Steve's Digicams


i950 Color Bubble Jet
Photo Printer

Review posted 2/23/03

Canon i950 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

Canon i950 - Fast, Professional Quality Photo Printing

The Canon i950 Photo Printer is the 2003 successor to the award winning S900 Photo Printer and is designed for today's digital photographers that need fast, high-quality prints at home or work. The i950 Photo Printer introduces an even higher print resolution and smaller ink droplet size, setting new standards for professional photo printing. The i950's maximum print resolution is 4800 x 1200 dpi, double that of the S900's 2400 x 1200 dpi. The key to the printer's speed is its 3,072-nozzle printhead and the high resolution output is the result of using ink droplets that are only two-picoliters in volume. The i950 Photo Printer has an MSRP of $249.99 (as of 2/03) and is available immediately.

The Canon i950 Photo Printer features fast photo printing speeds of approximately 49 seconds for a 4" x 6" borderless photo and approximately 1 minute 50 seconds for an 8.5" x 11" borderless photo (using Canon Photo Paper Pro and High quality color setting.) The i950 supports borderless photo printing in both 4" x 6" and letter sizes as well as new support for 5" x 7" borderless printing all without the need to trim the borders or tear off perforations. Other features include Exif Print for smart photo processing, individual ink tanks for efficiency and Canon's advanced MicroFine Droplet Technology. Canon introduces their new Photo Paper Plus Glossy 5" x 7" size paper along with this printer.

The i950 print head is all new with 3,072 nozzles. With the highest number of nozzles in its class, the i950 provides very fast printing times. The two-picoliter size ink drop along with the advanced MicroFine Droplet Technology and six-color inks deliver amazing quality and gradation with ink drops virtually undetectable to the naked eye. High printing speeds are also achieved on the i950 by having the highest ink droplet ejection frequency of all Canon Bubble Jet printers at approximately 74 million dots per second.

The i950 features Canon's advanced MicroFine Droplet Technology. This revolutionary ink ejection process separates and ejects prescribed-volume ultra-fine ink droplets from the nozzles with precise accuracy. The advanced MicroFine Droplet Technology enables high-speed, high- quality printing with a high-precision, high-density multi-nozzle head. Thanks to this technology, the i950 has achieved a maximum resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi with a constant ink drop size of two picoliters. Reducing the ink droplet volume to two picoliters dramatically improves multi-level gradations for mid-tone areas, enabling even higher quality photo prints.

Individual Ink Tanks -- The i950 employs Canon's hallmark Canon Think Tank System. This unique technology that Canon invented, offers users a cost performance advantage, especially when printing photos. End-users only replace the individual color ink tank they have depleted which helps to eliminate ink waste. In addition, the Canon Think Tank System has an optical ink sensor that triggers an on- screen warning so that users are alerted when the ink has run low.

Software Applications for Printing Professional Looking Photos - Shipping with Canon's i950 printer will be the latest version of Easy-PhotoPrint, an all-new web-printing application called Easy-WebPrint, PhotoRecord, PhotoStitch, ZoomBrowser and ImageBrowser. The new version of Easy-PhotoPrint adds 5" x 7" photo printing support to the 4" x 6" and 8.5" x 11" current printing capability. The driver also features a new Photo Noise Reduction function that helps reduce speckle noise often found in blue areas such as the sky. Easy-PhotoPrint also includes Exif technology and is available for Windows and Mac.

Canon i950 Features:

  • Prints 4" x 6" borderless photos in 49 seconds

  • 3,072 nozzles for exceptional speed and quality

  • MicroFine Droplet Technology with 4800 x 1200 dpi resolution using 2-picoliter size ink droplets

  • Borderless printing in 4 x 6", 5 x 7" and letter size

  • 6 individually replaceable ink tanks lowers the "per print" cost

  • Exif 2.2 compatible with included Canon Easy Photo Print program

  • 1-year limited warranty with InstantExchange warranty available

Canon i950 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The i950 uses USB and is compatible with Windows 98/ME/2000 and XP, and Mac OS 8.6-9.X and OS X v 10.1 or later (Mac OS X borderless printing requires v 10.2 or later.). This is no parallel port connection, only USB.

Mechanics & Performance

The i950 is a compact and stylish looking, gray and silver colored printer that will easily fit into your computer workspace. Setup is straight forward and can be accomplished by following the steps outlined on the included big page of directions. You first install the removable print head assembly and then unwrap and install the six ink tanks, install the software and then connect the USB cable and turn on the printer. Windows finishes loading the drivers and within a minute or two you're up and printing.

I was amazed by the Canon S900 photo printer that we reviewed last year. It was one of the fastest photo printers that I've ever used and impressed me so much that I bought the wider carriage S9000 printer for myself. Compared to other photo printers like the Epson Stylus Photo 925, the Canon i950 is smaller in size, a lot quieter and much faster. Perhaps the most significant feature besides the speed is the ThinkTank ink system which we will cover on page two. You replace the individual color tanks rather than tossing a multi-color cartridge out when any one color runs empty. The user can also replace the print head assembly if needed without requiring a trip to a service center.

In actual use the i950 is so quiet that you almost don't notice that it's working. I printed a borderless 8.5 x 11 inch photo using the glossy photo paper and "High Quality" print settings in the driver. The finished print was ejected only one minute and fifty seconds later. It was the equal to the best print that I've ever made on any Epson or HP photo printer and completed in less than half the time.

If you're tired of being overwhelmed or confused by printer driver choices then you'll like the way the Canon software is written. It is detailed starting on page three of this review. Every Epson printer that I have used has many different output resolution choices (360dpi, 720dpi, 1440dpi, 2880dpi, 5760dpi) and High Speed and Microweave options as well as selecting the paper size and type. The Canon driver really only needs to be told your media type and size and you're ready to go.

You can click on the Custom buttons if you want to manually change the Fast-to-Fine (speed vs quality) setting or enable or disable the Image Optimizer, Photo Optimizer PRO and Photo Noise Reduction enhancements. Depending on the paper type and image type these "enhancements" don't always produce the most optimum results. They are designed to smooth the pixel "jaggies" out of low-res images or to create prints with a lot of "punch" (color, contrast, sharpness) to them.

Continue To
Page Two

i950 Photo Printer Specifications

Print Speed (up to)4x6 Color Photo : Approximately 37 seconds**
8x10 Color Photo : Approximately 1 minute**
Print Resolution (up to) 4800 x 1200 dpi in Black
4800 x 1200 dpi in Color
OS CompatibilityWindows XP - Pentium® 300MHz Processor/128MB RAM;
Windows Me - Pentium 150MHz Processor/32MB RAM;
Windows 98 - 486 Processor/16MB RAM;
Windows 2000 - Pentium 133MHz Processor/64MB RAM (Pro.), Pentium 133MHz Processor/256MB RAM (Server);
Mac® OS 8.6 to 9.x - 20MB RAM;
Mac OS X (v 10.1 or later) - 128MB available RAM
Ink CompatibilityBCI-6Bk Black Ink Tank, BCI-6C Cyan Ink Tank, BCI-6M Magenta Ink Tank, BCI-6Y Yellow Ink Tank, BCI-6PC Photo Cyan Ink Tank, BCI-6PM Photo Magenta Ink Tank
Ink Droplet Size2-picoliters
Standard InterfacesUSB, cable not included
Paper SizesLetter, legal, A4, A5, 4" x 6", 5" x 7", U.S. #10 or European envelopes
Paper Compatibility Plain paper, Envelopes, Glossy Photo Cards (4" x 6"), Glossy Photo Paper (8.5" x 11"), High Resolution Paper, Matte Photo Paper, Photo Paper Plus Glossy For Borderless Printing (4" x 6"), Photo Paper Plus Glossy (5" x 7"), Photo Paper Plus Glossy (8.5" x 11"), Photo Paper Pro (4" x 6"), Photo Paper Pro For Borderless Printing (4" x 6"), Photo Paper Pro (8.5" x 11"), Transparencies, T-Shirt Transfers
Paper Handling Built-in sheet feeder - 150 sheets @ paper weight 17 lb.

Envelopes - 10

Glossy Photo Cards (4" x 6") - 20 sheets

Glossy Photo Paper (8.5" x 11") - 10 sheets

High Resolution Paper (8.5" x 11") - 80 sheets

Matte Photo Paper (8.5" x 11") - 10 sheets

Photo Paper Plus Glossy For Borderless Printing (4" x 6") - 20 sheets

Photo Paper Plus Glossy (5" x 7") - 10 sheets

Photo Paper Plus Glossy (8.5" x 11") - 10 sheets

Photo Paper Pro (4" x 6") - 20 sheets

Photo Paper Pro For Borderless Printing (4" x 6") - 20 sheets

Photo Paper Pro (8.5" x 11") - 10 sheets

Transparencies (8.5" x 11") - 30 sheets

Noise Level (Approx.)37 dB(A) in best quality mode
Physical Dimensions16.5" W x 10.8" D x 6.3" H
Weight10.6 lbs.
Power Source120V AC, 60Hz
Warranty1-year limited warranty with InstantExchange program (Subject to certain conditions and restrictions. See for details)
Software IncludedSetup Software & User's Guide CD-ROM†† including: Printer Driver, Electronic User's Guide, Electronic Photo Application Guide, e-registration, Easy-PhotoPrint (Windows), Easy-WebPrint (Windows), PhotoRecord™ (Windows), ZoomBrowser EX (Windows), ImageBrowser (Mac), PhotoStitch (Windows/Mac)
* Mac OS X borderless printing requires ver. 10.2 or later.
** 4" x 6" (using Canon Photo Paper Pro For Borderless Printing) photo print speed is based on standard (default) mode. 8" x 10" print speed based on default mode driver setting printing an 8" x 10" image on Canon Photo Paper Pro 8.5" x 11". Print speed will vary depending on system configuration, software, document complexity, print mode and page coverage.
†† System requirements vary by application.

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