Canon Pixma MP800
Multi-function printer/copier/scanners are a great concept for digital photo hobbyists with limited office space and restricted budgets and very handy for home offices so it’s great to find some that do a decent job when used for imaging tasks. Canon’s new Pixma MP800 is designed with digital photographers in mind. As well as using the new ChromaLife 100 inks, it offers easy direct printing from compatible digital cameras, memory cards, mobile phones or film. . . [more]
Multi-function printer/copier/scanners are a great concept for digital photo hobbyists with limited office space and restricted budgets, and very handy for home offices so it’s great to find some that do a decent job when used for imaging tasks. Canon’s new Pixma MP800 is designed with digital photographers in mind. As well as using the new ChromaLife 100 inks, it offers easy direct printing from compatible digital cameras, memory cards, mobile phones or film.
You can use the built-in LCD screen to view images on memory cards or scanned prints and film before printing them, and create borderless prints in three popular sizes: 10 x 15cm, 12.7 x 17.8cm and A4. Film scanning capabilities are excellent; the MP800 is supplied with an adaptor that takes a strip of up to six 35mm frames or four mounted slides at a time and backlight correction, grain minimisation and colour restoration facilities are included in the scanning process. In addition, a multi-photo mode lets you scan a group of images and save them as separate files. You can also scan images or documents directly to PDF format.
Despite its smallish footprint, the MP800 is relatively large and bulky and takes roughly 20 minutes to set up. You have to unpack it, install the printer head and ink tanks and then wait for the printer to tell you it’s ready for a head alignment, which takes five minutes. Another five minutes are required to load the software; after that, you’re ready to print.
Performance-wise, the MP800 delivered similar print quality to the iP6600D, which is also reviewed in this issue and, like the iP6600D produced very well nuanced skin tones and excellent detail. This was unexpected as it only uses four inks, so you would expect the impact of its slightly more limited colour gamut, revealed with Imatest testing, to be more obvious. Imatest also showed some minor flaws in hue reproduction, where compression of greenish blues was slightly less than in the iP6600D. However, the hue plot for purples and deep magenta was similarly ‘squeezed’ and very dark hues were significantly more compressed than in the iP6600D. These differences were just detectable in prints made from the two printers.
It took one minute and 12 seconds to produce a 10 x 15cm print (including six seconds spooling time) at the highest quality settings. An A4 photo print took one minute and eight seconds. We estimate print costs at approximately $4.20 per A4 print and $1 per snapshot print.
As a scanner, the MP800 is very fast, taking just 10 seconds to preview and another 10 seconds to scan an A4 photo print at 300dpi for same-size reproduction. Scanning an A4 B&W photo print with colour restoration and grain reduction engaged took only 22 seconds, which is also very fast. The grain control setting produced excellent result with prints on stippled paper, although it also reduced overall contrast a little.
To scan film you simply slip out the reflector sheet in the scanner’s lid and unclip the appropriate filmstrip or slide holder. The former can accommodate a strip of five frames, while the latter holds four mounted 35mm trannies. It took 27 seconds to preview a 35mm filmstrip and 45 seconds to scan each frame at 1200dpi, which produced a 9.2 x 14cm image at 300dpi with a file size of 5.2MB.
Unsharp masking and auto tone correction are automatically applied in this mode, with options for correcting images that are faded or backlit or those with excessive grain (the result is a slight softening of the image overall). The effect of these corrections is shown in the thumbnail previews, allowing users to choose which of the three settings for each correction (high, medium or low) is appropriate. Scan quality from high quality originals was generally good, although scans from slides tended to be a tad contrasty.
Like the iP6600D, the MP800 has a dual paper path that allows users to load two different types of paper simultaneously. It also supports automatic duplex printing and printing on suitably coated CD and DVD disks, making it an excellent all-rounder for home and small office users. 
The plot of the MP800’s colour reproduction is similar to that of the iP6600D, with slightly higher compression of greens and blues.
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, particularly in the mid-range to darker tones. In an ideal situation, this graph should show evenly-spaced vertical lines to indicate an even distribution of hues and tonal intensities.
Maximum print resolution: Up to 9600 x 2400 dpi
Maximum scan resolution: 2400 x 4800 dpi
Colour scanning bit depth: 48 bit input and 24 bit output
Copying reduction/enlargement: 25% to 400%
Interfaces: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, PictBridge/Bubble Jet Direct; Bluetooth printing with optional BU-20 adaptor; IrDA 1.2 (JPEG only)
Paper sizes: 6 x 4 inch, 5 x 7 inch & A4 (borderless prints)
Ink cartridges: PGI-5Bk (black), CLI-8C/M/Y/Bk (individual colour inks)
Dimensions (wxhxd): 470 x 490 x 240 mm
Weight: 12 kg
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Rating (out of 10):
- Build: 8
- Ease of use: 8.5
- Print Resolution: 8.5
- Print Colour Gamut 6.5
- OVERALL: 8.5