I haven’t used a lot of printers in my life and those that I bought in the past are both for document printing. Though many has been labeled as photo printer so I can print one or two photos whenever I want. Since the began using digital cameras for my customers, I had printed less and less. Clients preferred digital images and files rather than prints. Yes they still want albums but that’s something I don’t make myself. So printing photos has becoming of a rare exercise. So far I have tried a few brands, Lexmark, Canon and HP. I haven’t tried any Epson and I knew it’s quite a performer but I have been using HP photo printers for a number of years. I did buy a rather cheap Canon Pixma IP4000 a few years back but it was a disappointment so I let it to rust, literally.
All the printers I’ve owned over the years are all A4 printers. I don’t need anything bigger to print at home and if I need something big, I send it out to a pro lab. I’ve had some success in colour printing with HP printers over the years and the prints they produce are very vibrant and sharp, providing you use their inks and papers. So far, I haven’t mentioned Lexmark printer, yes, it was rubbish and not worth mentioning so might as well forget it.
So I love HP printers. I do think they produce some stunning little A4 photo printers for home and amateur use. I have used four HP photo printers since 2003. My latest HP Photosmart Premium is quite a machine. I put it in my office so it does everything, faxing, scanning and printing. It prints very nice colour photos and duplexing means I can print double-sided prints and scans in all automation through the paper feed. I love it to bits. Separate colour inks also means that wastage is kept to minimum.
However, there’s one flaw. You cannot print monochrome. Since there’s only one black ink and three primary colours, there’s no gray. Any sort of gray is mixed colours from all four inks. The result is rather horrible. It’s heavily on the magenta side and the gray just doesn’t look gray at all. So big no no if you want to print black and white. My last Photosmart 2610 was brilliant. Even though it has one of those horrible tricolor ink cartridges but it did one thing that almost no other printers could do, monochrome. It had an option to use a photo-gray cartridge which result in some stunning black and white prints. Sadly, it died after three years of loyal service.
Since then, I tried to look for another A4 printer that could do monochrome. As I don’t and won’t need the A3 size prints, so my option is very much restricted. All is changed when I saw Canon’s latest printer Pixma MG7150. As mentioned before, I used a rather cheap Pixma IP4000 before and it was rubbish even with colour photos so I just stopped using it. It died from lack of use a few months back. So I was a little skeptical about my new acquisition at first but since I am a big Canon user so I should give it another try, plus now Canon is doing a rather tempting cash back deal so why not?
MG7150 is actually a replacement of MG6350. I never knew about MG6350 until I started looking at the latest replacement. They are virtually identical in every way, in terms of features and quality. I could have bought it last year! But never mind, I now have the latest model. MG7150 is a all-in-one printer that allows you to do virtually anything you need at home or office. Pretty much like my HP Photosmart Premium without the faxing function. Both can copy, scan, print, duplexing, direct to disc and Wi-Fi enabled. They both cost the similar too when new but HP adds the fax function which means it’s a better choice for office than Canon. But the extra cost of Canon reflected in printing quality which I am going to dig in a little more.
While HP already produces some very nice colour prints, it lacks the capability of monochrome support. Canon has a dedicated gray ink which means that in theory, it’s capable of doing ‘proper’ black and white photo printing. I’ve just got the printer today and tried a few prints, both colours and monochrome. Here’s my finding:
Colour Prints: Colours are very saturated and vibrant. I haven’t calibrated the profile to match my screen so this is default setting. Though I use the provided printer profile for Canon Gloss II paper. The prints are as good as HP if not better. So I am very satisfied with its colour prints.
Monochrome: Ok, this is why I am buying this printer. This is the sole reason. I had some left over Kodak premium paper (discontinued now sadly) and used the generic profile from my Mac. The result was rather disappointing. The printer used the gray ink momentarily but I can still see the traces of magenta in the tonal transition from black to white in most areas. I was a little shocked. But then I switched to Canon’s own Gloss II paper and use its provided profile. The result was absolutely stunning! Ok, perhaps everything was calibrated for the paper but still I was very surprise to see the result. There’s no trace of magenta, the gray transition was smooth and nice. Ok, it’s not top-notch professional lab quality but definitely suitable for day to day normal photo printing. It matches and better some normal mono prints from some consumer labs. Yes it’s that good! So for the price, I am getting what I want!
Other stuff: I don’t need to drill into the features of this printer. I haven’t tried its scanning capability nor its copying function. I think they should be fine. As it supports Air Print for Mac, it’s very handy for me. I am printing everything wirelessly since I set the printer up so it’s very good that I can print from another room. Printing speed is also quick, probably the quickest printer I’ve had so far. Oh touchscreen, it has a rather big one. There’s no button on the printer, everything is ‘touchy touchy’ from the screen. Cool but I am not sure how reliable and durable they are though. It’s shiny too and it comes with Black, White or Brown. I have a black one which looks rather sleek. White and Brown look cool but more expensive. Because it’s wireless, it can function by itself. You can use Canon’s Cloud ink to print from anywhere in the world. I haven’t tried it so not sure if it works ok. Oh, yes you can update firmware directly from the printer rather than from your computer which is cool and time saving. Inks are individual, six of them. Cost is usually high with manufacturer’s own inks but compatibles are around at much much lower costs. I will also report here when I try both original and compatible inks.
Final words: I don’t know the ink economy yet so I have no idea how long the inks will last but I will report it later here. This is my first go at it so please bear with me. I just want to share my view on this latest gem from Canon. As I am increasing falling in love with monochrome photography, I am hoping to find a printer that will allow me to do some nice black and white prints. I’ve found it! Here it is, Canon Pixma MG7150.
*UPDATE* Amazon seems to have some great prices on the generic black model at the moment.
*UPDATE* I’ve just depleted my first set of 3rd party inks and that’s after quite a bit of normal printing. 10% Photos and 90% mix colour and black document printing for my business. My next set of inks will be on Canon’s own ink and I will be comparing the results from both using the same paper.
Thank you for reading my blog and please support my work and this site by buying stuff from Amazon via the link at the bottom (only if you need to buy stuff of course).
6x Canon PGI-550 XL / CLI-551 XL FCI Compatible Printer Ink Cartridges to replace (Contains: 1x 550BK Large Black, 1x 551C Cyan, 1x 551M Magenta, 1x 551Y Yellow, 1x 551BK Small Black, 1x 551 Grey) for Canon Pixma MG6350, MG7150 Printers Double Capacity Inks Cartridge