i9900 Color Bubble Jet Photo PrinterThe i9900's driver lets you quickly setup the printer by simply choosing the Media Type (Plain Paper, High Resolution Paper, Photo Paper Pro, Glossy Photo Paper, Matte Photo Paper, T-Shirt Transfer, Transparency or Envelope) and the Print Quality setting (High, Standard or Draft). The optimum Quality is automatically selected depending on the Media Type but you can manually select it using the Custom option. By default the driver is set for Auto color adjustment or that can be manually selected as well. The default options produce the best quality printouts at the fastest print speed.
Clicking on the Custom button for Quality lets you manually select the printing speed from Fast to Fine. You can also select the desired Halftoning options. By default when using the High quality setting this slider is at the "2" position and I didn't notice any great improvement by using the Finest "1" setting.
Clicking on the Manual button for Color Correction lets you manually adjust the individual colors as well as the intensity. Here you can enable/disable ICM color matching and select a Print Type and Brightness setting.
Clicking on the Print Advisor button brings up this screen. It's kind of a built in FAQ to educate you on what settings are best for what media and etc.
The Page Layout options let you select the paper size, orientation (portrait or landscape), printing type (normal-size, fit-to-page, scaled, page layout printing, poster, banner), borderless printing with an adjustable amount of extension, duplex printing, number of copies, printing order and collate options.
The Stamp/Background page lets you select an overlay stamp to print on your pages. Choose from Draft, Important, Confidential, Secret or define your own. You may also select a background image.
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. The Photo Noise Reduction option helps reduce speckle noise often found in blue areas such as the sky. It has two settings: Normal and Strong.
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. The i9900, like the i9100 and s9000 printers, goes through the Photo Cyan and Photo Magenta inks faster than the others. 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.
Everytime I think that it just can't get any better - it does! Canon has
improved the color gamut, the output resolution and made it print even faster.
I personally own the Canon i9100 and the output from the new i9900 is
noticeably more impressive, especially the reds and greens. It's not the same as
using the vivid printing effect or increasing the overall saturation, these prints
just have more visual "punch." There's no doubt that the addition of the
Red and Green inks have expanded the already photo-realistic output of Canon's
6-color printing system. The only downside is that you now have to buy more ink tanks,
eight versus six, but thankfully they're replaced individually and only when needed.
Top is Canon i9100 -- Bottom is Canon i9900
The above 320x240 clips (100%, no post-editing) are from a side-by-side 600dpi scan of two 4x6" prints made on the Canon i9100 and i9900 printers. Both printers were set exactly the same, using the best possible print quality, default auto color control, no enhancements enabled for either print. It's visibly apparent the difference that 4800x2400 dpi makes versus the 4800x1200 dpi of last year's i9100 printer. And that's not to say the i9100 is a poor printer, quite the opposite, the i9100 is a great printer - the new i9900 is simply better.
This really doesn't do it justice but, the above image shows the two 4x6" prints as scanned at 600 dpi and then reduced down to 379x500 (120Kb) to make it reasonable for downloading (click to see it!) It will give you the general idea of how much more colorful the i9900 prints are than those from the i9100. This scan is totally unretouched, exactly the way it was captured by my Canon 5000F scanner. I'm sure that I won't have to tell you but, the top image is from the i9100, the bottom is from the i9900. The i9900 does not make you wait -- it cranks out 4 x 6" borderless prints in about 40 seconds, 8.5 x 11" borderless prints in about 85 seconds and when you really want to impress your friends -- it can pump out a huge, borderless 13 x 19" print in an amazing two minutes and fourty seconds! That's a full two minutes faster than the i9100 which is (was) the fastest wide-carriage inkjet printer in its class. If you look at page two of this review you'll see how they were able to do this. They doubled the number of print nozzles, the i9100 has 3,072 and the new i9900 has 6,144 - that's two 3,072-nozzle heads sitting side by side. If you're using the i9900 to make prints for your customers it will pay for itself in increased productivity -- time = money! And there's no waiting on your data input either. Windows PC users can connect to either the high-speed USB 2.0 port or the standard USB 1.1 port. Macintosh OS computers can use these ports too or they can make use of the IEEE1394 FireWire port. If you're like me and have two or three computers sitting in your work area -- you can have a computer plugged in to all three of these ports simultaneously. And speaking of input ports, the i9900 like all the other new Canon printers and cameras is PictBridge compatible. You can directly plug any PictBridge- enabled camera into the front USB port using the camera's regular USB download cable. Now you can make prints without need of a computer, simply select the images on the camera's color LCD and any printing options and then press the appropriate button. For many users this is the simplest and easiest way to make perfect photo prints as you needn't know anything about graphic or photo-editing programs. You just print exactly what you see on the LCD. Many different manufacturer's cameras made in late 2003 or 2004 support PictBridge, it isn't a Canon-specific standard. Canon does not have any special "photo black" or "photo gray" inks for their printers like some of the other printer makers. I don't do much b&w printing myself but I did make some monochrome prints on matte paper and they looked quite nice. The Canon s9000 was terrible at this, it seemed to use some blue/green colors even if you had checked the "grayscale printing" option in the driver. I am happy to report that the i9900 did not exhibit this tendancy at all, I even sent it a color image and printed it using only black ink. I did try another print using the sepia effect but I wasn't very impressed with the result. To be honest, I have probably taken one picture in the last ten years that would look right if sepia toned so I certainly don't see this as any big deal. I'm sure it is handled much better if you do it in Photoshop with a real sepia filter and then print it as a color image.