Steve's Digicams


S820 Color Bubble Jet
Photo Printer

Review posted 6/12/02

Canon S820 Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

The Canon S820 - A Digital Photo Lab for Everyone

Your favorite digital camera and the Canon S820 Photo Printer are all you need to bring your digital world to life. You take the shots, transfer them to your computer, import into Canon's Easy-PhotoPrint program, crop or rotate and then print spectacular 4" x 6" borderless photos in about 60 seconds, or 8.5" x 11" shots in about two minutes. Photos remain vibrant and true-to-color for approximately 25 years when printed on Canon Photo Paper Pro.

The S820 photo printer produces silver-halide quality 2400 x 1200 dpi photo prints, thanks to a high-performance 6-color ink system. Plus, Canon's advanced MicroFine Droplet Technology™ combines cutting-edge achievements in ink-droplet size, accurate ink application, consistent droplet quality and ink composition. The result is spectacular print resolution and 49 gradation levels, producing dramatically reduced graininess as well as breathtaking detail and color reproduction.

The S820 photo printer features the Canon Think Tank System™. Six individual ink tanks, one for each color, make it easy to replace just the color that runs out, rather than the entire cartridge. Plus, a unique optical low-ink sensor warns you with an on-screen message when an ink tank is low, giving you plenty of time to replace the tank before it runs out.

Canon now supports the Worldwide Exif Print standard which assures high quality photo prints from virtually any digital camera. The S820 and Canon's other new S series printers have updated drivers that feature a new set of color tables to allow the Easy-PhotoPrint software to process the digital camera images using all of the same colors available when the picture was taken. Through the simple 3-step visual process of image selection, paper size and type, and final printed layout, Easy-PhotoPrint automatically sets the optimum driver settings for beautifully stunning photographic output from your Canon printer.

S820 Features:

  • 4" x 6" borderless photos in approx. 60 seconds

  • 6 individual ink tanks, replace one at a time, very economical

  • Photos light fast for approx. 25 years

  • Exif Print compatible with the latest drivers and Easy-PhotoPrint software

Mechanics & Performance

The S820 is a stylish looking, 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 six ink tanks into the removable 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 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 and I'm happy to report that the S820 (and S820D) is even a little faster. Compared to other photo printers like the Epson Stylus Photo 890, the Canon S820 is quieter and much faster. If you really want speed then check out the Canon S900 and the S9000 printers, they're even faster than the S820 thanks to a wider print head.

Perhaps the most significant feature besides the speed is the Canon ThinkTank ink system which we'll cover on the next page. You can now replace the individual colors rather than tossing out a multi-color ink cartridge out when just one of the colors runs empty. The user can also replace the print head assembly if needed without sending the printer off to a service center.

In actual use the S820 is so quiet that you almost don't notice that it's working. 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 only two minutes later and looking nearly the same as a 1440-dpi print that would have taken seven and a half minutes on my Epson 890.

Driver Software

I was used to being overwhelmed by print time options 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 presented 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 quality and tell it to print.

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.

US visitors CANON COMPAT I950/I9100/S800 S820/S820D/S830D/S900/S9000/BJC8200

$ 34.59 at TECH ON WEB
$ 38.57 at

UK visitors Ink Cartridge BCI-6BK - black for S800 820D 900

£ 8.27 at euroffice
£ 7.96 at
£ 3.94 at
£ 8.17 at Valueshop
£ 8.99 at
£ 17.72 at Dell
£ 9.49 at

Continue To
Page Two

S820D Photo Printer Specifications

Long Lasting Color * Approx. 25 years
Color Photo Print Speed** 4" x 6" Borderless-approx. 1 minute
8.5" x 11"-approx. 2 minutes
Number of Nozzles 1,536 nozzles (256 x 6 colors)
Print Resolution 2400 x 1200 dpi in black
2400 x 1200 dpi in color
Compatibility Windows® 95/98/2000/Me, Windows® NT 4.0, Windows®XP and Mac® OS (8.6 to 9.X) and Mac OS X (native) via Web
Standard Interfaces Built-in USB (version 1.1) and IEEE 1284 parallel port
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 17 lb.
Banner Paper-(up to 6 connected sheets)
Glossy Photo Card-20 sheets
Glossy Photo Paper-1 sheet
High Gloss Photo Film-1 sheet
High Resolution Paper-80 sheets
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-30 sheets
T-shirt transfers-1 sheet
Noise Level (approx.) 37 dB(A) at Best quality mode
Power Source 120V AC, 60Hz
Physical Dimensions 16.9" (W) x 11.6" (D) x 7" (H)
Weight Approximately 11 lb.
Warranty 1-year limited warranty with InstantExchange warranty program***
Software Included Setup Software and User's Guide CD-ROM, including: Printer drivers, PhotoRecord™ (Windows), ZoomBrowser (Windows), ImageBrowser (Mac), PhotoStitch (Windows/Mac), electronic User's Guide and electronic Photo Application Guide

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.