Inkjet-Printer: Heavyweights From Canon, Epson and HP

More Information On: Canon I860

Of the 20 papers tested, 6 were not suitable for the i860. So we're looking at 30% (about 1 in 3). This was due to the ink not adhering too well, by little blocks of color showing up in zones supposed to be uniform, etc.

The 14 remaining papers by no means gave identical results. Depending on the support, the prints varied in brightness with an occasional dominance of magenta. But they were excellent on all 14, similar to a conventional photo. And if the magenta is dominant, this can be controlled by a manual adjustment in the driver.

When we ran the same 20 papers through the printer with the analyzer disabled and manual settings instead, we didn't find the results were any better. This means the analyzer always finds the best mode possible.

Now to two fairly important failings in the i860.

  1. An extra feeder for photo paper is a good idea, but we found it a bit short. A6 paper (a sheet of A4 you cut in four yourself), which we use and recommend because it is much more economical than 10x15 cm, does not fit into it. The feeder was no good to us, so we put it back in the box.
  2. We found another problem like the one on our earlier Canon printer tests, which is banding on the last few centimeters of photo printed.

But this time, we found what was causing it. The paper got stuck for a brief moment and that threw the operation out of kilter and caused these bands.

A closer look at the problem of bands, show it is not due to the printer heads or the driver, but to a defect in the paper feed. An interesting detail is that lighter papers of type 200g/m² caused no trouble at all.

We contacted several Canon divisions - France, Switzerland, Europe, USA, etc. - and got no straightforward answer. They know all about it but this doesn't mean they can tell you what to do when your printer has the problem.

So having failed there, we called one of their official agents who suggested we took the printer round to one of his centers. If the problem recurs there, then the warranty applies. So a word of advice. If your printer is affected, try it out on another computer and make sure you identify the type of paper the bands appear on.