Canon Pixma iP6600D
Canon’s Pixma iP6600D is designed for digital photographers who want an easy-to-use home printer that produces sharp, detailed and colour-accurate prints with above-average durability. Designed for use with Canon’s new ChromaLife 100 inks, the iP6600D can produce prints that last up to 100 years in albums, up to 30 years in a glass frame displayed away from direct sunlight and up to 10 years unprotected – provided the prints are made on Canon’s recommended papers. . . [more]
Canon’s Pixma iP6600D is designed for digital photographers who want an easy-to-use home printer that produces sharp, detailed and colour-accurate prints with above-average durability. Designed for use with Canon’s new ChromaLife 100 inks, the
can produce prints that last up to 100 years in albums, up to 30 years in a glass frame displayed away from direct sunlight, and up to 10 years unprotected – provided the prints are made on Canon’s recommended papers.
User-friendly features include a large (3.5-inch) LCD screen for previewing images plus PictBridge, Bluetooth and IrDA 1.2 direct printing from digital cameras, memory cards and cameraphones – but only for JPEG files. You can also print CD and DVD labels and there’s a built-in automatic duplex unit that lets you print on both sides of a sheet of paper without having to flip the paper over. The iP6600D also has a dual paper path so you can load photo and office paper simultaneously and switch between them as the need arises, without having to unload and reload papers.
A 3.5-inch LCD screen is provided for viewing images before printing them and to display all the on-board device and maintenance settings. Straightforward printing operations are accessed via the Menu button, while pressing the Settings button provides lots of additional adjustments. As well as the standard bordered/borderless options and media type selection, Settings provides some nifty editing controls such as automatic red-eye correction, a ‘Face Brightener’ setting for zapping-up backlit portraits, and a Camera Phone Image Enhancement setting that smoothes the ‘jaggies’ in low-resolution images. Of the three, the first is the best performer. The face brightener tends to over-brighten shots where only subtle adjustments are required, while the camera phone enhancer can produce soft results with lower-resolution images.
Other Settings adjustments include noise reduction, brightness and contrast controls, hue modification and sepia and ‘simulate illustration’ effects. And, when additional adjustments are required – or the printer’s range is too limited – you can always resort to editing shots on your PC.
Print quality was generally good and resolution was outstanding – although full ‘development’ of the colours took several minutes. Overall tonal reproduction was excellent and blacks were deep and strong, while whites were clean and bright. Prints made on Canon’s Photo Paper Pro had a genuine ‘photo’ quality with no traces of surface irregularities or metamerism (colour changes in different lighting).
We obtained better results when shots were printed directly from a memory card than from editing software and, where the images came from a high-resolution camera, the prints were finely detailed with a full range of tonal nuances. Printing from Photoshop produced subtle changes to colour rendition in some shots, with biases switching between yellow and magenta. In some cases, the differences were obvious; in others, you would need to be picky to detect them. Most prints, however, would be considered ‘acceptable’ by non-photo-specialists. Our main complaint with the test unit was that greens in prints tended to lack ‘zing’, even when the hue and saturation settings were boosted.
These findings were confirmed by Imatest evaluation, which showed the iP6600D to be capable of producing excellent portrait prints, thanks to accurate rendition of reds and browns and an excellent gamut for both hues. However, gamut compression was evident for greens and blues in prints and we were unable to correct these losses by boosting saturation in editing software.
The test printer was relatively fast; taking roughly two-and-a half minutes to produce a borderless A4 print at the highest quality with Photo Optimiser selected, and between 47 seconds and one-and-a-half minutes to produce a snapshot-sized (10 x 15cm) print. In each case, between 20 and 35 seconds of spooling time was included.
We were able to produce the equivalent of 32 A4 prints before the first ink tank was depleted. With Canon’s A4 Photo Paper Pro costing $1.67 per sheet, this works out at just under $4.50 per A4 print.
Auto duplexing is only available when plain paper or Photo Paper Plus Double Sided is selected, and there’s a pause midway through to allow the ink to dry but it allows users to take advantage of Canon’s photo album kits. 
The above plot of the Canon iP6600D’s colour reproduction in the L*a*b colour space shows the limited colour gamut for this printer. Reds and browns (and, therefore, skin tones) are reproduced with greater tonal and colour breadth than blues and greens, which are highly compressed. The full sRGB colour gamut is indicated by the outermost dotted line.
This plot confirms the findings of the L*a*b colour space plot and shows the compression in both blue/green and blue/purple hues. In an ideal situation, this graph should show evenly-spaced vertical lines to indicate an even distribution of hues and tonal intensities.
Maximum resolution: Up to 9600 x 2400dpi
Interfaces: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, PictBridge/Bubble Jet Direct; Bluetooth printing with optional BU-20 adaptor; IrDA 1.2 (JPEG only)
Paper sizes: A4, A5, B5, Letter, Legal, Envelopes, 5″ x 7″, 6″ x 4″, Credit card (54mm x 86mm)
Ink cartridges: CLI-8C/M/Y/Bk/PC/PM – individual ink tanks
Power consumption: Max. 17 W (printing); 2 W (standby)
Acoustic noise: 35dB(A) in best quality mode
Dimensions (wxhxd): 429 x 304 x 183mm
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Rating (out of 10):
- Build: 8
- Ease of use: 8
- Print Resolution 8.5
- Print Colour Gamut 7
- OVERALL: 8.5