Canon Pixma MP990 review

Kat Orphanides
15 Jan 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Extra ink colours, a CCD scanner and transparency scanning set this MFP apart; making it a perfect choice for imaging enthusiasts.



colour inkjet MFP, 12ppm print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g, PictBridge USB, 199x470x385mm

MFPs are usually designed to adequately handle the basic printing and scanning tasks of a typical home user. Unlike most, Canon's Pixma MP990 is perfect if your interests call for high quality scanning and photo printing – such as design, photography or archiving old images.

The MP990 has a CCD scanner, which has better colour reproduction than the CIS scanner engines in most MFPs, although it's also bulkier and more delicate. It even comes with a backlight and transparency frame for negative scanning.

Most of its other features are shared with the cheaper Pixma MP640 (below). These include wired and wireless networking, two 150-sheet paper trays, a colour screen, memory card reader, Pictbridge port, CD printing tray and automatic duplexer.

Canon Pixma MP990

Most of the current Pixma range takes five cartridges – dye-based cyan, magenta, yellow and black for photo printing, plus a pigmented black for sharp document prints. The MP990 adds a grey ink cartridge to producing stunning true greyscale shading on black and white photos.

Colour photos also look astonishingly good, with rich tones, sharp detail and incredibly subtle reproduction of subtly gradated dark colours. Photo prints aren't incredibly fast, but at around 49 seconds per 6x4in prints, we have few complaints. A full quality 6x4in colour print on Canon's top Platinum Pro paper costs around 40p.

Colour and mono, prints and copies are as good as we've come to expect from this award-winning range of printers; with sharp text even at small font sizes plus bright, accurate colour on graphs and business illustrations. Draft text is thinner than its full-quality equivalent, but no less dark or sharp. However, at 10.5ppm with standard quality text, you won't have to rely on draft for quick prints.

Canon Pixma MP990

The MP990's photo scanning capabilities are particularly good. Separate objects on the platen are correctly detected and individually scanned. A screen in the lid of the scanner can be removed to reveal a backlight and a negative frame, which can take a film strip of up to six photos.

Canon's recently updated ScanGear interface has plenty of advanced features, from colour adjustment and sharpening to software-based fade and scratch correction. By default, the interface closes automatically after each scan, but this is easy to change if you prefer it to stay open for batch scanning.

You can select resolutions of up to 1,200dpi from a menu, but can also type in any resolution you want. Scan quality was sharp and clear, with particularly accurate colour and subtle gradation, with distinct variations in tone reproduced on even our murkiest negative scans.

Most people won't need all the features that the MP990 has to offer. To them, we recommend the cheaper MP640. However, if you want to scan negatives or print black and white photos, or if you value the more subtle colour produced by a CCD scanner, the MP990 is built for the job.

Basic Specifications

Maximum native print resolution9,600x2,400dpi
Max optical resolution4,800x9,600dpi
Output bit depth48-bit

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A412ppm
Quoted speed, colour A49ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.01m 43s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.04m 52s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g, PictBridge USB
Optional printer interfacesBluetooth adaptor (BU-30), £66
Noise (in normal use)47dB(A)
Power consumption standby2W
Power consumption idle6W
Power consumption active23W

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight300gsm
Standard paper inputs2
Standard paper input capacity300
Maximum paper inputs2
Maximum paper input capacity300
Duplex (code, cost if option)Yes


Printer technologythermal inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows 2000/XP/Vista, Mac OS X 10.3.9 - 10.5
Other inkjet features3.8in colour screen, automatic print head alignment, replaceable print head
Other inkjet optionsNone

Buying Information

Consumable parts and prices350 page pigment black PGI-520BK, £8.23; 690 photo dye black CLI-521BK, £7.58; 505 page cyan CLI-521C, £7.58; 471 page magenta CLI-521M, £7.59; 505 page yellow CLI-521Y, £7.59, 169 photo grey CLI-521GY, £7.29
Price per colour A4 page2.4p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge322 (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)448 cyan, 445 magenta, 477 yellow pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)339 cyan, 335 magenta, 298 yellow, 169 grey photos (Canon)
Warrantyone year RTB

Print Quality

Number of ink colours5
Number of ink cartridges6
Maximum number of ink colours5
Maximum number of cartridges6
Quoted photo durability30 years
Quoted photo durability sourceCanon

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview7s
A4 document at 150dpi13s
A4 document at 300dpi23s
6x4in photo at 600dpi26s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi1m 48s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.012s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.017s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0N/A

Photo Features

PictBridge supportYes
Borderless printingup to A4
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsUSB flash drive, CF, SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, MicroDrive
CD printingYes

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolutionN/A
Fax memory (maximum mono pages)N/A