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What is a Canon FINE Ink Cartridge?

What is a Canon FINE Ink Cartridge?

Many Canon printers make reference to Canon FINE Ink Cartridges both in their paperwork and in associated error/warning messages. This include but are not limited to the following:

  • The FINE cartridge is not installed.
  • The FINE cartridge is not installed. Install the FINE cartridge.
  • The FINE cartridge is not installed in the correct position.
  • The FINE Cartridge cannot be recognized.
  • The FINE Cartridge is not installed properly.
  • The Appropriate FINE Cartridge is not installed.

As you can see the circumstances in which your printer will ask for these cartridge vary greatly and your printer will not allow you to continue printing until it is happy one has been installed.

Video Guide

What does a Canon FINE Ink Cartridge mean?

Canon FINE technology means the ink cartridges have a mechanical printhead built into the cartridge rather than the printer. This means your printer only requires two separate ink cartridges to be installed and dispatches ink directly from the black and tri-colour (cyan, magenta and yellow) ink cartridges directly onto the paper. This offers the user maximum convenience and essentially makes the most crucial mechanical component of the printer a disposable item. As such the printers that are compatible with FINE ink cartridges tend to be cheaper entry level Canon printer, but have a higher running cost than the 5+ cartridge single ink printers Canon also produce.

FINE Vs Single Inks

Does this mean I cannot use Refilled/Remanufactured Ink Cartridges in my Printer?

No, far from it. Whilst only brand new Canon original ink cartridges carry the ‘FINE’ branding, any ink cartridge that has the relevant printhead technology present in the cartridge will be accepted by your printer. When producing a refilled or remanufactured ink cartridge recycling companies are obliged to remove any Canon branding from the cartridge and cannot legally have it appear on the packaging either.

As such any remanufactured cartridge that carries the relevant part code from your printer will be perfectly compatible. Codes can vary slightly to avoid infringing upon Canons copyright but should be similar to PG-37, CL-38, PG-40, CL-41, PG-50, CL-51,PG-510, CL-511, PG-512, CL-513, PG-540, Cl-541, PG-540XL and CL-541XL. If you have concerns about whether a genuine or remanufactured ink cartridge is compatible with your printer please contact whoever it was purchased from.

I hope this short article answers your question. If however there are any other points that require clarification or you have something to add yourself please let us know in the comments.

About the author

I have been involved in the printer industry since I was 18 and have been an employee of Refresh Cartridges since early 2009. I am a dedicated family man, gamer, music fan and friend to all. I write the majority of the content here on Igloo and am responsible for its upkeep.

Refresh Cartridges


  1. Clive

    Refresh Cartridges seems to have stopped offering a refilling service. Why?

    1. RefreshCarts

      Sadly we have had to discontinue the refill service due to rising postage costs no longer making it a viable alternative to our remanufactured cartridges. Tis a shame as it was very popular.

  2. Yolanda

    Hi, I have a Canon i450 inkjet printer and I use compatible ink for quite a long time. Recently, I have to restore window 7 to factory setting and that have to install printer driver again. But after I re-installed the printer driver from Window update, my printer rejects the compatible ink I used before. I have tried to remove the cartridges when the printer is switched on. Then replace the cartridges to the printer after one hour. But it doesn't work. What other solutions could you suggest? Thanks a lot!

  3. Saundra

    Which is a better printer a HP Deskjet 1512 Inkjet all in one or a Cannon PLXMA MG-2920 ALL IN ONE?

    1. RefreshCarts

      They are both on pretty even footing in my humble opinion. I must however warn you that both machines are pretty expensive to run. If running cost is a factor for you I would recommend looking into getting a Canon/Epson/Brother inkjet printer that takes four or more individual cartridges. Whilst the cost price of the printer will be higher, it will save you a fortune in the long run if you decide to use compatible cartridges.

  4. charitygrimes

    As being what is indicated the printers that are good with FINE ink cartridges have a tendency to be less expensive entrance level Canon printer, however have a higher running expense than the 5+ cartridge single ink printers Canon additionally create.

  5. Rebecca

    So does this mean that the printer will not print unless I have both color and black? I currently only have black and put it in properly and it is still flashing 4 warning lights. So do i need to get color as well in order to print?

    1. Lonn

      I have the same question, because my black is NOT being accepted

  6. Rplag

    Does the Canon FINE Ink Cartridge use pigmented ink in the black cartridge.?

  7. Failure Analysis

    Much obliged on your grand posting! I really delighted in understanding it you may be an awesome creator. I will make sure to bookmark your website and may return soon.

  8. Irene

    New black in but when set for black print only it is printing pink and black what am I doing wrong

  9. jack


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