Canon i850 and i950 photo Bubblejets

2nd January - 2003
By Ian Burley

Canon enters 4800dpi league

The new Canon i950

One of the star consumer photo printers of the last year was Canon’s super-fast S900. This week, Canon has confirmed rumours of the demise of the S900 with the announcement of the i950. Canon has also confirmed the technically interesting 4-colour i850 model for the UK market after introducing it in the US late last year.

The new i950 is a smart looking printer that has a tough reputation to follow in the form of the S900. Improvements are several: an increase in printed resolution from 2400x1200 to 4800x1200, for a start. Using what Canon calls Micro-Nozzle head technology, droplets as small as 2pl are propelled out of holes just 10 microns in diameter.

Speed has not been sacrificed and the i950 is quoted by Canon as being able to produce an A4 borderless photo print, admittedly at 2400x1200 rather than the maximum 4800x1200, in just over a minute. The same BCI6 single colour ink tank and inks are used as in the S900.

Bundled software includes Easy-PhotoPrint, PhotoRecord, ZoomBrowser EX, PhotoStitch and Easy-WebPrint.

With a suggested retail price of £289 inc.VAT the i950 is cheaper than the S900 when it was introduced a year ago, though it remains at the premium price end of the A4 photo printer spectrum. The i950 hits the stores at the beginning of February.

Canon says photo inks no longer necessary...

The new Canon i850

If the i950 is out of your price range, at £120 less, Canon is hoping the new and similar looking i850 will interest you. If you read the specifications there might superficially seem to be a lot in common with the i950; A4, 4800x1200dpi and 2pl droplet sizes.

But the i850 only uses three ink colours plus black compared to 5 colours (including light photo magenta and cyan) plus black in the i950. It’s not quite as fast as the i950, but produces an A4 photo in around 100 seconds according to Canon, around 20 percent faster than the current S820 model. The same Canon software bundle is included with the i850 as the i950.

So is the lack of extra photo inks a big issue? Canon says no and from what we have seen of the printer in pre-production form and its output, we’d have to say the evidence so far is pretty much in favour of Canon’s claims.

An expert eye is not going to be fooled by the i850, but the i850 is pushing the photo printing with only three colours envelope.

Unlike, say, Lexmark’s 3 colour 4800x1200 photo output, grain is subdued and tonal subtlety is preserved. Of course, we’d like to put a sample of the printer through our test procedure to confirm our initial impressions, but until then we can offer a tentative thumbs up.

The i850, like the i950, will go on sale at the beginning of February.

Reader enquiries: 08705 143723 / www.canon.co.uk/bubblejet


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