Experiences with the Canon PIXMA Pro-9000 pigment ink color printer?
Dave, I bought the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 color printer about two months ago and am still trying to decide whether I like pigment inks. Not my first try with a pigment printer as I've also got an Epson 2200. I'm okay with the Canon, but I do think it's slower. The color accuracy I've seen is better on matte papers like photo rag than on the semi-gloss papers. I've been a little less than impressed with the Mac OS X drivers and would really like to know about other people's experiences with the Canon printer so I can compare my own results. Do you know any other PIXMA owners?
Personally, I have to admit that I've given up fiddling with color printers as I have had splendid results working with online printing service Snapfish, but fellow members of the Front Range Photography Society have shared their own experiences with this particular printer, notably fellow blogger Gregg Lowrimore, who offers up this commentary:
"On my own Canon PIXMA Pro-9000, I found that I needed to use (read: convert-to) the Canon ICC profiles to get accurate colors from my files. Once I did that, my color prints are spot on to what I see on my screen. Also, remember to turn off color correction in the printer dialog box!
"As far as speed, I can print a 13x19 print in about 1.5 minutes and that blew away the performance of my dated Epson 2000p. Plus, since I don't regularly make prints, I've noticed no clogging of the print heads in between prints, over a time span of 4-5 weeks. My old Epson would have to cycle through the cleaning of the heads (of course after making a bad print to realize the heads needed cleaning, I remember that I needed to clean the heads) for 5-8 cycles, wasting a ton of ink, between print times like this.
"The Canon drivers have given me no problems on Mac OS X (so far, and AFTER I figured out that, just like when printing to any printer, I needed to convert my working colors to the Canon's ICC profile) and I get many more options from the print dialog within Photoshop than I ever got with the Epson. In my experience with my old Epson 2000p, it seemed like Epson didn't really write a native driver for the Macintosh, but rather did a minimalist attempt at providing a driver for the Mac. I've had numerous problems with my 2000p, to the point that I've taken it down to an uncle's digital darkroom, hooked it up to his PC-based systems and have gotten better results with it than I ever got with it being attached to my Mac-based darkroom.
"Regarding print papers, I've pretty much stuck to the Canon super-glossy photo paper, so far. I did buy some matte paper from Canon and my prints on that paper appear to be OK, but I've not scrutinized them as deeply as I have the glossy. Plus, the matte prints are 8x10 and smaller right now. It's so sweet to pick up a 13x19 glossy print and gaze/scrutinize it as opposed to the smaller, matte-based prints I've done to date. More testing is needed here though, on my part.
"Overall, I'm quite happy with my Pixma Pro9000 printer. I feel that Canon really released a driver that at least implements everything as you'd find in the PC printer drivers. Not like my Epson 2000p driver's set of limited features. (This really was a sore point for me, when I took my 2000p to my Uncle's darkroom and discovered all these other features were in the Windows PC driver. And those were needed features on my Mac to fix some of the problems I was having with that printer.)"
Scott V., another member, adds his own commentary about the Canon Pixma Pro9500, a very, very similar printer:
"A couple of observations I'll add about the Pro9500: I wish the printer supported not only USB, but Firewire 800, which would be extremely nice and help speed up the printing process itself. I haven't put a stopwatch to it, but it's noticeably slower even with an 8x10 compared my previous Epson. Several of the comparisons I've read state that if you were looking for a fast printer, the Canon Pro9500 wasn't it. Perhaps the 9000 is faster, but if the output is terrific, I guess I can live it being slow.
"I also agree with Gregg that the Epson printer drivers for Mac OS X were barely adequate. I had been using the Epson Stylus RX600 all in one and was frustrated as heck to find that Epson didn't even support the scanning features on Intel-based Macs. The printer driver worked, but was awkward and, as I recall, didn't show ink levels as it had when I had it connected to a Windows XP system. There's also an Epson RX620 attached to my significant other's iMac and its scanner functions within Mac OS X, but it's cumbersome and, like my RX600, only shows ink levels when time to replace the cartridge.
"My biggest complaint with the Canon Pro9500, though, is using the 13x19 fine art papers. The 13x19 fine art photo rag would NOT print and returned a "compatibility error" while the 13x19 semi-gloss printed without a problem. I tried the auto feeder and the sheet feeder (which incidentally is kind of slick and feeds from the front) without success. I finally stumbled on File>Print One Copy from Photoshop and found that would feed the photo rag. I haven't tried other fine art papers like the museum etching or premium quality matte, but all are Canon papers. It's pretty obvious to me that the driver is deficient in setting up the media, but I haven't successfully convinced Canon support of that and adequately describe my issue. I need to call them again, since it's one of those problems that's complicated and hard to explain.
"I am happy with the fact that the printer had not been used for probably a month but still worked fine when I turned it on. This weekend, I fed an 8x10 through it and the ink had not clogged, nor did it skip. The output was flawless. To get the best results with the Pro9000/Pro9500, though, I think it's clear that I need to learn more about ICC profiles. I've not done anything in that arena and I confess that I don't have a good handle on printing within Mac OS X. What I'm getting is acceptable, but perhaps it could be better. Oh, I'd also like to see larger ink reservoirs... "
I hope this is helpful information regarding your purchase and use of the Canon PIXMA Pro9000/Pro9500. I will say one thing: the evolution of color printers is nothing less than amazing, with extraordinarily good printers (especially 5x7 sizes) dropping into the range of easy affordability for even the beginning amateur photographer. Picking the right printing technology for your own uses can be a bit tricky, though, so you might also find it interesting to read some background sites on dye sublimation, etc. Try these sites:
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