Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday Lovin': Canon Pixma Pro Inkjet Photo Printer

On the scrapbooking message boards I read, a common question is "What photo printer should I buy?"  The Holy Grail is a printer that isn't crazy expensive, doesn't run through gallons of ink, and produces great quality photos that will stand the test of time.

Hands down the number one reason contributing to me finishing Project Life in 2012 (yes, I'm really proud of that!) was buying a photo printer so I could print all my pictures at home. 

Prior to buying my printer in May, I was sending photos to Target.com weekly using their in-store pickup option.  I spent a fair amount of time on their website, uploading photos, making sure they were cropped correctly, and going to pick them up.  Not to mention Target's online system would send a message saying they were ready, yet they were not once I got to the store.  With a 2-year-old in tow, it's not like we could wait around for the hour or more it would take to process them, so I had more than a few wasted trips and a LOT of frustration.  I also didn't love the photo quality - it was fine, but not fantastic. (And I'm no expert, for sure.)

I've had a really hard time with all the printers in my past. I never found the right one for me.  My last two printers have been Epson inkjets that blew through ink like nobody's business, would clog constantly and had only so-so photo quality.  Not to mention I had to fight with Epson to replace one that died literally a DAY after the warranty expired.

So I knew when shopping for a new printer that it was NOT going to be an Epson.  I knew I wanted a color inkjet for good photo printing and consulted reviews on CNET. I searched on Amazon, filtering on those color inkjets that had great reviews (4+ stars) and were less than $500. Even that seemed like a ridiculous amount of money for a printer since all my previous ones were less than $100. But I was willing to pay for quality this time, in the hopes I'd get better results.

Fate (and customer reviews) led me to the Canon Pixma Pro 9000 Mark II.  (What a mouthful, huh?)  The reviews were great, though the price was a bit higher than I'd hoped for. Not only was it a great photo printer, but it also prints large format, up to 13x17". So if I ever wanted to print 12x12", a common scrapbooking size, I'd be all set.

We have an email list at work for people to sell household items and I had noticed a few ads for this particular printer.  Turns out that Canon was offering a BIG rebate when buying a DSLR camera, which basically included this printer for free. Many photographers were buying both the camera and printer, then selling the printer new in box after getting the rebate.  When I was ready to buy it, I did a search on Craigslist.

I found several ads for it, and made a deal with a guy to buy it for $160. It felt a bit sketchy to meet him in a grocery store parking lot with a wad of cash in exchange for electronics, but for that screamin' deal, it was totally worth it.

I came home, set it up quickly and easily, and the rest is history.  I printed my photos for Project Life starting that week and never went to Target Photo again.  I've gotten great results from all kinds of photo paper: Epson, Ilford Galerie, and Canon, though not HP paper, oddly. 

Another crafter told me about Epson Matte Premium Presentation Paper for printables, and O.M.G. The print quality is amazing. Colors are bright, saturated and graphics are knife-sharp.  It's not quite as heavy as cardstock but is heavier than regular printer paper.  I've found Amazon has the best price, unless the office supply chain stores are running a buy one get one free deal.

The Canon USA site also sometimes has great deals on photo paper, and I bought 6 packs of 4x8 paper which is great for printing 2 square Instagram photos.

I stick with the Canon ink, and the best deal has been for the multipack on Amazon.  In 8 months of regular use, I've only had to replace 4 of the 8 ink tanks.  I don't want to ruin my expensive printer, nor do I want my photos to fade or run, so I don't take any chances with off-brand inks.   This printer consumes nowhere near the amount of ink as my previous Epson inkjets, and I print far more with it than I ever did with those.

The bundled Canon software - EZ Photo Print - has a cheesy name, but works really well for printing photos in many configurations.  I use it to print two 3x4 photos on 1 4x6 page, as well as 2 4" Instagrams on a 4x8" page, and it's effortless.  You can also print tiny photos on one sheet, add text, and print large borderless photos as well.  I haven't had to tweak any settings to get the colors to come out "true".  (But again, I'm not an expert.)

The drawbacks of this printer are few:  it's HUGE so it takes up a ton of room, it's pretty loud when it's printing, it doesn't print over wireless, and the ink-empty warnings start REALLY early.  On the bright side, it doesn't force you to change the ink until it's really, truly, out and does give you a message when you get to that point. 


Canon has released a newer version of the same printer, which looks identical, the Pixma Pro-100. If you want to buy one new from an authorized retailer, this is the one to get.  Otherwise, check out EBay, Amazon or Craigslist for deals on the PIXMA Pro 9000 Mark II - you will not be disappointed.

Do you have a photo printer you love?  Share it in the Comments please!  I'm also happy to answer more detailed questions about the Pixma Pro.  I love, love, love it, and I never imagined I'd achieve such a healthy relationship with a printer :).

20 comments:

  1. I have that printer. Got it free with my 50D!

    ReplyDelete
  2. We have the same printer too! Love it :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds like a great printer.
    I'll have to remember that one.
    Although we just bought one last year so not in the market yet.
    Ours is an HP photosmart, but I have been disappointed with the photo quality.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wish I had a photo printer! I'm jumping in and doing my own version of Project Life and it's really difficult without one. Unfortunately right now, I can't buy one. One day!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great review! Thanks for taking the time to share it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for the review I think I might need to get a new printer this year :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have an Epson and I agree with some of the issues you've had with it. I'm not quite ready to buy a new printer, but am getting very close. I'll be watching ebay and craig's list here shortly.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great review! I'll keep it in mind when we next need a printer. I don't like ours much at the moment but that's probably because my husband insisted on trying a continuous ink system, which is okay for normal prints but sucks for photos!

    At the moment I'm trying to choose a portable printer - one that I can take on weekends away or to crops to print photos right there and then! x

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have the Epson Stylus Photo R2000 which is a wide-format printer (I can print 12x12). I love it although the ink is outrageous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard good things about that one. Epson ink cartridges are quite expensive. Not that the Canon ones are exactly cheap...

      Delete
  10. that really amazing...my almost gadgets are of cannon. that a good brand name.

    http://tiny.cc/dsherw

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great review-thanks for posting it in the printer question thread! Now you've got me rethinking my Epson idea!!! (And scouring Craigslist, ha!)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well thanks to you I found a pixma pro 100 on craigslist. I too met the guy in a grocery store parking lot and exchanged cash for the printer!! I went home, set it up, printed one 4X6 photo and was very pleased with how it looks!! I am excited to start project life with my new printer!!! Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Do you print 12x12 pages? I have the pro100 and there is no setting for borderless 12x12 paper :(

    The colors on AC cardstock is not sharp either, I have always used the Epson presentation paper but they don't have 12x12 which wouldn't matter anyways because I can't print anything on that size with my pro100.

    Anybody that can help me, please I would appreciate it very much!
    my email is: craftinginthenight@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi. I've been thinking of buying a photo printer for quite sometime. Thanks to your awesome review, I think I'm leaning on to the side of me that really really wants to buy one. :)

    Stasia Snellgrove @ ALBImage.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes you can, trick the printer. Found how to do it on a photography forum.
    Question:
    Forcing borderless printing with Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II
    Posted by gollywop Nov 13, 2009

    Has anyone found a way to force borderless printing from the Canon Pixma Pro9000 with non-standard paper sizes when printing from PS CS4? In particular, I want to print borderlessly using a 9.5x13" sheet (half of a standard 13x19" sheet).

    I am using MacOSX 10.5, but, if a solution is possible, it's not likely to be platform specific. In any event, if I set the Manage Custom Page Size in the Page Setup window to define a 9.5x13" sheet with zero margins, the print driver imposes margins anyway.

    Is there a way to trick the print driver to obtain true borderless printing?
    thanks, gollywop
    --
    Answer:
    Posted by Drew Hendrix Nov 13, 2009

    In Photoshop set up a 13" x 19" document. Place your image on one half - the side that will come out of the printer first. (you may have to test to get it right)

    Now tell the printer you have a 13x19 sheet and set it to borderless.

    It should print border free on all four sides. It will probably error out after the paper runs out but you should be able to recover by cancelling the job.
    No guarantees but it should work
    --
    Result:
    Posted by gollywop Nov 14, 2009

    Many thanks, Drew. That worked perfectly. It even rather gracefully threw the half-sheet out when done and stopped without complaint.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes you can, trick the printer. Found how to do it on a photography forum.
    Question:
    Forcing borderless printing with Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II
    Posted by gollywop Nov 13, 2009

    Has anyone found a way to force borderless printing from the Canon Pixma Pro9000 with non-standard paper sizes when printing from PS CS4? In particular, I want to print borderlessly using a 9.5x13" sheet (half of a standard 13x19" sheet).

    I am using MacOSX 10.5, but, if a solution is possible, it's not likely to be platform specific. In any event, if I set the Manage Custom Page Size in the Page Setup window to define a 9.5x13" sheet with zero margins, the print driver imposes margins anyway.

    Is there a way to trick the print driver to obtain true borderless printing?
    thanks, gollywop
    --
    Answer:
    Posted by Drew Hendrix Nov 13, 2009

    In Photoshop set up a 13" x 19" document. Place your image on one half - the side that will come out of the printer first. (you may have to test to get it right)

    Now tell the printer you have a 13x19 sheet and set it to borderless.

    It should print border free on all four sides. It will probably error out after the paper runs out but you should be able to recover by cancelling the job.
    No guarantees but it should work
    --
    Result:
    Posted by gollywop Nov 14, 2009

    Many thanks, Drew. That worked perfectly. It even rather gracefully threw the half-sheet out when done and stopped without complaint.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments, so please leave me your thoughts. Thanks in advance!

sharing is nice

Related Posts with Thumbnails