Steve's Digicams


S800 Color Bubble Jet
Photo Printer

Review posted 7/14/01

Canon S800 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The s800 photo printer outputs high-resolution photos on plain and specialty paper at a remarkable 2400 x 1200 dpi. It features an innovative 6-color printing process and incorporates Canon's exclusive MicroFine Droplet Technology™ for incredible color, precision and detail. Its built-in Photo Optimizer Pro improves color accuracy, and has the ability to reproduce up to 49 gradation levels for more realistic skin tones and subtle tone differences.

Imagine printing a full 8" x 10" color print in approximately two minutes. The S800 photo printer outputs your work at impressive speeds without compromising quality. It utilizes new, advanced inks to help produce incredibly vibrant colors and images that stay brilliant longer. The S800 photo printer features the Canon Think Tank System™, an intelligent ink-management system that uses individual ink tanks for each color. You replace only the color that runs out rather than an entire cartridge. This is not only economical, it's ecological too! An extra added value is the USB CompactFlash Card Reader that enables you to transfer photos from your digital camera to your computer easily and quickly.

S800 Photo Printer Main Features:

  • Photo-quality printing at 2400 x 1200 dpi
  • 8" x 10" photo in approx. 2 minutes on plain paper
  • Six individual ink tanks with longer-lasting color
  • Comes with Zio! CompactFlash™ Card Reader
  • 6-color photo printing for spectacular results on any paper
  • 49 gradation levels for smoother, more natural colors
  • Compatibility: Windows 95/98/2000, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0, Mac OS 8.1 or later (with built-in USB), iMac™, iBook™, PowerBook®, G3/G4

TIPA Award winner
Best Consumer Printer 2001-2002

Canon S800 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

To insure complete cross-platform compatibility the printer is equipped with both an IEEE 1284 bi-directional parallel and high-speed USB ports. When used with a Windows PC you can use either port and the USB can be used with the Macintosh computers.

Mechanics & Performance

The S800 is a stylish looking, beige and gray colored printer that should easily fit into your computer workspace. Setup is straight forward and can be accomplished by following the steps outlined on the included big page of directions. You unwrap and install the six ink tanks into the removeable print head carriage, then install that into the printer, plug in the USB cable, install the software and then turn on the printer. Windows then loads the drivers and within a minute or two you're printing.

This is the first Canon "bubble jet" printer that I've used in a very long time and I'm happy to report that they have come a long ways in improving the photo printing capabilities of their printers. Compared to the likes of the Epson Stylus Photo 780, the Canon S800 is just slightly bigger, a little bit heavier, a lot quieter and much faster. Perhaps the most significant feature besides the speed is the ThinkTank ink system which we will cover on page two. You can now replace the individual colors rather than tossing the whole cartridge out when any one color runs empty. The user can also replace the print head assembly if needed without requiring a trip to a service center.

In actual use the S800 is so quiet that you almost don't notice that it's working if your PC and its fan are as noisey as mine. I printed a full size 8.5 x 11 inch photo using the glossy photo paper and "Camera" print settings in the driver. I was amazed to see the finished print ejected only three minutes later and looking nearly the same as a print that would take about seven and a half minutes on the Epson 780. The next print was done using the "Super Photo" mode and going into the Advanced settings and moving the slider bar all the way to the "Fine" position. Using the highest quality print mode still yielded a full page 8.5 x 11 inch print in a little over five minutes. The Epson 780 would take nearly 12 minutes at 1440dpi or twenty-five minutes if you used the 2880dpi setting. So Canon's claims that this printer is fast are not marketing hype, they're real.

I was used to being overwhelmed by printing choices in the Epson driver (360dpi, 720dpi, 1440dpi, 2880dpi, High Speed on or off, Microweave on or off), so it was enjoyable to see less choices in the Canon driver. I'll go into more detail on the driver software on page three, you pick from Standard, SuperPhoto, DTP, Camera or Draft, choose your media type and away you go. You can always click on the Advanced button if you want to further change the Fast-to-Fine (speed vs quality) setting or enable or disable the Image Optimizer or the Photo Optimizer PRO enhancements. Depending on the paper type and the image type these automatic enhancements don't always produce the most optimum results. They were designed to give the average digital camera or scanner user the ability to quickly and easily create prints with a lot of "punch" (color, contrast, sharpness) to them and sometimes they are a bit much. Overall though they usually worked quite well for the vast majority of digicam images that I ran through the printer.

Continue To
Page Two

S800 Photo Printer Specifications

Longer Lasting Color Approx. 25 Years†
Color Photo
Print Speed**
4" x 6" - approx. 1 minute
8" x 10" - approx. 2 minutes
Number of Nozzles 1,536 nozzles (256 x 6 colors)
Print Resolution: 2400 x 1200 dpi (in both black and color)
Compatibility Window® 95/98/2000/Me, Windows NT® 4.0 and Mac® OS (8.1 or later)
Standard Interfaces USB and IEEE 1284 parallel
Buffer/RAM 80KB
Paper Sizes: Letter, legal, A4, A5, 4" x 6", U.S. #10 or European envelopes, banner paper
Paper Handling:
Built-in sheet feeder/ 100 sheets
@ paper weight 24 lb.
Banner Paper 6 sheets
Glossy photo cards 1 sheet
Glossy photo paper 10 sheets
High gloss photo film 1 sheet
High resolution paper 80 sheets
Letter 100 sheets
Legal 100 sheets
Envelopes 10
Photo paper pro 1 sheet
Photo paper pro 4 x 6 20 sheets
Transparencies 10 sheets
T-shirt transfers 1 sheet
Paper path straight
Max. paper weight 133 lb. (manual feed only)
Noise Level
37 dB(A)
Power Source 120V AC, 60Hz
Warranty 1-year limited warranty with InstantExchange Program††
Software Included Setup Software and User's guide CD-ROM, includin: Printer drivers, Reference Guide and e-registration, BJ Solution Disk CD-ROM, including: PhotoRecord (Windows), ImageBrowser (Mac) and PhotoStitch (Windows/Mac)

Specifications subject to change without notice
* Prices subject to change at any time. Actual prices are determined by individual dealers and may vary.
** With standard mode setting, on plain paper.
† Based on Canon and Wilhelm Imaging Research studies conducted using Photo Paper Pro under glass with a layer of air, and industry fluorescent lighting conditions.

Accelerated test conditions: S800 on Photo Paper Pro

Wilhelm Imaging Research Inc. Evaluation
The 26-28 years of light-fastness--Accelerated fluorescent light fading test condition:
Temperature: 24ºC Humidity: 60%
Light ource: White fluorescent light 30,000lux
Glass above the sample
Presumed conditions: Assuming one day's illumination as 450lux x 12 hours

Canon Inc. Evaluation
Temperature 24ºC Humidity: 60%
Light source: White fluorescent light 70,000lux
Layer of air and 2mm-thick glass on the sample
Presumed conditions: Assuming one day's illumination as 500lux x 10 hours

In-house Evaluation Criteria (Based on ISO)
Single color/Composite color: A color change has occurred if the density is under 70% (OD from 1.0 to <0.7)
Process BK: The fading ratio between each color is within 15% and a color change has occurred if the density is under 70& (OD from 1.0 to <0.7)

The 25 years of light-fastness may not be achieved depending on storing conditions. The expressed numbers of years is the result of simulated testing conducted by Canon, Inc. and is not guaranteed. This number of years does not apply for paper fading or durability.

†† InstantExchange warranty program is subject to certain conditions and restrictions. See warranty card for full details.

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