I’ve always had good experiences with Canon printers so I was excited earlier this year to hear they would be releasing a new wide format bubblejet printer – the i9900. I’d been thinking of buying a wide format printer for a while, but was waiting for a new model to be released. Previously when I’d bought a new printer it would generally get replaced with a new model the next week, so I wanted to get in at the start of a new model. I got the i9900 last week and unpacked it, installed the eight ink tanks (yes eight different ink tanks!) and hooked it up to my PC via USB 1.1, although I had the option of USB 2.0 and Firewire. Drivers installed off the CD and I was ready to go. Well I would have been if I’d had any paper. Thankfully Canon includes a sample of their 4″ x 6″ photo paper so I got to try it out with those – postcard size paper looks a bit silly in a printer the size of this one though!
My first impression was that it wasn’t working. It didn’t appear to be making any noise and I couldn’t see the paper moving. It was in fact printing, just fairly quietly and had swallowed the first sheet of paper whole and then spat it out with a crispy glossy image on it. The image appeared to have a blue cast to it, but as it dried this seemed to go away. I didn’t time the output, but it didn’t feel like it took very long to make a 4″ x 6″ print. If you’re familiar with Canon’s printer drivers there’s nothing new here, the options appear the same as those for my previous printer – the i850.
Printing on larger paper is much more interesting. I bought a pack of Canon’s 13″ x 19″ photo paper pro, which costs just over $1 a sheet. The printer is capable of printing full bleed on this paper, but I restricted it to 12″ x 18″ and printed a couple of test images. A 12″ x 18″ print took a few minutes to arrive and then another minute or so to fully dry. 6 megapixel images looked superb with no banding in the output or pixelisation. Colour reproduction is very good, matching well with the onscreen image. When using the vivid photo option in the drivers, the printer can over emphasize green tones in the print which looked a little unnatural to my eyes, however other people have only noticed it in one print when I’ve pointed it out.
I’ve only made four large prints so far, so I can’t be certain how long the ink tanks will last before needing a replacement. I tried to gauge the amount of ink that had been drained from the tanks but it was too little for me to really measure. Replacement tanks can be had for between $10 and $15 in most cases. The printer has a USB port on the front for connecting a digital camera directly and printing from the camera – a feature I’ll probably never use and I’d be surprised if many users of this printer would either, it’s not aimed at the entry level digital camera user, who are the people most likely to want to print straight from the camera I think…
The quality of the printer has impressed me. Recommended if you’re interested in producing large prints.