i950 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The i950 photo printer features the Canon Think Tank System™, an intelligent ink-management system that uses individual ink tanks for each color. You replace only the color that runs out rather than an entire cartridge.

This is the sight that greets you when you lift the cover on the i950 printer. Rather than seeing the usual two color and black cartridges there's this most impressive looking print head assembly with six separate ink tanks. The blue lever on the top is the paper thickness adjustment.

Here's the print head with its 3,072 print nozzles and three of its six ink tanks. Not only can the user replace the individual ink tanks but you can also replace the entire print head if necessary. (Replacement print heads are available from Canon Service after it is determined that a replacement is necessary.) Epson printers require a trip to the service center if they encounter a print head problem.

Optical ink sensors automatically monitor all ink color levels and communicate with your computer--giving you a pop-up message indicating exactly what colors are running low. You can also check the status of the ink tanks at any time using the Status Monitor of the driver as shown above. Canon's optical low ink detection system prevents wasted printouts by notifying you via the Printer Status Monitor before any ink tank becomes empty, so you'll never unexpectedly run out of ink in the middle of a job again.

A light beam shines through a prism located at the bottom of each ink tank. When there is sufficient ink, the light is detected by the sensor. When only about 20% of ink is left in any of the ink tanks, the light beam is refracted, triggering the sensor which tells the printer driver to display a low ink tank notification for that ink tank.

The Effects page lets turns your photo into a simulated color 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 option enhances the green and blue colors and contrast and may be too much for some images. You can also enable or disable the Image Optimizer or Photo Optimizer PRO enhancements which help produce better enlargements from lower resolution images. option that helps reduce speckle noise often found in blue areas such as the sky. It has two settings: Normal and Strong. Canon i950 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer Canon i950 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

Left is no Photo Noise Reduction, Right is with PNR enabled.

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

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.)

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.

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. The Photo Magenta and Photo Cyan tanks consistently run out faster than the other colors when printing photos so there's little argument for the need of these additional colors.