Customer Review

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Portable, easy to use, but at a cost, September 30, 2010
This review is from: Canon SELPHY CP800 Black Compact Photo Printer (4350B001) (Office Product)
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The Selphy CP800 sub-dye printer is geared towards mobile on the go printing, as evidenced by the small size, available battery pack, and ability to read and print from several media cards and USB drives. It does not ship with a USB cable, although it can be connected to a PC (if you purchase or have a spare USB cable lying around), and includes a CD containing drivers and printing software offering more printing features and options than the stand-alone device. When assembled, the body is compact, although the paper tray extends about 7-8 inches out from the front of the printer. The printer specifications claim it can read and print photos from nearly two-dozen memory card formats, however, it only has three different sized slots (compactFlash, SD, and memory stick). If you want to use different sized cards, like micro-SD, you'll need adapters, but according to Canon, they should be readable. It can also read directly from USB thumb drives. Like most photo printers, the USB port has a pictbridge logo instead of the normal USB logo, but it is indeed a USB interface.

Assembly of the CP800 is simple. After inserting the print (dye) roll, paper, paper cartridge, and plugging in the AC adapter, you're ready to print. The LCD display is clear and nicely sized. Oddly, although the printer is black, the AC adapter and cord are white.

Printing takes about one minute per print. The photo slides back and forth through the front and rear of the printer during printing. When the picture passes through the rear during printing, it makes contact with the surface that the printer is sitting on. It's a good idea to make sure you sit the printer on a clean dust free surface to prevent the photo from picking up any debris as it passes back and forth through the rear. Different colors are applied to the print with each pass. On the first pass, you might think the printer is defective when you see the yellow print coming out of the front. Rest assured, it will pass through the printer a few more times and will begin to look normal by the third pass. The finished photos look very nice. The colors are more uniform and free from defects and artifacts than my ink jet prints. There's no separation of colors, no "pop-out" effect (where the photo is held on an angle under lighting and some areas appear so differently, they seem to pop out from the rest of the image. For instance, the face might seem really glossy, while the hair and clothing appear matte), no roller marks, no ink spatter, no orange tinge, etc. Photos from the Selphy also seem more durable and resistant to damage from handling. There are no worries of smudging, fingerprint swirls, or easy moisture damage like inkjet prints. Also, the longevity of inkjet prints is very unpredictable. I have two HP inkjet photos hanging beside each other on a wall in my home. Neither is framed nor exposed to any direct sunlight. The newer print (printed on "high-quality" photo paper) has turned a funky shade of yellowish orange, while the other print (at least two years older and printed on plain paper) is perfectly fine. I've also witnessed some brands of blank inkjet photo paper yellow over time. I have several dye-sub prints (from different printers, not the Selphy), that are at least five years old and still look as nice as the day they were printed.

The CP800 is cleaner, faster, and the prints are more durable than inkjet prints. That's the good news. The bad news is the cost and scarcity of supplies. Dye-subs are generally more expensive to use than inkjets, and the Selphy is no exception. The special paper (you can't just grab any old photo paper on sale) and the dye rolls can cost into the hundreds of dollars for high-end dye-subs, IF you can even find the paper and dye. Fortunately, Selphi supplies are more affordable, but still far from cheap. Prints on the Selphy average out to roughly 41 cents per print (assuming no lost prints). Compared to the typical photo printing services, that's pretty expensive. Also, like I mentioned, supplies are hard to find. Although you should be relatively safe ordering supplies online, if you get caught in a situation where you need to purchase supplies quickly, you may not be able to find any readily available. The Selphy is okay for occasional lab-quality, durable prints; however, unless you have a compelling reason to pay nearly triple the price-per-print of a photo lab, it's hard to recommend it for casual users who want to occasionally print snapshots. I'll likely use the Selphy for those few very special prints or my kids' school assignments. However, my bulk digital printing will continue to be processed through a lab.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 23, 2010 5:04:15 PM PDT
K. Slon says:
you can always find paper/ink for this printer at a big box store that starts with a B.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2010 9:30:45 AM PDT
Army Dad says:
True, that is one place that seems to have a consistent supply always on hand. Thx!
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Army Dad
(VINE VOICE)   

Location: USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,199