Canon BJC-8200

The Canon BJC-8200 illustrates this threat to the photographic film industry, with its ability to produce glossy colour images that are equal in quality to the best 8in x 12in colour negative prints.

This is the most important feature of the 8200, and it tolls the death knell for hundreds of photo labs in chemists and shopping centres. Although the Canon Pro Paper PR-101 costs a hefty $2 per A4 sheet, even counting ink it's a lot less than the $10 to $20 a photo lab would charge for a print this size.

An A4-sized full colour image takes just under four minutes to print at the highest resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, while the fastest photo labs rarely deliver in less than an hour. Of our 10 test photo-quality prints, one had some visible banding, which seemed to be caused by a temporary glitch in the printer software since the problem didn't occur again. The rest of the prints were brilliant, with no imperfections apparent to my unaided eyes. Colour transitions were smooth, without any visible speckling, and subtle tones were well reproduced. This is the first personal printer I've seen that gives nothing away when its output is compared to "real" colour photos.

While black and white documents aren't the main reason for the 8200's existence, it does them anyway, taking less than 40 seconds to produce a near-laser-quality page on plain paper. If you buy the optional scanner cartridge, you can use the 100-sheet feeder tray to scan multi-page documents into your computer.

The 8200 uses six ink cartridges, which can be replaced individually for economy. It connects to your computer using either parallel port or USB, although, rather than including both cables, Canon expects you to buy whichever one you need, at around $20. That's about the amount an amateur photographer could save on the first two 8in x 12in prints.

Canon BJC-8200

Price: Printer $708, ink cartridges $43 each, Pro Photo Paper PR-101 15 sheets n/a, Scanner Cartridge IS52 n/aDistributor: CanonPhone: (02) 9805 2000URL: www.canon.com.au

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