The first thing you notice about the PIXMA MP830, even before you take it out of the box, is its weight. Coming in at around 14.7 kg the MP830 is no lightweight of a printer. However, this is to be expected considering the functions it has to offer. This particular model, which succeeds the MP780 and rounds out the PIXMA MP range, is able to fax, scan, print, and copy.
Once out of the box, you are confronted with a black and silver (dark metallic grey), All-In-One printer that looks professional. If you are upgrading from an older single purpose printer, the MP830 may seem a little daunting at first, due to its multitude of indicator lights and buttons on the front panel. My previous printer, an HP Deskjet 970cxi, had only 3 buttons and 4 indicator lights. The beauty of the design of the MP830, is that everything folds up into the main unit when the printer is not in use. This removes the possibility of accidentally snapping your paper trays off, or the machine getting excess dust on the inside.
Despite its complex look, the MP830 is a breeze to setup with the aid of the pictorial instructions. You are required to install the print head and the ink. Once turned on, the printer asks for a language and does a print head alignment. Then, just install the software (supports both Mac and Windows), plug it into your USB port, and you are all set to go.
Canon has opted for separate color ink cartridges (3 colors, 2 black). This is a welcome change from my previous printer and the frustration of buying full color cartridges when you have only run out of one color. Another nice little feature of Canon's cartridges, is that the ink level chips are inserted in the actual cartridge and not just stuck on the outside. Over the past 4 years, I have ruined 3 HP cartridges due to either scratching or accidentally removing the chips.
Let's take a closer look at the separate functions.
Canon's PIXMA range are excellent photo printers, and the MP830 is no exception to that trend, printing at a whopping 9600 x 2400 dpi! The MP830 supports full borderless printing up to A4, and will print on a large variety of paper types all the way down to a Business card. In Australian and European machines, there is an adapter included in the box that will allow printing directly on CD/DVD's (not available in the US). This model, like most currently available, supports full duplex (double sided) printing.
General printing is generally very good, although black text is a bit faint. But this PIXMA comes into its own when printing on Glossy Photo Paper while set to its highest print quality. I've tried this printer on a variety of media including :
Printing was good on all media used, except the double A paper is perhaps a little too thin and it should be noted the printer cannot print on Onion skin paper (extremely thin).
Print speed is decent. But then printing in High mode and doing borderless prints you don't expect them to pop out at high speed. An average 6 x 4 photo takes roughly 36 seconds, while the fax will spit out prints at up to 30 pages per minute (ppm) in black.
The dual auto feeders is a nice touch, particularly if you switch media types often. I've loaded the cassette with A4 inkjet paper and leave the rear auto feeder for other media types when needed. Both feeders will take up to about 150 sheets of plain paper. If you run out of paper in one feeder, the printer can be set to automatically switch to the other. Keep in mind though, that the output tray only supports 50 pages.
The inbuilt fax is a Super G3 (33.6 kbps) and it does its job well. It comes with an approximate memory of 250 pages, so if you run out of paper you can always access them later. Faxing can be done directly from the machine, or from a computer (via the MP830 Fax driver that is installed) using any program that supports a Print function.
You can also plug an answering machine into the MP830, and it will automatically detect the difference between a fax and phone call.
The scanner scans at up to 2400 x 4800 by a CCD (Charge Coupled Device). It performs nicely, but the scanner is not capable of reading the first few millimeters from the top and left sides of the glass. This is usually not noticeable, but may cause problems if you wish to scan a lot of photos.
The MP830 can scan from either the glass or the Auto Document Feeder (ADF) which supports up to 35 pages. You can use the ADF as a source for the scanner, copier, or fax. It also has a duplexer, which allows for easy double sided scanning. This is handy if you do a lot of scanning of documents, although it does become a little slower.
The scanner also scans directly to PDF format, which is nice if you like to scan large documents (i.e. a book) into one file.
The copier on the MP830 is where, apart from the printing, the MP830 comes into its own. Combined with the full duplexer and ADF, it supports 1 to 1, 1 to 2, 2 to 2 and 2 to 1 sided copying. It even does all the page turning for you.
It supports most common functionality of copy machines including :
Canon didn't stop there when it came to functionality. The MP830 comes PictBridge and BubbleJet Direct ready. This allows you to plug a digital camera, mobile phone, or digital camcorder directly into the printer. The printer itself comes with basic image editing functions, such as red eye reduction. Seperation of 1 frame from a digital movie is also possible which can then be printed. Input from memory cards is also supported via an inbuilt card reader.
A 2.5" LCD monitor is placed in the centre of the main control panel which allows viewing of photos and setup menus. Navigation is simple, with a similar technique to most modern digital cameras or DVD remotes (4 directional buttons and an enter/ok button).
Canon has implemented red lights on the actual ink cartridges. They come on when the cartridge is inserted and stay constant if there is ink. If the ink is low they flash slowly and the flashing increases as it gets closer to being empty. Once the cartridge is empty they go off. This makes it very easy to determine which ink has run out.
Apart from the driver software, Canon includes a suite of other programs:
MP Navigator offers a nice and easy front end to the scanning functions of the MP830. The printer driver is also easy to use and relatively standard and offers the functions that you would expect for most printers, plus some extra. OmniPage is also a nice addition if you need to do OCR (Object Character Recognition) scanning.
A Master of some and a Jack of none
Looking at MFC's one might be inclined to think "A Jack of all trades and a Master of none". Certainly this used to be true, however, Canon has done well with the MP830 in its individual component specifications and performance. Unfortunately it's a hand of Kings with an added Ace (the ADF).
All the individual components perform well but most are held back by a few slight issues which may or may not make a difference to individual buyers.
Printing : 4.75 Stars
A highly recommended printer for the Home/ Home Office market, especially if you do photo printing and need to scan multiple documents at a time.
Prices at different retailers don't vary much, but ask around (I picked mine up for $500). If you are daring enough, these are also listed on ebay and Amazon for less, both new and used. Ebay also occasionally carries the ink for a lower price, but be wary of shipping costs.
Generic ink is not available and not recommended, nor are ink refills (the ink is a slightly different density). Using refill kits and generic ink also nullifies your warranty.
Canon recommends its own paper and undoubtedly the combination of genuine Canon Ink, Paper, and Printer ensures a superior print quality. However, Canon paper is quite expensive so shop around. HP, Kodak, Epson and more generic brands sell similar quality papers for slightly lower prices.
Canon PIXMA MP830 comes with :
Ink Cartridges :
For more information, visit :
copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the artist.
Special thanks to guest writer Sven Topp [starmage] for this product review!
Thanks so much Sven, for your outstanding review. Just a side note to our American readers: A4 paper size converts to the USA standard paper size of 8.5 x 11 inches. Also the weight is approx. 32 pounds. The USD retail price is $299.00. I would be curious to know how quickly [or often] you have to change ink cartridges? Also, what is the basic cost of each cartridge? My pet peeve with all printers: the cartridges cost too much, or they run out of ink too quickly. Again, excellent review! Dee-Marie
Thanks again, Sven, for this fantastic review! Dee- Meant to leave it at the Canon home link, due to price variances. However, left out what Sven stated about the amount of prints (Prints : roughly 300 6 x 4 photos). Thanks for pointing that out, as I'm sure everyone has the same concern about the cost of ink :D
No problems for doing the review.... On the note of printing costs. Dedicated photo printers have never really been particularly cheap to run. I beleive Canon sells a "Ink + Paper" kit in the US for $100 which apparently brings the cost of print cost down to about 35c (supposedly cheaper than a print shop).