You might ask why Canon calls the imageClass D530 Multifunction Copier a copier, as opposed to a multifunction printer (MFP), as it can print from a computer in addition to scanning and faxing. Actually, you could call it either, but its features and connectivity are largely geared to walk-up use as a standalone copier. In our printing tests, it proved to be fast and has solid text quality. Its lack of an automatic document feeder (ADF) limits it to copying or scanning relatively short documents, and its graphics quality is sub-par.
The D530 measures 12 by 15.4 by 17.2 inches, larger than you’d want to share a desk with, and weighs 27 pounds with its cartridge in place. As you’d expect, the D530 has a few more copying/scanning options available from the front panel than typical MFPs. For example, one button controls two sided copying (1-sided to 2-sided, 2-sided to 1-sided, and 2-sided to 2-sided); another, labeled “N on 1″, lets you choose between 4-on-1, 2-on-1, and ID Card copy. An alphanumeric keypad lets you set the number of copies. You can set the D530 to collate copies, though it won’t separate them. Also on the front panel is a 5-row backlit LCD, and a 4-way rocker control with an OK button in the center lets you implement choices.
Beneath the top lid is the flatbed, which fits up to letter- or A4-sized paper. The D530 lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF), so you have to feed the paper one sheet at a time, opening the lid to access the flatbed, limiting you to copying or scanning relatively short documents. Paper capacity is 250 sheets plus a 1-sheet multipurpose tray, which should be fine for lighter-duty use in a small or home office, or as a personal MFP in any size office.
The lack of an ADF limits the D530′s usefulness for copying and scanning to relatively short documents—no one’s going to want to feed a 100-page document page by page, opening the flatbed cover for each page.
As the D530 lacks a port for a USB thumb drive, it must be connected to a computer in order to scan. You can initiate a scan either from the printer’s front panel or from your computer. As it’s Twain and WIA compatible, you can scan from nearly any program that has a scan command. Formats it scans to include Hi-Compression PDF (Windows only), Searchable PDF (Windows only), PDF, JPEG, TIFF, BMP, and PNG.
Its connectivity is USB only. I tested it over the USB connection using a computer running Windows Vista.
The D530′s printing speed is rated at 16 pages per minute in its default duplex (two-sided) mode, and 26 pages per minute in simplex. In duplex (we use the default mode for our official timings), I timed it on our business applications suite at an effective 10.1 pages per minute (ppm), and 12 ppm when I switched to simplex. These speeds are fast for its rated speed and price, and comparable to those of the Editors’ Choice Canon imageClass MF4880dw, which we clocked at 9.6 ppm in duplex and 12.5 ppm in simplex. At these speeds we don’t consider speed differences of less than a page per minute as significant, so they’re essentially tied. The HP LaserJet Pro M1212nf MFP tested at 11.1 ppm and the Editors’ Choice Panasonic KX-MB2000, rated at 24 pages per minute, tested at 7.9 ppm—both in simplex (they lack auto-duplexers).
Output quality was slightly sub-par overall for a mono laser, with text quality on the high side of average, sub-par graphics, and photo quality on the low side of average. Text quality should be fine for any standard business use except for ones requiring very small fonts, such as demanding desktop publishing applications.
With graphics, there was significant dithering (visible dot patterns). Some thin lines that had been in color on the original were invisible, and one illustration designed to bring out posterization—sudden changes in shading where there should be gradual—showed a uniform dark shade with none of the lighter tones that should have been there. The quality wasn’t up to what I’d look for to print out PowerPoint handouts, for example.
Photos also showed significant dithering and some posterization. Quality is fine for printing out images from Web pages or files, but probably not up to use in a client newsletter.
As we haven’t reviewed other multifunction copiers, the D530 is best compared with other low-priced monochrome MFPs with similar features. The Editors’ Choice Canon imageClass MF4880dw costs a little more, and has similar speed, output quality, and paper capacity, but also adds Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity, fax capability, and a 50-sheet ADF.
The Editors’ Choice Panasonic KX-MB2000 can be bought for a pittance, and offers most of the MFP features of the D530 plus Ethernet, but is a bit slower and lacks an auto-duplexer. The HP LaserJet Pro M1212nf MFP also lacks an auto-duplexer, but adds fax, Ethernet, and an ADF.
The Canon imageClass D530 Multifunction Copier is worth considering as a fast, three-function (print, copy, scan) MFP for connecting to a single computer or as a standalone copier for lighter-duty walk-up use. The lack of an ADF limits the length of the documents you may be willing to copy or scan with it, and so consigns it to light-duty use.
The D530 is best for text printing, as its graphics quality fell short and photo quality was slightly below the curve. Its running cost of 4.1 cents per page is essentially identical to all the MFPs mentioned here. There are low-priced monochrome MFPs with more robust feature sets, but if you need to do a lot of quick copying of a variety of short one-sided and two-sided documents as well as ID cards, it could well be your MFP, or as it were, your MFC, of choice.
More Multi-function Printer Reviews:
|Standalone Copier and Fax||Copier|
|Direct Printing from Cameras||No|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)||1 ppm|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Color)||1 ppm|
|Color or Monochrome||Monochrome|
|Maximum Standard Paper Size||Legal|
|Technology (for laser category only)||Laser|
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