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Canon PIXMA iP6220D
Canon has recently produced some excellent colour photo printers at exceptional prices. Its latest batch of releases includes the iP6220D, a six-colour A4 machine intended primary for photo print, but obviously with the possibility of printing the occasional letter on plain A4, as well.
With a slightly ‘Cyberman-head’ look to it, the curved rear of the printer sweeps round to a cut-back front panel and the top surface is nicely sloped, so the controls fall within easy reach. There's a large, 63mm LCD display set into a larger smoked black plastic panel, which can be hinged up if need be. This sits in the centre of the controls, which include a five-way ring for navigating menus, and buttons to start and stop printing and for functions such as ‘trimming’ a photo.
The front left corner includes a cover which lifts to reveal memory card sockets for all the common types though, slightly oddly, the PictBridge socket for connecting an external camera is not with them, but sits at bottom right of the front panel.
At the back there's a socket for mains power and another for USB 2.0, which is the only data connection to the printer.
Fold down the front panel and the head carrier slides to the extreme left of the carriage for you to install the two supplied print cartridges. These ChromaLife 100 cartridges, which provide extended fade resistance (30 years under glass, 100 years if sealed in an album) are each tri-colour. The first is standard cyan, magenta and yellow, with the second offering photo colours. They click into place, though are a bit fiddly to press upwards into the head carriage.
A fairly standard software installation includes Canon utilities to help print photos and to print pages from the Web and no specialised software is bundled.
Canon print quality continues to be excellent and we were particularly impressed by the black text print on plain paper. This isn't by any means the primary function of this printer and whether it uses photo black or a combination of cyan, magenta and yellow to print black, the result is dense and characters are clean around the edges.
Moving to colour business graphics, again on plain paper, the results are just as good, with areas of solid colour coming out dense and with no banding. Coloured text is well formed and without stipples.
Move to the printer’s main task, printing photographs, and results are as good as we've seen from a consumer inkjet photo printer. Tones vary smoothly, with very little sign of the dots from which an image is composed. Foreground detail is bright and we've never seen better reproduction of shadowed details. There's no noticeable colour cast and you need to reality check to remember this quality is coming from a printer costing under £70.