Amateur photographers will find plenty to like with the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II inkjet photo printer, including great output, A3+ media support and dye-based consumables for printing on glossy media.
Unfortunately, the lack of colour configuration options and an inability to use some heavy stock will deter professionals from shelling out for the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II.
Though it's thinner and shorter than Canon's business-focussed Canon PIXMA iX7000 (review) A3 printer, the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II is deeper when all output and input trays are extended. The printer accepts up to 151 sheets of standard A4 paper at a time through a vertical rear tray and a single sheet front feed. The printer only supports media up to 270gsm thick, which rules out heavy stock like Canon's 350gsm "Museum Etching" Fine Art Paper. The PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II can also print directly to CDs and DVDs.
The Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II connects to computers via USB 2.0; there are no networking options. You can also print directly from PictBridge-compatible digital cameras and mobile phones through a second USB port on the front.
To our surprise, the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II photo printer uses the same conventional dye-based ink cartridges you would find in most inkjet printers and multifunctions. More expensive photo printers like the Epson Stylus Photo R2880 and Canon's top-of-the-range PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II employ pigment-based inks, which don't tend to last as long or work well with glossy media. Those who prefer their photos glossy instead of matte will definitely favour the PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II over more expensive alternatives.
Running costs are reasonable, but using the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II does work out more expensive than ordering low quantities of similar sized images from a print house.
We aren't too concerned with the speed of this printer; the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II is a photo printer, and speed is not the priority for discerning photographers. Nevertheless, it is reasonably quick, producing a normal quality A4 photo in roughly 54sec and an A3 photo in 2min 11sec.
Quality is what the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II A3+ inkjet photo printer was built for, and this is where it truly delivers. We tested the printer across a range of glossy and matte Canon photo media, in sizes from 4x6in to A3+. Across all of our tests, the printer produced accurate colours with few exceptions and no noticeable aberrations. Blues, greens and yellows are all vibrant without being oversaturated. Red hues, however, appear prominent when using the print driver's "Vivid Photo" option - particularly when printing on matte media.
Though using greyscale print settings usually offers better monochrome printing, we found the opposite to be the case here. When printing high resolution black and white photos, the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II A3+ inkjet photo printer produced deeper blacks when printing with all ink cartridges rather than simply with black.
Unfortunately, both the standard print driver and bundled Easy Photo-Print EX software provide few options to configure colour beyond the basic "Vivid Photo" checkbox. If you really want to mess around with print colours, you will have to install the bundled Easy Photo-Print Pro plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, which lets you manage colour profiles as well as manually configure colour hues.
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