If you’re going to print your photos yourself, you might as well print them really big. After all, you can always show your photos to friends and family on your laptop or mobile phone, but there’s nothing quite like a framed 13x19-inch print to really show off your skills as a photographer.
Canon’s Pixma Pro9000 II is the low-end model in the company’s large-format printer line, but with prices ranging from $370 to $460 online, it’s hardly a frivolous investment. Plus, you need to factor in the cost of ink—$12 per cartridge or $86 for a full eight-pack. The Pro9000 II uses eight different ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, green, red, and black, plus photo cyan and photo magenta.
Canon's low-end large-format printer offers superb color output, but lacks a photo black cartridge for speedy black-and-white printing.
The combination of eight inks and 6,144 nozzles allows for fast printing, even in high-quality mode. In our testing, a 5x7 test print took 34 seconds, an 8x10 took 71 seconds, and an 11x17 on fine-art paper took 4 minutes, 15 seconds. Black-and-white prints, however, took considerably longer; an 11x17 black-and-white print took a little more than 19 minutes.
We printed 16 13x19 prints and 10 5x7 prints before we had to replace the first ink cartridge. Your results will vary, depending on the color mix in your prints. The first cartridge to run out in our tests was photo cyan, with photo magenta and yellow close behind.
The printer ships with printer drivers for Vista, MacOS, and Windows XP. Windows 7 drivers are available online. Canon offers helpful documentation on calibration and obtaining the best possible output using fine-art paper. While you can get superb prints using fine-art paper, it will cost a pretty penny. For example, 20 sheets of Hahnemuhle 13x19 Fine Art Baryta 325 can set you back $87. That’s more than $4 per print, not counting ink!
You can do a color-balance thumbnail comparison using the bundled Easy-PhotoPrint Pro.
Canon includes Adobe Photoshop Elements 6, an older version of Adobe’s entry-level Photoshop app. (The current version of Elements is 8.0). Also included is the Easy-PhotoPrint Pro plugin for Photoshop, which offers very fine-grain control over color balance and output settings. One of the cooler features is to print out a series of thumbnails on a single sheet with different color-balance settings, so you can pick which image best suits your needs.
We also liked the feature that allows you to print directly from USB flash memory keys using the USB port on the front of the printer.
Color output is stunning, even when creating quick prints. The printer control panel offers very granular control over the layout of the print. Also included are specific ICC profiles for Canon art papers, enabling better color matching. You can actually feed paper into the printer from either a rear, top feeder or from the front tray. Fine-art paper is best used by feeding single sheets from the front tray.
In the end, the Pixma 9000Pro II is a wonderfully fast printer with great output, but its Achilles’ heel is black-and-white printing and the cost of keeping it fed with ink and paper worthy of it.
Canon Pixma Pro9000 II
Superb color output; useful utilities; up to 13x19 print output.
Long wait for black-and-white prints; old Photoshop Elements version; large prints are costly.