Canon Pro9500

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.

The Canon PIXMA Pro9500 is Canon's top-of-the-line, 10-color, 13 x 19 inch photo printer using Lucia pigment inks. It's sibling, the Pro9000 uses two fewer inks (missing the matte black and gray) and dye-based Chromalife inks instead of pigment inks. So what's the big difference you ask?   Both are fast, capable color printers, however the Pro9500 would be the best choice if you need to print gallery-grade monochromatic photos. The matte black ink produces higher density blacks on fine art papers while the gray ink provides a stable gray balance. This printer consumes a fair amount of desktop space, requiring about 30 inches of width and 36 inches of depth (with the rear and front trays open). Unlike other printers with only a rear tray to handle thicker media, the Pro9500 employs a unique front feed. The paper is fed in through the front feeder then it's pulled back through while printing. This eliminates the hassle of leaning over the printer or turning it sideways to facilitate feeding the paper from the rear. The front tray has two positions; normally it serves as the output tray for the auto sheet feeder, when lifted up and opened again it becomes the front paper feed. When using only the auto sheet feeder you can close the back paper support and push the printer about 17 inches closer to the wall. Wheels on the back of the printer make this job easier, just lift up the front and then roll it forward or back. The new Pro9500 is a very capable successor to the i9900 and continues the tradition of speed and image quality that you'd expect in a "top-of-the-line" 13 x 19-inch printer. The Pro9500 can handle media up to 1.2mm thick such as Canon's has two new fine art papers. The 100% cotton, Fine Art Paper Photo Rag (for photo art as well as copies of water colors, oil paintings, wood block prints and illustrations); and Fine Art Paper Premium Matte (a heavy 210g/m paper with a smooth matte finish for gallery-grade photographs and other art content). Both new papers are offered in 8½ x 11-inch and 13 x 19-inch sizes. Canon Photo Paper Pro and Photo Paper Plus Semi Gloss is available in a new 8 x 10-inch size making it easy to produce frame-ready prints. Using Canon's FINE technology print head to deposit precise and constant 3 picoliter ink droplets, the printer quickly creates photo lab quality prints of remarkable quality. The 10-color ink system provides a wide color space that delivers vivid coloration. The combination of the individually packaged inks and Canon Photo Paper Pro glossy paper creates beautiful finished images. Test print times using an 8 megapixel JPEG image and Canon Photo Paper Pro glossy media (unless otherwise noted). These are actual "click to drop" times meaning the timer starts when we clicked the Print button and stopped when the paper dropped in the tray.

(Pentium P4 / Windows XP / USB 2.0 / Photoshop CS) The bottom line - the Pro9500 is an excellent choice for the pro or semi-pro user that needs to print large color photos up to 13 x 19 inches on a wide variety of media including fine art papers. And it makes beautiful, archival quality monochrome prints. I have always been impressed by the quality and speed of Canon's wide carriage printers having owned and used the i9100 and i9900 - the Pro9500 takes their best features and adds the ability to print on even thicker media. I sound like a broken record when I keep saying that the output from these printers is "photo lab quality" but it's true. Many years ago I spent hours in the dark, inhaling toxic chemicals to make my own prints and believe me, this is a much better way to go. Long live technology!