Canon updates its Bubble Jet technology, with smaller droplets, 25-year print life, great color, and great print speed!
Page 5: Computer Drivers Menus
Review First Posted: 05/09/2001
MSRP $299 US
Computer Drivers Menus
Essentially all user control over the S800 takes place from the printer driver
control panel on the host computer. The user interface is similar for both Mac
and Windows platforms, but we show elements of both, so readers with either
platform can see what controls are available to them. Overall, operation is
quite straightforward, and we found the options presented by the driver software
to be quite easy to understand.
Whew! There's a LOT of screens within the printer drivers for the S800. We
captured most of them, and describe their functions below. Despite the plethora
of screens and options, we found the user interface and printer features quite
easy to navigate. To save space, we reduced all of the images here to 75 percent
of their original size. Thus, any minor fuzziness in type is our fault, and
not a feature of the Canon software.
The S800 driver "properties" screen uses a tabbed interface to organize
the large number of options, features, and maintenance controls. There really
isn't an equivalent screen in the Macintosh driver, although this "setup"
screen, accessed from the Chooser dialog box, might do. (Options here are just
High or Normal for "supported resolution." We didn't experiment with
them, so have no comment on the impact of selecting one over the other.)
The Details screen lets you configure details of the computer connection. (Only
required for the Windows environment, the Macintosh equivalent of this function
occurs through the Mac OS Chooser.)
For color-critical usage, you can load custom ICC color profiles. (This is a
professional-level feature average users won't need to worry about.) On the
Mac, this selection is made via the "Color" options menu, described
Ninety percent of the time, you'll never need to go anywhere on the Properties
menu other than the appropriately named Main screen. This is where you'll set
paper type and print quality. The Print Mode options across the top of the screen
are presets for different types of print jobs. You can fine-tune the details
by way of the Advanced button at the bottom of the screen.
On the Mac, you get the equivalent functions presented whenever you select
"Print..." from the application's File dialog. Functions here are
similar to those on the PC, with the "Custom" print option (goofy
looking guy on the right) corresponding to the "Advanced" button on
the PC. When you select "Custom," the "Details" button activates,
giving you access to the detailed controls for resolution, dithering, etc.
The drivers for both platforms allow you to select no fewer than 10 different
paper types for printing.
When you click on the "Advanced..." button under the "Main"
tab of the settings control panel, you'll come to a submenu with a series of
options and choices, once again arranged via a tabbed interface. Most of the
time, you'll be interested in the settings on the Quality tab, shown here. There
you can choose the type of paper, the feeder (manual or automatic feed, both
of which actually occur via the main paper tray), print quality, Image Optimizer,
and Photo Optimizer Pro options, and (sometimes) the halftoning algorithm used.
As the icons suggest, Image Optimizer smoothes edges in your images, while Photo
Optimizer Pro attempts to "optimize" colors. Photo Optimizer apparently
has a greater effect on poorly exposed images. We saw little effect on our well-balanced
test photos. The Image Optimizer edge-smoothing feature is only available on
Windows computers. Likewise, the Macintosh driver offers only one "dither"
option for halftoning, rather than the two shown here in the Windows software.
The Special Effects screen offers an "illustration" mode, plus a range
of monochrome print options that render your photo in varying shades of a single
color. (For some reason, Canon included no mention of these options in the S800's
manual, although the more extensive manual on the CD describes them in fair
detail. Options on the Mac are identical.)
On both Mac and PC, this screen allows you to tweak the intensity of the individual
ink colors, as well as set the overall saturation and brightness. On the Mac,
this screen is also where you'd specify a different ICC profile to use when
printing: The "Color Correction" pull-down menu above would be set
to "ColorSync," and the appropriate ICC printer profile selected in
the "Printer Profile" pull-down. We were impressed with how easy it
was to incorporate an ICC profile at the driver level, without having to rely
on application-level fiddling.
The "Save" screen on the PC is for saving the custom settings you've
just specified as a setup. It can be recalled at any time simply by clicking
on an icon. On the Mac (not shown here, due to the number of screens involved),
this "save settings" function is accomplished by choosing the Manual settings
option from the Print Dialog screen, clicking on "Apply", then clicking on "Apply"
again in the "Register Settings" dialog that appears, typing in a name for the
new settings, and then exiting. Previously saved settings can be applied by
choosing "Import" from the Register Settings Dialog. - This all works OK, but
is certainly more convoluted than we'd like.
The second row of tabs comes to the front when you click on any one of them.
They're represent settings that are changed less frequently than those on the
"Main" screen. On the Mac, these settings are spread across a couple
of screens, accessed via the Print Setup dialog within the current software
application, and via the "Options" tab in the main print dialog. This
tab in the PC print dialog provides several functions that are handled in the
system-level print drivers on the Mac.
This Mac screen handles the other functions of the Page Layout menu tab from
the PC. It is accessed via the "Options" button on the main print
Under Windows, you can select a background image that will appear under your
printed output, as well as a "Stamp" that will appear over it.
These screens control a variety of maintenance and test functions, for cleaning
and aligning the print heads.
Under Windows, the Status Monitor is accessed via the standard Windows printer
device icon. It holds three tabbed sub-windows, covering status, a "guide"
that helps you sort out abandoned print jobs, and ink information.
Only the last of these three tabs really has a counterpart on the Mac, and
the Mac status screen is only available while a spooled job is printing. If
an ink cartridge is low, icons will appear in the upper left hand corner of
this screen. We wish there was a way to access print supply information without
running a print job.
Under Windows, this handy screen in the Help system lists print margins on
various paper sizes. (On the Mac, this information is available within the print
dialog screens themselves.)
The print dialog on the PC offers options for High and Medium print qualities
(the pull-down is activated in this shot), although we saw relatively little
difference in either quality or print speed between the two.