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The Pixma MG8150 is a high-end 3-in-1, multifunction inkjet, mainly targeted at experienced photographers. Like the Canon Pixma MP990, it promises pro quality photo prints. The scanner will also digitalise negatives.
Sober and elegant looking, with rounded edges and a glossy hood - watch out for finger marks! - this printer is piloted using a tilt screen with buttons placed underneath. Why not go the whole hog with the touch technology? In contrast to Lexmark (Lexmark Interact S605), Canon is still opting for semi-touch, or at least this is what Canon claims. In practice, there's no touch element to the screen at all. You read the information on-screen but select options from a so-called 'touch' keyboard on which only the required buttons for a particular operation light up.
Scanning, copying and double-sided printing are all on the programme. It has an ethernet port and wi-fi connectivity. A triple memory card reader and USB port allow you to print photos straight from a card without having to go via your computer. You can print these photos in various formats: identity photo, with or without border, by two, six or eight.
Tilt screen (3.5 inch)
Like all photo printers worthy of the name, a 24 x 36 (negatives or slides) film adaptor is lodged under the hood and allows you to digitalise your camera film.
Although the MG8150 is faster (see inset) than the older Canon Pixma MP990 for the first page, in continuous print mode it's not as rapid. 9 pages per minute (ppm) to print office documents in colour (11 ppm for the MP990) and 7 ppm for black and white (15 ppm for the PM990). This is nothing special. For double-sided, you can divide this by three (3 ppm).
Remember that this machine has been designed principally for photo prints. Users of the MG8150 can therefore be expected to have more occasional office document printing requirements, for which they don't require top speeds. So what about the photo prints?
Office document quality is a notch underneath photo quality. The graphics in the example below come out nice and sharp with good shading, but the size of droplets is visible. This is the same as with the Epson Stylus Photo PX820FWD and although the overall sharpness doesn't suffer, the image does look slightly grainy.
The photo quality is 5-star. Accurate colours and with a nice sharp image. Prints are precise and detail is well rendered. In black and white a blue tinge softens the image, which isn't necessarily to everyone's taste.
The scanner uses CCD technology,
with an adaptor for digitalising slides and negatives.
Scan times are very fast: 5 seconds for a preview, just 4 for a 75 ppp scan and 7 seconds for 300 ppp. As ever, a little detail is lost but rendering quality is well above average.
We can't say the same for the copier however. Copy quality really isn't good enough. The yellow letters in our graph are lost in the green and legibility is problematic to say the least. Black and white copies are better, more legible and sharper. It takes 11 seconds for a black and white copy and 13 seconds for colour, which is rapid.
You get good quality when digitalising a negative. Slightly too red, the scanned image is otherwise faithful and better than most of the scanners we have tested (Canon CanoScan LiDE 700F, HP Scanjet G3110, HP Scanjet G4050). Results are better than on the Canon MP990, sharper and more faithful to the original.
When it comes to energy consumption, Canon has kept a lid on things, with 1.6 watts on standby and 19 watts when printing. The MG8150 is also one of the quieter machines at just 45 dB (A).
Costs are about average for photo and text prints, but a good deal more than the MP640 and MX870 (both 7.6 pence per page) and the MP990 (8.7 pence).
|Cartridge||Price||ISO lifespan||Cost per page|
|PGI-525PGBK (black)||£8.99||328||2.7 pence|
|CLI-526M (magenta)||£8.24||437||1.9 pence|
|CLI-526Y (yellow)||£8.49||450||1.9 pence|
|CLI-526BK (black)||£13.99||2185||0.6 pence|
|CLI-526GY (grey)||£8.49||1515||0.6 pence|
To sum up then, the MG8150 is more expensive than the previous model (MP990), with a higher cost per page, lower speeds and a dip in quality when it comes to office documents. Photo prints are still excellent and the scanner is a good deal better on this model. Let's wait and see if Canon can give us a real touch screen on the next generation and if we can give it a 5-star rating across the board.
- Very good photo print quality
- Good scanner, rapid copies
- Practical adaptor for films and slides / prints on CD/DVD
- Compact, quiet, double-sided, wi-fi, networked
- Intuitive and easy to use
- No touch screen
- No fax
- Double-sided prints are slower (3 ppm in black and white)
- The film adaptor hasn't been designed for 60 mm
- Expensive + high cost per page
Photographers and knowledgeable enthusiasts who want high quality for their photo prints won't be disappointed. The MG8150 is on a level with the Epson Stylus photo. Will the next generation Canon will give us a real touch-screen?