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Canon Pixma Pro9500 Printer

A snap to setup and use, the Pro9500 is a fine art printer capable of truly outstanding prints By Robert Jensen

After 30 years of making inkjet printers Canon has started shipping what may be its best printer ever (under the $1,000 mark), the Pixma PRO9500. In the early 90's the first printers used for digital artwork appeared - costing what a Mercedes S500 would run you nowadays. Back then you were extremely lucky if that expensive print you just had made would last for five years on display.

Compare that with prints from just seven years ago, which might last up to 25 years under the best conditions. A lot has happened in the science of printing even in the last couple of years. Its now possible to make a print, at home, having a lifespan of 100 years or longer, depending on display conditions and the paper used. Compare that to a standard color print made in a darkroom - which may have a lifespan of around 35 years. Canon achieves these lofty numbers in part by using their new Lucia, pigment-based inks. Canons Lucia inks are more stable and react less to light than most dye-based inks. 

Design
Canon makes some of the nicest looking printers around. The PRO9500 has a sleek modernistic design somewhat similar to the Canon Pixma iP5200 that I purchased two years ago. I liked the iP5200 much better than the printer it replaced, an Epson 870, which was highly regarded by many pros who did their own prints. The one big limitation I felt with those older printers was only being able to print on letter sized papers or smaller. If I needed an 11x14 print for my portfolio or a gallery show I had to find a lab I could trust to give me decent results. A single 11x14 printed on a quality fine art paper usually costs around $25 to $35 at my local lab.


The Pixma Pro 9500 can print on papers up to 13x19

The Pro9500 can print on papers up to 13x19 and expected per print cost will vary depending on paper used, but expect it to cost you much less than lab prices. Looking at the ink levels after several 8 x 11 test prints and printing out six 13x19 prints, I did a little calculating of costs and it came out to less than $4.50 a print for the large prints! Factor in the cost of the printer itself and printing 100 large prints, which comes to just $13 a print, and cost is still about half that of a lab print. So if you do a lot of printing it saves you money in the long run to get this printer and do it yourself.

Setup and first prints
Getting the Canon PRO9500 ready to go was easy, if a little time consuming. Most of the setup time was spent installing all the software from the supplied CD onto my computer. Otherwise all it takes to set up the printer is to plug it in. Turn it on. Flip open the cover to the guts of the printer, which moves the print head/ink assembly into access position. Snap in the user-replaceable print head and then the 10 supplied ink cartridges. Close the lid. DONE!   

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