S9000 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer
The Canon S9000 is an incredible printer, it's fast and quiet and there's no denying that
the replaceable ink tanks are more economical than having to replace a multi-color
cartridge when only one of its colors has run out. However you must consider that these
individual ink tanks retail for about $11.99 each and the cost of the average Epson 5-
color cartridge is $25 or less. You'll go through 2 to 3 of the light magenta and light
cyan ink tanks for every one of the other colors so stock up on these. The Canon S9000
and S900 are color photo printers and have been optimized for this task. Normal text
printing is not as good or as fast as that from lesser printers. The new Canon i850
is the narrow carriage King of the Hill as it is both
an excellent photo printer and the fastest text printer I've ever used and it's only a 4-
color printer. The S9000's print head assembly can be replaced by the user which
eliminates the need to send the printer in for service in the event of a failure or major
clog. The driver maintenance options include both a head cleaning cycle and an alignment
procedure to keep your printing as perfect as possible.
The actual print quality is outstanding, especially considering that it outputs a full
page 8.5 x 11 inch print at the highest quality possible in about two minutes. The same
photo print takes about seven and a half minutes on the Epson 890 printer. The prints are
very comparable to those made on an Epson photo printer at 1440dpi (microweave on and high
speed off). There is a little more shadow detail visible at 1440dpi or 2880dpi on the
Epsons but it takes at about 2-3X the printing time and uses a lot more ink.
I've tested a number of different papers and as expected, the s9000 and all
other Canon photo printers that we've used make the best prints on real "Photo Pro" paper.
Canon's Photo Paper Pro has the same "look and feel" of the best heavy-weight conventional
photo lab paper. The downside is that it is more expensive than other photo papers.
The most startling speed comparison can be seen when printing a borderless print. Epson
printers slowly, micro-advance the paper both at the beginning and end of the print which
doubles the normal print time. The Canon S9000 only slows down slightly at the end of the
print, other than that it speeds along whether printing in bordered or borderless mode. A
normal 4x6" borderless print comes out of the S9000 in less than a minute! The Epson
890 takes about four minutes to make the same borderless 4x6" print.
Now let's make a big 13x19" print. On the Epson 1270 I was used to watching the printer
slowly advance the paper and take about twenty minutes to crank out a 13 x 19" print. The
Canon S9000 advances the paper noticeably faster and in just over four minutes it quietly
spits out the finished print using the Quality "2" setting. Pushing Quality to the
ultimate at setting "1" yielded the same print in six minutes and fifty seconds. Prints
of this size are obviously made to be framed, hung on the wall and viewed at distance, but
even up close, these prints don't look the least bit "digital." They rival any print that
I've ever had made at a pro color lab. And the ones we printed from a Canon D60 and Kodak
DCS 760 digital SLR were as sharp and colorful as prints that I used to get from a medium
format film camera.
Installation on my Windows 98 SE and Windows XP Pro machine was quick and simple and the
printer was good to go within minutes of taking it out of the box. The driver software
is designed so that even novice users can be cranking out photo-quality prints quickly.
And when you're not printing photos the S9000 is more than capable of being an all-
purpose color and text printer too. The key is simplicity, instead of numerous print
time options like selecting an output "dpi" resolution or enabling or disabling
microweave you just select the media type and High Quality and then click the print
button in your application. Print after print came out looking exactly the way they did
on the screen in Photoshop or PhotoImpact. The inability to get the printout to match the
screen is probably the #1 complaint of most digital printing neophytes. Kudos to Canon
for eliminating the software hassles.
The S9000's print quality is "awesome" and looks like what I used to
pay big bucks for at the local pro color lab back in my film days. I printed
the majority of my images using the default "Quality 2" setting and in only one print
did I see any visible banding in a large patch of open blue sky. I went back and
looked at a lot of my other prints including those with lots of sky but didn't see any
other banding problems. By re-printing the image again using the "1" setting the
banding was eliminated completely. I got acceptable 13x19" prints from full-frame
Nikon 990 (3-megapixel) images but you really need 4-megapixel or higher resolution
images when making prints that large. The 13x19" prints from the Canon D60 were
incredible! With a studio portrait from a Kodak DCS 760 and a Canon D60 side by side
it was difficult to see any difference. When the prints first come out of the printer
they have a noticeable blue-green cast to them but this disappears in about 15 minutes as the ink
When the S9000 (or S900) is used under Windows 98 SE there is a chance that you might run
into the same problem that I saw. Whenever I tried to print B&W prints they came out with
either a blue or green "tint" to them. Even if the "Grayscale printing" option was used
and even if the source image was completely desaturated to grayscale. This problem was
not encountered when the S9000 was installed on my new Windows XP Pro machine, it now
prints perfect B&W with no other colors mixed in.
Price, performance and economy, the Canon S9000 Photo Printer is an excellent value.
And in today's world where your time is the most valuable commodity, the S9000 can
literally pay for itself in increased productivity.
Don't need a BIG printer? Then check out the smaller carriage
Canon S900 photo printer
, it features the same quality
and speed with a maximum paper size of 8.5x11".