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Girls think it’s cute but don’t count on it getting you any phone numbers on walks in the park. It’s cheap and easy but not a tramp. Give up? I’m talking about the Canon Selphy CP760 compact photo printer, of course.
I purchased the Selphy Sunday evening and through the miracles of the internet and a global transportation infrastructure it arrived on my doorstep Wednesday. And I’m so glad I did. It’s a fun little printer.
Despite it’s tiny size, the CP760 leans more toward the non-portable end of the spectrum than, say, the CP770 which comes in a plastic bucket or the ES30 which has an integrated handle and optional wireless and can run on batteries. No, this guy is intended to sit on a desk or table unobtrusively and quietly until needed. Although, technically, it’s small enough and light enough to move about if necessary and doesn’t require a connection to a computer to operate.
Color reproduction is very good at the default settings although reds are a little oversaturated for my taste. Skin tones look natural and fine details are rendered nicely. Colors are accurate without any trace of dithering which is especially nice in lightly colored areas compared to inkjet prints. Overall, as good or better than your local 1-hour lab. Prints are dry and ready to handle in just a few seconds.
Black and white prints are nothing to write home about—I’d call them “really dark gray” and white prints—but there are no colored pixels in them at all which is nice.
The Selphy came with a 4-print sample pack that made exactly 4 prints—no more, no less.
You must use Canon paper and dye packs designed for this printer although in the 108-print bundle the prints are reasonable at $0.27 each. The paper has perforated tabs that are easily removed but leave a barely perceptible ragged edge.
Prints are almost but not quite 4×6. Image cropping for full edge-to-edge printing is minimal and acceptable. Because of the paper path, the Selphy needs about 7.5×15 inches of total desk space. It’s not overly noisy and the included power cord is very long with an integrated velcro tie.
I’ve taught my kids how to use it and put a jar next to the printer. They are to deposit $0.25 each time they print something. What do you want to bet I’ll only have about $2.39 in loose change when it’s time to buy more supplies?
- Time per print: 75 seconds (a little longer for the first one)
- Actual final print size: 3.9×5.8 inches (100×147 mm)
- Edge bleed: 0.1 inches (2.5 mm) on each long edge, 0.2 inches (5 mm) on the short edges
- Cost: $119.99 at Amazon.com
Buy one at Amazon.com
I hate printing photos at home. Every time I do it I’ve got to fiddle with printer settings, change the paper, do a test print, yadda yadda. It’s always been a pain in the neck. But, at least partly, I think that’s been because I’ve never owned a dedicated photo printer. I’ve always had my main document printer do double duty. Not only was it a pain, the results weren’t all that great anyway. Which is why I think I was so fascinated when I discovered compact photo printers.
I’d heard of them before, of course. Maybe it’s the price. Maybe it’s the new form factor. But something about this latest generation just clicked with me. Here is a class of printers dedicated to doing one thing and one thing only: print 4×6 snapshots. No fussing with loading the right paper. No worrying about running out of ink for your documents. No connectivity to a computer required.
I narrowed my final selection down to four: the Epson PictureMate Dash PM260 ($139), Canon Selphy CP760 ($77), HP A636 ($116), and the Canon Selphy ES30 ($136).
Canon Selphy CP760
All of these printers are under $150. There are more advanced compact photo printers on the market but usually all you get are more effects and storage space, not better print quality. For example, the Canon Selphy ES3 is identical to the ES30 but comes with more built-in effects (frames and stamps to put on your photos) and 1 GB internal memory for photo storage. It costs $169.
The Epson and HP printers use inkjet technology. Canon is unique in its decision to use dye-sublimation print technology. If you have a printer it is probably an inkjet. These printers spray ink in microscopic droplets onto paper through hundreds of tiny nozzles.
Dye-sublimation on the other hand uses heat to transfer dye from a ribbon. Inkjets spray all of the necessary colors simultaneously in a single pass over the paper. Dye-sub printers make multiple passes over the paper, one for each color plus a protective top-coat.
The primary advantage of dye-sub over inkjet for photo printing is the wider color gamut. Inkjets simulate multiple colors by dithering dots of ink in patterns. But these dye-sub printers can actually generate 256 levels of each color per dot (at 300 dpi) for a gamut of about 16.8 million colors without dithering.
Canon Selphy ES30
Another advantage which I found compelling is the cost per print. A common complaint with inkjet printers, and with the Epson and HP above in particular, is that the ink never lasts for as many prints as it is rated for (according to reviews by owners). Compounding the problem is the fact that the manufacturers have opted to sell paper and ink together in packs. The result is that one is always left with extra paper once the ink is gone and the cost per print is higher than expected.
Like HP and Epson, Canon also sells ink and paper together in packs. However, dye-sublimation technology always uses exactly one color ribbon per page. So when you buy a pack of dye-sub ink/paper for 50 prints, you will get exactly 50 prints before you need to buy more supplies. The cost/print is a fixed and predictable quantity (and about $0.27 per print if you buy the 108 print packs).
So I purchased the Canon Selphy CP760 last night from Amazon. It’s not only the cheapest of the lot at just $77, I think it looks the best, too. I was tempted by the ES30 but I decided I didn’t need any of their built-in clipart or borders at almost twice the price. All I really want is a big green button on the front that says “Print.”
I’ll write a full review after I receive it on Wednesday.
In a what?
It’s so weird, I don’t know how I missed it when it came out. I was out buying ink today when I stumbled across the Selphy. Somehow, those wacky guys over at Canon had the brilliant idea that portable photo printers ought to come in bucket form.
The Selphy CP770 (Amazon) is a playful little 4×6 dye-sublimation photo printer that comes in a plastic bucket big enough for its accessories, paper, and cables. The printer itself becomes the “lid” of the bucket and latches on with two large green plastic clamps. And you carry it around by the handle. On the bucket.
CNET Editors gives it a “very good” rating citing excellent photo quality, fast printing, and ease of use.
I’m still a little boggled. And yet I am intrigued. Would you dare bring this to a corporate or any other kind of “serious” environment? You’d have a hard time getting anyone to take you seriously. But, whip out this fruit tart of a photo printer at a child’s birthday party or family social gathering and fire off some 4×6’s at grandma and I predict you’d be the hero of the moment.
If you’re lucky enough to live in Japan, you can pick up an extra-special Hello Kitty version, naturally.