Canon unveils a cavalcade of printers

If you're thinking of replacing your old inkjet or personal laser printer with a new model that can also make copies--and perhaps scan in color and send faxes as well--Canon wants to be at the top of your shopping list. The company this week is announcing several new multifunction printers for homes and for small to medium-size businesses, including the first color laser-based MFP for under US$1000.

Canon's ImageClass MF8170c color laser MFP

Canon, which has divided its multifunction business into the ImageClass brand for corporate products and the inkjet-based Pixma brand for small and home offices, is announcing products in both categories.

The new ImageClass models range from the US$999 MF8170c color laser MFP down to the US$150 PC150, a personal laser-based copier that doubles as a portable unit for business travelers. On the Pixma side, Canon is announcing a variety of photo printers, including one with fax capability and another that can print directly from media cards.

Color Laser for Less

While color laser printers have been going down in price over the last few years (Dell last week announced a US$449 model), Canon's is the first color laser multifunction printer to drop below US$1000. The company rates the MF8170c's print speeds at 16 pages per minute for black and white and 4 ppm for color.

The unit comes with a 250-sheet front-loading paper cassette and a 125-sheet multipurpose tray; a 50-sheet automatic document feeder accepts originals measuring up to 8.5 by 14 inches. It can scan in color at up to 48-bit depth and an optical resolution of 1200 by 2400 dots per inch (output is in 24 bits, however).

The MF8170c has a built-in 33.6-kbps fax modem and enough memory for 256 pages. Additional connectivity features include USB 2.0 and ethernet ports.

Serious MFPs

Canon is announcing two models in its ImageClass D800 series of business-oriented, high-performance laser print/scan/copy devices. Both the US$699 D880 and the US$599 D860 target busy small offices.

Both copy letter-size documents at 18 pages per minute and print them at 16 ppm. The two also feature a 500-sheet front-loading paper cassette, a 100-sheet multipurpose tray, and a 30-sheet automatic document feeder for multipage originals. Each device can copy documents measuring up to 8.5 by 14 inches, whether the originals are fed from the ADF or placed on the unit's platen glass.

Both the D880 and the D860 support a parallel interface as well as a USB interface, and users can network them with an optional print server. The D880 can send faxes via a built-in 33.6-kbps modem; the D860 lacks this capability.

For homes or small offices seeking a more compact model to fit a cramped space, the US$249 ImageClass MF3110 is rated to print and copy at up to 21 ppm for letter-size sheets. The platen glass can accommodate originals measuring up to 8.5 by 11.7 inches, but the device supports printing on paper up to legal size (8.5 by 14 inches). A 250-sheet front-loading paper cassette has a manual tray for envelopes and various other paper sizes.

The MF3110 connects to PCs via a USB 2.0 cable and can join a network via an optional print server.

The US$149 PC 150 clearly sacrifices performance to achieve its minimal weight and small form. Weighing less than 19 pounds, the PC 150 folds into what looks like a briefcase. Turning on instantly, it can create copies of letter-size documents at a speed of 4 pages per minute, or 9 at a time with the included 50-sheet stack tray. A pop-up handle makes for easy transport.

Photos and More

At US$99, the four-ink MP130 is the least expensive of Canon's three new color inkjet-based multifunction photo printers, yet it's the only one that comes with media card slots. It sports a compact design and is rated to print at 18 ppm black and 13 ppm color, at resolutions up to 1200 dpi. This printer/scanner/copier can print directly from several popular camera media card formats, including CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SD Card, and SmartMedia.

The other two models, the US$249 MP750 and US$299 MP780, include a PictBridge port for printing directly from compatible digital cameras and DV camcorders. Both employ five inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, photo gray, and a pigment black for text printing) and come with a 35-page document feeder.

The MP780 is rated at 25 ppm for black and white and 17 ppm for color, and prints at 4800 by 1200 dots per inch. It also features fax capability, and can send color faxes.

Canon is announcing four additional new Pixma photo printers--including one model with built-in wireless connectivity and another that sprays microscopic 1-picoliter droplets. The small size of 1-picoliter droplets negates the need for light cyan and light magenta inks, which many other photo printers employ to help create smooth color transitions, a Canon spokesperson says.

The US$229 IP4000R features built-in 802.11g wireless networking, and is a five-ink printer that produces 2-picoliter ink droplets. The US$200 IP5000, meanwhile, is the company's first printer to produce 1-picoliter droplets. Like the IP4000R, the IP5000 employs five inks and has a PictBridge port, but no memory card slots.

The 2-picoliter IP6000D, which costs US$180, uses six inks (as a traditional photo printer does) and can print from an infrared-enabled cell phone. This model also comes with memory card slots, a duplexer for two-sided printing, and a 2.5-inch color LCD.

For more serious photographers, the 2-picoliter IP8500 employs eight of Canon's ChromaPlus brand inks, and costs US$349.

Canon is introducing two new scanners in its Pixma line, as well. The US$399 CanoScan 9950F is a professional model that can scan up to 30 negatives at a time, at up to 4800 by 9600 dpi. This model features new optical and lens systems that produce more accurate scans, according to the company. The US$99 CanoScan 4200F is a more modest SOHO model that scans at up to 3200 by 6400 dpi. Both models scan at 48-bit color depth.

All of the new products will ship by the beginning of October, Canon says.

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