"Better Print Than HP"on by 350ZMO
Pros ADF, FAX with built in modem, 2400dpi scanner, Separate Ink Tanks, Media Slots, USB, Great Prints
Cons PC interface to fax is a print driver, No network capability
Summary I am absolutely amazed at the various individual reviews on the various multifunction inkjet printers. I spent a lot of time reading reviews and it seemed there is always one or a few that get an absolute lemon. I'm not sure why that is. Perhaps quality control is difficult on a device that does so many things. Perhaps its mostly the people with problems that take the time to post. But it didn't seem like there was one clear winner out there. In fact, the highest rated magazine review machines seemed to have the most problem posts from individuals. And the best magazine reviews seem to be in the 8.0 region. It was very confusing. But my research lead me to believe that this unit had fewer individual problems than the comparable HP units. I will not buy an Epson again although I looked at them and the reviews reinforced my decision made a long time ago. Lexmark and Brother seem to suffer from the start - from the magazine reviews. And they don't seem to get better with individual reviews.
I have had Canon printers before and they always served me well. The HPs appear to have serious network problems and, as I'm used to with HP, folks are complaining about HP's drivers and bloatware. Surprising they have so many network problems on the models that support it however.
Enough about general multifunction device research, lets get back to the MP830. I really didn't need network capability so what it came down to was having the kid at the store do test copies for me on the various HP and Canon machines. What I was looking for was a single device that would serve as a fax, scanner and inkjet printer for general printing. Clean that desk up as my Visioneer, HP laserjet and inkjet, and USR modem was taking up a lot of room. What was important to me was speed and quality of scan and print.
Now the kid at the store was really pushing the HP and I can understand that. I've had HP printers that served me well too. We picked a color page from a magazine and used the same page for the comparisons. Now I don't print text below 8pt. At my age 8pt. is tiny. I fully expected this printer to have problems printing text having read these reviews and because it shares the same ink cartridges and basic mechanism as the Canon iP6600D Photo. In reality though, I have no problem reading the 8pt. text. And the photo output on the copy was better than the HPs. Admittedly I don't use a 10x jewelers loupe, I just print and look and read. So admittedly it's very subjective. But the print on the Canon was noticeably better to these old eyes.
After getting it home I took some photos of my Murano and 350Z with my Pentax *istDS and printed them from my PC on highest resolution on Canon Photo Paper Plus Glossy. I also printed out a few sheets on premium Hammermill laser paper of publications and text test sheets. I also faxed and received a fax. I am very happy. It prints great, text is very readable. The photo prints on the Canon glossy surprised me. I can now get rid of my ALPS MD1300. The photo output is that good. For the ultimate in photo quality however, I'm looking at the Kodak 1400 but wondering if I even need it.
A note about paper, I don't use the cheap stuff. I tend to buy the high brightness dense 98/106 premium. So I don't know how it will do on crappy paper and could care less. If you want a quality print you better start with quality paper.
The scanning function does well. The MP830 is USB 2.0 capable so it’s fast. The drivers are TWAIN and WIA based and I was able to scan photos and magazine sheets in with Corel Paint Shop Pro X, Micrografx Picture Publisher 9, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and Microsoft Publisher 2003. It does better than my older SCSI Microtek and my current USB 1.1 Visioneer in terms of speed and quality.
The SW and driver install was flawless and I am running Antivirus, antispam and firewall software. You also get OmniPage 2.0 for OCR on the CD along with Pagemaker 7.15 and Canon’s Easy Photo Print 3.3.0 and MP Navigator 2.2 for basic functionality.
Finally about the fax implementation, you send a FAX on your PC by selecting the Canon MP830 FAX printer driver. It does not interface with FAX modem software like Symantec WINFAX. And I haven't looked into WINFAX to see if it can be configured to function through a printer driver vice COM port modem. Not a big deal really as I thought about it. The only two features that WINFAX really did above the FAX function, was the address book and the cover sheet designer. Well, now I have a custom Cover sheet that I insert into a document and I manage address book information through OE contacts. So there is one more app that I can rid my PC of...good bye to one more Symantec product Yea! However there is a downside for those that want to keep electronic copies of the faxes they receive. The manual for this machine does not say how this can be done. It only says that the machine has enough memory to store 250 fax pages if it is out of ink or paper. But there appears to be no functionality to save a received fax to your computer digitally. I suppose you could scan in the printed out faxes if you just had to have a digital copy.
This machine has no built in networking capability. I don't use it myself but I you can try the share printer functionality of XP or a print server. In the past on other printers and peoples networks I have had good success getting them running with this approach, but not always. Perhaps others can comment on how well this approach works with this model as I don't use it myself.
In conclusion, to all those looking for a good multifunction device to replace their printer, scanner, and fax modem, take a look at this Canon PIXMA MP830. Don't let the technobable and pico points per fortnight scare you away. Go to the store, do some test copies and judge for yourself.
Why test COPIES? It gives you a good idea of the capabilities of the scanner and the printer functions both in terms of time to get a copy and quality of that copy. I made them set the machines to defaults, no tweaking. So tweaking them may yield different results. But I figure if it gives a good product without diddling, then the manufacturer has done a decent job.
Tip: To figure out what multifunction machines share inks with what printers, go to staples online look up ink and toners for a specific machine, click on one of its inks then click on Machine Compatibility.
Pros I have no complaints except for this horrible bug
Cons text quality is much worse with duplexing on
Summary Unlike the MP780, the MP830 printer driver has a very serious bug that likely has it using the color inks to produce black text instead of the pigment black ink when printing text in duplex mode. I find this bug to be extremely bothersome. The problem exists when duplexing in other printing modes, but it's most apparent when duplexing text on fast mode.
With duplexing on, the text quality is pretty bad. With duplexing off, the text quality looks fantastic on the MP830. Given the MP830 comes with built-in duplexing, this printer driver bug is pretty annoying for those who want to use the duplexing feature for text printing.
This problem exists with Mp830 printer driver 1.00 on Windows XP service pack 2. I've tested this problem on two different MP830s (firmware 1.04 and 1.06) on two different computer systems.
I've also had this bug confirmed by a third party. Visit http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=95623&forum_id=40
This bug is very easily reproduced:
Print text in fast mode with duplexing on. Then print text in fast mode with duplexing off.
Night and day
The problem also exists in standard mode, but the difference isn't as extreme.
Canon is in dire need of fixing this issue, unless of course Canon customers don't mind paying for inferior black text quality when the duplex option is turned on. But it sure bothers me.Updated
"This is from Canon technical support:
"The unit was designed to print using "composite black" when duplexing. Composite black is created by using color inks. Unfortunately, we do not have answers as to why Canon USA made this decisions, these decisions are determined by the developers at Canon INC."
Absolutely brutal. If I could I would change my rating to zero. Composite black text print is vastly inferior to the text print produced when using the black ink cartridge. Canon technical support is basically telling me that duplex black text printing on the MP830 is horrible by design. Oh, plus you have the added bonus of wasting color ink when printing black text while duplexing. InexcusableUpdated
I should have written "Like the MP780"--not unlike.
Canon believes if these printers don't use composite black ink while duplexing, the text will show through to the other side. I tested this manually (I flipped the page over myself and printed on it), and I disagree: the text looked a lot better, and there were no issues.Updated
I should have written "Like the MP780"--not "Unlike".
Anyway, Canon believes printing with composite black ink ensures the text will not bleed or be seen on the other side of the page. I've tested this manually by printing on one side of a piece of plain paper, flipping the page over, and printing on the other side. The text looked vastly better on both sides--and there were no issues. So, I compeltely disagree with Canon. The choice to use color ink to produce black ink while duplexing is a bad choice. At the very least the option should exist in the printer driver to use the proper black ink tank when duplexing if that's what the customer wants.Updated
I should have written "Like the MP780"--not "Unlike".
Anyway, Canon believes printing with composite black ink ensures the text will not bleed or be seen on the other side of the page. I've tested this manually by printing on one side of a piece of plain paper, flipping the page over, and printing on the other side. The text looked vastly better on both sides--and there were no issues. So, I compeltely disagree with Canon. The choice to use color ink to produce black ink while duplexing is a bad choice. At the very least the option should exist in the printer driver to use the proper black ink tank when duplexing if that's what the customer wants.
Pros Good price, duplex printing and copying, sheet feeder, fast printing, good quality text.
Cons Large, heavy, very noisy mechanics, colors in photos incorrect, scanner calibrates every time it scans.
Summary I was very excited about getting my MP830. I haven’t bought a new printer for about 5 years and have been searching for the right all-in-one for me. The MP830 is big… and heavy. I noticed that in the store, but it got bigger as I was lugging it up my stairs, and when I put it on my desk.
Setup was fairly easy, and took about as much time as expected considering all of its functions, about 45 minutes. This process went without any problems, and no surprises. The sheet feeder operated as advertised, and was fairly quick. The duplex printing was outstanding. Except for a slight delay after retracting the sheets following printing side one, it was very fast and the document looked great.
A major problem though, was a very loud “clacking” and “clunking” of the plastic paper handling mechanisms inside the printer. This occurred with every print job, and was so loud that I though it was braking. This happened with the rear paper feed and the cassette, regardless of the type of paper I loaded. When the printing was actually occurring it was quiet, but while it was preparing the print heads and grabbing the paper… Plug your ears! There was also a slight problem with the auto-opening paper output tray. It often would not open until I jiggled the cassette which seemed to bind with it along the bottom. The cassette is made of cheap plastic and does not seat exactly correct.
Photos printed very fast. But, it washed out faces on several prints, and on others the faces were OK but the other colors were too dark. Perhaps there was a fix for this, but I did not find one while searching the Canon knowledge base. I hate knowledge bases. Takes way too much time and Canon’s did not seem very complete.
Scanning quality was good, although unlike my previous Canon scanner that would calibrate every once in a while (rarely, actually), the MP830 calibrated every time I scanned, although the calibration seemed to go more quickly than my previous scanner, it was still annoying that it did it on every scan. Oh, my prior research indicated that you could select an application to send the scans to (i.e. a photo editor) but it’s only a choice of their software applications or email, none of which are a photo editor. But, you can call the scanner up as a TWAIN device from within your own applications.
I did not try any fax functions.
CONCLUSION: The price is right, plenty of functionality and easy set up. In the end though, I was unwilling to settle for the inconsistent photo colors, and the loud noises generated with each print job. I returned the MP830 for a refund. Too bad, because I believe I would have been happy otherwise.
Pros Paper Handling, Photo Quality, Scanning, Copying, ADF, Separate Ink Cartridges
Cons No built in Networking
Summary Why did I buy it? Good question… I wanted to combine my scanner and printer in an all-in-one to have the convenience of a copy machine and printer in one unit (i.e. quick copies without the PC). I was also hoping to pick up an automatic document feeder (ADF) that would auto feed old 35mm color photo prints (typically 4”x6”) and scan them in to the computer in bulk. And of course I wanted the all-in-one to perform all design functions well and with quality.Reply to this review
How long have I owned the MP830? Three weeks. Other printers/scanners owned? Two HP’s (895cxi workhorse), HP Photosmart 7550. Two other Canon Printers (S600 and Pixma IP6600D). Scanner Visioneer One Touch 8100.
What I’ve tried and what I think:
Copy Feature: I’ve copied using the ADF and directly on the glass. I think the MP830 does a very good job at copies. Comparing a copy of a photo on the MP830 to my Visioneer the Canon was more much faithful in capturing the original colors and the resolution was hands down better on the Canon. Copying standard letter size documents is a breeze using the ADF and the copies come out very nice.
Scanning: On one occasion I copied 15 pages out of an manual using the ADF and the Omnipage SE software that came with the MP830. I converted the scans to editable text and found this to be very accurate saving me a lot of typing time. On another occasion I copied pages out of a workbook with questions to study for a test and again used Omnipage to convert to editable text which I pasted in to Word for Windows. I then put index cards in the MP830 auto sheet feeder (rear feed) and ripped off 60 index cards very quickly (using fast mode on the MP830). They came out great and were a great study aid. I did try scanning some 35 mm color prints using the ADF and though it fed the prints through ok, they came out slightly skewed. So I ended up putting three directly on the platen glass and used the “Auto Detect” multiple document feature of the Canon MP Navigator software that came with the MP830. This software allowed me to save separate JPG’s of each picture automatically corrected for any slight skewing of each picture laid on the glass. Though I would have preferred the ADF process for handling my old photos, this feature is a nice touch for scanning multiple prints. By the way I tried running a 4x6 print through the ADF on an HP Photosmart C6180 in a store and the C6180 ADF jammed with the 4x6. I did a lot of searching on the Internet for an ADF scanner that would handle batch scanning of old prints and really could not find anything so I don’t know if any of these machines can accomplish such a task.
Fax: Didn’t really have much need for a fax machine but after reading the manual and setting up the fax feature I was able to successfully send and receive a fax just fine. I did not try any of the auto answer modes as faxing in my house is a rare occasion and I’d rather answer a fax call manually which is a simple press of one of two start buttons on the MP830, works for my needs.
Memory Card Reader: I tested the MP830 with a Smart Media card out of one of my digital camera’s and found the MP830 to be very quick and responsive at reading the pictures on the card. My previous HP Photosmart 7550 card readers were horribly slow, so much so that I’d never use it for that reason but the Canon works well. However, my newer camera’s use XD memory cards and the Canon doesn’t accept those without purchasing an adapter to use in the Compaq Flash slot on the MP830. I had the same issue with my Canon IP6600D. Personally I don’t think it would break Canon’s bank to add the additional slots natively. Not a big issue for me because I use my computer memory card slots most of the time anyway, but it is an opportunity to make a very nice product that much nicer. My newer camera’s do work fine on the PictBridge port on the MP830, but I rarely have a desire to print right from my camera before using the excellent features of Photoshop to touch them up first.
Paper Handling: Here’s where I think this machine really shines. Canon’s paper handling is wonderful! You have two separate feed sources. Cassette feeding from the front and drop in feeding from the back. I had a chance to test out an HP all-in-one C5180 that my mom-in-law bought and was disappointed in HP’s idea of paper feeding. With HP you have one way to feed, from the front. This requires all papers to go in to the HP printer and wrap around the platen before being printed and ejected. If you try to run invitation size envelopes (4-3/8” x 5-3/4”) through the HP they’ll work after you find the right magic spot to put them, but sounds like it’s going to eat them in the process. With the Canon MP830 you have the option of dropping specialty paper such as envelopes and photo paper in the rear auto sheet feeder and the printer runs the paper through without wrapping them around the platen. Plus you can keep regular letter paper in the front cassette and switch back and forth with one button. Very nice feature! Though neither HP nor Canon mention feeding invitation size envelopes through their printers I find the Canon MP830 handles them very well through the rear auto sheet feed. And the index cards I mentioned above are another example of the great paper handling of this unit. Plus getting an automatic duplexer in a printer of this class is awesome!
Printing: After owning two HP’s with multi-color cartridges I just had to move back to a single color cartridge system. Every time I replaced an HP multi-color cartridge because one color was out I was sure I was throwing away ink! That being said, both of my HP’s still perform like they did on day one in quality because their cartridges contained the print head so you always got a new print head (and most likely paid for in with the cost of the ink). With my Canon IP6600D I have six individual color ink cartridges to replace, however I only have to replace the color that’s actually out at any given time. However it does seem that some of the colors always run out together and others (yellow and black) run a different replacement cycle (more often) for the kind of printing my family does. With the MP830 there are only three dye ink color cartridges plus a black dye ink for color/photo printing. It also has a black pigment ink cartridge for non-color printing. Unfortunately I’m not sure you ever know which black cartridge it’s using when it’s printing, but my experience so far has been the pigment ink cartridge gets used the most for standard everyday document printing (web pages, emails, word documents, spreadsheets, etc.). For photos I believe it’s the dye ink black that’s used. After three weeks I have used up about three fourths of the pigment ink. The dye black doesn’t look like much has been used at all. The three colors are down about one half to three fifths of their capacity. I have printed probably twenty 4”x6” color photos, and my daughter printed 35 picture contact sheets which she ran through the ADF to copy (she was happy to see this machine run through those and they were sticker sheets to boot!). Honestly my wife and I think the photo quality of the MP830 is so close to the IP6600D (which has the photo colors) that it would be hard for us to tell the difference. The prints are wonderful. The ink use seems high, but I’ve always thought all my inkjets use too much ink (HP & Cannon). Of course we all know this is where the manufactures are making their money, ink. As stated by others if you use auto duplexing in the “fast” print mode on the MP830 the printer does a sub standard job and seems to use the color inks for black verses the pigment ink. However in normal duplex printing it does a fine job. In all modes of simplex printing (fast included) it does a fine job. Auto duplexing on the MP830 is not a fast process, but I use a much more expensive Tektronix color laser at work and it’s duplexing mode doesn’t break any sound barriers either. I’m sure the cost of the Tektronix far exceeds that of this MP830. The great part about auto duplexing is there’s no wasted paper trying figure out which side of the paper should be up or down like you would when manual duplexing. The MP830 does it for you automatically.
LCD Display: Nothing to brag about here, it serves its purpose but the wheel feature on the MP600 I checked out would have been a handier way to get around the machine in my opinion. But then I own an IPOD...;-}
Networking: This is an area I would have liked to see Canon offer options. For me I would have rather had wired or wireless networking built in to the MP830 verses the fax feature? I have the machine connected to a PC running Windows XP Media addition (USB cable attached) and it’s shared on my home network with other PC’s using Windows networking so any PC can use the MP830 for printing. However none of the other MP830 features are available to the other PC’s; only the one it’s directly attached too. Not a real big deal for me but again I would have gladly traded the fax for the built in networking.
Finally for some reason Canon left out the IR port on the MP830 that they included on my Pixma IP6600D printer. With all the other features the MP830 offers this is really not a big deal, but kind of curious why they left that one out.
In summary I am very happy so far with all the useful features and quality of this all-in-one. Unfortunately I don’t have the run time yet to know longevity and hope I don’t experience some of the infant mortality issues a few have, but time will be the author of that chapter of this story. I hope this helps someone else out. I have read many reviews by others which helped me in my decision to purchase this product. I appreciate the professional reviews, but also highly value reviews by people like us who get them home and really use them for everyday tasks. I was really torn between the Canon MP830 and the Canon MP600 which has received many positive reviews and none negative that I’ve found. However I did have a brief experience with an MP600 and the scanner seemed slow to me and not as accurate in reproduction as the MP830. Since the MP600 uses a CIS scanner element verses the traditional CCD sensor the MP830 has I’m still a little skeptical of the MP600 scanning feature. Only because I don’t have any experience with CIS technology (and tend to believe they have opportunity to improve, but that’s just my opinion). By the way I still think HP makes a fine printer as all my HPs are still in service and working like the day I bought them, but I think HP could learn from Canon on paper handling.
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Pros Time saving, Great Value, Everything I need, Software works awesome, Includes little extras
Cons the scanning from the hand feed tray isnt the greatest, also it does not come with a USB port that is something you have to buy seperately
Summary I just got this today after spending about three hours researching, initially I was going to go with the HP OfficeJet 4215 but after reading reviews and comparing the two it just seemed that this one was a much better machine for the money.
Just something to keep in mind...Turn the machine on before trying to add the print cartridges or you will not know where they go! LOL! (I had to call tech support to find that out and that was step 1!) The tech support was great once I stopped being on hold for what seemed like an eternity. The guy was very helpful and stayed on the phone with me to walk me thru the entire set up so if I had questions I wouldn't have to call back! I was very impressed with the customer service.
So far I have used all the features except the fax which I had to go buy a phone jack splitter for as Im using DSL too. The copier works great the colors are a little light but over all good quality. The printer works fabulous, the test page I printed was very readable and colors very vivid. I printed out my book cover which is full color on glossy paper and it turned out way better than I expected. The copier works great! I scanned, it comes with a scanning tool which is very helpful cuz you can save your scans as PDF or Text Or just to your pc, the only thing is if your going to do a batch scan, you can only scan 10 pages at a time and some get in there upside down and the paper shifts so things come out crooked, maybe just do five at a time as it does give you the option to add more to your print job if youre going to be saving a lot to one file. It is a little slow at scanning.
So Far So Good! Im very pleased with this purchase, I give it a 9, if it werent for the slow scanning speed and problems, as well as the no USB cable thing, it would get a 10