We narrowed down our pick for the best photo printer to the Canon Pixma TS9120. One of the latest in the Pixma series the TS9120 has more to offer than just three choices of trim. This is one of the best photo printers for the money on the market. With 6 colors of ink this printer has a much broader color gamut than the traditional 4 color system. This equates to smoother halftones, more colors, and vivid images. If you’re printing primarily pictures this is the printer to use.
When I saw one of the extra colors was photo blue it struck me odd. Having worked for a Canon dealer for 12 years I do have a soft spot for their products. Having worked with them for 12 years I also know they are great at research and development. Canon spends more time developing a product before releasing it than many manufacturers. Which leads me to believe they put a lot of research into which colors of ink would give the best results. Canon decided to use a pigment based black, a dye based black and photo blue (which is actually more of a bluish gray color) in the TS9120. Those along with the standard cyan, magenta and yellow give this printer a total of 6 colors of ink.
Notable Features of the TS9120
One of the biggest touchscreens on a printer we’ve reviewed so far. The 5.0 in touchscreen makes navigating menus easier. The TS9120 provides some creative filters to give your photos a boost. Canon also includes software for touching up photos and organizing them on your computer or in the cloud. The TS9120 comes ready for the latest cloud services and printing apps. Wireless PictBridge simplifies printing from mobile devices or cameras.
There’s a CD tray for printing directly on CD’s, DVD’s or Blu-ray discs. In addition to a CD tray, paper can be loaded from the front or rear. The printer handles 2 sided printing itself so the user doesn’t have to reload any paper.
- 5.0 inch touchscreen
- Creative filters for prints
- Compatibility with latest cloud services and apps
- Wireless PictBridge
- CD tray
- Borderless printing
- Memory slot for SD, miniSD, and micro SD cards
- Direct Wi Fi
- Auto duplexing
- Complete set of full tanks in the box
Many print drivers in the small printer market tend to have a minimum amount of functionality. Which isn’t a bad thing since the default settings work fine for most jobs. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a small printer driver with the level of functionality found in a Fiery PS driver. However the Canon TS9100 series driver comes close. Setting the rendering intent or disabling the applications color profile for example are rare finds in a print driver.
This robust print driver will help make the most of programs such as Photoshop or InDesign. One nice feature about this print driver is you can print a color chart with the cyan, magenta, yellow values. A similar test pattern with the color contrast and intensity can also be printed. Having these reference charts will make color adjustments painless.
The TS9100 series driver has a color brightness setting. In my experience this setting is the first place to make changes if the output isn’t satisfactory. Lighter for images that lack definition, and darker to make more vibrant colors.
Occasionally the colors on the screen won’t match what comes out of the printer. Forcing the job to use the color profile designed for the printer will produce the best results most of the time. The Canon TS9100 series driver also has the ability to set the rendering intent with the 4 standard choices if needed.
In order to speed up printing sometimes applications will compress images, which results in some loss of quality. Disabling the compression means the original photo quality will be preserved.
- Basic color matching (color profiles/rendering intent)
- Disable application color profile
- Disable application from compressing data
- Rotate print 180
- Print from last page
Canon provides many cloud based apps as well as a program for managing and touching up photos. Image garden is great for organizing images by month, week, or day. It can make basic projects such as creating a calendar or cards. Basic photo editing such as red-eye reduction, filters, and enhancements are also included. I can’t say I like the color theme of this software. It’s just your basic graphic design app.
PosterArtist Lite is a scaled down version of Canon’s powerful PosterArtist production software. Once I read about all the features not available, I didn’t bother installing it. The full version does more than posters though. Creating QR codes, variable print, and Artwork Security to name a few.
Easy-Photo print is decent photo editing software. The built-in features do a good job of improving photos for printing. Easy-Web print EX is actually a plug-in for Internet Explorer. This is actually a useful plug in for printing a web page. Printing web pages tends to waste a lot of paper. With this plug in from Canon you can easily preview the layout and clip any excess that you don’t need to print. Kudos to Canon for this plug-in.
Canon’s print app is for mobile devices. It is available for free on Google Play store. This app, along with the PictBridge feature of the printer, makes connecting to and printing from the Canon TS9120 simple. PictBridge can be set up with your favorite photo print settings so your jobs from a camera or mobile device come out how you want. This eliminates the need to print through a print driver at a computer.
- My Image Garden
- Poster Artist Lite
- Easy-Photo Print EX
- Easy-Web Print EX
- IJ Network Device Setup Utility
- Canon PRINT app
- Wireless PictBridge
Supplies for the Canon Pixma TS9120
The Canon Pixma TS9120 requires 6 colors of ink. They are in separate cartridges so there’s no waste and will save money in the long run. The yields will vary depending on what’s being printed. Yellow or photo blue could last several times longer than cyan or magenta for example. They come in three sizes, standard (11.2 ml), XL (18.5 ml), and XXL (25.7 ml).
- PGI-280 PGBK Pigment Black
- CLI-281 BK dye based Black ink
- CLI-281 C dye based Cyan Ink
- CLI-281 M dye based Magenta Ink
- CLI-281 PB dye based Photo Blue (gray)
Best Inkjet for Printing Photos at Home
The Canon Pixma TS9120 has 6 colors of ink, 6656 nozzles, and 4800×1200 dpi. Just in terms of hardware this is one of the best values for the money. Coupled with one of the most feature-rich print drivers we’ve reviewed, this is our pick for the best printer for printing photos. Out of the box it comes with a full set of ink cartridges and a few utilities to make setup a breeze. And three colors of trim is nice too!
Get one for around $100: