Canon Selphy CP520

Canon’s Selphy CP520 is a compact photo printer available when bundled with Canon’s PowerShot A460 (tested elsewhere on the site (see the link, below), it’s stylish and small but just how good is it?

The CP 520 is a stylish-looking block of white plastic that sports an attractive blue pulsating glow on the top when printing. This little box of photo printing electronics quickly and easily prints photos either when connected to a PC or directly via a compatible PictBridge camera.

It is when connected to a camera that the CP520 reveals it’s easy to use ethos. The dye sublimation prints can be selected in-camera and printed automatically when using the Digital Print Order Format commands in compatible cameras. The user selects the images to print on the camera’s screen, for example, either printing a set or single images, using the camera to control the relevant options. Or, when connected to a PC, you can print in the “normal” way via the printer driver that comes on the supplied software CD with the printer.

A dye cartridge slots into the side of the printer (under a flap) while the paper holder slots into the front of the printer from where paper is fed, one sheet at a time into and through the printer.
Paper travels through and back again for each of the yellow, magenta, cyan and sealing overcoat with a single pass through the printer, out the back and then back through to the front again for each colour. The final finished borderless prints end up delivered on top of the paper feed holder. A single print with perforated ends that must be torn off once completed, takes about a minute.

A clever retractable USB cable is housed within the printer body that aids connection of compatible Canon digital cameras, while USB ports for PictBridge and PC connection are found on the opposite side to the dye cartridge port.

As for print quality, the print resolution is 300x300dpi and because prints are made with a virtually continuous tone with a sealing layer, they look fantastic and they’re smudge free. The excellent prints have slightly muted colours and they’re slightly soft. Shadow areas in images seem oddly flat as well but not distractingly so and presumably because unlike, say inkjet printers that use a back ink, blacks are formed from just the yellow, magenta and cyan dyes.

And it's always worth remembering that with the Canon PowerShot A460 bundle it comes with (tested here: it makes for a super value kit at £139.

It must be remembered that printers such as these are dedicated to photo prints of a set size, so they’re flexibility is limited when compared to, say, an A4 inkjet printer. However, for those that want that sole capability, the CP520 offers ease of use and simplicity. It’s an attractive device too and as it is only available as part of a bundle with the PowerShot A460 (see link above) for £139, it is a real, if limited bargain but still scrapes through to achieve a Best4Reviews Best Buy award.