Canon PIXMA MG 8250 – £247
Canon has been producing high quality photo printers from the outset. The PIXMA MG 8250 is currently Canon’s top of the range Multifunction printer. Features include; Print, Copy and Scan with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Auto Duplex, Direct Disc Print, 35mm Film scanning, Direct print from camera via PictBridge or memory card, an 8.8cm TFT screen with Intelligent Touch System and PIXMA Cloud Link.
The printer has an impressive touch sensitive surface, when you power the printer up a series of lights magically appear on the top surface, now use the central operations control panel to navigate through the flip-up 8.8cm TFT display. Depending on which menu option you select buttons appear that are applicable for that operation.
Four screens are available on the Home screen, the options include;
- Copy, Photo, Scan.
- Advanced copy, Advanced photo, Photo copy.
- PDF file print, Special print, Disc label.
- ECO settings, Quite setting and Setup
Selecting any option brings up further sub-menus. The TFT display is very clear and easy to navigate, you can be scanning and printing without having to wade through the on-screen manual.
The MG 8250 uses individual ChromaLife 100 ink tanks, which means you only need to replace the colour that has been depleted. Although six inks are fitted only three tanks contain colour; Cyan, Yellow and Magenta, the other three are; Photo Black, Grey and Black (for text printing).
We printed our A4 test file using Canon Photo Paper Pro and Canon Matte Photo Paper which took 1 minute 57 seconds. The print has rendered all the colours accurately, although they are bordering on oversaturated. The cotton reels have a 3D feel and have kept all the detail in the thread, especially on the white reel. The baby’s skin is looking slightly hot, probably too much magenta. The gradients display a very smooth transition from white to solid colour, this will be due to the 1 picolitre drop size and Canon’s FINE print head technology. The colour patches display clean colours although the blue has turned to Navy Blue as has the blue cotton reel. The B/W image under daylight viewing is totally cast free, however, under artificial light (room lighting) there is a heavy magenta cast. This effect is due to metamerism, whereby colours can change according to the ambient lighting conditions – this is particularly noticeable in neutral greys. I wouldn’t have expected to see this so pronounced on a printer with a dedicated grey ink. The text on white is well controlled, but the white text on black is just starting to break up, this is noticeable on the base of “u” and tops of “n & m”. Although you may not be printing white text on black, it does indicate to me that the print head is not coping well with fine detail.
The scanner function is impressive, it scans photos, 35mm film strip or 4 mounted slides. The film adapter is concealed under the lid’s white cover which has to be removed for film scanning. The cover also doubles as storage space for the film holder. The resolution for film can be set to 4800dpi (you need a higher resolution for film scanning, ideally 3200dpi for 35mm film). For photo prints and printed material you do not need such a high resolution.
For photo scans, there is very little user control at the scanning stage other than setting the resolution and file type, PDF, JPEG, TIFF. There is a limited editing facility within the Canon Navigator EX application which includes; Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness etc., and an advanced option for tone and colour correction. The scan quality is first class and can be further tweaked in any image editing application. The film scanning option was very good but you would need to apply UnSharp masking to the scans to bring out the detail. Other scanning options include scanning to PC, to email or to the printer, document copying is particularly good.
The overall build quality and design of the printer is excellent. Although the lower plain paper tray feels very flimsy, this will hold up to 150 sheets. A rear media holder is used for photo quality papers and will support Canon special media up to 300gsm. The printer also has the ability to print labels directly onto inkjet printable CD/DVD disks using a supplied tray. The MG 8250 is not the smallest printer in this group test, but it is certainly the best built.
- Build quality and design
- Features and Intelligent Touch System
- Scanning quality
- Individual ink tanks
- Basic scanner controls
- Only three colours
- Flimsy lower paper tray