by Mike McNamee Published 01/06/2010
This is an A3+ format printer intended for high-quality photographic output. There was a dual purpose to our review, to expose the printer to our latest range of tests and to gather data for a book project. The crucial feature of the printer is its Lucia ink set. This is a full-pigment 10-colour set with excellent life/fade characteristics. Taking the fade characteristics from the Wilhelm Imaging testing we calculated average fade resistance across 15 Canson Infinity papers of 113 years for the Lucia, 150 years for Hewlett Packard and 75 years for Epson K3 UltraChrome. Although this is a two-fold span of 'life', the data is slightly vulnerable to error as it is based on a logarithmic Arrhenius plot - a tiny shift in the curve creates a large effect on the result. Suffice to say that fade resistance is far from the issue it used to be, when researching the data we came across some older work predicting lives of under two years for many ink sets!
The 9500 Mk II uses bubble-jet technology and has 'mobile' ink cartridges (that is they move with the print head). This limits the cartridge size because of the engineering challenge to accelerate, slow down and then accelerate the entire block of cartridges for each pass of the head. In practice this limits the ink cartridges to about 14ml, each giving a total of 140ml for the full set. The Epson 3880, by way of example has 720ml of ink in a full set of non-moving cartridges. Cartridges for the 9500 Mk II are about £14 each (street price including VAT). The dent in your wallet will be accordingly smaller, but you will need to restock more frequently (and run the risk of going without more often).
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