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Canon PIXMA iP4600 Photo Printer

Written by Gail Bjork

I couldn’t be happier with the Pixma iP4600 photo printer. Image quality meets my expectations, it has some impressive features and it costs a lot less than expected.

Pixma iP4800I can’t live without a photo printer so when my Canon i960 suddenly died after many years of reliable service, I started searching for a replacement. Because of the good luck I’ve had with Canon printers, I decided to stick with the brand.

Three “strucks”

The first thing that struck me is that there were only three current choices for consumer, full-sized photo printers at the Canon website. I wanted a dedicated printer because I’ve never cared much for multi-function printers – one function goes and you’re without a fax, copier AND printer while it’s in for repair.

The second thing that struck me is how much the prices of printers have come down since my last purchase. Plus you get a lot more features for the money.

5 ink tanks with LEDsThe third thing that struck me is that the photo printers under my consideration only use five ink tanks (four dye-based inks plus a pigment-based black ink). My i960 had six and I always thought more is better. A Canon sales person explained that inks have improved during the years. For consumer-level photo printers, there is no longer the need for photo magenta and photo cyan.

I was skeptical, but found the explanation to be truthful.

Why I bought the Canon iP4600

I decided to buy the Canon iP4600. It cost only $20 more than the Pixma iP3600 and has more total print nozzles: 4,415 vs. 2,368. Not only was it on sale but I received an additional 10% off under the Canon Customer Loyalty program. Next day shipping was free too.

Set-up

It took me about 30 minutes to complete the initial set-up. Fortunately, the instructions in the Getting Started Guide are very easy to follow. The iP4600 is a fairly large printer, but is better and more contemporary looking than my previous printers. It has some useful features such as automatic duplexing, two paper trays and automatic paper selection.

Image quality of the Canon iP4600

I was always pleased with the photo output of my i960. Images produced by the iP4600 are on par with it; in fact overall the colors seem ever so slightly more true-to-life. Using Canon’s own photo paper and ink tanks yield photo lab quality prints with a longevity of up to 300 years!

About the iP4600’s automatic paper selection

The iP4600 has two paper sources with automatic paper selection: a rear tray and a front cassette.

But understanding how the automatic paper selection works is not readily intuitive. When plain paper is selected (A4, B5, A5, or letter-size) the printer feeds the paper from the bottom Cassette. If you select other paper types such as matte photo paper, the printer prints from the Rear Tray. You can override this by manually selecting the paper source as you go through the printing steps.

Easy-PhotoPrint EX software

The Easy-Photo EX software that comes with the printer functions similarly to the previous version I used, however it is much improved.

During the print process, you can accomplish basic editing tasks such as cropping a photo, correcting red-eye, brightening faces, removing blemishes and noise reduction. If you’re not into editing photos with special software, this method may be all you need to spruce up photos.

Saving print job settings and selections

One feature that is particularly welcome is that you can save print jobs.

Saving a print job creates an EL6 file and data folder

Saving a print job in Easy-PhotoPrint EX creates an EL6 file and data folder

Before exiting the Easy-PhotoPrint EX software you are given the option to save the work. An EL6 file is created (filename.el6) that remembers your photo selections and settings. An associated Data folder is also created that contains copies of the cropped and edited photos. Simply click on the EL6 file to open the same print job. Very convenient and useful.

The iP4600 manual

Do install the instruction manual when installing the printer driver and software. To get a full understanding of some of the new features and functions, you really need to read the manual.

The manual is divided into three parts: Basic, Advanced and Troubleshooting. It is fairly easy to navigate and information is well-written and illustrated.

Very pleased with the Canon iP4600 printer

Pixma ip4800I couldn’t be happier with my choice of the iP4600. The features are much improved over other printers I’ve owned, image quality meets my expectations and it costs a lot less money than expected.

My previous printer could sit idle for 4-6 weeks at a time. It never had clogged nozzles and I never had to buy new print head. I personally attribute this to using only Canon ink tanks and performing routine maintenance: a nozzle check, and an occasional cleaning or deep cleaning of the print head if needed.

I’m going to give the iP4600 the same care and hoping, in return, it will give me many years of the same reliable service as my i960.

If it doesn’t, you’ll hear about it here.

What I like about the Pixma iP4600

  • Produces lab quality photos
  • ChromaLife100 system ink lasts up to 300 years when stored and handled according to specifications
  • Prints laser quality black text (I use ultrabright white bond paper when not using photo paper)
  • Relatively fast printing
  • Quiet compared to other printers I’ve owned
  • Ink lamps (LEDs) glow to indicate when an ink tank is correctly installed, when it is low or when it is empty.
  • Much improved Easy-PhotoPrint software (EX)
  • Rear cover can be detached to remove jammed paper
  • Automatic duplexing (two-sided copying)
  • Automatic red eye reduction
  • Pictbridge compatible

What I dislike about the iP4600

  • Ink cartridges are expensive
  • When turning the printer on, start-up time for the first print is sloooooow
  • Getting Started Guide should include instructions about automatic paper selection – for first time users of this feature (and those who dislike reading manuals), it’s easy to erroneously assume how it works and waste lots of ink and photo paper trying to figure it out.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

11 Comments

  • Auma, check sites like Amazon for current prices, availability and specifications. The printer prints standard size photos up to 8×10.” The largest size it prints is 8 1/2 x 11″ inch. If you need larger prints, you’ll need a wide format printer or use a printing service.

  • My main concern is i want to know the prices and the capacity of it, if it can be in position of printing diffirent sizes of photos and is it some time use Dc or only for Ac?. Because i need the one which can prints small sizes up to the big sizes and at the high speed.
    Thank i do wait for your repliz.

  • An “error 1500” usually indicates an installation problem. Try uninstalling and reinstalling the software that came with the printer (including the driver). If that doesn’t help, it’s best to call Canon Tech support.

  • hello !
    i was workin with this fantastic printer since i have found a problem showing error 1500 on the screen anddisabling it from printing any more. please help me with this problem !

  • Moacyr, make sure all the ink tanks are installed correctly. If one is not in place, the printer will not function. If the ink tank is full but not printing, try to do a print head cleaning; if that doesn’t solve the problem, do a deep print head cleaning.

    Perhaps a specific ink tank is faulty. Do the status lights come one?

    Also check the Troubleshooting information (Printing does not start) in the manual. If none of these work, you should call Canon Technical Support for more specific help.

  •  Canon »erro 4600 o absorvente de tinta está cheio! solution ? solução? 

    a impressora travou.

    Alguém tem alguma idéia de como corrigir este erro?

  • First, I suggest you print on Canon Paper. I use Photo Paper Plus Glossy II. Photos seem to print better when the paper and printer are the same brand. Have you tried cleaning your print head, make sure all the colors are installed property? Also try cleaning the print head. If none of these work, call Canon tech support.

  • Can anyone tell me????
    I am using a mac osx with cannon ip4600 but my photos are murky dull and whites are not white, it sounds like dirty laundry looks like it too.
    Obviously I have not set up something properly and can’t seem to find anything in the manual to help.
    I am printing on epson semi gloss.
    Any clues anyone please?????

  • Canon products are excellent. I wish to request CANON to open a “CANON Shop and Service Centre” and in Kampala, Uganda so that we can easily access any canon product we wish to buy.

  • You are correct about the reduced size of the ink cartridges and the price. At the same time, keep this in mind. The price of the ip4600 is about $40-45 less than the i960 I used to own, and maybe for you too. I now need only five ink cartridges, instead of six and get the same image quality. Also, I try to buy the ink cartridges at a discount or when on sale.

  • I bought the ip4600, too, and I mostly love it.  I previously used an i850 for years.  My one dislike is the ink cartridges.  Canon has jacked up the price and reduced the size of the cartridges at the same time.  I don’t begrudge them a small price increase but this is gouging at its worst.