Canon Pro9500

The Pro9500's Printing Preferences menus provide easy access to printer settings. The main screen allow access to the Media Type, the Paper Source and the Print Quality. 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. The "Grayscale Printing" box if checked will cause a color image to be printed in grayscale. The "Preview before printing" box will enable the Print Preview feature.

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 Standard quality setting this slider is at the "3" position, the High quality setting is "2" and you can manually select "1" by clicking on the Custom button. The lower the number, the longer the print time, but on this printer even printing with the "1" setting was incredibly fast.

Clicking on the Manual button for Color Correction lets you manually adjust the individual colors as well as the intensity and contrast. Here you can enable/disable Driver Matching, ICM (Standard or Adobe RGB 1998), select a Color Mode (Standard or Linear Tone) and Brightness (Light, Normal, Dark) setting.

Clicking on the Instructions button brings up an onscreen user guide. It describes the various driver settings, the bundled printing software and the basics of color management.

The Page Layout options let you select the Page 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. Just slide the lever to increase or decrease the effect. You can also create a monochrome effect such as Sepia, Pink, Blue, Green or a custom color. The Vivid Photo option enhances the green and blue colors and the contrast, however it may be too vivid 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 the "speckle" noise often found in blue areas, such as the sky, and has two settings: Normal and Strong.

The Profiles page lets you load, create and save custom sets of printer parameters for print jobs 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. There are settings for 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 displays the level of ink in each of the ink tanks. 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.

I always enable the Preview option (found on the Main driver page), this is displayed just before the printer begins to actually print. Here you can visually verify your image cropping, orientation, paper size, media type, paper source and the printing type (borderless / bordered) before accidentally wasting a sheet of expensive photo paper because a driver setting was incorrect.

The Windows-based Easy-PhotoPrint software that came on the CD is truly excellent. It really was "easy" and it provided an organized way to manage all the functions required to print with such an abundant variety of options. Image selection, paper selection and layout tabs were all logically designed and a pleasure to use. In addition, the Easy-PhotoPrint Pro plug-in for Photoshop is set up automatically during the software install. I tested the plug-in with Adobe Photoshop CS under Windows Vista, however I still preferred to go back to the Easy-PhotoPrint application to print.