Printing with a Canon i9100 ... experiences ...

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by tedharris, May 3, 2004.

  1. I do a good bit of digital printing for final prints for resale, presentation, etc. These are
    ALL done by two different labs using either an Iris printer or a Lightjet printer. For the past
    several years I have done no color printing at all in my own darkroom.

    Some 4 years ago I bought an inexpensive Epson inkjet printer, didn't like th results and
    gave it to charity. Now, as I look at the major improvements that have been made in photo
    quality inkjet printers I am considering trying one again. the interest has been bubbling at
    a low level for months but given the costs I kept seeing it just kept bubbling and I have
    continued to rely on my monitor for my own preproduction needs before sending chromes
    off to the lab.

    Now, Calumet has reduced the price of the Canon i9100 to $279 and I could easily get
    interested in purchasing one. The reviews I have read online all seem to be favorable. I
    would appreciate comments from those here that use this printer or have direct
    experience with it in printing scanned 4x5, 6x9 and 8x10 chromes. I use a UMAX
    PowerLook III scanner BTW. It is the price point that interests me. I am not interested in the
    Epson 2200 at $500+ or others in that price range .... just too big an outlay for my uses.

    All comments appreciated.


  2. Ted:
    The inks used by Canon are dye-based inks, not pigment-based inks, as Epson uses in its 2200 and R800 models. For this reason, you get one major plus and one major con. The plus: the colors on the Canon i9100 are bright, saturated, excellent, whereas the pigment colors are a bit more muted, too much for some people. The con: print life before unacceptable fading is much shorter for dye ink than for pigment ink. It has a lot to do with the paper too, but in general dyes don't tolerate sunlight or other environmental "contaminants" as well. If you are creating prints to sell, that is a serious problem. If you prints are for proofing, especially for a print process that can convey the Canon's vivid colors, then the Canon is a good choice. FWIW, I use the Canon s900 (same inks as i9100) and am very happy with the output. I have not used the Epson 2200, but have seen many images printed on them. Good color, but not quite the same snap.
  3. Before i own the current Canon i9100, i was using Epson PhotoStylus750. I made the change because 750 is unable to give shadow details, it's just show a mess or block of ink. i9100 give much better shadow details. I can't compare i9100 with modern Epson printer cause i don't own one. I use a slide magifier to look at the printout of both printers and find interesting difference. EPson gives a much finer resolution but it gives artifical borders to sharpen the lines and shapes. Epson colour is stronger. Canon does not have such borders and its colour is a bit pale even if i click to use 'Darker printout' to strengthen the colour. I choose Canon because of its much cheaper price than Epson 2200. In my living place, price of 1 Epson 2200 nearly = 2 Canon i9100 ! and i'm still a bit regret to invest in Canon.
  4. First point: the i9100 will not print wider that 22" - not even with the Powerrip 2000 postscript rip by iProofsystem ($300). So no truely interesting panoramas. I have complained loudly to Canon about this. The 2200 will print up to 44", and maybe longer with a rip... true panoramas.

    You will also find that your canon will have what appears to be banding in the midtones. This microbanding is a function of the hardware and order of the inks. All of canon's new wide gamut printers (i960 and up) are using a completely different order of inks... Canon has suffered a deluge of complaints about this matter, and has replaced many a "defective" printer because of it. These issues are supposedly resolved in the i9900. Incidently, the i960 did not suffer from this issue because it used the new ink order and firmware.

    I have little experience with epson paper, but I do know that their premium glossy resin coated (rc) stock does very well even with canon ink. I would even say that it is more water resistant than the canon paper+canon ink. Calumets new Brilliant line of papers is supposed to be just as good or better. I have also noticed that canon's photopaper plus gloss will yellow when exposed to the open air. NOT good. Don't know about epson. Will have to try a test.

    I will agree with the earlier post that epson's ultrachromes cannot compete with canon when it comes to details in the dark areas. I have a 7' wide panorama print from an epson 7600 on their premium luster paper, and although it is not "muddy" it is much darker than I'd like (sunset behind buildings). I am hoping their premier glossy will do better. A test from my canon on that paper looked very good.

    Speed? The canon will crank out photos at an amazing speed. Maybe to fast (ala microbanding). I have done many a 13x19 and the finish in about 5 minutes.... the epson is more than double that.

    Canon's 2 picoliter drops vs. Epson's 4 picoliter drops. The canon will make very nice crisp sharp images (I shoot with a 10d). Very nice detail. I'd love to see some side by side prints to compare for myself.

    All that said, I have produced quite a bit of very nice prints. The longevity remains to be seen. For personal use, I'm very happy. For clients, I'd worry about faded photos within 5 years. Go to and see what they have to say.

    Incidently, a good friend bought a canon i9100 based on the my pictures. He, however, has had constant "microbanding" problems, even after canon replaced his printer once. He really regrets not getting the 2200.

    In the end, you have to ask yourself why they are selling it at half price? Get the i960 unless you really need the larger prints.

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