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With a retail price of $399.99 Canon's newest all-in-one printer might hit you with sticker shock
First off - the big change with Canon's Pixma MX7600 is the introduction of a new formulation of ink called Pigment Reaction 'PgR'. There are five ink cartridges in all; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black with a second, higher-intensity photo black pigment ink cartridge and a very large clear coat ink tank.
With the new inks and clear coat, which coats the paper before the other inks are laid down, you'll get better results when using plain paper for photos or graphics with improved saturation of graphics in documents. Basically by pre-coating the paper the other inks are prevented from being absorbed into the paper, staying on the surface, which keeps their colors richer and also edges sharper. Otherwise these are the same high quality LUCIA inks as found in Canon's Pro 9500 13"x19" professional printer, just fewer colors.
The LUCIA inks are pigment-based, which offers a longer print life compared to dye-based inks (although they are quickly catching up in archival quality). Ink cartridges retail for $14.99 each for color and both black inks, and the much larger PGI-9 Clear is $17.99. The more expensive clear coat ink will probably last you through several changes of the color inks.
The control panel lets you quickly change settings and the built-in LCD screen means you don't have to have it hooked up to a computer to do most things, even print photos directly from a memory card, camera or some cell phones.
You can attach it via USB to your computer or via Ethernet cable to your home/office network, or even go with one of the many wireless print servers available on the market.
Before hooking up the printer to your USB or Ethernet cable you'll need to install the software on the CD, but I recommend going to Canon's Driver Download page ( http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=DownloadIndexAct ) and getting the latest updates, including a new firmware update to ver 1.050.
The native resolution of the scanner is 4800 DPI (Dots Per Inch), more than enough for any normal usage. However, unless you go to Advanced mode and manually enter '4800' there are no options to scan at higher than 1200 dpi and usually the highest resolution offered was only 600 dpi in any of the other menus.
You can either scan individual items by lifting up the lid to reveal the letter-sized scanning platten, or you can scan up to 35 sheets using the automatic document feeder. Its possible to scan several photos at the same time and software can automatically crop and save even prints laid down on the platen at an angle.
A really great feature is a duplex mechanism for dual sided scanning. No stopping and figuring out the correct order of flipping/stacking papers to scan the back side.
Everything I threw at it--from standard text documents, documents with tables and graphics, scanning images from newspapers to magazines-- the MX7600 handled easily and gave me great results.
Scans from photos turned out well, just a bit more contrasty if left on fully automatic settings. Better scans can be had by making adjustments manually.
On top of the duplex scanning, the MX7600 will also do duplex printing. Again, a real time saver and less wasted paper than with other printers where you have to manually flip/rotate paper to print on the backside.
As designed the Canon uses the lower tray for plain paper and the rear tray for photo paper and envelopes. I often need to print a few pages on special (but plain) paper and it would be nice to be able to just stick them in the rear paper feed rather than open up the bottom tray and change out paper all the time. A separate envelope feed would be nice as well instead of having to adjust the paper guide. These are unfortunately necessary trade-offs to gain duplex printing.
Even the smallest text, 6 points, was very easy to read. Ink was laid down precisely and was indistinguishable from a laser printer's output to my eyes.
Now on to my biggest interest, how does it do with photos? By using the Clear ink the Canon is able to do a much better job printing photos (and graphics) on plain paper. Blacks are noticeably darker and colors richer than with any other printer/plain paper combo I've used. The only drawback is that plain paper has a damp feel to it afterwards and requires some time to dry. Even with this technology you're not going to want to print photos on anything but actual photo paper.
If you do have to print images or graphics on plain paper I do recommend using a heavier weight paper and if you can, one designed to give better results when printing graphics. This is because it will reduce the 'wet wavy paper effect' you can get with cheaper papers.
The unit offers 4800 x 1200 DPI (color) print heads and can print a 4 x 6-inch borderless print in approximately 43 seconds. Even with such high specifications you really only need to print at around 250 DPI for your output. Anything higher and you're mostly wasting ink. The ink heads output dots as small as two picoliters, which is right up there with some of the best photo printers.
The results of my printing photographs using Canon's supplied software gave ruddy/yellow skin colors but when switching to Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, the results were very natural and reproduced the original digital file on par with my dedicated photo printer. (A Canon Pixma iP5200) When using the clear coat ink, glossy photo paper will have a dull sheen. Canon would do well to include a setting to turn off Clear Coat when using photo paper as its not needed since the paper is already coated. Another idea I had was that the clear coat ink would go much farther if it was applied only to those areas (graphics/photos) that was needed.
I threw all sorts of documents at the scanner and it produced good to excellent results. I rate its photo copying quality only good since the results don't match the original unless you do a lot of fiddling with the controls. Everything else it did an excellent job with.
The Optical Character Reader software, OmniPage 7, did have some problems with things like "Pg.#" (for page number') where a line intersected the characters (it was in a table) but for the most part the software did an excellent job and it was easy to make the few corrections it couldn't figure out. You can also copy directly to a PDF file, image file and several other format options.
This is one area where I'm still at the toe of the learning curve but the MX7600 is easy to set up and use. You can store often used phone numbers with eight one touch dials, 200 coded speed dials, 107 group dials and has storage capacity for 250 incoming pages (you don't have to worry if you run out of paper). Once set up it was a breeze to use.
At 19.7" (W) x 21.0" (D) x 10.1" (H) the MX7600 has a rather big footprint on your desk.
The software supplied by Canon is well tied together although the photo editing capabilities fall short of dedicated packages.
All in all the Canon Pixma MX7600 does an excellent job in all areas, and really stands out when it comes to printing graphics on plain paper. Being able to scan AND print in duplex is a huge plus. As an all-in-one device for the home or small office it does almost everything you could ever wish for, short of making a good morning cup of coffee.
Printing Method Inkjet
Print Speed (up to) Black: Up to 28ppm (As fast as 2.1 seconds per page)2
Color: Up to 23 ppm (As fast as 2.6 seconds per page)2
Color Photo: Approx. 43 seconds2
Number of Nozzles Nozzles: Black: 512
2 and 5 picoliter size
Print Resolution (up to) Color: Up to 4800 x 1200 dpi1
Black: Up to 600 x 600 dpi1
Paper Handling Paper Handling text: Front Loader: 150 Pages, ADF: 35 Pages (Plain Paper)
Copy Speed (up to) Black: 28 cpm (As fast as 2.1 seconds per page)2
Color: 23 cpm (As fast as 2.6 seconds per page)2
Reductions Enlargement 25% - 400%
Copy Feature 2-in-1 / 4-in-1 Copy, Auto Duplex Copy, Fit-to-Page, Multiple Copy: 1-99 pages Preset Reduction/Enlargement Ratios, Sort
Scanner Element Contact Image Sensor (CIS)
Max. Resolutions Optical: 4800 x 9600 dpi
ADF: 600 x 600 dpi
Interpolated: 19,200 x 19,200 dpi
Color Depth 48-bit internal/24-bit external
Max. Document Size Flatbed:8.5" x 11.7"
ADF: 8.5" x 14"
Modem Speed Up to 33.6 Kbps (Super G3 color FAX)4
Transmission Speed (approx.) Black: Approx. 3 sec per page7
Color: Approx. 1 min per page7
Transmission Reception Memory Approx. 250 Pages
Memory Capacity Approx. 250 Pages 5
Speed Dialing 100 Locations
Fax Features Answering Machine Connectivity, Group Dialing, One-Touch Speed Dialing, Redial, Remote Reception
Other Features Networking Auto Duplex Print, Auto Image Fix, Auto Sheet Feeder,Auto Duplex Scan, Network Scan, Push Scan, 1.8"LCD, 20 Languages Selectable, 2-Way Paper Feeding, Dual Color Gamut Processing Technology, Duplex ADF, Ethernet Connectivity, PgR Ink System, PictBridge
Support Media CompactFlash Card, microSD Card, SD Memory Card, SDHC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMediaCard, Microdrive, miniSD Card Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, RS-MMC and xD-Picture Card3
OS Compatibility Windows Vista, Windows XP/2000 and Mac OS X v. 10.3.9 to 10.5.x10
Standard Interface USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
Card Slots (See Memory Card Support)
PictBridge (Cable not included)
Software Included CD-ROM including Printer Driver
Setup Software & User's Guide
MP Navigator EX
Newsoft Presto Page Manager11
ScanSoft OmniPage SE10
Power Consumption (approx.) Standby (When the scanning lamp is off): Approx. 6.5W, Off: Approx.1.6W
Copying: Approx. 26W,8 Maximum (instantaneous): Approx. 70W9
Dimension (W x D x H) 19.7" (W) x 21.0" (D) x 10.1" (H)
Weight 36.6 lbs.
Warranty Toll-free technical phone support plus 1-year limited warranty with InstantExchange Program.12
What's in the Box
PIXMA MX7600 Office All-In-One Printer
Cleaning Sheet (5 sheets)
Easy Setup Instructions (Device & USB)
Leopard Setup Guide
Network Setup Guide
Quick Start Guide
Setup Software & User's Guide CD-ROM
PGI-7 (Pigment Black)
Telephone Line Cable
Robert Jensen has spent most of his 55 years in photography, from the age of 11 when he got his first camera (a Kodak Instamatic) to the present, shooting professionally. From 1971 to 1997 he worked in retail selling photographic equipment to people of all skill levels. For most of that period he was also a manager.