Canon wasn't able to reproduce the colors and variations as well as the Epson
--some reddish-orange leaves at L* = 60, where the Canon wasn't able to reproduce the colors as well as the Epson

I have uploaded a couple of layered TIFF files you can examine in Photoshop by toggling layers on and off to see the differences:

I don't have either printer, so can't comment on how this would show up in print.

Caveat from Scott Martin:

Different applications certainly calculate gamut volumes differently. We've had a bunch of discussion about this on the ColorSync Users list and, basically, ColorThink is considered the gold standard for this. It's really important to only compare profiles made using the same procedure and profiling software though. I did that for the comparison John is illustrating.

I think it's important to look beyond the total gamut volume number. One inkset may have a larger total volume than another but is it larger in ways that are meaningful? The HP Z3100 had a large gamut for it's day but it was all in the highlights - areas that didn't matter to many people. I find the greatest value in having gamut in the darker colors and that's an area where Epson and Canon are focusing on.

Another thing that's super important is to make prints and let them be the final judge! The results of the Perceptual intent aren't shown in these gamut maps - only the Relative Colorimetric intent. Sometimes all the numbers and science of it all doesn't jive with the real world final results with human perception mixed in.

Canon's gamut is really good in the deep purples and yellows. Are those important colors for your work? I've printing some photos of flowers with deep purples and yellows and the 8300 printer were noticeablly better than the 9900. My own photos don't contain those colors so it's a moot point for me. The fact of the matter is that both of these printers rock and it's unlikely that 99% of images have enough saturated color to begin with to stretch the limits of their gamuts. I'm finding the subtle differences in gloss differential and scratch resistance to be actually more important. On a Baryta paper these differences really show up.

When I make reviews I try to be pretty balanced with these observations and not rely to heavily on the tech data alone - as it can actually be misleading and steer people towards the wrong decision at times.

Softproofing with the intent is a pretty good way of doing that. Even so, the perception of pigments and the light scattering qualities with different pigments aren't taken under consideration. Canon's new yellow inks don't contain more yellow pigment than the previous generation, but because the particles are smaller the light scatters differently it has a very real impact on the way we perceive saturation, but not on the way it's documented colorimetrically. The yellows and greens visually appear to have more saturation because of the finer particles, yet that may not be shown in the gamut rendering.

Bottom line - you gotta look at prints. They'll show you all kinds of things that the gamut plots don't - and sometimes the results and conclusions are counter to what you might have determined from the numbers. Sometimes the gamut plots show that one printer has better reds for example but when you make prints with perceptual the other printer might clearly and obviously have much better reds.