Canon - would-be King of Europe - range preview

by Bob Crabtree on 22 February 2006, 11:26

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Projectors, printers and more

A trio of compact multimedia projectors due early summer takes us right back up the price ladder. But not as far as might have been the case a year or so ago. Canon says that the still-to-be-announced price-tags for these LCOS-based, second-generation projectors will be "remarkably small for the quality offered".

The company makes a number of big claims about the performance and quality of the SX60 (SXGA/2500 lumens), SX6 (SXGA+/3500 lumens) and X600 (XGA/3500 lumens) - and these my well be justified judging by the short demo we were given.

Auto set-up seemed to be fast and effective, adjusting quickly and accurately for different angles, display distances and oddly-coloured screens. Footage was watchable would you believe - though not perfect, of course - even on a red-painted wall? We couldn't tell, however, if the SX60's claimed low-noise performance – just 27dBA in quiet mode (and 30dBA in normal) – was accurate, the demo area was too noisy.

And nor could we tell if the two SXGA+ models are indeed fully capable of projecting High Definition (720p/1080i) footage as claimed - but there certainly didn't appear to be any connectors that take account of DRM systems that will be standard with HD TV and new high-def DVD formats. Pictures, though, did look very sharp at closer distances than we'd have expected. There was also plenty of contrast, and no visible artefacts when displaying fast-moving objects.

Canon SX6 projectorSX6

Canon is, we reckon, indisputably No.1 in digital SLRs and – appropriately enough – is aiming for the same position in colour printers used for proofing in photographic studios. To get that particular ball rolling, it's launching – though, disappointingly, not until Autumn - a pair of PIXMA Pro models that handle the larger-than-A3 paper format A3+. These will also appeal to serious amateurs who love their digital media - aided, perhaps, by their direct-to-disc CD/DVD label-printing capabilities.

One, the Pro9000 (£500), uses eight dye-ink cartridges, while the other, the Pro9500 (£650), centres on a 10-cartridge system said to feature a new-formulation "Lucia" pigment ink. This is claimed to, "meet the most exacting commercial photographic requirements and deliver high quality, durable colour and monochrome output".

Canon PIXMA Pro9500PIXMA Pro9500

Canon is also targeting the printing needs of offices large and small. In colour-ink models there are two A3+ PIXMA printers for presentational outputs - the £330 iX5000 and £250 iX4000 (both due April) - plus three multi-function models. The £250 MP530 is due May, as is the £330 MP830, but the third multi-function model,  the MP800R (also £330), should beat them both onto the shelves by arriving next month.

Mono and colour laser printers – including one colour multi-function model – also figure in the Spring Collection. At the lower end are two LASER SHOT models arriving in March and April, the £250 LBP5000 (colour) and mono LBP3300 at £230. Each is 600x600dpi and can be networked by adding an optional card (price not yet known).


Due April, and rather more heavy-duty, are two network-ready offerings. The LASER SHOT LBP3640 is a mono model pitched at £780. The LaserBase MF8180C is a colour multi-function job at £729.

LaserBase MF8180CLaserBase MF8180C

The new office kit – and this overview - are rounded off by a pair of departmental laser fax machines due next month – the FAX-L380S (£500) and L390 (£550). Your thoughts welcome, as always, in the

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