Canon i475D Desktop Photo Printer
At a Glance
Canon's $100 i475D Desktop Photo Printer is one of the least-expensive printers you'll find that has flash-memory slots and a control panel so you can print your pics without a PC. The printer reads CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, SD, and MultiMediaCard memory cards; and connecting via the i475D's USB 2.0 port, you can display the photos on your PC's monitor.
Connecting a camera directly to a printer is not new, but until now both the camera and the printer had to be the same brand. The i475D incorporates the PictBridge standard, which allows any PictBridge-compatible camera to connect directly to the printer for instant prints. A number of companies other than Canon make cameras with PictBridge support, including Olympus, Nikon, Konica Minolta, Fuji Photofilm, and Hewlett-Packard.
At 5.3 pages per minute, this model printed text relatively quickly, about half a page faster than the average for all-purpose inkjets we tested. It printed text crisply, too, with little of the random spray or loss of small detail that many inkjets produce. The i475D also printed very impressive gray-scale photos on glossy paper, with smooth shading and good detail. Canon provides superb documentation, including separate paper manuals for printing with and without a PC; one of the manuals provides the table of contents for the extensive on-screen manual.
Though the i475D's control panel LCD lets you select which paper type to use and which images to print, the control panel is somewhat difficult to understand. It isn't always obvious which menu label matches up with which control button--when setting the number of copies to print, for example, or when jumping between paper types or when choosing borderless prints. The LCD identifies some settings as numerical codes, which you have to look up in the manual. Code 1, which signifies that the printer is ready to print a nozzle-check sheet, could easily have been spelled out in the LCD.
We've seen better photo prints from more expensive models, but for the most part we were pleased with the Canon's capabilities. Its four-ink technology created sharp images with smooth shading. On glossy paper, however, colors looked undersaturated, making our test subjects look slightly lifeless. Tweaking the driver's CMYK settings might yield better results.
This is a good all-around printer for digital photographers on a tight budget who also print a lot of text and graphics.