I then ran out a colour-heavy Macworld feature page. The Canon was quick and colour-accurate, although images could have been crisper. Next, I switched from standard ink and paper to photo-ink and glossy paper – to see what this baby could really do. This is where the Canon began to disappoint. The inks and paper are expensive, and have to be ordered separately. If your original image and scanning are of a high quality, the BJC-6100 is meant to produce photo-quality prints. It doesn’t. I ran out some high-resolution PhotoDisc images at 300dpi, starting with a view of Florence at dusk. The Canon coped with the brilliant yellows and oranges well, but there were signs of banding. Another 300dpi image – of Notre Dame – produced no banding, but plenty of graininess, especially in the clouds and sky. When printing images of people, the BJC-6100 suffered similar problems. This is a big drawback, because home colour-printers are meant to offer a cheap but high-quality way for people to blow-up holiday snaps. Add banding and graininess to red-eye and poor composition, and you’ve got something fit for the bin, rather than the wall. However, if the originals are good, as mine were, the banding only ruins the picture if viewed at close-quarters.
I’d love to recommend the Canon BJC-6100 – but there’s a problem: for just £20 more, the Epson 740 gives better results. If all you’ll ever need are low-to-mid quality text-heavy print-outs, then this is not an issue. However, once you stray into photo-quality territory, the extra outlay makes sense. After all, if you’ve already forked out for a digital camera and a scanner, what’s another £20?