I have a Canon i9900 that I've had for hobby use for 5 years now. I was extremely happy with it for a long time, although I knew it wasn't doing great on B&W due to color casts.
The last few years I've been entering more competitions and I'm blown away by the blacks on some of the newer printers. Last year I got really into profiling, calibration, etc.. and I just have not been able to really improve the blacks even though I get very good matches now in every other aspect.
Basically what I'm seeing (both in B&W and color) is that in the darker areas of the print, the grays all "go to black". It's almost like a clipping is occurring somewhere in levels. I just can't get the same tonality that I see others getting.
I have Aperture & CS4, I seem to get the same results in each. I've tried all the Canon papers, Ilford Galerie Classic Gloss, and I just got some Harman Matt FB Mp paper as well. With Harman's profile it is maybe a bit better then Canon's paper/profiles, but it's still not there.
One other item.. if I softproof I can see this occurring on my monitor for the Canon Paper + Canon supplied profile.
If I softproof with the Harman profile or the Ilford Profile, this effect is almost completely gone, but it still occurs in the print...
Any thoughts or am I just tilting at windmills hoping to get closer to the results of newer printers that are using multiple black inks?
I really don't think I'm interested in a 17" format printer even though that seems to be the common advice. For one thing a 13" printer prints large enough for the competitions I enter, for another I can't really see hanging something on the wall much bigger then 16x20 (framed). I also of course don't print very high volume.
I am not selling must stuff more then once in a blue moon (not really trying) but I'm really not happy with the prints where they are now. I wouldn't necessarily feel terribly good selling someone an i9900 print both due to not being happy with the black/gray tones and also of course permanence.