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Brutus Östling blogs on printing with the PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II

Brutus Östling blogs on printing with the PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II

© Brutus Östling

June 2011

The PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II printer has been with me here at home [in Sweden] since I bought it last winter and, I have to say, I’m very pleased with it. I find it’s easy to use and versatile and, importantly, the print quality and the colours have been very good, right from the start.

© Brutus Östling

Brutus Östling produces colour prints of some of his bird photographs using the PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II printer in his home office in Sweden.

As I use both Canon papers and other specialist media, such as fine art Hahnemühle papers, the printer needs to cope well with the variety of finishes and sizes I throw at it – it’s important that these are right. I generally print at A3+ with a 14-inch print width – this is a rather good size for the smaller exhibitions I hold and it still provides the print size flexibility for the prints I wish to sell.

Usually I would do volume printing, but I bought the Pro9500 Mark II because I’ve recently been doing smaller exhibitions, yet selling more individual prints. It’s the ideal machine to quickly print the smaller numbers required for these tasks.

Being able to quickly use the right colour profiles means I can equally quickly set the printer up and produce accurate colour reproductions across a variety of media and image types without too many problems for either exhibitions or prints for sale.

I have a calibrated screen for my Apple Mac computer that’s properly set up for colour accuracy, but this can often be problematic across devices as those [photographers] who need colour accuracy can tell you. But here [with the Pro9500 Mark II] I’ve basically done nothing more than download and install the correct colour profiles for the media that I’m using within Photoshop; then I start printing. I haven’t been forced to do more than that.

© Brutus Östling

Great cormorant, near to Lake Kerkini, northern Greece. Shot on the EOS-1D Mark IV at a focal length of 400mm, the exposure was 1/320sec at f/3.2, ISO 320.

What I have on my camera, then on screen, normally matches what I have on paper. If there is a difference between them – which isn't normal in my experience, it's usually a slight lack of saturation – I will simply adjust the image in Photoshop to compensate. This is usually down to using a more absorbent paper, like a matt-finish fine art paper or at least one that doesn’t have a gloss finish, so the saturation problem is almost always down to the absorption properties of the paper rather than the printer not getting the colours correct.

As I’m so busy almost all of the time, the overall ease of use and accuracy of the output are very important factors for me. Ease of use is probably the single most important consideration in terms of quickly producing work, rather than waiting around trying to produce work.

© Brutus Östling

Night heron and crow, Hungary. Shot on the EOS-1D Mark IV with an EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens, the exposure was 1/800sec at f/5, ISO 500. 

Perhaps it is the fact that Canon makes all of the equipment, from the camera right down to the printer and the ink. Whatever the reason it all seems to work together well enough, helping me to get the right quality quickly. I’ve used other printers in the past, but I always seemed to have problems with them, so it was nice not to have the same issues here.

Because I produce prints both for sale and for my exhibitions the number of prints I have to make varies. I can make anywhere between 20 to 40 prints per month. The most I’ve printed so far was around 60 in a month. Whatever the number the printer always seems more than capable for the jobs at hand, with the minimum of fuss.

© Brutus Östling

Two gannets. Shot on the EOS-1Ds Mark III at a focal length of 300mm, the exposure was 1/800sec at f/8, ISO 200.

Something that left me more than a little surprised are the inks, which last longer than I would have thought. The use of 10 separate inks allows you to replace those colours that are exhausted, but with the frequency of changes governed by, and dependent on, the images being printed and the amount of ink coverage and density within them. My expectation of using lots of ink was wrong; it’s actually very cost effective, although this may not be an overriding factor for some. It’s fair to say I don’t use this printer continuously, 24-hours a day, but because it’s so fast to set up for each print job, it’s ideal for me.

For any of you who, like me, rarely have a lot of time to spare this will be good news. I must be able to set up the printer, put it on print, and leave it to work properly, even if I haven’t used it for weeks. It needs to just do the job for me because the reality is, I don’t have time for anything else.

I've discovered the Pro9500 Mark II is very forgiving in terms of maintenance. I need to do almost nothing to it; it doesn’t even need the print heads cleaning very often, so, for me, that’s really great. I just need it to work when I need it to, without any trouble.

Biografie: Brutus Östling

Brutus Östling

Brutus Östling was born in December 1958 and grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. He started a publishing house at the age of 22 in 1981. After publishing more than 1,000 titles in 2005 he changed his career and became a professional photographer, specialising in wildlife photography.

Three of his photo books have been bestsellers in Sweden, and some have been translated into English, and other languages. His first ‘Mellan vingspetsarna’, with photographs of birds from the Arctic to the Antarctic was published in Sweden in 2005 and won the WWF Panda Prize 2006 as the best nature book in Sweden.

Throughout much of 2010 Brutus shot a project on pelicans in Europe and the USA, which resulted in the book 'Dalmatians and other Pelicans'.

In 2012 Brutus photographed birds in the US states of Alaska and Florida, including iconic bald eagles, and in 2013 travelled throughout Europe to appear and speak at a variety of photo events and workshops. He was a Canon Ambassador from 2009-2014.



Showcase

Blackfooted albatross in the rain at Midway Atoll, the Pacific. Shot on the EOS-1D Mark IV with an EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens, the exposure was 1/320sec at f/4, ISO 800.