Canon Pixma MP980 Review

July 3, 2009 | Jon Canfield | Printer Reviews | |


I've been a long time believer in the old adage 'Jack of all trades, master of none'. This has certainly been the case in the past when it comes to getting high quality photos and good scans from an all-in-one device. But, things are changing fast in the digital world. A couple of years ago I wouldn't have thought it possible to get a lab quality print from a sub $100 inkjet, but it's very possible with many of the new printers that are on the market now.

All-in-ones, or AIO devices combine printing with a scanner, and often a fax. The Canon Pixma MP980 is an example of this - scanning and printing. I wanted to see how the latest model did with photo printing and scanning - two needs that any photographer needs (OK, the scanning if you have prints or transparencies to convert). How would they compare to a standalone printer and scanner? Not everyone is blessed with the space or the budget for dedicated machines, so the AIO option is an attractive one to consider.

The Pixma MP980 from Canon is the latest in the MP series, and the first with a new gray ink to improve black and white output as well as shadow detail. The inks are the same ChromaLife 100 found in their dedicated Pixma printers like the Pro9000. This is a six ink printer with cyan, magenta, yellow, black, gray, and pigment black. The pigment is only used in text mode documents. 802.11b&g wireless are supported, and you can add an optional Bluetooth unit. Like most printers in this class, printing directly from memory cards or via PictBridge is also supported, and the printer has a number of built-in image adjustment features.

You can print directly from a memory card or use the card slots as a card reader for your computer. Direct printing is a popular feature for casual prints - pop the memory card into the slot and print your JPEG images with onboard image adjustments like red-eye correction, and color enhancement. If you want to print from a cell phone or similar device, Canon has an optional Bluetooth adapter for the MP980.

Ease of Use

The Canon Pixma MP980 was very easy to setup on my mixed Vista/Mac network. The Canon network utility found the printer wirelessly and installed correctly on all machines with no additional information required on my part.


One of the driving factors in this type of device is the ability to handle the odd scanning job that you might have. The MP980 can turn out a quick scan of photos or documents, and work as a photocopy machine with multiple copies in black & white or color.

The scanner in the Canon Pixma MP980 is a 4800x9600 dpi CCD with a 48-bit color depth. Scanning from film negatives and transparencies is supported and Canon includes a film holder for 35mm strips or slides. There is no document feeder with the MP980, so each original must be manually placed on the scanner.

Scan quality for negatives and transparencies was very good. It's not going to beat a dedicated film scanner like the PlusTek or Nikon, but that's to be expected from a multipurpose unit, and at this price point, I would rate the capabilities as excellent.

Scanning a 35mm negative at high quality takes about 10 minutes, generating a 86MB file in the process. Although the scanner supports 16-bit output through the Photoshop plug-in (Figure 1), the included MP Navigator EX software supports only 8-bit scanning.

Canon Pixma MP980
Figure 1

If you'd like to improve the quality of your scans, I recommend downloading a copy of VueScan from VueScan gave me much better results than the Canon driver and supported 16-bit scans with no issues at all.

I scanned the same image with both Canon's own ScanGear software and VueScan Pro, using the same image settings - 200 dpi, 8-bit color. The results were very interesting. The scans weren't particularly accurate in color tone (see Figures 2 and 3), although the ScanGear scan was significantly more magenta in color balance with lighter tones. The VueScan version on the Canon scanner was far and away the best quality and had the closest color accuracy of any scan done.

Scanning from film using the negative holder gave me much more accurate results with ScanGear than the reflective scans. Color was good, with more detail in shadows than the reflective scan. VueScan still gives a better scan, but the results are closer in this case.

Canon Pixma MP980
Figure 2

Canon Pixma MP980
Figure 3

Entry Tags

wireless, canon, printer, bluetooth, scanner, all in one, pixma, AIO, Canon Pixma MP980, mp 980, mp980

Your Comments

16 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 erica mueller

Looks like a pretty good little printer… an amateur photographer’s dream.

Personally, I have to have the document feeder. I also need speed since I run a short run printing business. For me, the Epson Artisan 800 fits the bill.

2:51 am - Saturday, July 4, 2009

#2 Shawn Michael

A nice blog containing full information of quality cartridges. Please see our website .. thanx for visiting this blog.

1:27 pm - Monday, July 6, 2009

#3 Glenn Fernandes

Canon Pixma MP980 printer can print, scan, copy, and e-mail.The Canon Pixma MP 980 printer is designed very well with a silver and glossy black body.The printer also does well on graphics. The text prints are of average quality. For more details refer

8:13 am - Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#4 Marie K.

Thank you for this informative past.  I purchased one of these on the advice of my camera shop guy, and have been very happy with it for the most part.  I am glad you mentioned it could print on the heavier art papers, as I am a painter, and will probably be printing occasional artwork. Mostly I use it for printing photos that I am going to paint from.  I have noticed some (very) faint lines when printing-this is my only fault with the printer.

6:58 pm - Wednesday, August 12, 2009

#5 Roger Andersen

Be adviced!!! This printer is eating your ink really fast.
Best tip to save ink is to leave the printer with power on at all time. This is becase of the printers excesive head cleaning.

2:33 pm - Saturday, August 15, 2009

#6 nintendo dsi r4

I have now been using this printer/scanner for over two weeks. This replaces an old HP multifunction device which had problems with my Mac when printing over the network.

6:58 am - Monday, December 21, 2009

#7 Davo

I had a R310 which was an exellent printer but struggled to feed the heavier photo paper

8:27 am - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

#8 les wollam

will you be review in new printers soon? i realize the big demand is for cameras, especially compacts, and lenses, but i’d love to see more printer reviews, esp. low end ones. i’m going to have to replace my r-1900 soon

5:48 pm - Saturday, August 27, 2011

#9 Conrad

To be avoided!!!
Although it prints very nicely and scans well, it drinks your inks very quickly…
Furthermore, when your out of black/grey ink it won’t even let you scan a document without printing. Pretty disappointed.

8:10 pm - Sunday, September 9, 2012

#10 Kathy Blackmore

A bit pricey but great quality and the scanner works extremely well. If I could afford to get a more expensive printer I would defiantly consider this.

Thanks for the review!

Kathy Blackmore | Cartridge Shop

1:47 pm - Wednesday, November 28, 2012

#11 Matthew

My MP980 is drinking ink as of late, inks don’t even last a week from new. I’ve been a big fan of Canon for over 12 years and have printed many pictures on these machines, I bought 4 over the years.  This one is going in the trash. I am looking into other brands now.  Thanks A ton Canon!

12:29 am - Sunday, January 20, 2013

#12 Lewis

I know that printing photo or a document using the Canon Pixma MP980 is highly cost effective. All the manufacture recommends using the original ink cartridge for quality printing. It’s really good news anyone can use ink refill to reactivate the original cartridge with its smooth work and lower the printing cost.  Check this how.

12:41 pm - Wednesday, March 27, 2013

#13 Jo

I’ve had this printer for several years and love it but the document feeders have finally stopped working . Is there a newer model that is comparable with the same functions?

10:54 am - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

#14 Keith

Bought my MP980 in April 2009 still working beautifully, so well I’m buying another for a different location.

7:45 am - Friday, June 6, 2014

#15 Princess

The product is very cost effective and still works on our company. Although there were a lot of new existing inventions these days, I am still recommending the deployment of this printer.
You might also try reading this blog : Cheap Ink Printers : GOOD or Bad? if you have time. Thank you!

12:41 pm - Thursday, September 18, 2014

#16 Geert

Good Printer but as with almost all printers I always have a problem with the speed these cartridges are empty and they cost almost as much as the printer itself.

4:52 pm - Monday, January 26, 2015