Canon Pixma Pro9500 Photo Printer Review
A serious printer for serious photographers at a serious price.
Setup / Drivers and Software
Out of the Box (7.00)
The Pro9500 is a single-function photo printer, so it doesn't come with many bells and whistles. You get the ten ink tanks, the print head (packed separately and needs to be installed), power cord, paper manual and Easy Setup Guide, and driver/software installation CD.
Total setup for the Pro9500 took some time, about 24 minutes. About ten minutes of that time consisted of software installation, and the rest involved unpacking the printer and installing the print head and cartridges. All in all, an easy process.
Manual / Quick Start Guide (7.50)
Canon's Easy Setup instructions for the Pro9500 and most of its inkjet printers consist of a large, folding sheet that describes the initial setup process. The descriptions and graphics are fairly simple, although the whole thing is a bit text-heavy for "easy" instructions.
The manual, called the Quick Start Guide (a 98-page, black-and-white booklet), gives very easy to follow instructions of the most common tasks. Users seeking more detailed instructions and help topics need to look at the Pro9500's most useful accompanying documents, the OnScreen User's manual. This bright, well laid-out and illustrated guide explains tasks simply, and users can follow links for more detailed information.
Drivers and Administration (8.00)
Controls for the Pro9500 are contained within the Canon My Printer driver utility. This utility is the same for most Canon inkjet printers, from the $50 iP1800 up to this model. Settings for multiple Canon printers can be managed here, if you have more than one, which, as a testing lab, we do. The driver contains many controls, more than are found in many other manufacturers’ printer drivers.
The main screen is organized into three main menu items: Printer Settings, Printer Status, and Troubleshooting. Printer Status brings up a small dialogue window that displays the current status of the printer (online or offline, printing), ink levels (in a simple graphic displaying a crude level for each cartridge), document name, and current status of the job (i.e., number of pages printed). Troubleshooting displays a simple window with only the most common problems encountered.
The Printer Settings dialogue windows are the same as are accessed through the printer properties button in the print dialogue of most software programs. This tool is organized into five tabs.
The main tab includes the paper type and print quality settings, color settings, and grayscale option. A graphic on the left side of the window shows the current status of the printer settings.
The Page Setup page gives options to set paper size and page layout.
Canon's image correction tools and monochrome settings can be found on the Effects tab. These are discussed in detail in the Image Editing section of the Print Settings / Options page (link).
The Profiles tab allows users to store settings they've made for particular documents or images into a profile list. This can be selected when printing to avoid having to remember settings made for previous prints.
Various cleaning, monitoring, and maintenance tools can be found in the Maintenance tab, including head cleaning, head alignment, and nozzle check.
Each driver tab provides a link to Help (help page) and Instructions (driver guide) pages, so assistance is never far away. Most of the items in these guides are explained well, and the relevant page of the Help menu pops up for each tab.
Easy-PhotoPrint Pro is the main software that comes with the Pro9500 printer. This is a very intuitive way to print photos, with all the most pertinent settings confined to one window, unlike the basic Easy-PhotoPrint software that ships with this and other Canon inkjet printers. The simpler version is a three-tabbed system for printing, but we find the Pro version even simpler and more useful.
A list of drop-down menus on the left guides the user through the process. If a print settings profile has been previously created, the first box allows the user to choose that. The printer can be chosen, as well as the paper type, size, layout, and source, and the quality can be set. The Color Adjustment button brings up a window similar to the custom color correction window in the driver, with settings for color, brightness, and contrast. An additional tab in this window provides color management options, where users can choose an ICC profile and a rendering intent.
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