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Canon Selphy DS810 photo printer

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There are people who want control of the way their photos print and people who don’t. Compact photo printers like the Canon Selphy DS810 are aimed at people who would rather push a button on the go and get great prints instantly. While printing with Canon’s Selphy DS810 can be that simple, you need to print from your computer to get prints that look as good as the competition’s.

There are three ways to print your digital camera files on the Selphy DS810. It has a USB port on the back to connect to your Mac, a PictBridge USB port on the front for connecting a compatible digital camera, and card slots that fit many types of digital camera memory cards. When printing from a media card, the buttons and menus on the front are easy to follow and use. When printing from your Mac, the included driver also works well. PictBridge printing seems to offer fewer options.

It took about 1 minute and 40 seconds to print our 4-by-6-inch borderless test image at best resolution, about the same as other compact photo printers that we’ve reviewed.

The problem is the quality of the prints. Unlike other ink-jet photo printers that use between six and eight inks, the Selphy DS810 uses just three inks (cyan, magenta and yellow) to print 4-by-6 and smaller photos. (It combines these three inks to make blacks and greys.) Its limited color palette shows in images’ dark midtones, lack of depth and high contrast. This is especially true when I printed from a camera’s media card. When I printed from the Mac or using the PictBridge port, photos looked more saturated, though darker, with some details lost in shadow.

The Selphy doesn’t offer a black-and-white mode when printing directly from your camera card, but you can choose a grayscale mode when printing from a Mac. Even then, the prints have a sepia-like brown cast.

Macworld’s buying advice

The Canon Selphy DS810 had trouble overcoming its limited three-color ink palette. Prints looked better when we printed from the computer, but that’s not how most people will want to use this product. If you’re looking for a compact photo ink-jet printer to take with you, the Epson PictureMate Deluxe Photo Viewer Edition or the Hewlett-Packard Photosmart 385 GoGo will serve you better.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]

Canon Selphy DS810
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