Canon Pixma MP560
More than just a model refresh, apparently
Review Mid-range, inkjet all-in-ones are the mainstay of most printer makers’ catalogues, so for one to stand out, it has to offer extra features, better performance or improved cost of ownership to get noticed. Canon has introduced the Pixma MP560 to build on a successful design in at least two of these three ways.
Canon's Pixma MP560: the changes are more than cosmetic
There are many instances when a new printer model is nothing but a replacement for one that’s gone before, often with more minor cosmetic changes than between this year’s and last year's Ford Fiesta. However, that’s not the case with the Pixma MP560. It may appear like the MP540, but actually has a lot more going for it.
Indeed, it looks much like Canon’s recent run of all-in-ones, coloured in silver and high-gloss black plastic, but the concave sides are less pronounced and it’s a little squatter than its predecessor. At the back, a flap folds up and lifts to become a 150-sheet paper tray for photo sheets, though it can be used for special media, like letterheads, too.
Underneath is a 15-sheet, plain paper tray, which feeds each page through 180 degrees before printing; like an HP inkjet. All pages end up on the fold-down front cover of the machine, which becomes the output tray. It drops automatically, a nice touch, if you try to print without opening it first.
Lift the cover at top, front right to reveal the control panel, together with a 50mm LCD display in the cover lid. Controls are big and clearly marked and incorporate Canon’s clickwheel – the easiest way yet of moving through a menu without having a touchscreen. Two large buttons set at the front of the panel offer black and colour copies and there’s a large cancel button, too.
The clickwheel makes it easy to flick through menus
Set into the right front edge is a rather flimsy plastic cover, which hides three memory card slots. There are the standard two, which between them cater for SD, MemoryStick and xD, but there’s also support for CompactFlash, which most of Canon’s rivals have dropped. If you have a semi-pro digital SLR, this continued support for the older format may swing your choice.
Just picked one up last week
The 15-sheet thing is probably a typo, 150 seems closer to the mark.
Setup was easy. Removed lots of orange tape, switched on, followed the quickstart guide and had no trouble installing the consumables. Configured the WLAN manually from the top-panel controls and it worked first time. It doesn't obscure the WLAN key when entering it, which is a major plus in my book.
The duplex is slow, but if I'm ever in a hurry I can always switch it off. The last time I was in that much of a hurry for a printout to finish was after pulling an all-nighter writing a GCSE paper, even in duplex mode this thing hauls compared to the Amstrad DMP-2160 I was using back then. I can live with the duplex slowdown, in other words. :) If I really needed speedy printing I'd buy a laser printer anyway.
I have it wireless networked and the memory card slots appear as a Windows share named \\printername\canon_memory - the software tries to map a drive to it if you ask, but I had trouble with that part (something to do with the workgroup name, and the only problem I encountered). I just set the printer name to MP560, added \\MP560\canon_memory to my network places and was done with it. You do have to set this up in the configuration, it's disabled by default. Also it only works for memory cards inserted into the slots, doesn't work for devices connected to the USB port on the front. Can only see one card at a time.
Scanning to a PC on the network works nicely once you have it configured (MP Navigator is a bit fiddly to set up for the different scan types, and upgrading it to a newer version reset the preferences to default, AARGH!); choose the destination machine and the type of scan, then just scan each page of the document, or each photo with one button push. Scan to PDF will keep adding pages to the PDF file until you tell it you're done. About as painless as it gets with a one-sheet-at-a-time flatbed, really.
It can scan to a memory card or USB device (PDF or JPEG), but ironically cannot see those files when you go into the print from card/USB options because it doesn't use the DCIM directory standard when writing but requires it when reading (I can has firmware fix, plz?)
Supposedly there will be Linux drivers in "autumn 2009". How good they'll be is another matter. Since Lightroom won't run in Linux, it's a moot point for me. :-(
Overall impressed, though I'm waiting to see just how quickly it uses ink (the HP it replaced was a thirsty bugger).
Another chipped canon that cannot use a CISS system.
Also no working linux drivers. Canon use FLOSS but do their best to ensure others don't.
uses colors when double sided printing
So since the printing engine is pretty much the same as previous ones (albeit faster) it probably will also use the smaller "color" black ink when printing a black and white document double sided. This always seemed like a big negative to me.