Way back in the day of film cameras we printed out all photos we took but these days very few of us print any photos at all, and it is still relatively easy to do. For those who do like to print out the occasional photo though there are a few good options to print lab-quality pictures in the comfort of your own home.

As you would expect, a company that has produced high quality cameras for a long long time, Canon, are one manufacturer to offer products that enable you to print out your images at home. The SELPHY CP1500 is their latest compact printer that can print onto 6×4 inch photo paper in lab-quality.

What is it?

The SELPHY CP1500 is extremely compact dye-sublimation printer which measures 182mm x 57.6mm x 133mm and weights just 850 grams. Add in some paper to the paper tray and of course it will weigh a bit more but considering you won’t fit much more than 20 pages of postcard-sized paper in there it won’t be much more.

There is no ink required as the printer uses dye-sublimation to print the pictures which is a dry ink cartridge that slots into the side of the printer.

“Dye sublimation is a process that prints one line at a time, using an electrically heated element to produce images. Instead of spraying jets of ink onto a page as inkjet printers do, dye sublimation printers apply a dye from a plastic film. This takes the form of a roll or a ribbon, similar to that used by thermal wax printers, usually containing consecutive panels of cyan, magenta, yellow and black dye.”

Of course, this ribbon is not infinite so you will need to replace this at some time in the future after a certain amount of time. One advantage of the dye sublimation process is that pictures will last a longer time with Canon saying that they should last 100 years (in an album) – check back in with me in 2123 to see if that claim is correct.

The top of the printer is very basic with a 3.5-inch LDC display — NOT a touch display though which is disappointing. There is a D-pad with arrows and OK button, a menu button, a back button and a power button. Navigating through the various options to print from an SD card or a USB-C stick is relatively simple — but still more difficult than using the app on your smartphone.

Connectivity

There are multiple ways to print to the SELPHY CP1500 with the easiest one being via Wi-Fi but there is more. The printer supports not just 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi but also Apple AirPrint, USB-C flash drives, and SD and microSD cards. There is also an option to print via webprint from Google Photos via the app if that serves your purpose.

I found it easy to print from my phone directly and then accessing my Google Photos cloud storage and print from there as well.

The SELPHY app

The app is the easiest way to set up and use the printer. Once setup, you just select the layout you want, whether it’s a plain single 6×4-inch photo or a layout or more – see below for the options.

The layouts are a great option but in the end, you do need to remember that the printer will only print a 6×4-inch size so there’s not that much point putting too many images in a layout as they will be relatively small.

Once you’ve selected your layout and the type of paper you are printing on to, you then choose to either print from your smartphone or to “Display Web Services” which are image.canon, Instagram and Google Photos.

Select the photos you want to print and the app will add them into the layout(s) you have chosen. You can edit the images here including zoom and pan, along with rotating and some minor touch ups. I would recommend using the touch-up functions on your smartphone instead as they are going to easier to use and more powerful. Hit the print button and the photos will print out, one colour at a time, one photo at a time.

As mentioned above the printing takes a few passes as it prints the various colours so when you print your first photo with it don’t stress out.

Printing quality

The printer supports various sized paper with the biggest being postcard-size (4×6-inch) but it also supports L-size (119x89mm), Card (86x54mm), Square Label (54x54mm) and 8-label sheet (22×17.3mm). Printing a full 6×4-inch photo will take a good 40 seconds so don’t expect it to be overly quick – but it isn’t the slowest photo printer we’ve tested.

The colours in the photos are vibrant and accurate with no loss of detail in the whole printing process – don’t let the small size of the printer fool you into thinking the quality will be sub-par.

Consumables

You can buy the paper from any local store (Officeworks has multiple types of paper supported by the SELPHY CP1500. The ink you can’t buy by itself but instead it comes in a pack of both ink and paper. The various ink and paper packages can be seen on the Canon website but expect an ink and 108 sheets of 6×4-inch paper to set you back around $36.

Final thoughts

A photo printer for home is a tough sell. It is great fun to print out pictures but how often do we really do that. The cost is slightly more than that you’d find uploading to a local store such as Ted’s or Officeworks and picking up the prints from there. You buy this for the convenience though.

You get the similar, if not the same, quality pictures printed straight away from the comfort of your home. You get the ability to print out various type of images including labels, shuffle layout and bookmarks, something less easy to do at these online sites.

The Canon SELPHY CP1500 is available in black or white colours at all decent local photo supplies stores for as low as AU$209.