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Steve's Digicams


i860 Color Bubble Jet
Photo Printer

i860 (Windows) Printer Driver (cont.)

Canon i860 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Effects page lets turns your photo into a simulated color illustration, slide the lever to increase or decrease the effect. You can also create a monochrome effect like Sepia, Pink, Blue, Green or select a custom color. The Vivid Photo option enhances the green and blue colors and contrast and may be too much for some images. You can also enable or disable the Image Optimizer or Photo Optimizer PRO enhancements which help produce better enlargements from lower resolution images.

The Photo Noise Reduction option helps reduce the "speckle" noise often found in blue areas such as the sky. It has two settings: Normal and Strong.

Canon i860 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer Canon i860 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

Left is no Photo Noise Reduction, Right is with PNR enabled.
(Click on either thumbnail to see a larger sample image)

Canon i860 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Profiles page lets you load, create or save custom sets of printer parameters for the type of printing jobs that you do frequently.

Canon i860 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Maintenance page lets you clean the print heads with options for a regular cleaning cycle or a "deep" cleaning cycle for really clogged heads. There is also an option for aligning the heads or checking the print nozzles. You can also set the Auto Power Off time, Custom Settings and the Quiet Mode. From here you can also start the Status Monitor (see next frame.)

Canon i860 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Status Monitor shows you visibly the level of ink in each of the ink tanks. It also tells you the status of the printer and the setting of the paper thickness lever.

When one of the tanks is low the Status Monitor will pop-up to alert you. The low tank(s) will have a yellow exclamation mark over it to let you know that it needs to be replaced soon. The ink warning first comes on when there is still some ink remaining so you won't run out in the middle of a printout and waste a sheet of costly photo paper.

Canon i860 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

Here's a Magenta ink tank after I was "warned" that it was low. The chamber on the left side is full of ink when the tank is new. As you can see it drained the left chamber completely and the foam-filled side that feeds the head is very close to empty.

Canon i860 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Print Preview function is the last place you can abort the print so it's nice that Canon has now added the display of the paper size, paper type and the printing type. These items were not incorporated in earlier print drivers and are a welcome addition to the i860's driver.

Steve's Conclusion

The Canon i860 is an incredibly fast printer and is the perfect replacement for both an all-purpose text and graphic printer and a photo printer. Most people don't print enough photos to justify a dedicated photo printer and with today's inkjets like the Canon i860, i960 and i9100 you no longer need a dedicated photo printer. These printers are up for both of these tasks and do them extremely well. If you do more text and graphic printing then the i860 is your printer, it literally flies through documents whether from a word processor or complex Acrobat files. And when you need to print a photo all you do is flip a knob and it's ready to make 4x6" prints without first removing the letter size paper. The vast majority of photo prints are the 4x6" size so the separate paper tray is ideal for today's family with a digicam. When you need a bigger print then load up the letter tray with Photo Paper Pro media and it can handle that too.

Canon took the best of the i850 and merged it with a new 5-color ink system to give you the best of both text and photo printers. The i850 used the same black ink for both tasks, the i860 has a dye-based black for optimal photo reproduction and a larger pigmented-ink black tank for text printing. As with the entire new line of Canon Bubblejet printers, the i860 is now PictBridge compatible. All of Canon's 2003 digital cameras and many from other manufacturers are capable of printing directly without need of a computer. The front-mounted USB port is for both PictBridge and Bubblejet Direct compatible cameras. You just plug the camera's regular USB cable into the printer and use the camera's LCD to select the image(s) to print and the options to use. It's really simple and avoids the problems that many people experience when they try to manipulate and print their digital pictures from a computer. This also means that you can take the i860 along to your next party or event and make prints for your friends right there on the spot.

And with this printer there is very little waiting on the photos. The following are the "real world" print times using the i860 connected to a Windows XP machine using the USB 2.0 port:

    Borderless 4x6" High quality, Photo Paper Pro ......... 1 min. 11 secs.
    Borderless 4x6" Standard quality, Photo Paper Pro ..... 49 secs.

    Borderless 8.5x11" High quality, Photo Paper Pro ....... 2 min. 55 sec.
    Borderless 8.5x11" Standard quality, Photo Paper Pro ... 2 min.
    Borderless 8.5x11" High quality, Matte Photo Paper ....... 2 min. 55 sec.
    Borderless 8.5x11" Standard quality, Matte Photo Paper .. 2 min.

Timing was from paper feed to paper drop in the output tray. This is a very fast printer.

Canon printers come with a very nice bundle of software applications. Canon's Easy PhotoPrint makes printing simple, any size paper with many different multiple prints per page layouts and cropping options. You are shown a visual preview of the final print output before the actual printing begins. You also get Canon's ZoomBrowser which is like a Windows Explorer for graphic files. Folders of images are shown in thumbnail form where you can view, edit and print them quickly. One of the new inclusions in the software bundle is Canon's Easy-WebPrint which runs as an add-in with Internet Explorer. This makes printing web pages a snap. You can select to print background colors and images or not to print them. Many people ask me how to print my reviews because we use white text on a black background. By default Easy-WebPrint does not print the background and it changes the white text to black -- voilla! Problem solved.

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