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Old Feb 2, 2012, 2:29 PM   #1
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Default advice on Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II Inkjet Printer

I'm currently using a Canon inkjet printer that limits me to output less than 8.5x11. As my skills increase I want to have the ability to print images big enough for display at shows/galleries.

I'm thinking I need to be able to print at atleast 13x19 to make images big enough for gallery type displays... Thus, I'm looking at the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 MkII. It is currently available for ~$399 with a $200 mail in rebate.

Is this a printer I should consider?

Thx.
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Old Feb 3, 2012, 5:26 AM   #2
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Hi,

From a price vs performance perspective, the Canon Pro9000 MKII is very hard to beat. I've had mine for about 2yrs and have yet to encounter any issues with it.

I print mostly 13 x 19 prints as well as note cards for resale. The quality is fine.

I do have to point out a couple of areas of concern:

The ink cartridges are small and printing 13 x 19 prints will cause you to run through them very quickly.

The temptation of using third party inks and refilling the ink cartridges will come up. All I can say is that I've not found an ink that you can get from a third party that doesn't fade rather quickly.

Depending on how many prints you plan on printing, an alternative to explore may be the Epson 3000, their latest printer. It utilizes a larger capacity ink cartridge which will save you some real money.
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Old Feb 3, 2012, 5:50 PM   #3
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Zig; Thx for the advice...

Regarding the Epson 3000, at a current price of $788 (b/4 $200 rebate) that printer seems to be in a different class compared to the Pro 9000 ($399 b/4 $200 rebate). More in line with the price of the Pro 9000 is the Epson Stylus Photo R2000 Ink Jet Printer ($499 b/4 $100 rebate). How does the R2000 compare with the Canon?

With the rebates, the Epson R2000 is TWICE the price of the Canon...

Thx.
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Old Feb 3, 2012, 9:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelT1i View Post
Zig; Thx for the advice...

Regarding the Epson 3000, at a current price of $788 (b/4 $200 rebate) that printer seems to be in a different class compared to the Pro 9000 ($399 b/4 $200 rebate). More in line with the price of the Pro 9000 is the Epson Stylus Photo R2000 Ink Jet Printer ($499 b/4 $100 rebate). How does the R2000 compare with the Canon?

With the rebates, the Epson R2000 is TWICE the price of the Canon...

Thx.
All the Epson pro level printers are built like tanks and can provide years of service. I still have and use an Epson 2200 printer that is 2003 vintage . It works as well today as it did when new.

But, the various models do use different inks even though they are all pigment based. Instead of the R2000, you might want to take a look at the R2880 as it utilizes the Ultrachrome K3 ink. while the R2000 uses the K2 ink formulation.
If you plan on ever printing B&W, frankly, I think you'll be better off with a printer that uses the K3 inks as they print better looking B&W prints.
The R2880 sells for about $100 USD more than the R2000.

To me, I would base my decision on the following

How many prints/year do you expect make.
more than 200 prints /year and I'd want the R2880

Will they all be color.
R2000 or pro9000mkII

Or will you also want B&W.
R2880 or pro9000mkII


Archival quality requirements- to me that means 100 plus years of ink fastness
Canon uses dye based inks they last a long time. But, personally I wouldn't rate them as archival quality
Epson Printer with Ultrachrome 3 ink -R2880
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Old Feb 10, 2012, 5:25 AM   #5
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I also got a very good deal on a Pro9000MkII about a year ago.

The print quality is excellent. A couple of downsides - the cartridges are reasonably small, so if your print volumes are high it is expensive. However the dye inks are cheaper than the pigment inks used in the other high end printers.

Note that the 9000MkII is one of the very few remaining dye ink printers. Longevity is probably less (although they are still rated around 100 years), but quality is excellent and colours are very vibrant.

It can handle thick paper, but honestly it's quite fiddly. Best to stick with 200g/sm thickness if possible.

The major downside with this printer is that most of the new papers don't come with easy to find downloadable profiles, or are not particularly suitable for dye inks. So you are somewhat restricted in your choice of papers. However it's certainly possible to standardise on 2-3 good papers, which is what most people recommend anyway.

I use Hahnemuhle Photo Rag for matte (90% of my printing) and the Canon Platinum Pro for gloss. And that's about all I need.
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Old Feb 10, 2012, 6:49 AM   #6
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I gotta ask: why do you guys print your own here in the states. It won't help Craig, but have you guys tried places like Bay Photo here in the states? Everything you could ever want product wise and extremely cheap / free shipping when you go through them directly. The thing I always hated about printing is losing ink throughout the year whether you're printing or not.

Doesn't cost a penny to set up an account with Bay Photo - of course if you absolutely need a print right away that's different. But for gallery work I don't see that being the case.
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Old Feb 10, 2012, 7:23 AM   #7
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I think the Pro9000II knocks the R2000 out of the park.

Even in the UK there are very good online printing firms.

Mostly though you get a choice of 1 paper type. Fuji Crystal Archive. Which is a nice enough paper but.... And if you are printing up to 8x12 the prices are actually lower than the cost of ink and paper for a good inkjet printer. At 12x18 though it's cheaper to print your own.

But once you want to print onto fine art papers it's a lot cheaper to do your own, as long as you do a certain minimum volume per year. For gallery prints I would not do my own, I would use a specialist.

But the main reason is that I love holding a good print. And it's nice to be able to give prints to friends quickly and easily. With cheap commodity frames from stores like Ikea you can shoot, print and frame in only minutes.

The great thing about the Pro9000MkII is that the up-front cost of the printer is incredibly low. I got mine with rebates and special deals for 200. For a really top-grade photo printer, capable of gallery-quality prints! Printing to a matte fine-art paper I paid for the cost of the printer within about 25 8x12 prints compared to an online specialist.

It just makes it really easy to make great prints at home. All you need is Lightroom, a good monitor and a profiler.

For years I just printed online, but the 200 deal I got on a Pro9000II was so good that I figured I'd give it a shot. And I have not regretted it at all. So much so that when this one gives up I will very likely go for something like the new Canon Pro1 printer, or possibly even an Epson3880.

From an economic point of view printing online is very sensible:
  • You can get great BW prints from Kodak online.
  • For colour (Fuji Crystal Archive) I like Photobox.
  • As a specialist fine-art printer www.theprintspace.co.uk are truly excellent.
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Old Feb 10, 2012, 10:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
Mostly though you get a choice of 1 paper type. Fuji Crystal Archive. Which is a nice enough paper but.... And if you are printing up to 8x12 the prices are actually lower than the cost of ink and paper for a good inkjet printer. At 12x18 though it's cheaper to print your own.
That probably depends on how much you print.

I often use my local Walgreens Pharmacy for prints, as I can upload them to their servers and pick them up within the hour. They have a location across the street from my subdivision, so that makes them *very* convenient. If you're printing for family and friends, you can specify pickup at a different location, too. For example, I can place an order for photos taken at a family event (birthday party, etc.) that I've uploaded to albums on their servers, and have them printed and ready at a Walgreens location that's close to the family member that wants copies of them (and they offer CDs with the photos on them, too). Since the photos in albums you create are kept in centralized servers, they just send the order to any store you want to print them at (so that you don't need to upload them to a specific Walgreens location).

You can usually get 4x6" prints for around 12 cents each in larger quantities if you keep an eye out for specials, and sometimes even lower than that if you use the right coupon code (and they have different ones all the time, like one I see on their web site right now for "buy 25, get 25 free")

Now, once you get into larger than 8x10" sizes (and 8x10" prints are only around $2 each), you'll see a *huge* increase in the price. For example, you'll spend around $12.99 for a 12x18" print, or around $14.99 for a 16x20" print.

So, yes, if you print larger sizes often, it may be cheaper to do it yourself instead.

But, if you don't print that large very often, it may not be worth the expense of a printer capable of those sizes, once you factor printer, ink and paper costs into it.

Also, if you're a good shopper, you can get larger sizes cheaper via a vendor like walgreens, too. For example, they have a coupon code right now that you can use for poster size prints (anything larger than 8x10" is what they refer to as "poster size") that's good good for 30% off the regular prices.

Again, they have those types of coupon codes all the time. I've even had store clerks offer to apply coupons that I was unaware of at checkout time (via locally advertised specials versus the specials on their web sites).

I like the versatility of having my own printers. But, Ink and paper costs add up fast. So, I usually just use other vendors to handle printing for me anymore.
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Old Feb 10, 2012, 10:26 AM   #9
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I also have a Canon 9000mkII printer and I love it. Yes, the ink tanks are small but buying them from B&H in the economy packs isn't very expensive and it's free shipping when you buy the packs. One of my old printers is an Epson RX595 that prints great photos, but the 9000 is noticeably better in terms of color and contrast. I've had a few printers in my days and the 9000 is the best I've had for photos. The 9000 also beats my other printer, the Canon MP990. I kept the 990 because it does a great job of scanning negatives and slides.

B&H advertises (in their paper catalog) that this printer prints directly onto printable CDs. That is not the case. The 9000s slated for the European market do print CDs, but because of a patent infringement in the US, the 9000s aren't sold set up for this. You can buy the CD trays on Ebay to do this but it does require that you remove a couple of pieces to get the tray in. There are instructions available on line that show you how to do this.
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Old Feb 10, 2012, 10:26 AM   #10
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From Photobox for example:

An 8x12 is 1.39
A 12x18 is 6.50

Printing on Photo Rag at home:
8x12 ~ 2.00 per print for paper and ink.
12x18 ~4.00 per print for paper and ink.

Printing on Photo Rag from theprintspace.co.uk:
8x12 ~ 8
12x18 ~ 15

So you can see roughly where breakeven would be... printing only 8x12 prints you lose money against the online printers on every print, never mind the cost of the printer. But compared to a gallery quality print you save around 5 per print. 200/5=40. So as long as you print more than 40 prints over the life of the printer you save money. I probably do around 10 per month.

Compared to an Epson 3880 though @ 1000/5 = 200 8x12 prints to breakeven. Or 100 12x18. Or probably around 50 18x24.

If the printer lasts 3-4 years. That means only one 18x24 per month and a handful of 8x12 prints to break-even.

If you never print larger than 8x12 though then you might as well just use the online printers.

You can upload and collect at some places like Jessops I believe. But mainly it's mail-order with shipping in a day or two. Not a big problem in general. And if you need to pop down to the store then just put them on a USB stick.

But mostly it's just FUN printing high-quality prints at home.
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