First impressions of a Canon i865 as a CD-R printer

vbimport

#1

Hi all,

I’m a little torn as to whether to put this here or in the general hardware forum. However, my main reason for buying the i865 was to print inkjet printable CDs, and it’s about that I’m intending to comment.

For other printing, I’ll well covered by my three other printers - a HP Color LaserJet 2500n (main printer), a HP LaserJet 6L (old printer - with a change of rollers, it’s still useful for odd media that the colour laser might disagree with) and a HP DeskJet 1220C (which will handle A3 paper).

I received my i865 today with a 100 disc spindle of Taiyo Yuden white inkjet printable CD-Rs I’d also ordered (these are the ones with the clear hub, not the printable hub ‘picture disc’ variety).

I plugged the printer into my HP JetDirect 500X - and it worked once. Several hours later, I concluded that there’s some weird compatibility problem between the i865’s parallel port and the JetDirect. I tried everything I could think of - different parallel cables, reflashing the JetDirect firmware, resetting the JetDirect back to factory settings - still no go.

It’s probably HP’s fault - it wouldn’t be the first time that a non-HP printer has failed to work with a JetDirect. Fortunately I had an old Axis 560 print server in my junk box - that was dug out, firmware upgraded, connected to the network and we were away. Of course, the printer works fine plugged directly into my computer using either USB or a parallel port.

I’m very impressed with the CD-R printing capability of the i865. You slide the output tray into the machine, and push an adapter into the aperture over the retracted output tray, then push in the locking bar on the top of the adapter to lock it into the printer. The disc goes into a tray, which you slide into the adapter as far as you can, then the printer takes it from there. There’s reflective marks on the tray, which the printer appears to use to get the correct registration.

The included CD-LabelPrint software didn’t really do what I wanted. After a bit of trial and error (and only three wasted discs), I discovered that the right settings are:

“Paper size” 135.7mm wide by 255.7mm high.
Centre of disc 65.5mm from left hand edge, 104.75mm from bottom edge.

To print right to the edges of the printable area of the Taiyo Yuden disc, I find that an inner circle of 37.5mm and an outer circle of 118.8mm works fine without any noticeable ‘overspray’. The outer diameter is possibly 0.2 or 0.3mm shy of what’s actually printable, but I’d rather have that than loose ink round the edge of my disc. There’s just the faintest hint of a white circle on my final test disc, which has quite a dark picture across the entire disc face.

I was using CorelDRAW 10 - though you can use any application you like to design your printable disc. It’s almost certainly possible to configure Nero Cover Designer and similar applications to print directly onto discs in the i865 - I will try Nero Cover Designer, though not tonight. Just set media type “Printable disc (recommended)”, paper source “Disc tray” and page size “CD-R tray” in the printer driver when you want to print the disc - you don’t have to use CD-LabelPrint at all. You do not need the “Borderless Printing” option on to print on discs.

I’m extremely impressed with the print quality of the discs - the results look very professional. The printer was supplied with a Maxell printable 80 minute CD-R, which I’ll probably use for something - though I concentrated on getting the right settings for the Taiyo Yuden discs as I’ve got a hundred of them!

The time to print a disc in Best quality mode is probably around 30 seconds, though I haven’t timed it.

I hope this is helpful - at least one person in the forums asked me for my views on the printer when I said I’d ordered an i865. I got the printer from blankdiscshop.co.uk - they’re about the only people who have it in stock!

David


#2

Just following up, I’ve now got Nero Cover Designer configured. The setup is a bit different and arguably less logical for disc printers.

Go into File -> Paper Stocks and create a new stock. Width is 135.700mm and Height 255.700mm. Feed paper as Portrait.

Press the button to “Add item” and add a label.

For the settings for the label, you need to divide the diameter figures in my previous post by two to get radius figures - that makes the outer radius 59.400mm and the inner radius 18.750mm.

Nero uses the bottom left corner of the ‘label’ for the position, not the centre - it also measures vertically from the top of the ‘page’, not from the bottom.

X figure 65.5 (centre) - 59.4 (outer radius) = 6.1mm

Y figure (255.7 - 104.75) (centre) - 59.4 (outer radius) = 91.55mm

As you’ve set one corner of the printable area, if you adjust the outer radius that you print, you will also need to adjust the X and Y figures accordingly.

I haven’t actually printed a disc with these settings, but they look right in the Canon driver’s Preview facility.

You want to turn the bleed off when printing on discs. For added finesse, you can make the stock you created (which I called Canon i865 / Taiyo Yuden) the default stock for Label.

David


#3

I’ve had one of these printers for a couple of months now and I too can concur that the print quality on printable discs is exceptional.

It’s also worth knowing that the printing text on plain paper is on par with laser quality and photos on photo paper are by far the best quality I have ever seen (even better than dedicated photo printers I have had).

I have owned about half a dozen printers in the last few years and this is by far the best all round model I have tried. Not only that your not forced to use compatible ink as the genuine Canon ink is the cheapest on the market.


#4

Hi

@ DavidW

Thanks for you detailed input, its very useful for me. I’ve been dithering for almost a year now on which printer to buy (procrastination feels sooo good !). Been tosing up between a Everest II which is a big investment or an inkjet. If i go inkjet then it branches out to a dedicated inkjet like an optiprinter for example or a low end Epson/Cannon.

More and more i lean towards inkjet. I wonder what the difference is between say an optiprinter disc printer and your cannon ? what i do know is the huge price difference. I did decide in the end to buy an optiprinter but when i tried to place the order there were none left so i took that as a sign to hold off for a while…

Now the i865 is out and the R300 and R800. Which to buy ?

So its very very interesting to read your comments and observations. Why did you settle on an i865 over the R300 for example ? How delicate do you find the printed label ?

If i go inkjet i intend to get a disc laminater from primera to protect the label and the holgram in the laminate looks so coooooool !

Any further insights you could offer would be highly regarded by me and i am sure lots of others who are trying to decide which way to go …

Thanks again

Mark


#5

There were two reasons for the i865 over an Epson.

Firstly, the i865 has a parallel port. I network all my printers - the HP Color LaserJet 2500n has a built in JetDirect card. My HP LaserJet 6L and HP DeskJet 1220C are on a HP JetDirect 500X, which is a three port parallel print server. I also had an Axis 560 lying around, which is a two port parallel, one port serial print server.

The JetDirects can sulk with non-HP printers, and that was what happened. The i865 worked once on the JetDirect - then never again. Digging the Axis 560 out of the junk box got the printer going on the network - the status monitor doesn’t work via the network, but it looks as if that feature may not be network capable (both parallel print servers will work bidirectionally over the network - the DeskJet 1220C’s status monitor does work via the network).

If I’d gone for an Epson, I’d have had another big bill for a USB print server. I did consider an i965 (I may land up using the printer for photos as well - but not as many as CDs), but the lack of a parallel port put an end to that idea.

Secondly, those that have expressed an opinion, seem to prefer the i865 to the Epsons for printing discs. Go to http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?&product_uid=52535 and click the link to show all reviews.

Certainly, I was very impressed with the i865 when I did a batch of 30 discs last night - every one in perfect registration, and a full face colour print in high quality mode took around 40 seconds per disc.

The label is probably fairly robust - but not waterproof. I managed to print one disc out of registration when I was setting things up - so it was binned (I didn’t use it as a recording test - it was so far out of registration that some ink landed up on the recording side!). I’ve just fetched it out of the bin and run it under the tap. Some ink ran off, and the printing became a bit smudged, but it didn’t finish up looking as bad as I’d feared.

On the whole, I don’t abuse my discs by running them under a tap! I suspect that if handled a lot, the label side will probably get a bit grubby, but that has to be accepted; I can’t justify the cost of something like an Everest. The print quality of the i865 is fantastic.

The Primera laminator - a great product if you can afford it, but at somewhere in excess of US$2000, it’s out of my price range!

There are clear labels you can put on top of the printing - but you’ve then got the potential disc balance and adhesive issues of using a label in the first place. There is a spray that you can put on inkjet printed discs - a kind of lacquer. I have no idea how good it is.

I hope these comments help - anything else you want to know about the i865, reply again in this thread! You should have all the information needed to set one up for use in any graphics program and Nero (don’t forget that Feurio can use the arguably better Nero Cover Designer if you have both programs).

David


#6

Hi
@davidw

Thanks for the input.

Well i took the plunge today and ordered an R800. the ability to print archival quaility prints won me over.

Will be interesting to see how it goes.

Still interested in an everest though. The only thing that puts me off the everest is the media has to be certified and thats a licence to rip the punter off big time.

anyway my printer has to come over from PARIS , so in a few days i’ll let you know how it goes.

If this works out i’ll get a primeria laminator as well but first things first.

How do you compose your labels for your backups ?

i suppose y0u could scan the label off the original but the problem is they are screen printed and have a fairly big dot pattern which looks quite ugly. Same for covers although they are better. Would be nice to hace nice continous tone images to print…

Thanks

mark


#7

Hi
@davidw

Thanks for the input.

Well i took the plunge today and ordered an R800. the ability to print archival quaility prints won me over.

Will be interesting to see how it goes.

Still interested in an everest though. The only thing that puts me off the everest is the media has to be certified and thats a licence to rip the punter off big time.

anyway my printer has to come over from PARIS , so in a few days i’ll let you know how it goes.

If this works out i’ll get a primeria laminator as well but first things first.

How do you compose your labels for your backups ?

i suppose y0u could scan the label off the original but the problem is they are screen printed and have a fairly big dot pattern which looks quite ugly. Same for covers although they are better. Would be nice to hace nice continous tone images to print…

Thanks

mark


#8

Good luck with the R800 - it’s twice the price of an i865, the cartridges look more expensive (I can’t compare capacity easily - though for what they cost, the Canon ink tanks look quite large) and it has no parallel port, so it wouldn’t do for me. However, what suits one doesn’t suit another!

Most of my printing, including jewel case inserts, goes through my HP Color LaserJet 2500n. What digital photography I print tends to go through the Color LaserJet too - my applications do not usually demand the high quality of inkjet print on photo paper.

If I didn’t need a parallel port, and was interested in the best possible quality for photographs, then it would have been a toss-up between the i965 and the R800. However, for a machine that is going to be used 90% of the time just for printing CD and DVD media, the i865 has already proved an excellent choice.

Scanning - I have a high end HP ScanJet here (a ScanJet 7450C, hooked up via SCSI), but I don’t backup original media. All the CDs I’ve printed so far are originals of a disc I’ve just mastered on behalf of the composer / performer, so all the artwork is my own design in Corel DRAW 10 and is, by definition, continuous tone. He’s delighted with the results.

As an addendum to previous posts, the status utility on the Canon only works with certain print servers that are designed to be compatible with it. It sends a short ‘job’ to the printer, then listens to the port to retrieve the status. Most print servers won’t support this kind of operation - once the job is sent, the port is closed. The Axis 560 would support this kind of operation (it has a “hold the TCP/IP port open after the job is finished” feature), but only with a port driver that supports that mode of operation (which neither the built in Windows XP one nor the HP JetDirect one does).

It’s no great loss - if, as I suspect, it’s possible to read when ink tanks are getting low visibly, then it doesn’t matter much, especially as there’s a flashing light code for ink tank low which presumably tells you that you need to check the ink levels. In any case, when I rebuild my computer room in the next few months, I’ll try to ensure the i865 is close enough to the main machine that I can temporarily connect a USB lead to read the status (the printer supports both ports active at once, so it’d just be a case of changing the port configured in Windows temporarily).

It would be nice to find a suitable port driver, though!

David


#9

Hi david

Your right , what suits one is not right for another.

The R800 is £190.00 ex vat. The i865 was approx £115 . so its not too big a gap. I persuaded my boss he needed this to print his photos etc so its for the office but of course all my DVd’s will be going thru it.

If it all works o.k i’ll then make a decision on my own printer but i want a high end machine. The R800 is just to dip my toe in the water so to speak.

Myself , i am really stuck on the EverestII and by a stoke of luck i found out yesterday the company i work for will be bring a container in from the US soon…great chance to buy up a whole stack of TY printables at a resonable cost and have no freight /customs clearing costs associated with it… I could also get a printer in there and the right disc’s for it. But its approx £2500.00 so its a big difference , but there are some stunning effects you can do on the everest that you cant do any other way ! (cmy + white ribbon on silver disc’s = Stunning, ie reverse silver thru the design, no other way to produce this effect…ie you cant print silver)

But we’ll see how the R800 goes first and see just how good/poor the results are. My expectations are very high so it may well not meet my specs…we’ll just have to see.

Anyway i’ll post my results in a few days…

Anychance of posting a scan of one of your printed discs ?

Regards

Mark


#10

I don’t really want to post a full face scan of what is a commercial product - but here’s a partial one, zoomed in somewhat:

Note that the scan is a JPEG, so it’s a lossy image. The blocky nature of the print is because the bitmap used as the CD background isn’t of the highest resolution (it looks great nevertheless). However, if you look at the text, you’ll see that the print is very sharp, also that the figures I gave earlier in the thread get you neatly to both edges of the printable area.

David


#11

Hi DavidW

Thanks for the scan. Yes the text is impressively sharp. As you say the bitmapp background is a bit blocky so hard to draw any conclusions there.

How about colour correction ? do you calibrate your screen and profile your printer ? if so which profile ?

I have read that the surface of printable dics varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer and even from batch to batch. Some produce a dull print and others give a very nice “satin sheen” to the finnished print. Will be interesting to see.

Which media do you find gives a nice print, at least to your eye ?

This is going to be tricky…finding a disc with a good quality dye , that burns fast , that is readable by many different DVD players, that has a nice surface for printing on and is reasonably priced !!! somehow i dont like our chances…

I have been buying different printables and just storing them waiting for the day i get my printer in and running…you can fel the surface difference from disc to disc brand. Some are smooth and some have a “tooth” will be interesting to say the least.

I have had some in depth conversations with both resellers and manufacturers about the quality of the finnished product. All say to get a deep black (dmax) or what some would call “oomph” to the print you need the final lamination coat. Indeed the very reason the EverstII looks so good (apart from 173lpi screen) is the final layer put down by that machine is a sealer which in effect laminates the print…

anyway, thanks for the scan , will send u one of mine when the printer arrives…but then again i am releying on the french to get their act together to deliver it in London …so could take a while :wink:

Regards

Mark


#12

I’m glad you found the scan useful. When I get round to doing some discs with a higher resolution background, I’ll try to remember to post some scans here. The blocky nature of that background is down to the low resolution of the bitmap.

Colour correction - the Canon driver includes an ICC profile. I have the Dell ICC profile for my flat panel monitor installed and active too - indeed, all my equipment (that’s all the colour printers including the i865, the scanner and the monitor) has manufacturer supplied ICC profiles, which I’m using. Of course, there’s always gamut issues, but the profiles do seem to help.

Media - the CD-R was, as I’ve said, inkjet printable Taiyo Yuden (the standard sort, not the full face ‘picture disc’ variety, where the printable area extends into the hub) - there’s about 60 of them behind me on a spindle. Satin finish probably describes it well - the dark colours are pleasingly dark and not washed out. I’m sure a lamination or lacquer coat would improve the quality no end - I just can’t justify the cost of the machinery involved in laminating for my purposes, and I don’t find myself particularly enthusiastic about a spray on lacquer.

Obviously I don’t think there’s many issues with Taiyo Yuden CD-R - most regard it top notch media.

The single CD-R supplied with the i865 is a jewel cased Maxell CD-R 80 PR. I’ve just opened the packaging and put it in a drive - it identifies in DVDINFOPro as Media Code 97m24s 1f - Taiyo Yuden! It’s exactly the same media code and (at least visually) printable surface type as my 100 disc Taiyo Yuden spindle (which came from blankdiscshop.co.uk). I think this is the nearest we’ll get to an official endorsement of Taiyo Yuden media by Canon.

DVD media is more tricky. The batch of MCC01RG20 (Verbatim DataLife Plus 4x DVD-R) I bought a couple of months ago with my ND-2500A (not least because they write just fine at 8x) is, fortuitously, inkjet printable. The surface is possibly a little creamier and rougher than on the TY CD-R media. I haven’t tried printing any yet as my DVD writer has died (I received confirmation this morning that the vendor has received the package back - it’s now a case of waiting for them to test the drive and send a replacement).

I’d be tempted to try Taiyo Yuden DVD-R if I could find a source - but I don’t write many DVD-Rs and my little stash of Verbatim discs will keep me going for some time. As it is, though, I wish I had the ND-2500A at the moment - I’d really like to back up some data to DVD-R.

David


#13

I run two i865 's(Canon replaced the first one when it completly melted due to constant head cleaning, they are very fussy about what ink is used!!!) for DVD printing. A gloss finish can be obtained by spraying the surface with a plastic coating. I have tried verious printable discs, some of the ones with a reflective coating produce a semi gloss finish but result in a slightly washed out colour. I stick to intact as I have found they produce the best result overall.
If Canon tanks are used the cost per disc aveages out at about $0.50 ea When Canon supplied the eplacement printer I decided to carry out an experiment and only print DVD covers and count the number obtained from a set of tanks. I managed 70 covers before Yellow run out. Replacing the yellow, Magenta run out at 76 ,Cyan at 92, Pb at 120 and Black at 240.
At an average of $30 Au for canon tanks it is very expensive to print DVD covers on the i865! (I average about 50-60 a week)
but the quality is unbelivable! Matched against an original it is hard to tell the difference !
The most important factor is the paper, at least 100gm pure white.
An excellent printer but as with all printers it’s the consumables that count!


#14

Hi Don PL

How’s "SUNNY Melbourne " these days, its been a while for me…at least up here in London i can at least feel like its Melbourne…(yes i’m from Sydney)

So another vote for the cannon…beginning to wonder if i made the right choice…But then again the R800 is a newer machine. The thing i like about it is the archival prints that can be made with pigment inks rather then dye and 8 inks ( well actually its only 7 is’t it the 8th one is just a clear gloss overcoat)

well i’ll give you my thoughts when i get it. I may even just get a cannon as well if the R800 does’nt live up to expectations…

I used to own a pro photo lab so printing is in my blood and its my hobby these days to design DVD labels. Yeah i know its strange but thats the part of all this that turns me on…i love designing and printing …i used to own a screen printing shop as well and was into type setting and graphic reproduction anyway point is , the printing on the DVD is my big kick hence my intense interest in this subject…

@DavidW

Thanks again for your input , i have enjoyed this conversation. I will follow up on my results as they come to hand. Nothing arrived today , but i was expecting that…

As an aside, have you seen the verbatim digital movie DVD’s. They are SO way cool. They were £3.50 each but a place here in U.K has them on special for £1.10 each…if you have’nt seen em there is a thread by OC on them and you should check’em out , they really are sexy…and now such a bargin …

Regards

Mark


#15

Don,

I’m interested in your running cost figures. Personally, I print covers in my HP Color LaserJet 2500n - which is jolly cheap to run full page colour compared to an inkjet. At the specified coverage figures using an HP original drum cartridge and toner cartridges, it’s just 6.8p including VAT per colour page, and 1.4p including VAT per black and white page.

In fact, particularly for full page colour I’d be a little more pessimistic (not least as the one toner cartridge I have had to replace so far didn’t reach its estimated life) - but I’d reckon on less than GBP0.10 per colour side printed for covers and the like. At current exchange rates, my pessimistic figure of GBP0.10 is about 25 Aussie cents per colour side printed. Obviously for a more accurate picture, you need to look up Aussie prices for the consumables.

Your figure of 50 Aussie cents (about GBP0.20) per disc - is that just to print the disc surface or the cover as well? Using your figures against some UK Canon consumable prices, I make that GBP0.37 including VAT. Is that price per cover, per disc, or per cover and disc? I suspect the former. Have you any idea of the cartridge usage for printing discs?

Losing the yellow first of the three colours doesn’t surprise me - my Color LaserJet reckons that the yellow toner will fail first of the three colour toners.

Certainly the consumable costs of the Canon could be worse - at least they are individual ink tanks.

I’m interested if you have any more to say about the spray coating. Presumably you print the disc, wait a few minutes, then spray it.

Matt,

I quite understand the ‘wanting to get it right’ side of what you’re doing. I, too, like decent print quality, though the particular mix of printers I’m using matches my needs well.

So far as I know, the BCI-6 series cartridges that the i865 uses are dye inks, and the BCI-3eBK is pigment.

I wait with interest to see how you find the R800.

The Verbatim Digital Movie DVDs are certainly a nice product - though I don’t have an application for them. Large cases don’t excite me - I haven’t that much storage space for media.

David


#16

Hi Zamarky,

I’m curious what printable CDs you use. I have an Epson R800 and are waiting for my printable Verbatim CDs to arrive, so I can give you feedback on those shortly.

Are there any CD brands that look particularly good - and others that look very bad/I should stay away from ?


#17

I’ve got an “old” Epson photo 950 that I bought because of the CD-R printing capablility,
but I’ve almost now used that feature at all as the CD-tray was very tricky… and most prints got misaligned.

Anyone who has tested either the Epson R300 or R800???
Would be nice to hear if Epson has modified the CD-tray loading for greater precision.
/petter


#18

Originally posted by PeJo
[B]I’ve got an “old” Epson photo 950 that I bought because of the CD-R printing capablility,
but I’ve almost now used that feature at all as the CD-tray was very tricky… and most prints got misaligned.

Anyone who has tested either the Epson R300 or R800???
Would be nice to hear if Epson has modified the CD-tray loading for greater precision.
/petter [/B]

-Bumb-


#19

i have the same printer, but cant get the nero cover designer thing davidW mentioned to work properly

i want to print on full face dvd-rs but the cdlabel print software wont let me :a

anyone got any advice? please? :bow:


#20

What version of Nero are you trying to use? The settings I gave were for Nero 6 (probably the version that was included in Nero 6.3.0.3 rather than 6.3.1.6 if it’s any different).

By “not work properly”, what’s the precise issue?

CD-LabelPrint is pretty disappointing, I agree - hence the recommendation from me to use other software.

David