Digital Photography Now Printer Reviews

Printer review: Canon S900

11th March - 2002
By Ian Burley

Page 12 - Review conclusions

We had expected the S900 to be a speeded up S800 with some added features. In reality, itís almost like that, but not quite.

Lighter prints

When using default settings with Photo Paper Pro, the prints were noticeably, but not excessively lighter than comparable S800 prints. Colours, however, turned out to be very similar.

Sharper dots are both good and bad

Under magnification, it does seem Canon has achieved better control over ink droplet trajectory, making the dots better defined. This has good and negative sides to it; fine detail is preserved better than ever, but the characteristic screened half-tone arrangement of the dots is more apparent and some people just canít get on with this, even describing the regular columns of dots as very fine banding.

Jaggies

Admittedly we didnít spot the problem with jaggies in slightly angled sharp, straight, detail, when we tested the S800. But we can confirm it can be reproduced on the S820D (same print head as the S800) and the S9000 (same print head as the S900). The problem only appears at certain resolutions, but weíd argue this flaw shouldnít be there at all. It will only rarely affect typical prints, but itís worth knowing about.

Other improvements

Other improvements are mostly welcome; the extra speed, borderless printing, the case design, etc. The S900 is also supremely easy to use.

Good points:
  • Sheer speed
  • Very convincing photorealism when using Canon Photo Paper Pro media
  • Quiet operation
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Borderless printing
  • Neat, aesthetic design
  • Single ink tanks mean best in class ink economy
  • User-replaceable print head
  • Well made using high quality materials
  • Adequate, if not brilliant, at letter quality mono text printing on plain paper.
Bad points:
  • Purchase price is relatively high
  • Canon Photo Paper Pro media is expensive
  • Not easy to match non-Canon media
  • Screened half toning not suitable for high resolution re-scanning
  • Noticeable jaggies at certain resolutions
  • Maximum print throughput can be limited when host PC and/or USB connection fails to keep up with the printer.
  • Removal of secondary rear feed option found in earlier models
  • No support for roll media.
Summary:

If you loved the Canon S800, the S900 is even faster, better looking, easier to use and offers borderless printing for the first time. The only S800 feature you donít get with the S900 is the secondary sheet feed facility.

However, We do wonder if the extra speed of the S900 is that ultimate a killer feature all  buyers simply must have. The out-going S800 was already an impressively fast printer. Some other countries are getting an S820 model, which appears to be similar to an S900 operating at S800 speed. We wonder why this more affordable model isnít lining up alongside the new card reader-equipped S820D in the UK.

But overall, the S900 can be recommended as a racy and refined workhorse that is capable of producing stunning photographic output on Canon media.

Canon UK - www.canon.co.uk

Related articles:
Steve Sanderís
Canon S9000 review at Steveís Digicams - click
here
Michael Reichmannís Canon S9000 review at Luminous Landscape - click
here
 




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