Selphy CP510

Selphy CP510

If you get this printer, you'll need to find a new way to keep in touch with your commercial photofinisher.


Canon's Selphy CP510 printer is an ideal companion for any PictBridge-compliant camera. In under a minute, you can have beautiful 4-by-6-inch borderless prints that rival those from commercial photofinishers.


The CP510 prints via dye sublimation, a technology in which a print head vaporizes cyan, magenta, yellow, and black dye on ribbons to produce an image. You'll need to leave room behind the CP510 for the print media to move back and forth as each dye color is used - something the manual fails to mention. Coated dye-sub prints can last as long as conventional film prints and don't smear when they get wet.


The CP510 is extremely compact (7 by 5.2 by 2.5 inches, though it grows to 12.5 inches in length with the paper carrier installed) and weighs only 33 ounces. Setup is easy - just plug in the printer, insert the included dye-sub ribbon cartridge, load the included five sheets of media into a carrier, push the carrier into a front slot on the printer, and press the power button. The five-print starter kit won't get you far - you'll want to buy Canon's 108-sheet color-and-ink package for $29.99.


The C510 has three different USB attachment schemes. The first is a too-short retractable cable that plugs into most cameras. If yours isn't a match, a standard USB-A port lets you use the cable that came with your camera. A separate USB-B port can tether the printer to your Mac. You also get Mac-compatible driver software, an image browser, and a panorama-stitching app.


In addition to 4-by-6-inch photos and postcards (the back side is preprinted with a postcard layout so you can scribble a message, address it, stamp it, and mail it), the CP510 also prints 3.5-by-4.7-inch and 2.1-by-3.4-inch credit-card-size pictures or eight-to-a-sheet labels, all with the same media and the same supplied paper cassette - even though the manual says otherwise. If you print 4-by-8-inch panoramic images, you need an optional $19.99 tray. A $79.99 battery pack that snaps onto the printer is also available; it can print around three-dozen 4-by-6-inch photos before it needs recharging.


We plugged a Canon PowerShot A410 (see Reviews, p52) into the printer, selected an image, and pressed the print button on the camera. Our print was done 58 seconds later - just like Canon said it would be. Of course, that's what we expected when two Canon products interfaced - you'll only get prints that quickly when using a Canon camera with a Digic II processor. To see how long it would take to print images from other cameras, we plugged in an Olympus Evolt E-300 ( May/04, p41), selected its PictBridge mode in the menu, chose a picture, and issued the print command. It took 42 seconds longer, but it worked without a hitch. Ditto for a Pentax *istDS.


As for the image quality - did you not catch the "prints that rival commercial photofinishers" statement at the beginning of this review? The CP510 yields accurate, vibrant colors and excellent detail.


The bottom line. If you're looking for an inexpensive printer that quickly outputs small-size, high-quality photos on the cheap, the CP510 is the way to go.


CONTACT: 800-652-2666,
PRICE: $99
REQUIREMENTS: USB-equipped Mac, Mac OS 10.2 or later
Affordable. Fast setup. Works perfectly right out of the box. Excellent print quality.
Comes with a measly five sheets of paper. Short built-in camera cord.



BONUS TIP: Prep Your Camera for Pretty Prints
To get top-notch image quality for printed photos, you need to start at your camera. Ditch its bundled memory card and get one with a larger capacity. You'll need it, because high image quality means large file sizes. If your camera offers you a choice of file formats, don't pick JPEG - instead, pick TIFF or RAW. Your files will be large, which is why you'll need a more-capacious memory card.



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