I think Canon made a mistake.  Really.  They told me this is a printer for the busy workplace or home office.  I can’t argue there, but they must have made a mistake by leaving out that this printer may be ideal for everyone interested in an inkjet printer.  They also do little in my view to get the word out that this is an ideal printer not just for PCs but also for USB-equipped Macs!

(This is the printer I selected to team with the iMac borrowed from Apple Computer that was supplied to L.A. radio personality Molly Paige.  Molly is part of the afternoon drive team Minyard & Minyard, from 3 – 7p.m. (Pacific Time) on 1110-Talk KRLA radio in Los Angeles, and now syndicated on several other stations.  You can also listen on the Internet.  (Click here for their Website.) Molly wanted a computer, so I suggested she try an iMac.  She loved it and bought one! She loves the printer too.  It’s still there on loan.  I’ll update as soon as I know the final outcome.)

Features

• Manufacturer, Canon Computer Systems, Inc., Costa Mesa, CA.  Call 1-800-OK-CANON for info

• Model BJC-6000, bubble-jet printer, approximate street price $249.  Optional Mac/PC USB kit, approximately $70.  Package price about $300 from retailers.  Parallel capability built-in.  Photo ink tanks optional.

• Approximately 8 pages per minute in black, approximately 5 pages per minute in color (according to manufacturer)

• Canon Think Tank System™ — Large individual ink tanks, optical ink sensor indicates when ink is running low

• Print resolution 1440 x 720 dpi in color and black & white

• Prints standard paper sizes and banners

• Built-in sheet feeder holds up to 130 sheets of paper

• Straight through paper path

• Network compatible with optional USB kit for Ethernet networks, Axis PrintPoint 140 BJC print server ($130)

• Warranty — 1-year limited warranty with SelectExchange warranty program

• Software — Canon Creative Pro CD-ROM Featuring Adobe® PhotoDeluxe® Business Edition, Design Essentials® Office In Color and WebRecord™ (Includes Windows® 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 printer drivers).  No Mac compatible software supplied.  Boooooo!  Mac operability is through the optional USB kit.

Setup

I used this printer with the USB kit on Macs and PCs.  Installation was clean and easy on both, attributable in no short measure to the USB connectivity.  The USB kit includes an adapter with a cable.  One end goes to the printer’s built-in parallel port and the other, the USB end, goes where USB ends go on the computer!  The USB software comes in the kit on a CD.  I was disappointed, though, that NONE of the supplied software was Mac-compatible, even though Canon makes a Creative Pro CD-ROM for Macs, too, and PhotoDeluxe comes for Macs.  For Mac users, instead of software that represents a value-added feature, Mac users take it in the shorts here.  According to Canon, there are no plans to correct this omission.  Another booooo!

The printer box contains color and black print heads into which the individual ink tanks are installed.  This is easy to do.  Color-coded labels inside each head assembly guide the user to use the correct ink tank.

Canon calls these bubble jet, not inkjet printers.  This is because the ink is actually delivered in little bubbles to the paper.  The process involves the ability to deliver two sizes of ink bubbles to the paper through each jet, so high resolution images can be achieved automatically, as needed.  Canon also says their process and inks are optimized for delivering quality images even on plain paper, a point I verified in my testing, as compared to images from other printers onto plain paper.  However, documents on Canon papers versus plain old copy paper sure looked better to my eyes.  It all depends upon your objectives, I guess.

Another plus for this printer is the optical method used to read how much ink remains.  Unlike others, this printer really knows how much ink remains.  Others rely upon mathematical calculations to guess.  Others can report low ink when, in fact, there is plenty left for much more printing after the flashing light reports to the contrary.  And when one of the ink tanks is empty, this printer allows replacement of only the low tank.  Canon has really done their homework on this process and is to be commended.  It may be reason enough to tip the scales toward purchase for many savvy consumers.

Performance

The performance was flawless.  I have not needed to clean the print heads (as is required with some regularity with the Epson printers I use and enjoy).  The interface is clean and intuitive.  In other words, it is easy to set the print quality, the type of paper and the other settings.  I found the colors true and accurate.  Installing the photo inks in place of the black tank yielded rich, accurate six-color photo printing which wowed those viewing the output, especially when printing on special Canon photo papers.

Where this printer excels (in addition to remarkable print quality) is in its judicious use of supplies.  Canon advertises that this printer is economical.  It is!  On all other printers the entire color ink cartridge must be replaced when just one of the colors is exhausted.  If only the magenta is gone, drop in another cartridge at a cost of about $25.  If the cyan is gone, but plenty of yellow and magenta remains, buy another cartridge.  You can see how this can become expensive.

On the Canon 6000, when just one of the colors is used up, simply replace THAT color and only that color.  The cost, that is the suggested retail price, for each color tank is $11.95.  The printheads cost about $38 for the black and $43 for the color and have stated yields of about 5,000 and 6,000 each, respectively.  Do the math.  The costs are less than for other inkjet printers I know.  In fact, the costs come close to those of some laser printers!  I debated scanning some of the excellent output from this printer, but I opted to forego this exercise because there is no way for you to accurately experience a printer’s output in this way.  You can take my word for it, visit a retailer and see a demo print on the spot or visit the canon Website and request a print sample.

Speed is another important consideration.  While I did not experience the exact print speeds as indicated above in the features listing above, I can tell you that this printer delivered the same output faster than what I have experienced with the highly-rated Epson printers in the same price class (the Epson model 740, for example).  None of the inkjet or bubble jet printers are as fast as laser printers, but these are much faster than previous models.  The slowdown occurs when printing photos.  The higher the resolution and the larger the file and image size, the longer it takes.  That’s just a fact of life.  However, the output is soooooo good that speed under these circumstances is not an issue to me.  I don’t mind waiting 10 or more minutes for a nearly 8 x 10 high quality image.  I don’t think you can do better for the money.

I found this printer to be a great example of what I like in electronic goodies ‘n gadgets – It does as advertised, doesn’t require a brain surgeon to set it up and operate it, it doesn’t require much attention and it doesn’t provide much, if any, frustration through its use.

Conclusion

For PC users, this is an outstanding value.  At $249, the BJC-6000 performs at a level approaching the value of laser printers costing considerably more.  If your PC is equipped with USB, consider the optional USB kit for faster printing and more reliable, trouble free setup.   Even when factoring in the costs for the optional photo inks, it’s still a bargain.  The software selection is excellent.  There are no reservations about recommending this printer to any PC user looking for a color inkjet to satisfy family or business needs.

For Mac users, I still recommend this printer highly.  Of course, the extra cost of the mandatory USB kit brings the initial cost to about $300 (as it would for USB PCs).  Still, this printer is more economical to use than the HP and Epson models that compare to it.  That the supplied software is useless is another matter.  If you have another source for PhotoDeluxe or for another photo manipulating software package, no problem.  This software is often included with digital cameras.  The other software doesn’t really have much value in my book.  All things considered, and with the aforementioned concerns, the Canon BJC-6000 would be an excellent choice for iMac and Blue & White G3 Mac users.

I really like this printer!  My family likes it and it’s another product I’ll hate to return.

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