Steve's Digicams


S9000 Color Bubble Jet
Photo Printer

S9000 (Windows) Printer Driver (cont.)

Canon S9000 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Effects page lets you turn your color photo into a simulated illustration, slide the lever to increase or decrease the effect. You can also create a monochrome effect like Sepia, Pink, Blue, Green or select a custom color. The Vivid Photo enhances all of the colors and contrast and may be too much for most good images. You can also enable or disable the Image Optimizer or Photo Optimizer PRO enhancements.

Canon S9000 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Profiles page lets you load, create or save custom sets of printer parameters for the type of printing jobs that you do frequently.

Canon S9000 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Maintenance page lets you clean the print heads with options for a regular cleaning cycle or a "deep" cleaning cycle for really clogged heads. There is also an option for aligning the heads or checking the print nozzles. You can also set the Auto Power Off time, Custom Settings and the Quiet Mode. From here you can also start the Status Monitor (see next frame.)

Canon S9000 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Status Monitor shows you visibly the level of ink in each of the ink tanks. It also tells you the status of the printer and the setting of the paper thickness lever.

When one of the tanks is low the Status Monitor will pop-up to alert you. The low tank(s) will have a yellow exclamation mark over it to let you know that it needs to be replaced soon. The ink warning first comes on when there is still some ink remaining so you won't run out in the middle of a printout and waste a sheet of costly photo paper.

Canon S9000 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

Here's the low Photo Magenta ink tank after I finished the current print job. The chamber on the left side is full of ink when the tank is new. As you can see it drained the left chamber completely and the foam-filled side that feeds the head is very close to empty. I printed 42 full-page 8 x 10-inch and six 4 x 6-inch photos before I received a low ink warning for the Photo Magenta ink tank. I replaced it and then printed one more 8 x 10 before receiving a low ink warning on the Photo Cyan tank.

Steve's Conclusion

The Canon S9000 is an incredible printer, it's fast and quiet and there's no denying that the replaceable ink tanks are more economical than having to replace a multi-color cartridge when only one of its colors has run out. However you must consider that these individual ink tanks retail for about $11.99 each and the cost of the average Epson 5- color cartridge is $25 or less. You'll go through 2 to 3 of the light magenta and light cyan ink tanks for every one of the other colors so stock up on these. The Canon S9000 and S900 are color photo printers and have been optimized for this task. Normal text printing is not as good or as fast as that from lesser printers. The new Canon i850 is the narrow carriage King of the Hill as it is both an excellent photo printer and the fastest text printer I've ever used and it's only a 4- color printer. The S9000's print head assembly can be replaced by the user which eliminates the need to send the printer in for service in the event of a failure or major clog. The driver maintenance options include both a head cleaning cycle and an alignment procedure to keep your printing as perfect as possible.

The actual print quality is outstanding, especially considering that it outputs a full page 8.5 x 11 inch print at the highest quality possible in about two minutes. The same photo print takes about seven and a half minutes on the Epson 890 printer. The prints are very comparable to those made on an Epson photo printer at 1440dpi (microweave on and high speed off). There is a little more shadow detail visible at 1440dpi or 2880dpi on the Epsons but it takes at about 2-3X the printing time and uses a lot more ink.

I've tested a number of different papers and as expected, the s9000 and all other Canon photo printers that we've used make the best prints on real "Photo Pro" paper. Canon's Photo Paper Pro has the same "look and feel" of the best heavy-weight conventional photo lab paper. The downside is that it is more expensive than other photo papers.

The most startling speed comparison can be seen when printing a borderless print. Epson printers slowly, micro-advance the paper both at the beginning and end of the print which doubles the normal print time. The Canon S9000 only slows down slightly at the end of the print, other than that it speeds along whether printing in bordered or borderless mode. A normal 4x6" borderless print comes out of the S9000 in less than a minute!  The Epson 890 takes about four minutes to make the same borderless 4x6" print.

Now let's make a big 13x19" print. On the Epson 1270 I was used to watching the printer slowly advance the paper and take about twenty minutes to crank out a 13 x 19" print. The Canon S9000 advances the paper noticeably faster and in just over four minutes it quietly spits out the finished print using the Quality "2" setting. Pushing Quality to the ultimate at setting "1" yielded the same print in six minutes and fifty seconds. Prints of this size are obviously made to be framed, hung on the wall and viewed at distance, but even up close, these prints don't look the least bit "digital." They rival any print that I've ever had made at a pro color lab. And the ones we printed from a Canon D60 and Kodak DCS 760 digital SLR were as sharp and colorful as prints that I used to get from a medium format film camera.

Installation on my Windows 98 SE and Windows XP Pro machine was quick and simple and the printer was good to go within minutes of taking it out of the box. The driver software is designed so that even novice users can be cranking out photo-quality prints quickly. And when you're not printing photos the S9000 is more than capable of being an all- purpose color and text printer too. The key is simplicity, instead of numerous print time options like selecting an output "dpi" resolution or enabling or disabling microweave you just select the media type and High Quality and then click the print button in your application. Print after print came out looking exactly the way they did on the screen in Photoshop or PhotoImpact. The inability to get the printout to match the screen is probably the #1 complaint of most digital printing neophytes. Kudos to Canon for eliminating the software hassles.

The Bottom Line

The S9000's print quality is "awesome" and looks like what I used to pay big bucks for at the local pro color lab back in my film days. I printed the majority of my images using the default "Quality 2" setting and in only one print did I see any visible banding in a large patch of open blue sky. I went back and looked at a lot of my other prints including those with lots of sky but didn't see any other banding problems. By re-printing the image again using the "1" setting the banding was eliminated completely. I got acceptable 13x19" prints from full-frame Nikon 990 (3-megapixel) images but you really need 4-megapixel or higher resolution images when making prints that large. The 13x19" prints from the Canon D60 were incredible! With a studio portrait from a Kodak DCS 760 and a Canon D60 side by side it was difficult to see any difference. When the prints first come out of the printer they have a noticeable blue-green cast to them but this disappears in about 15 minutes as the ink fully dries.

When the S9000 (or S900) is used under Windows 98 SE there is a chance that you might run into the same problem that I saw. Whenever I tried to print B&W prints they came out with either a blue or green "tint" to them. Even if the "Grayscale printing" option was used and even if the source image was completely desaturated to grayscale. This problem was not encountered when the S9000 was installed on my new Windows XP Pro machine, it now prints perfect B&W with no other colors mixed in.

Price, performance and economy, the Canon S9000 Photo Printer is an excellent value. And in today's world where your time is the most valuable commodity, the S9000 can literally pay for itself in increased productivity.

Don't need a BIG printer?   Then check out the smaller carriage Canon S900 photo printer, it features the same quality and speed with a maximum paper size of 8.5x11".

US visitors 8.5X11 Photo Paper Plus Glossy I320 S200 300 500 750 800 900 9000

$ 11.83 at
$ 12.60 at Amazon Marketplace

UK visitors 8.5X11 Photo Paper Plus Glossy I320 S200 300 500 750 800 900 9000

11.83 at
12.60 at Amazon Marketplace

Want a second opinion?

Luminous Landscape's S9000 review

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