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Canon CP-10 Card Photo Printer contd.

Printing

The CP-10 needs an AC supply, there isn't, as yet, a battery powered solution for the printer. The supplied CA-CP100 AC adapter accepts 100-240V AC (50/60Hz).

The CP-10 is a direct-print only device, this means that it connects directly to a compatible Canon digital camera (IXUS 300, A10, A20) and printing is controlled and initiated by the camera. To connect the two simply use the supplied cable, plug one end into the printer, the other into the digital connector on the camera.

Note the direct print icon in the top left of the view, press SET to enter the direct print menu A small thumbnail and list of current options is displayed, selecting OK will begin printing
This is the "Style" menu where you can choose between normal image / 2 x 4 "stickers", borderless or bordered and date stamp options Here's the LCD view during printing

Note that you can also use the standard DPOF menus for selecting images and numbers of prints, this allows you to perform batch prints.

The printer actually prints the image in four passes, during each pass the paper starts sticking out of the back of the camera by about half an inch, its then fed through the print mechanism to lay down one colour, pulled back through and the next pass begins. Each pass takes about 11.3 seconds and a full print timed from selecting OK on the camera to the finished print appearing in the out tray took 57 seconds. Here's an example of what a final (borderless) print looks like:

As the printer uses dye-sub technology the paper feels like standard photo lab paper (thick, solid with a glossy coat), it won't fade and isn't as prone to damage as inkjet paper. The prints themselves are small and it's worth noting that as the paper has a 3:2 aspect ratio (width to height ratio) your standard 4:3 image from a consumer digital camera (such as the IXUS 300) would be cropped at the top and bottom. There is a bordered option which prints the whole image but then you end up with two white "bars" of wasted paper on either side of the print.


Samples & Quality

The samples below were printed by the CP-10 then scanned at 300 dpi on my UMAX Astra 2400S (default settings), cropped then resaved as high quality JPEG. They'll give you a rough idea of the kind of output to expect. I've also provided examples of borderless and bordered printing as well as the 4 x 2 sticker paper. All images taken by Canon Digital IXUS 300 at 1600 x 1200 Super High Quality.

Overall the output quality is surprisingly good for such a little device, noteably colour balance is very good as is resolution, I really didn't expect much out of such small prints but they really are clean, vivid and relatively sharp.

Obviously because you're printing directly from the camera it's more important that you get a good shot first time, there are no options for altering the brightness / contrast of the image before it's printed.

IXUS 300 resolution chart - borderless
[camera file]
IXUS 300 resolution chart - bordered
[camera file]
Colour chart - borderless
[camera file]
Colour chart - bordered & dated
[camera file]
 
Example of 4 x 2 stickers (no, it's not me, it's a friend...) [camera file]  
Borderless
[camera file]
Bordered
[camera file]


Conclusion

Pros

  • Good quality results, strong clean colours with good resolution
  • Small size, neat design
  • Borderless printing with clean tear-off edge strips
  • Instant print ability (direct print from camera)
  • Gadget factor

Cons

  • Relatively small print size
  • Cost per print of about 0.97 DM (official US pricing not yet announced)
  • No computer connectivity included, requires optional kit (not yet available)
  • 3:2 print ratio means either wasted paper or cropping from a 4:3 ratio image

There's no doubting that this little printer delivers quality results which would put some of its bigger brothers to shame, the ability to get prints direct from your digital camera without the need for a computer is certainly attractive, it's the kind of thing you could easily take on holiday / to a friends house / home for christmas and run off prints there and then.

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