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Published 29th December 2009 by

Review of the new compact photo printer from Canon which uses dye sublimation to create lab-quality photo prints.

I wanted to print off some of my best photos and put them in an album, but I didn't want another ink jet because in the past the ink has faded or it was easily scratched off. Inkjets in photo albums also used to stick leaving half the ink on the cellophane protective sheets.

Canon Selphy ES3 550

Canon Selphy ES3 550

Dye sublimation works by infusing dye into the paper which creates a more permanent print, in a very similar method used to process digital photos in professional print labs.

The Selphy is Canons range of compact photo printers and this model primarily works on 6x4 postcard size paper. Paper and ink are loaded together using a special cartridge and each cartridge can print 50 postcards. Each of the postcards has a tear-off strip to remove the white borders.

Printing can be done by inserting a memory card directly into the printer and using the onboard software, or you can connect to a desktop PC with a USB cable (not included). Once you tell the printer to print, it loads a postcard by first spooling it out the bottom of the printer then rotating it through 90°!

It then proceeds to print the yellow ink, then the cyan ink, then the magenta and finally the blacks. The whole print is done in about 1 minute 20 seconds and is of equal quality to an online photo printing service, but they do work out at about 20p per print.

When printing, the device does make a bit of noise which you can hear in the video, but I guess it's no louder than a laser printer. It just seems loud as it's a small device.

Print quality is very good, however, I find the colours to be darker and less saturated than intended. Installing the colour profile in Windows helps a little, but I find I often have to increase brightness and saturation in Photoshop before sending to the printer. I have also had problems with it reading from memory cards. It seems to be very picky about the card format and the image. I can't get it to read anything directly from my Canon 80d, it just shows "Incompatible JPEG".

Overall a great little printer, if a little noisy.

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