Steve's Digicams


i850 Color Bubble Jet
Photo Printer

Review posted 10/22/02

Canon i850 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Canon i850 - Speed, Performance and Borderless Photos

The Canon i850 Photo Printer sets a new performance standard for delivering superior quality and breakthrough speed simultaneously. It delivers output resolution up to an ultra-high 4800 x 1200 color dpi and incredibly fast speeds of up to 22 ppm in black and up to 14 ppm in color. The i850 printer produces outstanding, photo-lab quality 4" x 6" borderless photos in less than 48 seconds. And when printed on Canon Photo Paper Pro, photos will retain their brilliance for approx. 25 years. The i850 printer has the unique Canon Think Tank System that combines individual ink tanks with intelligent ink management for ease-of-use and lower printing costs.

The i850 printer introduces a new printhead with a unique combination of 5 picoliter droplets for coverage and ultra-fine 2 picoliter droplets for photo-realism. Achieving this array of reduced droplet sizes is amazing-but it's only half the story. Increased precision is necessary to realize the potential for higher quality printing. The answer: advanced MicroFine Droplet Technology with an exclusive 1600-nozzle system that can eject approximately 19 million droplets per second. Accuracy and consistency is maintained for maximum resolution and image quality. The i850 printer also has advanced Precision Color Distribution Technology to virtually eliminate color variance and banding problems typically found with conventional high-speed, bi-directional printing.

The i850 printer supports Exif 2.2 (Exchangeable Image Format File), a new worldwide standard for higher quality digital photos. The i850 printer with exclusive Easy-PhotoPrint software delivers the potential of Exif Print-and more. When an Exif compliant digital camera captures a photo, important camera settings and shooting conditions are saved in the JPEG image file. Simple-to-use Easy-PhotoPrint analyzes the recorded data then automatically adjusts printer driver settings for optimum image processing. The result: digital photos that are more likely to match the photographer's true intentions.

i850 Features:

  • Up to 22 ppm black/up to 14 ppm color

  • Up to 4800 x 1200 color dpi with microscopic 2 picoliter droplets

  • 4" x 6" borderless photos in less than 48 seconds

  • 4 individual ink tanks save money

  • Photos lightfast for approx. 25 years

  • Exif 2.2 compatible with the Canon Easy Photo Print program

  • USB 2.0 full speed printing

Canon i850 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The i850 is compatible with USB-equipped Windows 98SE, 2000, Me, XP PCs or Macintosh OS9.x, OS X computers thanks to its USB 2.0 port. The IEEE 1284 parallel port makes it useable with older operating systems.

Mechanics & Performance

The i850 is a stylish looking, blue-gray and silver 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 printhead and then the four ink tanks, 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 up and printing.

I was quite impressed with the Canon S800 photo printer that we reviewed last year. It was the first of the speedy Canon printers which was soon overtaken by the Canon S9000 and its narrow- carriage S900 sibling. The i850 is just as fast as the S9000 and S900 at printing photos and even faster when doing plain paper printing. Compared to other photo printers like the Epson Stylus Photo 890, the Canon i850 is just about the same physical size but it's lighter, 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 i850 is so quiet that you almost don't notice that it's working if your PC and its cooling fan are as noisy as mine. I printed a borderless 8.5 x 11 inch photo using the glossy photo paper and "High Quality" print settings in the driver. I was amazed to see the finished print ejected about two minutes later and looking nearly the same as a 1440-dpi print that would take about seven and a half minutes on my Epson 890.

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 basically just choose your media type and away you go.

You can click on the Custom buttons if you want to manually 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 image type these "enhancements" don't always produce the most optimum results. They are designed to smooth the pixel "jaggies" out of low-res images or to create prints with a lot of "punch" (color, contrast, sharpness) to them. Sometimes they are a bit too much, good images don't need them.

UK visitors BCI3EC INK TANK CYAN F/ BC30/30E/33/33E/S600/I850

£ 17.72 at Dell
£ 8.21 at
£ 8.99 at
£ 8.21 at Valueshop
£ 8.05 at
£ 4.19 at
£ 9.29 at
£ 9.29 at

Continue To
Page Two

i850 Specifications

Long Lasting Color Approximately 25 years
Print Speed (up to) Black: 22 ppm (approx. 2.7 seconds per page)
Color: 14 ppm (approx. 4.2 seconds per page)
4" x 6" Borderless Photo: less than 48 seconds
8" x 10" Photo: less than 90 seconds
Number of Nozzles Black: 320
Color: 512 x 2 (C,M) and 256 (Y)
Print Resolution (up to) 600 x 600 dpi in black
4800 x 1200 dpi in color
OS Compatibility Windows® 95/98/2000/Me, WindowsNT® 4.0, Windows® XP, Mac® OS (8.6 to 9.x) and Mac® OS X (version 10.1 or later)
Standard Emulation Canon Extended Mode
Standard Interfaces USB 2.0 Full Speed and IEEE 1284 parellel port
Buffer/RAM 248KB
Paper Sizes Letter, legal, A4, U.S. #10 or European envelopes, banner paper
Paper Handling Built-in sheet feeder-150 sheets @ paper weight 24 lb.
Banner Paper-up to 6 connected sheets
Glossy Photo Cards (4" x 6")-20 sheets
Glossy Photo Paper (8.5" x 11")-1 sheet
High Gloss Photo Film (8.5" x 11")-1 sheet
High Resolution Paper (8.5" x 11")-80 sheets
Matte Photo Paper (8.5" x 11")-10 sheets
Photo Paper Plus Glossy For Borderless Printing (4" x 6")-20 sheets
Photo Paper Plus Glossy (8.5" x 11")-1 sheet
Photo Paper Pro (4" x 6")-20 sheets
Photo Paper Pro For Borderless Printing (4" x 6")-20 sheets
Photo Paper Pro (8.5" x 11")-1 sheet
Transparencies (8.5" x 11")-30 sheets
T-Shirt Transfer (8.5" x 11")-1 sheet
Noise Level (approx.) 39 dB(A) in best quality mode
Physical Dimensions 16.5" (W) x 10.8" (D) x 6.3" (H)
Weight Approximately 7.3 lbs.
Power Source 120V AC, 60Hz
Software Included Setup Software and User's Guide CD-ROM, including: Printer drivers, Easy-PhotoPrint (Windows), PhotoRecord™ (Windows), ZoomBrowser EX (Windows), ImageBrowser (Mac), PhotoStitch (Windows/Mac), electronic User's Guide and electronic Photo Application Guide
Warranty 1-year limited warranty with InstantExchange warranty program
Specifications as represented by the manufacturer

Return To Steve's
Printer Reviews


Note: All photographs and page content
Copyright © 2002 Steve's Digicam Online, Inc.

Nothing on this page may be used, distributed or
copied without the author's prior permission.