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Canon Pixma MP970

Review posted 12/03/2007

The PIXMA MP970 Photo All-In-One Printer is Canon's top-of-the-line multifunction photo printer. With a MSRP of $299, it lists for $100 more than the closely related MP610. All PIXMA Photo A-I-O devices provide print, copy and scan capabilities in one machine. So let's examine what you get for the extra $100.

In the MP970, Canon's Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering technology (or FINE) printhead uses 3,584 precision nozzles (4,608 nozzles in the MP610 - as Canon's literature states "More nozzles = high[er] quality") and provide up to 9600 x 2400 dpi resolution when printing color images. The microscopic 1- or 5-picoliter sized ink droplets produce detailed photos and use 7 individual ink tanks (5 inks are used in the MP610).

Canon states the MP970 can output a 4 x 6-inch photo lab quality print in as little as 35 second (21 seconds for the MP610). And it copies black & white pages at 30 copies per minute (as fast as 2 seconds per page) and color documents at 22 cpm (as fast as 2.7 seconds per page) which is nearly identical to the MP610. Both printers duplex to produce double-sided documents and both have two paper trays (a rear tray and a bottom cassette) so you won't have to change paper as often.

As for the scanner, the high resolution CCD (a Contact Image Sensor, or CIS, is used on the MP610) has an optical resolution of 4800 x 9600 dpi, which can be interpolated to 19,200 x 19,200 dpi, with 48-bit internal color depth. The scanner bed accepts sources as large as 8.5" x 11.7" and the lid of the MP970 has a integrated film scanner unit.

The MP970 supports the "Canon-to-Canon connection" that allows you to perform minor edits, overlay shooting information on an image, or print a contact sheet directly from many Canon cameras - without using a computer. The MP970 also supports wireless printing from infrared (IrDA) enabled cell phones and Bluetooth-equipped devices. Using the built in card slots, you can print directly from many memory cards.

Compatible with Windows (Vista and XP/2000) and Mac platforms (Mac OS X v.10.2.8 to 10.4.x), the MP970 comes bundled with a CD-ROM of software including the printer driver, MP Navigator EX, Setup Software & User's Guide, Easy-PhotoPrint EX and ScanSoft OmniPage SE, the same software that comes with the MP610. However the MP970 has an additional software title, ArcSoft PhotoStudio, that you may want to try out.

If you have a home office or multiple computers that need to share the same printer and scanner you'll be delighted that the MP970 also has an Ethernet port that lets you connect it to your network. Another plus is the 3.5" color LCD the provides sharp previews of your images, access to the menu system and has a 170-degree, wide angle view.

PIXMA MP970 Features:

  • Multifunction photo printer, flatbed scanner and color copier
  • Direct print from memory cards
  • PictBridge Direct USB printing from most modern digicams
  • 7-color photo ink system, individually replaceable ink tanks
  • New Easy-Scroll Wheel makes menu operation easier
  • Dual paper paths with top and bottom trays, auto paper switching
  • Two-sided printing with built-in duplexer
  • High-resolution flatbed/film scanner, up to 4800 dpi optical resolution
  • Scan documents to Adobe pdf or convert to text (OCR) with included software
  • Microscopic 1- or 5-picoliter ink drops produce detailed photos
  • Borderless printing in 4 x 6", 5 x 7" and letter sizes
  • 3.5-inch high-res color LCD for preview and editing
  • Auto-Image Fix function
  • USB 2.0 high-speed interface (Windows XP, 2000 or Mac OS X)
  • Infrared wireless JPEG printing from compatible cell phones
  • Bluetooth wireless adapter available
  • Dual Color Gamut Processing technology optimizes scan quality based on the type of original
  • Built-in Ethernet port for simple network connectivity
The MSRP of the Canon PIXMA MP970 is $299. Please see our Buy Box below for current pricing at various online vendors. In the box you will find PIXMA MP970 Photo All-In-One Printer, Easy Setup Instructions, Quick Start Guide, Setup Software & User's Guide CD-ROM, 7 Ink Tanks: Pigment Black, Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Photo Cyan and Photo Magenta, a Power Cord and the Print Head.

Mechanics & Performance

With its ultra-modern black and silver finishes and smart angles the MP970 should look right at home next to your computer. Measuring 15.6" (W) x 18.5" (D) x 8.4" (H), this A-I-O device is moderate in size for a multifunction printer and only a tad larger than the MP610. It weights 26.3 pounds so it's easy to carry around. It looked handsome next to my PC and iMac.

Setup is simplified due to the big page of Easy Setup Instructions. You will install the print head and then the 7 ink tanks.Then install the driver from CD and connect a USB cable between your computer and the printer. Installation on an iMac machine went well - after I figured out a enigmatic "Inner Door Open" error message. Even so, it took about fifteen minutes to unpack and setup the MP970 and another 15 minutes as the printer did it's automatic self calibration. I plugged the printer into my network hub with an 10/100 ethernet cable (not included). The CD also installed the network printer driver to allow me to talk to the MP970 across a wireless network bridge.

The MP970 has two paper sources; a top sheet loader and an internal tray in the bottom. The lower tray is ideal for photo paper since it protected against dust and dirt accumulation. The table below shows page sizes that can be used and in which tray they can be loaded.

You can load different media in each tray and select which you need with either the printer driver or the Control panel. If both the top and bottom trays are loaded with plain paper, the MP970 can automatically switch between them when one runs out.

The built-in duplexer is a big plus on a printer of this price. This feature can reduce the amount of paper you use and allows you to create your own "ready to be stapled" photo albums, newsletters, product catalogs, etc.

The 3.5-inch color LCD appears much larger than the 2.5" one on the MP610. It can be tilted to different angles so it's easy to see whether you're standing up or sitting down. The LCD helps you select the unit's main functions, change settings and browse through images on memory cards. You can preview, edit and select images with the LCD and control panel.

The MP970 has a nicely organized control panel which is identical to the MP610 except for the color - it's in much lighter tones. Looking to the upper right you see the power button, below that are the Rear Tray (top) / Cassette (bottom) indicator lights and the paper feed switch. The "double arrow" icon is the NAVI button used to display the on-screen guide. Below that is the HOME button that returns you to the main menu. The large 4-way selector helps you sort through the menus screens. The OK button in the center confirms selections. Inside the 4-way selector is the Easy-Scroll Wheel that you rotate to select the unit's main functions. To the left of the Easy-Scroll Wheel is a small Back button.

To the right of the Easy-Scroll Wheel are + & - buttons used to specify the number of copies or prints you require. Continuing to the right the Black button (top) or Color button (bottom) are to start copying, scanning or printing. And finally on the far right, the Stop/Reset button cancels a print job in progress.

Print from Memory Cards

Behind a door on the lower right of the printer are the memory card slots. The MP970 can read from SD Memory, SDHC, MultiMediaCard, miniSD, RS-MMC, microSD, CompactFlash and Microdrive, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo and xD-Picture cards.Cards in the slots will appear as removable drives on your computer - even across your network.

Flatbed Image Scanner

Under the lid you'll find the flatbed/film scanner. The top is adjustable to accommodate anything from a single piece of paper to a large book on the scanner bed. Charged-Coupled Device (CCD) technology scans up to 4800 x 9600 dpi optical resolution with 48-bit internal color depth. The film scanner handles 35 mm film strips and slides. There is no auto document feeder on this model, it handles one sheet at a time. Scanned documents can converted to a text file using the Scansoft OmniPage OCR software or saved as PDF files using the 'Scan-to-PDF' function.

PictBridge Printing

Located on the front below the memory card slots is the PictBridge port used for direct printing from most modern digital cameras and camcorders. This port also supports a USB connection to a computer and an optional Bluetooth adapter (BU-20).

To the right of the PictBridge port is an infrared receiver which allows the MP970 to communicate with compatible cell phones and PDAs.

When the camera and printer are connected through PictBridge, the camera's LCD is used to select the images and options for your print job. Usually it's as simple as selecting the photo and pressing the camera's OK button. (Shown here are PictBridge menu screens on a Canon Digital Rebel dSLR).

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Page 2 - Ink Tanks/Printhead

US visitors PIXMA MP970 Photo All-In-One Printer (30 PPM, 9600x2400 DPI, Color, PC/Mac)

$ 229.95 at Adorama

UK visitors Pixma MP970 All-in-One Inkjet Photo Printer (30 PPM, 9600x2400 DPI, Colour, PC/Mac)

266.57 at Printware

MP970 Photo All in One Specifications

Printer Attributes
Print Speed (up to)
4" x 6" borderless photo: approximately 35 seconds
Black: Up to 30 ppm (as fast as 2.0 seconds per page)
Color: Up to 22 ppm (as fast as 2.7 seconds per page)3
Number of Nozzles
Nozzle Text: Black: 512
Color: 512 x 6 (BK, C, M, Y, PC, PM)
Total: 3,584

Picoliter Size: 1 and 5
Print Resolution (up to)
Black: 600 x 600 dpi
Color: 9600 x 2400 dpi1
Paper Sizes
Credit Card (2.13" x 3.39"), 4"x 6", 4"x 8", 5"x 7", 8"x 10", Letter, Legal, U.S. #10 envelopes
Copy Speed (up to)
Black: 30 cpm (as fast as 2.0 seconds per page)3
Color: 22 cpm (as fast as 2.7 seconds per page)
Reductions Enlargement
25% - 400%
Copy Feature
Borderless, AE (Auto Exposure), Duplex, 4 on 1, 2 on 1, Fit-to-Page, Image Repeat, Auto Magnification, Fading Correction, Multiple Copy: 1-99 pages, Face Brightener, Dual Color Gamut Processing Technology
Scanner Element
Charged-Coupled Device (CCD)
Max. Resolutions
Optical: 4,800 x 4,800 dpi
Interpolated: 19,200 x 19,200 dpi

48-bit internal / 24-bit external
Max. Document Size
8.5" x 11.7"
Photo Card

Direct Print Port (Cable not included)
Support Media
CompactFlash, MicroDrive, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SD Card and MultiMediaCard v.3.31. The following can be used with the addition of a special adapter sold separately: xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro Duo, RS-MMC v.3.31 and miniSD Card..
General Specifications
OS Compatibility
Windows XP/2000/Me/98 and Mac OS X v.10.2.8 to 10.4.x6
Standard Interface
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed4 (cable not included), Direct Print Port, IrDA5 v.1.2 (JPEG only), Bluetooth2 v.1.2 (optional)
Software Included
CD-ROM including MP Driver, MP Navigator, Setup Software and User's Guide, Electronic Photo Application Guide, Electronic User's Guide, e-registration, ArcSoft PhotoStudio, ScanSoft OmniPage SE7, Easy-PhotoPrint version 3.5, and Easy-WebPrint (Windows only, requires Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5.5, version 6.0 recommended)
Dimensions 15.6" x 18.5" x 8.4" (W x D x H)
26.3 lbs
Toll-free technical phone support plus 1-year limited warranty with InstantExchange program.
1. Resolution may vary based on printer driver setting. Color ink droplets can be placed with a horizontal pitch of 1/9600 inch at minimum.
2. Bluetooth v1.2 with optional Canon Bluetooth Unit BU-20. Bluetooth operation depends on the devices and software version used. Operating distance is approximately 10 meters but may vary due to obstacles, radio signals, locations where radio interference occurs, magnetic fields from microwave ovens, device sensitivity and/or antenna performance.
3. PPM print speeds are based on the highest speed printer driver mode using black and white and color text patterns. Photo print speeds are based on the standard mode driver setting using photo test pattern(s) and select Canon Photo Paper. Print speed measured as soon as first page begins to feed into printer and will vary depending on system configuration, interface, software, document complexity, print mode, types of paper used and page coverage. CPM copy speeds are based on fast mode setting using plain paper. Copy speeds will vary depending on system configuration, interface, software, document complexity, print mode, types of paper used and page coverage. See for additional information.
4. USB 2.0 Hi-Speed requires Windows XP, 2000 or Mac OS X operating systems. For Windows 98, Me and Mac OS X v.10.2 to 10.2.6 operating systems, the printer will operate at USB 1.1 specifications.
5. JPEG files 3MB or smaller only. Requires mobile phone with IrDA port and support for IrMC version 1.1 protocol, with phone positioned no more than 7.9 inches from printer.
6. System requirements vary by application.
7.ScanSoft OmniPage SE (OCR Software) does not supportWindows 98 first edition.
8. Warranty programs are subject to certain conditions and restrictions. See for details.

(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

Continue to
Page 2 - Ink Tanks

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