Canon claims the i9950 can print a full-bleed A3 page in 65 seconds; an impressive claim. We tried printing an A3 image on plain paper and at standard print quality, but couldn’t better 1 minute 31 seconds. Photo printing takes longer still, with an A3 print completing in just over 4 minutes.
Using our standard test pieces, we completed the five page text document in 1:37, the text and graphics page in 27 seconds and a 15 x 10cm photo print in 51 seconds. These times are in the middle of the field for modern photo printers.
Print quality is very good. The two extra colours in the ink-set do produce richer greens and reds, so you get more saturated colours for both landscapes and portraits. The very fine drop size means there’s a high degree of detail in photo reproductions, too, and the light tones of the photo-cyan and photo-magenta inks – one sixth of the density of the standard cyan and magenta inks – keep skies light and smoothly gradated.
The cost of running an ink-jet printer will always depend on the prices you can find for the ink cartridges and paper. Printing five per cent of each of the eight colours in this machine results in a 40 per cent cover page so we’ve halved the overall cost. This gives you a direct comparison with other printers we’ve tested, which produce 20 per cent colour from their four-colour systems.
We found the PR-101 A4 glossy paper at just £7.87 for 50 sheets at Amazon.co.uk, which is a very good price. With the cartridges at £6.20 each and under test producing 450 pages or so – a lot more than Canon’s estimate – we get page costs of 1.86p for five per cent black and 13.4p for 20 per cent colour. Both these figures are particularly good, so long may Amazon continue with this paper price.
If you move to A3 or A3+ paper, you’re paying more, proportionally, than for A4, but then you’re probably printing to sell, and you can factor in the costs in your selling price.
The i9950 is a fine printer, with excellent colour rendition for a machine in this price range. This is due to the extra green and red inks in its eight-colour ink set. It prints reasonably quickly, though not as fast as Canon claims, and has the versatility to handle a wide range of paper sizes. At current consumable prices, it’s also cheap to run, so must be well up the short-list of anybody looking for an A3+ photo printer, at the semi-pro level.