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Jul. 19, 2024

Canon S800 Color Bubble Jet

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.


Click to see ZGENERAL.JPG Click to see ZMchooser_1.JPG

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.)


Click to see ZPDETAILS.JPG

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.)


Click to see ZPCOLOR.JPG

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 below.


Click to see ZPMAIN.JPG Click to see ZM1_DRIVER.JPG

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.


Click to see ZPADVQUALITY.JPG Click to see ZMprint_qual1.JPG

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.


Click to see ZADVSPECIAL.JPG Click to see ZMprint_special1.JPG

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.)


Click to see ZADVCOLOR.JPG Click to see ZMprint_color1.JPG

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.


Click to see ZADVSAVE.JPG


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.


Click to see ZPPAGE1.JPG Click to see ZMpsetup_01.JPG

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.


Click to see ZM2_OPTIONS.JPG

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 dialog screen.


Click to see ZPSTAMP.JPG

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.


Click to see ZPMAINT.JPG Click to see ZMpset_util01.JPG
Click to see ZMpset_util02.JPG


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.




Click to see ZSTATUS_INK.JPG


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.



<<Operation | Test Results &amp; Conclusion>>


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