Canon Pixma MP640 - any downsides?

  polymath 22:18 11 Aug 2010

From a list of about 90 3-in-1 inkjets (what a job - many hours with big charts, colour coding etc!), I've finally homed in on the Canon Pixma MP640.
It has all the features I want, and I've studied the specifications and lots of magazine reviews. But most of the user reviews I've found are by new users; still on the original ink cartridges, for instance.
I'm using the credit from returning an Epson Photo PX700W (what a prima donna that was!), and I'd run a mile from another one that drinks ink. Is the MP640 fairly reasonable to keep in ink?

I'd also like faithful print colours (I'll be making copies of my art and, as an excellent colour-matcher, a wrong shade sticks out a mile!). I don't mind if colours aren't quite right at default settings, as long as a bit of fiddling about will get there.

Scanning quality (including colour matching) isn't really important, as long as it does everyday scanning jobs (I already have an excellent standalone Epson scanner).

The other thing is, can the MP640 scan & print copies independantly of the computer? (They don't always say in so many words, and I'm not sure what the specification-speak is for that).

Basically, I'm looking for faults! All I've read so far has been positive, and I keep thinking there must be some catch (though it may be livable with).

From the spec, it looks as if one can get high-capacity ink cartridges, which reminds me to check if I can get them here in Ireland (I might not have bought the Epson if I'd known their large ones are only obtainable direct from Epson, and Epson don't ship to customers in Ireland.....).

Apologies for having to go now - back in the morning.

  QuizMan 23:23 11 Aug 2010

I have the MP640 and am happy with it. I find it excels at printing photos. I particularly like the fact that it is a duplex printer and is wi-fi enabled so it can be sited away from the PC. It also allows you to print directly onto CD/DVD's if that is your thing.

Yes, it can work as a stand-alone copier.

I do not notice it being very heavy on ink unlike another Canon printer that has been the subject of much debate on the PCA forums. The cartridges are chipped but my local supplier can get round that when he does refills for me and compatible inks are available on-line.

If it has a downside, I find standard text printing looks a little smudged, but that may be because I am using cheap photocopy paper. Also, it is not the fastest printer that I have owned. it seems to take ages to churn out the first print, but after that it is much better. Take the stated print speeds with a large pinch of salt.

Good luck with it.

  robin_x 04:25 12 Aug 2010

PIXMAs have refill issues. Google it.

I changed from my Lexmark to Canon MP250 on upgrading to W7.

It worked for 4 months, but now , sometimes, reports offline, while upstairs PC reports online.

If I restart downstairs spooler it works. Just annoying really. Both PCs now W7.

New Lexmark cheapie looks good.

  robin_x 04:31 12 Aug 2010
  polymath 16:01 12 Aug 2010

Thanks QuizMan!
Sorry - I forgot to say speed isn't a high priority for me. Seems it's not bad for a modern machine. They all seem to take ages to work up to a print anyway. But then I'm only familiar with my 10-year-old HP Deskjet 970cxi (I never got far enough with the Epson PX700W for any familiarity at all!).

Thanks for the warning, Robin, and the link (looks useful).
I did consider all the manufacturers, but the Lexmark models were struck off my list for one reason or another (which isn't to say they're not good printers).

The MP640's spec (via the Canon site's printer comparison thing) says it takes 5 seperate ink cartridges, including 2 black ones; is one of them a photo black?
Each colour appears twice in the cartridge details, with the ref. numbers unchanged, but once for tank life in photos, and again with tank life in pages. Does a 'page' mean A4 draft-mode, and a 'photo' a smaller, high-quality print? The colour ones, and one of the blacks, seem to yield about 2-3 times as many pages as photos, and the other black about 15 times more photos than pages.

I think the spec means there aren't any high-capacity cartridges available for the MP640 (is that correct?)

I forgot to ask about noise. Canon says 47 decibels, which is about average amongst the noise levels I've found, but it's not just the decibels that count! Does anyone find this printer makes particularly irritating sounds? (I suppose I could always confine it to daytime use though).

  QuizMan 20:58 12 Aug 2010

"The MP640's spec (via the Canon site's printer comparison thing) says it takes 5 seperate ink cartridges, including 2 black ones; is one of them a photo black?" - yes, but cannot help with how pages are counted.

"I think the spec means there aren't any high-capacity cartridges available for the MP640 (is that correct?)" - if there are any, I have not found them.

Noise? - no better or worse than other printers, but you do get lots of clunking before the first print.

  polymath 22:08 12 Aug 2010

I've now found out why there are 2 black cartridges (one being a pigment-based ink for text, the other dye-based like the colour ones, for photos). I was confused at first by the pigment black being described by some ink sellers as laser toner, but they all agreed on the cartridge numbers the MP640 takes.
I didn't find any references to high-capacity cartridge options, but didn't see any horror stories about running costs either.

Noise levels in reviews seem to vary from 'quite quiet' to 'quite noisy', but that doesn't mean much without knowing their environments, and noise is subjective anyway (though I did eliminate one printer from the list because of several reports of a very annoying high-pitched whine!).

Anyway, I'm ordering an MP640 printer in the morning.
Thanks for your help.

  polymath 22:30 12 Aug 2010

Thanks QuizMan (I've only just seen your latest posting).
I got things the wrong way round before, thinking the odd one out was the photo black. Whereas it's the non-photo black that's a different type from the others, being pigment based (I thought the P in its reference number stood for Photo!).

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