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The first sight of the Canon Pixma ip6000D is reassuring: functional but quite stylish, with a black and silver colour scheme set off by some pleasant curves. Whilst I didn't buy this as an ornament, this bonus is appreciated! Luckily the attractive appearance is backed up by quality printing.
Having got fed up with HP printers and their expensive multipack colour inks, I was looking for an inkjet which could print good quality colour photos from my computer. I was attrated to the Canon system because having six seperate ink cartidges (black, yellow, cyan, magenta, photo cyan and photo magenta) struck me as being an economical idea as you would only have to replace the colour you had run out of. I didn't need to print out huge numbers, so a reasonably priced inkjet specialising in photos seemed to be the best bet.
Setting it up is a doddle with a modern computer - connect with a USB cable, switch it on, and you're ready for action. It comes with some photo printing software (Easyprint) which works quite well for my purposes. There's a wizard which takes you through the editing process - select the photos to print, crop them as needed (the proportions of the photos that my digital camera takes aren't quite the same as standard photo paper), tweak them with anti red-eye adjustments and so on, then print.
The printer has two options for paper, selectable either from a button on the printer itself or from the programme you're printing from. A paper feed for ordinary A4 paper is located at the back, and sticks upwards at an angle; photo paper is fed from a tray underneath the main body, and can take various sizes. Though we've generally stuck to 6"x4", it will take much larger paper if required.It's possible to accidentally print on the wrong sort, but by setting the default printing to the main paper tray with A4 paper, at least if you do get it wrong you don't waste expensive photo paper!
Printing photos isn't all that quick, so if you were doing a high volume it would be irritating. If you're only printing one or two at a time, as I tend to, this matters less. It takes around a minute to print one high quality photo. However, the wait is worth it as the colours are vibrant and true to life. It is fairly quiet in use, no more than a gentle hum.
In an effort to maintain the quality of the photos and the life of the printer I've always used genuine Canon ink, although it is possible to buy much cheaper compatible brands. Each Canon cartridge costs around £10-12 from an online retailer; however, you get a decent number of prints out of each, and not having to throw away unused ink in a multiple cartridge is an excellent thing. The cartridges are quite small, being basically a plastic shell with some sort of absorbent material inside which holds the ink. They are easy to replace, just open the printer cover, let the rack of cartridges slide out, click the old one out and push the new one in. Canon has a very simple but surprisingly effective system for detecting when a new cartridge is needed - basically it shines a light though them, and when the light isn't dimmed by the intervening ink, a message comes up to tell you which need replacing. It actually tends to be rather premature with this announcement (cynically, because that way Canon sells more replacements), so I tend to ignore the warning until the colour actually stops printing at all. That way you tend to waste the ink and paper on one item, rather than chucking away a whole load of ink. Unlike many other cartridge brands, Canon can't be re-used, perhaps because they are more simple (the electronics is located in the printer iteslef, I think, rather than in the cartridge as in most), so all you can do is lob them in the bin.
The controls on the machine are easy to use if you need to - an on/off button, a resume button (press it if you've cleared a jam, though this happens very infrequently, or after running out of paper) and a set of buttons to use it as a standalone printer direct from a camera or memory card. This isn't a feature I've used, but I can see it would be quite handy, and it appears straightforward. There is a small LCD screen on which you can do your photo selection and editing.
You can also use it as a standard printer for documents of course, and it does a perfectly good job here too - crisp and clear print, and at a reasonable speed. Annoyingly, if you're printing in grey scale it seems to use a mix of the three basic colours rather than the black ink. So if you are aiming to save the colour ink, make sure you're printing only black, rather than grey.
That aside it is an excellent printer, and has lasted several years without a problem. I even recommended that my mother-in-law got one, and she has also used it for quite some time, in spite of her status as a total beginner at using computers, and printing our far more photos than I do. If she can use it satisfactorily, so can you!
I do enjoy digital photography so it stands to reason that I want a colour printer that will do justice to the photographs I take. Over the years I have had a number of printers and had varying degrees of satisfaction from them - I have tended to stick with either Epson or HP but the last time I was on the lookout for a colour printer the salesman was very keen to emphasise the features of the Canon Pixma iP6600D. I wasn't sure at first but looking at everything it had to offer I became convinced so I purchased it and brought it home to set it up.
The Canon Pixma iP6600D is a quality inkjet direct photo printer which incorporates a large 3.5" colour LCD screen, ideal for viewing your photos to make sure you are happy with your intended print.
It is also capable of photo printing without using a PC as you can print photos directly from PictBridge compatible digital cameras, camcorders and from most popular memory cards (see list at the end of this review). It also provides direct photo printing from camera phones, PCs and PDAs via the IrDA interface or an optional Bluetooth® unit.
It is capable of printing superb 'photo lab print quality' photographs and believe me they are great. Using Premium Photo Glossy paper I have had simply excellent photographs every bit as good as those I have had from online print labs.
It has 9600 x 2400dpi print resolution which delivers a quality output - which is achieved by Canon's FINE technology with minute 1pl ink droplets. The 6-ink system ensures accurate and rich colour reproduction. OK the 6-ink system also means you need to buy individual cartridges but it does ensure you only need to replace the ones you need and the colour reproduction it gives is far superior to the majority of cartridge printers I has used.
The Canon also delivers long-lasting prints because it uses Canon's ChromaLife100 system of print head, new formulation inks and, if used with Canon genuine photo papers you should get long-lasting beautiful photos which don't fade. I have also used this printer with Epson and HP papers and had equally good results so although Canon recommend using their papers it doesn't appear to affect the results if you use other quality papers.
This machine is relatively fast in that it can print a photo lab quality 4" x 6" borderless photo in approximately 46 seconds in standard mode and, although it takes a little longer to get a higher quality image, for the photos I want to print I haven't found the time taken is particularly onerous. It is capable of photo printing on to a range of paper sizes right up to A4.
The Canon had an extra large LCD screen built in for ease of use. This is via an 8.9cm colour LCD viewer which allows you to manage photo selection and printing formats without connecting to a PC. You also get a facility which allows you to detect, correct red-eye and perform numerous image enhancement functions with the suite of software tools. It is also easy to print Photo Index Sheets with up to 80 thumbnail images on each page.
One of the things I like about this printer is that it offers dual paper trays for front or top paper feeding. Plus it is capable of automatic double-sided printing and direct DVD/CD printing. To print direct on to CDs and DVDs you do need to buy the special blank CDs which will take a printed face but you can make your CDs look so professional in this way and it is a really easy feature to use - so much better than using labels.
Does it deliver?
It most certainly does. I have now had it for just over a year and I have absolutely no regrets about buying it. The quality of the prints are excellent and it is just so easy to set up and use.
The software that comes with the printer is easy to install and very intuitive to use. You can select exactly what you want to print and get perfect results every time. The instruction books include a 'Quick Start Guide' to get you up and running without wasting any time and then a more comprehensive guide to using the more advanced features. As ever the manuals come in various languages (12 in this case) making them more bulky than you really need but they have produced and handy 'tab' system to make it easy to find the language you want. They are easy to follow and include countless illustrations - Canon obviously want you to get the best out of their machines and aim to assist you in every way.
Recently I have had the builders in at home so the printer had stood unused for over three months. I always dread starting colour printers up again if they have been stood idle for a period of time and I well expected that I would need to do some head cleaning and waste a few prints before I got it back into full use. I really need not have worried at all - I just plugged it in, switched it on and printed a test print which came out perfect, first time. That to me is a test of a good printer. I wanted to print out my calenders for the New Year and when you leave it until New Year's Eve to do the job you haven't really got time to waste so full marks to Canon for producing a quality printer that works every time.
It is relatively quiet in use having acoustic noise levels at Approx. 35dB in best quality mode. It isn't too big and bulky on your desktop having a footprint of (W x D x H) 429 x 304 x 183mm. Plus it isn't too heavy to move around as it weighs approx. 7.2kg
The card reader is capable of accepting the following cards:
CompactFlash, Microdrive, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SD Card, Multimedia Card, xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick DUO, Memory Stick DUO Pro, miniSD Card
I can highly recommend this colour printer if you want to be able to produce your own quality prints at home. I certainly think it is great value for money and produces excellent prints.