Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Printers come...and printers go....

My new printer arrived today - and I'm just about to unplug the old one and get the new one installed.........(gulp!)

My old one was a Canon Pixma MP780 - which is a multifunction with a good quality scanner and a copying and fax function as well as the normal colour printing set-up.

It's a huge beastie and needs replacing as it's developed a red line across scanned images and frankly although I can adjust scans to get rid of it I've got really fed up of doing that!

I've also never ever used the fax function so paid extra for a facility I didn't need - so haven't done the same thing with its replacement. It's now being relegated to the bottom shelf as the back-up printer. I might use it just for black and white text printing. (Which means it's time to find a good home or heave my trusty old HP Laserjet which I haven't used in yonks!)

My new machine is a Canon PIXMA MP630 All-in-One Printer, Copier and Scanner - you can see the Canon product tour here. The main difference besides qualitative improvements to the technical spec. is it's much smaller and neater.

The MP bit means that it's set up as a photo printer rather than as a general dogsbody workhorse.

It's being replaced next month by the Canon PIXMA MP640 Network ready Premium All-In-One Photo Printer which means that's the 630 is still listed as £179 by Canon but is now listed for £109 by Amazon who obviously would now like to shift the old stock.

I sat and compared the two specifications and decided I didn't need what the 640 offered and hence could save myself £70 and one of them shifted itself in my direction!

I don't think I'll be installing all the software supplied as I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 (PC) for scanning and digital manipulation of images. I also previously found that the software for scanning supplied by Canon to be absolutely awful. Plus I didn't install the scanning software on the new computer and haven't needed it to use the 780.

I did idly think about going for an A3 scanner and/or an A3 printer and decided that for the prices charged I could leave it. I do wish though that they'd reduce the good quality A3 scanners in price sooner rather than later!

Now to find out whether it comes out of the box and hooks up to the computer OK.

There'll be a review on Making A Mark Reviews...... in due course.

There was no post yesterday as I was spending time becoming a 'very nearly' great aunt and was also out sketching - see Hampstead Heath and the Boating Pond

Links to Canon UK:


  1. I do love a new gadget! An A3 scanner is such a temptation but it's footprint would be way too large for my studio. Your new model looks great, Katherine and to be able to replace individual coloured inks is another innovation I would really appreciate. Good luck with getting it obeying your every command ;)

  2. Hello! I have a question for you about your scanning software. If Canon's scanning software is terrible, what do you use to scan?

    I'm also in the market for a new printer/scanner and am considering a Canon.

  3. Thanks Robyn - I've had single ink replacement all the while I had my Canon MP780 and wouldn't have anything else. They drain at a completely different rate depending on what you're doing.

    My set of back-up inks arrive sometime soon. I always keep a complete set of every ink and then order the next inks as the first ones run out.

    Carol - I use Photoshop Elements to scan with. It's very good and much better than the software Canon supplies

    I've just done a custom install and installed everything except for their supplied software which relates to scanning and printing photos and creating various documents - all the functions which I already have via PS Elements.

  4. Whoa! Shows you where MY brain is focused.... when I first read the title, I thought the post was about dime-a-dozen printMAKERS! Nothing like a little career paranoia to get the blood moving.

    Katherine, does this model use pigment inks, or dye-based ink? I'm on a quest for a reasonable pigment printer....

  5. My A3 scanner is a Mustek, and I have had it for many years. It is best for pictures that do not have paler areas, for example very light skies or white fur do not come out as well as if one takes a photo, but I had really good results with bright pictures, even if one does have to adjust colours for gamma or whatever.... My husband bought it for me, but I don't think it was very expensive. Unlike printers which are an expense to run, and probably have a built in death time, they tend to be more of a one-off purchase... As so many papers are just that bit larger than A4, I am very glad I have it. Also several friends have appreciated it when they have needed records of slightly large documents or their own art work..... (I helped two neighbours kids send off entries to the Daler Rowney Make Your Mark competition last year)

  6. Regarding Robyn's comment on the size of an A3 scanner, I have my scanner on top of a large sewing box which is under the smallish table that has this computer on to of it. It is a little fiddly to put pictures in it as I have to kneel on the floor and the lid will only open about 6 inches, but it takes up no useful space

  7. Yep about time I got a new one.

  8. Sherrie - this uses due based inks and any other printer at this price point in the UK will do the same.

    The product tour by Canon (se link in main text of post) provides details about the ink and lightfastness.

    The pigment ink printers are quite a lot more expensive to both buy and run.

  9. Judith - that's what I've heard about the Mustek A3 scanners when I've done previous research. I know that I'd want something that delivered better quality with subtle colours and I'm afraid that comes a lot more expensive.

    What I do now is look for the dpi which is provided by the scanner.

    This new one of mine provides:
    * Scanner Resolution Optical: Up to 4800x9600dpi
    * Scanner Resolution Digital: Up to 19200 x 19200dpi
    * Colour Scanning Depth: 48 / 24 bit (RGB each 16 / 8 bit)
    * Halftone/Greyscale: 16 / 8 bit

    I have to say that my initial impressions of scans with my new printer are very favourable

  10. These are the Epson A3 scanners and the prices are the reason I don't have one!

  11. Oh, this post is timely - I've just begun researching scanners this very week! I looked at the Amazon reviews for the Musteks -I was surprised the A3 scanners weren't more expensive - but have crossed those off the list.

    When I took a drawing to a place for a decent scan last year the results were awful, so grainy. My old scanner is much better so I'm very wary of buying a new one without seeing the results.It's just that it won't speak to my new laptop and it's annoying to have to fire up the old one and wait half an hour every time! Will definitely check out the Canons.

  12. I've been needing a color printer for ages, Katherine--I must be the only artist left that still just has B&W. I fell in love with the product information link you sent, only to find that Canon doesn't have printers on this side of the pond that will do CDs/DVDs. Disappointed--and back to my quest!

  13. Just noticed a feral apostrophe in my first comment. I hate it when I do that.
    Also just noted the price of A3 scanners - yuck!
    And Judith, thanks for sharing your experience - I don't even have a spare spot under a table in my studio - because it is more of a disused pantry. :)

  14. Kathering - I'm on the other side of the pond. I've been using a Cannon MP 810 for about 3 years now. I really had to hunt to find it at the time. I'm very pleased with it. I love the fact that it has different colored inks plus a separate black text printing cartridge and each can be replaced as it runs out. No more buying a whole cartridge because one color is gone. I use mine for regular printing, photos and art prints on fine paper. It does a really nice job on watercolor paper. I am scanning in thousands of 35mm film negatives now and it's doing a good job, although it's a slow process. All in all, a nice printer for the money and I'd buy another one.

  15. Interesting article! Do you work for Cannon? Nice interesting and varied topics in your photo blogspace!

  16. I certainly do not work for Canon! Did you not notice my comment about their graphics and scanning software?

    My philosophy in life is that if you've got something, it works and you like it - then you tell your friends.

    Equally if you don't like something, have heard bad things about it etc then you tell your friends.

    I used to love my HP Laserjet and wish that HP reached the same levels of quality and reliability with their inkjets.

    Essentially I'm still with Canon because no matter how many people tell me about how wonderful their Epson printers are I can't get all the horror stories I've read and heard about Epson printers and their inks out of my head. Anything which doesn't work - and means a printer has to be ditched - sticks in my brain for a very, very long time. If it happens to more than person, then I have a negative perspective. If it happens to a lot of people then I won't even look at a product by that manufacturer. Epson has a lot of 'making up' to do from my perspective.

    I also like products which tie in - and I've also got a Canon camera and only get a printer like this because of my photos - hence it makes sense to look at what canon produces.

  17. Jan - I did think about getting the one which scans negatives and then decided that the price differential was too much for just that one function. I will do it one day - when the price has come down and I've got a bit more time on my hands! I'm still filing photos and negatives in shoeboxes to keep them out of the light!

  18. Kate - that is so weird! I ended up going across to the Canon USA site to check but you're right.

    But it doesn't make sense!

    Why not ask them how a Canon Pixma 640 can be described thus in the UK (lifted straight from the top of the product page)

    * Premium Wi-Fi All-In-One
    * ISO speed 9.2/8.1ipm mono/colour ESAT
    * 9600dpi 1pl; 10x15cm photo in 20sec*
    * 5 Single Inks
    * 4800dpi scanner
    * 7.5cm TFT display & Easy-Scroll Wheel
    * Auto duplex, DVD/CD print
    * ChromaLife100+**

    and yet the product page for the same product name/machine in the USA does NOT cite the DVD/CD print. There's got to be an answer!

  19. Katherine, I couldn't understand that myself! How can it be a Canon MP640 and NOT have the same features as the one they describe in the UK?

    I did actually wrote to Canon and they said each country decides what features they feel are important to their audience! HUH?? I WANT A DVD PRINTER!

    Like you, I'm a bit chary about Epson--I haven't had one of their printers, but their big, glorious scanner that made beautiful images MUCH closer to original color was a real lemon. Very delicate, apparently, and a half hour into my first scanning session they sounded as if they had a woodpecker loose inside. The scan went to abstract stripes!

    I went through three of them in less than a week, thinking it had been damaged in shipping, and finally gave up and got an HP Scanjet workhorse. I've never had any problem with it, except a bizarre tendency to turn an image on the diagonal, sometimes! Turning the art another way and scanning again seems to fix that.

    I like my Canon camera--that's a good point. So far, I'm still using my close-to-20 year old HP Laserjet printer, but I DO need color. Recently had to have photo prints made of some photomontages, and it would have been lots cheaper to be able to do it at home...

  20. Kate - I think for printing CDs and DVDs you only need a dye based printer - no need to pay for one with pigment inks.

    I find it incredible that two machines with the same name produced in different countries by the same manufacturer should be so different.

    I wonder if you ordered the CD/DVD 'attachment thing' from the UK whether you could print them even with a USA Canon printer. I can do a photo of it if that would help.

  21. Hi again, Katherine...I just don't want someone sneezing on one of my CDs of DVDs and having the image run!*G*

    I really haven't been able to find a good DVD printer I can afford, at all. I'd be willing to get one that does ONLY that, as well as getting a color printer, but the one I seemed to like was over $2000, and that's not going to happen.

    Yes, if you'd send a photo of the DVD-CD printer attachment, that would be terrific! I can ask CanonUSA if that would do the job...thank you!

  22. hi katherine, just looked up this post again - it was time to replace my mp570 (or thereabouts) and i remembered how you settled for this one; the 620 doesn't seem to be available any longer but i'm now looking forward to the 640. thanks for the good information :)


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