Canon Pixma MP990

Canon's Pixma MP990 should appeal to photo types wanting good quality, but they'll need a little patience to go along with it.

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The Pixma MP990 is, in essence, a beefed up version of the Pixma MP560 we've already reviewed, so it shouldn't be surprising that both printers share a pretty similar design outlook. For a start, they're both multifunction printers, and until clever scientist types come up with a new way to do document scanning that doesn't involve a big glass plate, they're all going to look big and boxy, no matter who the vendor actually is. The MP990 is particularly big and boxy, measuring in at 470x385x199mm, and even slightly larger when all of its trays are extended. Like the MP560, controls centre around a scroll wheel, although the MP990 uses a larger wheel and larger 3.8-inch TFT LCD to display its rotary controls, which are mounted at the centre rather than the side.


The MP990's feature set encompasses print, copy and scan. Sorry business types, no faxing here, although at an AU$449 price point it might be reasonably expected to be included. This is instead a printer for those wanting quality image printing, and with the inclusion of CD printing and film/slide scanning, it's pitched at the creative crowd.

Canon rates the MP990 at up to 11.9 images per minute (ipm) for black text, up to 9.1ipm for colour and approximately 20 seconds for a borderless 10x15cm photo print. If those figures feel on the low side to you, bear in mind that Canon's using the ISO 24734 ipm standard rather than the rather shakier old pages per minute speed ratings. Ipm should be more accurate to real life usage, which means our tests should be fairly similar to those in real testing.

The scanner is a CCD type with a scanning resolution of 4800x9600dpi, and it's capable of scanning film and slides in with provided adapters for up to six film frames and four slides at a time. On the connection front, the MP990 connects via USB, wired Ethernet or wireless. It's technically Bluetooth capable, but you'd have to lay out extra cash for a Bluetooth adapter to make this happen.


Installing the MP990 was a fairly leisurely affair. Which is the nice way of saying that it was rather slow, not so much on the physical installation side, but on the software side. The default installation is very slow, mainly due to all the additional printer utility packages Canon presumes you want. We'd advise opting for the custom install and ticking off the bits you actually need, unless you need a lot of thinking time.

Printing out text pages, the MP990 managed a single page within nine seconds, and an average of 10 pages per minute in normal black coverage. We noticed while timing it that the printer tended to take rather long pauses between some printed pages. Possibly it's re-adjusting to avoid a paper jam, or its buffer was full. We're not sure, but the effect was definitely slower overall print times, as switching to draft speed saw only the mildest of increases to an average eight seconds for a single draft page and 11 pages printed in a one-minute span. Print quality was very good in normal, and predictably light in draft mode. Given Canon only rates the printer at around 11.9ipm, 10 pages for a real-world document isn't too bad. It's not terribly fast, of course, but it's at least not disappointing.

We were more disappointed with the Pixma MP990's photo print speed. Where Canon claims a 10x15cm photo in "approx 20 seconds", we averaged more like 40 seconds. The wait was worth it though, with good crisp colour reproduction and prints that came out sticky to the touch, but not actually damp. Like the MP560, photo media loads in from a large tray at the back, and having this extended makes this large printer take up even more desk space.

There's always a trade-off between speed and quality when it comes to inkjet printing. The Pixma MP990 straddles the edge of it; compared to many printers rated as "photo capable" it's a rather sedate printer in pure speed terms, but few printers would match its photo chops quite as well.

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"A black hole for expensive ink"

mayned posted a review   

The Good:Print quality, easy set up and use, wireless connectivity, slide scanning

The Bad:Excessive ink usage

If you think you have too much money but don't have the space for a boat to spend your money on then buy an MP990. This thing just drinks ink. We use it very infrequently and forever replacing ink, which is very expensive if you buy proprietry--oh, and did I mention it has six tanks! For all its good points they just can't offset the excessive ink usage issue. Seriously, don't buy one of these dogs.


dfoolish1 posted a review   

The Good:Print Quality, Robustness, Connectivity

The Bad:High ink usage, slow start up from off.

I use this printer for photography purposes. I've printed out over 1000 photos at various photography jobs, without any issues with the printer or the printouts.

This printer travels with me to varied locations and i've not had one issue with it, apart from the fact that it does have a tendency to guzzle ink, but which printer doesn't? It's how the manufactures make their profit.

I am very happy with this printer- the photos print very true to life.

Waldo Pepperoni

Waldo Pepperoni posted a review   

The Good:Looks good when off.

The Bad:Unit plays with itself when on!

MP stands for eMPty, ink cartridges are always empty! The ink just disappears, they say it evaporates! They say that the printer is always cleanings the heads or something, instead of printing. In truth, the unit actually plays with itself in the middle of a print job, right in front of you! It is at this point that i firmly believe it squirts its ink from the small visible tank to a hidden toilet tank to relieve itself! You see, it's ink is known to disappear from the color cartridges even when printing only in B & White!. It has six (6) ink cartridges, but the expensive backup Combo Pack only has four (4) cartridges so printer still shut me down after replacing all cartridges! Being a good prepared boy scout was not enough to keep me from getting skewered twice when I really needed emergency printouts. The printer halts mid-print if ANY cartridge is empty, then refuses to print in B & W even if the empty cartridge is a color one! It refuses to print even though there are two (2) black ink cartridges full of ink! The printer software offers 2 options on shutdown: Cancel print job or Buy cartridges. The second option takes you to the Cannon website to buy more cartridges. I think i am going to take a third option of my own, which is to take this thing out to deep water & see if it can swim!


brad posted a comment   

The Good:easy setup, great qualty prints, ease of use

The Bad:print costs

As usual canon manuals are well thought through making setup a breeze. CD installation was 20min long but worth it for the superior software support. I do like the cleaning function and no i do not believe it uses ink whilst cleaning as some have claimed. Really happy with the quality of the pictures printed keeping in mind the quality of the paper and the image.
I am really surprised by the poor reviews I believe this printer deserves a fairer rap than that.


JackM posted a review   

The Good:Slide scanning

The Bad:everything else, very very expensive on ink

Not what I asked the Harvey Norman salesman to recommend. Basically a slow, cumbersome and ridiculously expensive on ink printer. Total rubbish generally. Conned again by a salesman.


Rick posted a comment   

The Good:Everything

The Bad:Nothing as yet

This is a totaly fabulous printer and scanner combination. Not only does it print fast and well, it's wysiwyg! The slide/negative scanner is excellent, producing results better than those printed by my local photo labs.
It's relatively expensive, but gives me the kind of results I have been expecting for years; if you're looking to scan your photos, need excellent quality prints, want to print some artworks with excellent resolution, I can see no reason why you'd steer away from this one. Years of crappy promises and expense from other manufacturers: buy one, you will not regret it.


Peter posted a review   

The Good:??

The Bad:a lot

My advise : never buy this printer !!
Don't understand Cnet's review... are they working for Canon ? A lot of their reviews are 'the opposite' of the user's reviews ??


Jink posted a review   

The Good:Is there ANYTHING?

The Bad:The whole damn package

This printer, like a lot in the Canon Pixmar range is a bad quality, cheaply made time bomb. It will spit out a few (how many exactly is like the lottery) okay pictures, but very soon the paper will start to jam, the ink will evaporate and this clunker will become a chain around your neck.

You now have a large unusable piece of plastic rubbish that was NOT designed to last. You will be lucky to get a year out of it.


David posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:The entire printer is an absolute waste of money and time.

I bought this printer not long ago and it has been the biggest waste of money I have ever come across. Its expensive price in initially purchasing the product does not end as you have to purchase new ink cartridges in ridiculously short periods.

Most useful advice I can possibly give anyone - "Do not buy this printer" period...

The quality of the ink/printer is not of a high standard either. The colors usually come out in weird patterns or bright blotches in some colors.

Alongside with the expensive maintenance cost, the printer also is a hassle when it continually 'cleans' itself (more then it needs to) and uses up the ink supply. I have literally managed to print only about 120-140 pages altogether which just majorly contains text and a small amount of color. The printer also somehow manages to go into hibernation mode whereby when you print, it generates an error - "The printer is not responding" resulting in the need to turn the printer on and off.

I'd have to say this printer is a pain in the backside and due its large costs and inefficiency, I have to say I am quite disappointed with this purchase. Furthermore I believe the 'cleaning' process is just a method of money-making for Canon as they reduce your printer ink levels to push consumers to buy more.


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User Reviews / Comments  Canon Pixma MP990

  • mayned



    "If you think you have too much money but don't have the space for a boat to spend your money on then buy an MP990. This thing just drinks ink. We use it very infrequently and forever replacing ink,..."

  • dfoolish1



    "I use this printer for photography purposes. I've printed out over 1000 photos at various photography jobs, without any issues with the printer or the printouts.

    This printer travels..."

  • Waldo Pepperoni

    Waldo Pepperoni


    "MP stands for eMPty, ink cartridges are always empty! The ink just disappears, they say it evaporates! They say that the printer is always cleanings the heads or something, instead of printing. In ..."

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