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Canon Pixma iP8500

iP8500 (Windows) Printer Driver (cont.)

Canon Pixma iP8500 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 speckle noise often found in blue areas such as the sky. It has two settings: Normal and Strong.

Canon Pixma iP8500 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 Pixma iP8500 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. Because of the lower paper cassette, the iP8500 also has a Bottom Plate Cleaning option. 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 Pixma iP8500 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Status Monitor shows you visibly the level of ink in each of the ink tanks. 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 Pixma iP8500 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

Here's what a "low" ink tank looks like. 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 half empty. Unlike those opaque Epson and HP cartridges, you can actually see the ink level thanks to the use of clear plastic

Canon Pixma iP8500 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

I always enable the Preview option (found on the Main driver page), this is displayed just before the printer begins to actually print. Here you can visually verify your image cropping, orientation, paper size, media type, paper source and the printing type (borderless / bordered) -- before accidentally wasting a sheet of expensive photo paper because a driver setting was incorrect.

Steve's Conclusion

PIXMA 101 - Canon has introduced four new PIXMA photo inkjet printers for 2004, see the press release for more info. In a nutshell the difference is the iP4000/4000R is a 5-color speed demon (iP4000R has 802.11g wireless capability) it also has both USB and parallel port so it's Windows 95 and NT compatible, the iP5000 has 1-picoliter size ink droplets for virtually grain-free photos, the iP6000D is a 6-color printer with standalone capabilities and the iP8500 is an 8-color letter-size version of the i9900 printer.

The Pixma iP8500 is Canon's "top of the line" letter-size photo printer. It uses the same ChromaPLUS 8-color inks and print head as the wide carriage i9900 printer. And as you can expect - this printer is fast, fast, fast! The built-in duplexer (two-sided printing) is great for web page or document printouts and saves lots of wasted paper. It's also great for printing professional looking photo albums, sales flyers, catalogs or whatever. The dual top and bottom paper trays are very handy. Use the auto sheet feeder on the top for plain paper and put your photo paper in the lower cassette where it's kept safe inside of the printer and away from dust, moisture and etc. The printer can be set to auto-switch trays when one goes empty when uses the same media.

The printing quality is on par with Canon's top of the line i9900 because it uses exactly the same Canon print head and ink tanks. As we saw with the i9900, the iP8500's prints show a visibly wider color gamut than those printed with the 6- or 5-color photo printers. Noticeably more vibrant are the reds and greens and the ability to reproduce varying shades of orange that prove difficult to impossible on other inkjet printers.

The iP8500 is a very fast printer, here's some average print times using the same 4-megapixel JPEG image and Canon Photo Paper Pro glossy media (except where noted):

Paper SizeTypeQualityTime
4x6" bordered normal 0:23
4x6" bordered high 0:38
4x6" borderless normal 0:28
4x6" borderless high 0:48
8.5x11" bordered normal 1:22
8.5x11" bordered high 1:36
8.5x11" borderless normal 1:35
8.5x11" borderless high 1:58
8.5x11" borderless - matte normal 1:36
8.5x11" borderless - matte high 1:54

(All print times calculated from paper feed to paper drop in output tray so as to eliminate computer processing and data transmission delays.)

The bottom line - if you are one of those people (like me) that just have to have the best then this printer is for you. The 8-color ink system yields awesome looking prints and the super-wide print head makes this the fastest letter-size inkjet photo printer on the market. Just remember that this printer uses 8 ink tanks and these ink tanks and the cost of special photo paper can certainly add up in the long run. If you only print photos every now and then it's probably a lot more cost effective to have your prints made at WalMart. However - if you're like me, to heck with it!   I want to make my own prints whenever I want, I want them to be the best possible prints and I don't care what it costs. Not so many years ago I had thousands of dollars tied up in a color darkroom and it cost me a helluva lot more to make prints back then!

US visitors BCI-6 KIT SET OF 6 INK f/i9900/iP8500

$ 75.49 at STAPLES
$ 79.99 at OfficeMax
$ 63.54 at PC Connection
$ 54.40 at EtronicsOutlet
$ 54.99 at J&R
$ 55.99 at
$ 56.99 at

UK visitors BCI-6 KIT SET OF 6 INK f/i9900/iP8500

75.49 at STAPLES
79.99 at OfficeMax
63.54 at PC Connection
54.40 at EtronicsOutlet
54.99 at J&R
55.99 at
56.99 at

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