Elusive canon pixma mp780 in Staples


Andrew Diamond

Bought mine yesterday. No one else seems to have them and I've heard dates
ranging from 12/15 for Compusa (from a canon rep who was there) to January
from other sources.
Funny thing. I have yet to talk to any field rep of canon or staples who
understands that staples apparently has an early release exclusive. Go
figure! Canon's support however does seem to know this.

IMPORTANT - Staples has a $50 rebate on it and I believe it ends TODAY (Sat.

FYI, I haven't gotten though testing it yet. So far I've done the

1) Installed - a minor USB 2 device driver install glitch there but
eventually I worked it out manually. Once that got installed everything
else (scanner,fax.copier) was "found" printer showed up on the printer list
and that was that. I think the USB device driver thing was supposed to show
up when I installed the apps off their CD but I guess it didn't for got
knows what reason. It sounds worse than it was. The whole thing was pretty
easy even with the mishap.
BTW, I installed this on a USB 2 add-on card (that was already in my
computer) and it works fine.
2) Printed regular, picture & graphics - works really nice. Quiet, pretty
quick, & nice colors. Configuration seems easy. I thought this printer was
going to have more than 3 colors to yield better color reproduction and
black (it having 5 cartridges) but two cartridges seem to be black. Maybe
there's more to this. Anyway, looks very very nice. It took me about 2:45
to print an 8x11 photo. Normal prints are just plain quick. Didn't time
I tried the duplexer on a 3 page document and it worked (I specified two
copies and it did collate them though I never told it to). One odd note,
from what I can tell, the duplex option has to be hunted down. It's not on
the main print dialog; rather it's on the "Page Setup" tab of the
"Properties" dialog (that you can access by pressing the Properties button
on the main print dialog. Obviously, this is no big thing, but that' not
where I would've put it.

3) Scanner - Very nice. I've scanned photographs (just 300dpi) and then
printed them out and their very close even with two sources of error. I had
an underwater shot and it was very blue-green and it came out without the
green but the photos that had green plants looked fine. Go figure. My
monitor isn't calibrated but judging picture relatively to each other on the
monitor it looked like the scanner was the culprit. All other photos (that
I chose for their wide variety of colors) looked just about perfect.
I also auto-scanned multi page documents through the ADF though I scanned
them as pictures. I've tried color and b&w; legal and letter. All worked
fine. The software, an app called "mp navigator", scans the whole thing in
shows you the pages and gives you the ability to save them as images or
multi page pdf. I've only tried the multi page pdf. This also seems to be
connected to another bundled app called "Presto! Pagemaker 6" which looks to
be some kind of document DB of sorts. That's just a guess, I haven't played
with it yet. So far I just see that it seems to want CPU cycles so I just
shut it down. Maybe it's worth it and maybe it's not a real time hog but I
just haven't gotten around to playing with it yet.

I just tried the OCR feature. OCR is via the bundled ScanSoft OmniPage SE
version 2.0 application. I batch scanned in a two page document from the
ADF. In mp navigator I specified the document type as Text(OCR) but it
seems to have scanned in as images anyway. The mp navigator has a "convert
to text file" button and that launched omnipage. I guessed my way around
that. Among other things, omnipage has a button labeled 1-2-3 so I pushed
that (there's another one called OCR wizard - wonder what that does.)
Anyway, it proceeded to OCR the documents and flagged various names etc as
non-English works and asked me if I wanted to change them etc. It did this
one by one and even when I clicked the "ignore all" button it kept on asking
me. Very irritating but that's ScanSoft's fault.
Anyway, the black and white stuff OCRed fine and OmniPage allowed me to put
it into a multi-page word document. Very nice.

Odd note - some text on the document was printed in color and though it
scanned well enough for me to read it (without a second thought) it
obviously confused the hell out of OmniPage. I'm not sure what can be done
about it (scan darker?) but I'm not sure that's a big deal. All in all-
very useful and pretty easy.

It should be noted that except for the install, I really haven't read the
One odd note there - Canon has their manuals as multi-page htmls so
searching the document for keywords etc isn't a built-in option. However,
since html is text it's easy enough to use any number of utilities to search
through the directory where the manual is stored to find the files with the
keywords and then just display those document in your browser separately.
In some ways, that's better. For people who aren't comfortable with that
they won't be happy.

haven't tested the fax yet. That seems to be a can of worms for me as I
have WinFax on my computer going through an external modem and really only
need the canon fax to send the occasional non electronic document that needs
to be faxed. That happens to me about 10 times a year so I wasn't that
concerned. However, you can connect the canon from your modem but I don't
understand what that's all about. From what I can tell, I can specify a
canon fax driver from my computer and have it fax out through the canon.
What I don't understand is why do I need to connect my computer to the canon
by a phone line? Why doesn't it send that info via the USB cable? Why does
the canon fax care about my modem at all? I'm sure there are wonderful and
logical answer to these questions but in the end I don't care that much.
I've used winfax to send and receive faxes from years and I'm not abandoning
it for unknown benefit and I don't see how my winfax and the canon can work
together. However, the canon has color fax and I don't think my modem does
but then what of it. I've never had a situation where I needed a color fax.

Bottom line here: I don't know enough (either how the canon fax should be
used or how competitor's fax's work in comparison) to make an intelligent
critique of the fax component.

Seems to me that for $250 (after rebate) it's a steal. Remember that it
doesn't come with a USB cable (Jesus!)

According ot the guy I dealt with, Staples apparently doesn't treat this
purchase as a xmas purchase whereby you can return it soon after xmas if you
want to. They stick to their 14 day return policy. That is just f**king
Also, officially, there's no extended warranty policy which allows you to
walk into the store carrying your broken printer where they will then give
you a new one (like compuse says it does) or possibly a loner (worst case
from Fry's electronics). You can buy a tech support extended warranty which
will fix things for you when you send them in but they will not give you a
loaner or a replacement. Given that this is a multi-function device it
would really suck if I didn't have a replacement for some weeks while it was
getting fixed.
They have a replacement plan ($39 as I recall) that does do replacments but
it officially does this on a RMA mail basis (you send them your broken one
after they send you a new one). Still, that can leave you without one for
days (and more if they get picky about allowing you to send one back.)
However, unofficially, the store says it if breaks and I bring it it I can
get a new one. I'd say ("we'll see" but I hope I never do.) Anyway, I
viewed the $50 rebate as an insurance policy against that!
I did buy the replacment policy. It's 1 year but apparently it is in force
for the warranty year also so it's really two years (that's what they told
me at least).

Alex Lokshin

Nice... Got a couple of questions for you on this MP780. First, what's the
image quality? I've been comparing the color copies from both MP780 and from
the HP 6310. HP's are a lot brighter and a lot more vivid. It also looks
like it takes MP780 a good minute to make a color copy, while HP easily
makes it in less than 10 seconds. Can you comment on that?


Andrew Diamond

Hi Alex,
It's hard to answer questions w/r to another printer when you don't have
that other printer. When I get into situations like this I go to the store
and make them demo their demo models; that's what they're there for as far
as I'm concerned. What's a 6310 anyway? Can't seem to find a reference to
it. I was guessing that it was a 6110 with a fax but I don't se it. I see
CNET has a review on the 6110 at
They ping it on the lack of fax, slow print and scan speeds. Go figure.
Still they gave it a good rating and I haven't seen a review of the mp780
Anyway, I just hit the color copy button and it took about 25 seconds. That
was using all default settings on plain paper and I don't know how those
settings compare to the quality that the 10 second copy of the HP 6310
printed at.
When I was in staples I tried to play with the mp780 and I tested out color
copying a magazine color on decent paper but I couldn't seem to figure out
the canon LCD menu's to adjust the color quality and so it looked washed out
too. There was only so much time I was going to spend in a store. However,
now that I have it home,I have produced a couple of photo quality images on
glossy photo paper and they look great - not washed out at all. It seems
that even if I have the same quality settings and I use high-resolution
paper vs glossy photo paper that the latter images are much more vibrant but
I guess that's expected(?)
I just figured out how to set the copy quality via the machines menus to get
high quality. I set the paper quality to high-resolution paper (I didn't
use photo paper) and that apparently automatically set the quality to photo
(on another menu). I took well over a minute but it looked great. A draft
mode copy took 15 seconds and looked washed out.

On a related issue, I think perhaps this is an appropriate place to say why
I bought the mp780 vs. the hp 7310. I did play with a 7310 in Best Buy and
it seemed very nice and the colors were nice but I didn't time it.
1) The 7310 is more expensive. Note that there is a 7310ix which HP says is
the same thing but sold through clubs (e.g. Costco). It seems to be $350 vs
$399 for the 7310.
2) The 7310 has network connectivity. I really like that on principle but
the fact is my printer is next to my desk in my home office and I don't need
network connectivity. It's attached to my computer which is ALWAYS on.
3) Canon has separate color cartridges while HP doesn't and that means that
if one color runs out of an HP cartridge that you have to replace the whole
thing and HP cartridges are really expensive. I know because the mp780 is
replacing my old HP R60 multifunction which just died after many years.
4) My old R60 was purchased, as I recall, about the same time as windows
2000 came out. One of the reasons I bought it was that it had an ADF and I
could automatically scan a whole document. They never bothered to update
its software to allow ADF scanning in windows 2000 and so I manually scanned
in pages one at a time. They acknowledged that this was the case on the HP
website so I know it wasn't just something I couldn't figure out. That
really pissed me off. Seemed to me that it was just a ploy to get you to
buy a new printer. If the printer was non longer on sale 3 years before
win2k maybe I would've understood but that wasn't the case. What's going to
happen when Longhorn comes out? I'm not sure canon is any better but I
thought I'd give it a shot.

So, given my (low volume - non-network, etc.) needs and predjudices and the
savings of $100 I went with the mp780. However, the HP 7310 looked great
and was very very tempting and certainly if I needed a network printer it
would have been a no-brainer.

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