Testing Canon’s G Series Mega Tank Printer: How do they perform?

Testing Canon’s G Series Mega Tank Printer: How do they perform?

As part of its new Mega Tank range of printers, Canon has released its new Canon G550 printer. After finally getting my hands on one, I thought I'd put it to the test to see how well it actually performs, so you don’t have to.


The Mega Tank printers are Canon's answer to Epson’s EcoTank range, and currently come in two versions. The Maxify printers, which are for office use, and the Pixma range which is more geared towards photographers, hence why it’s the one we will be looking at. 


Within the Pixma range there are two printers, the G550 and G650, the former of which I have been given to test. The difference being that the G650 has a scanner built in. Both the printers can print up to A4 and feature six dye inks: black, grey, red, cyan, magenta and yellow. 

First Impressions

My first impressions were positive, starting with the nice build quality I noticed upon taking the printer out of the box.

However, the proof is in the printing.  As with all Mega Tank or EcoTank printers, the use of dye inks and thus the limited lifespan of the prints could be considered a downside.

That being said, the Canon dye inks do give you a print life of well over 50 years. The G-series Mega Tanks feature a red and grey ink as well, so I’m interested to see how the red ink affects the colour gamut, and how the grey helps with black and white printing. 

For the tests I am going to be printing off three images: a black and white, a colour landscape and a colour flower picture which has a wide range of colours in. I will also compare these prints against Pro-1000 versions. However, these are very different printers. The Pro-1000 has 12 inks in and is pigment based, but it will give me a good idea of the print quality from the G550, as the Pro-1000 gives a good level to test printers by. The only problem I can see with the printer before I do any printing is that it only prints up to A4. Canon have told me that they will be releasing a A3 version of the MegaTanks but as yet, they haven’t given me a release date. 


To also make the tests fair, I was going to make custom profiles for the printer which is a free service Fotospeed offers. This would have brought all the colours in line with my system and make it a fair fight. However, when I visited the Canon website to download the drivers for the printer I was told that there are no drivers for Macs and I will have to use the printer as an Airprint device. This could cause some problems as I will not be able to profile the printer correctly. There is, however, a driver for Windows based computers so we will be able to profile the printer using a Windows laptop. 



The Papers I am going to be using are: 

Fotospeed Photo Smooth Pearl 290

Fotospeed Matt Ultra 270

Fotospeed Legacy Gloss 325

Fotospeed NST Bright White 315

The Test

So let’s have a look at the prints and see if the G550 performs.

First up is the Photo Smooth Pearl paper, and the results are very good. The colours are vibrant and rich, and dare I say carry a little more punch than Canon’s Pro-1000. This is more than likely down to the dye inks used in the G550 rather than the pigment inks of the Pro1000. 



On the NST Bright White and the Matt Ultra the results are great as well as nice clear colour and definition. The printer also handled the 315gsm Natural Soft Textured paper without a problem and loaded perfectly through the rear feeder. The printer does not have a matt black ink, however the results in the black areas do look normal. The only issue I can see is the ink in these areas could rub off slightly. A quick spray with a protective solution like our Print Protect will solve this problem.


Let's move onto the Legacy Gloss. This was my big test for the printer as this is a thicker paper, so I was interested to see how the printer handled it. I can report that the printer performed perfectly, taking the paper without any problem at all and with no head-striking on the corners. The G550 again produced lovely vibrant prints that I'd be happy to frame. 


Let's Talk Black and White.


I have to be honest here – the black and white prints are not the best I have seen. When compared to the natural prints from the Pro-1000, I can still see a colour cast on the prints. The prints were best when I used the Canon Black and White mode, however they still weren’t perfectly natural. That being said, the G550 does only have one grey ink. 

When compared to the G550, the DPI is a little finer on the prints from the Pro-1000, which is to be expected considering the price difference. However, I will compare this to Canon’s iP8750 in a new video and blog. To see the differences on a similar priced printer. As previously mentioned, I have used the Pro-1000 as it’s a good benchmark for all printers and the G550 isn’t too far behind it.


The Verdict

To sum up, I think the G550 and G650 are fantastic printers and produce really great prints. The downsides to the printer are the size and the fact that they can only print up to A4, but fingers crossed we should have an A3 version by the end of the year. The refillable ink is a huge plus and also a massive saving on ink costs. But bear in mind that the ink is a dye ink and therefore not classified as fine art and archival. 


Until 9th August 2022, Fotospeed is running a promotional offer on Canon products. Find out more here.



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