The Canon Selphy CP790 Compact Photo Printer is a portable, mushroom-shaped powerhouse making it interesting for review. It is a very practical solution to the problem of carrying around all the bits and pieces needed to get this dye-sublimation printer working.

Canon Selphy CP790 Inkjet Printer


Canon Selphy CP790 has a unique Storage Basket which can easily hold the paper and ink cassettes, cable, AC adapter and battery pack that comes as an option. In addition, its special locking mechanism helps hold everything together when you carry the printing party with you anywhere you go. Even though the printer itself is much like Canon’s other small dye-sub machines, this machine has an oval, lime green top, into the top of which are set a 76 mm LCD display for previewing our images, ink and paper in one cassette and a series of five push buttons. In the centre of these is a four-way selection cross with, embedded in the middle, one of Canon’s Easy-Scroll Wheel for browsing quickly through menus.

Each of the sides of Selphy CP790 mushroom’s ’stem’ includes a door or sockets. On the left we would find sockets for the small, white power block, which delivers low-voltage DC to power the whole machine, a USB socket for connection to a PC or Mac and a PictBridge socket for printing directly from the camera. On the right side we have a cover for the film cartridge. SELPHY printers work by transferring solid ink from a very thin film ribbon onto the glossy photo paper, using a thermal print head. The cartridge supplied with CP790 is enough for just five photos, but consumables are available in 36-print and 108-print packs, which include both paper and cassettes. In the front we would see sockets for SD, MemoryStick and CompactFlash cards. There is an infrared sensor too, and a Bluetooth adapter is available as an option. Also at the front is a pull-down flap so we can plug in a paper cassette when printing. Two paper cassettes are supplied with the printer, one for 15 x 10 cm postcards and the other for business card-sized prints. A socket for the printer paper to feed out between each printing pass is present at the rear end.

All the parts fit in an oval, green bucket and the printer clips into its top. This is a very convenient way of transporting the machine. The bucket comes complete with a handle; though no spade and the whole system loses a little in portability, as we have to pay extra for the optional battery. CP790 comes with an applet called SELPHY Photo Print and a print driver and is compatible with both Windows and OS X.


When we print, the paper is fed into the SELPHY CP790 and out the back of the machine. Later, it feeds through four times, being rewound between each feed, and layers of yellow, magenta and cyan dye-sub ink are laid down, followed by a final, clear, covering layer to protect the print. Despite this complicated process a four-pass 15 x 10cm print would take 58 seconds to complete from a PC, exactly a minute from an SD card and 54seconds from a PictBridge camera. All three times are quick when compared with many inkjet printers, including the small-format Photosmarts from HP.

Dye-sublimation technology employed in this Selphy CP790 printer makes use of heat to transfer ink to the paper, reproducing around 16.8 million colours for incredible pictures in both colour as well as  black and white. A clear protective coating is included that prevents against damage from light, water and gases so that your cherished photos last a lifetime. The CP790 comes with integrated Creative Options like Frames, Photo Diary Print, Calendars and much more to provide our photos a great personal touch we want when sharing those precious moments. It can also print borderless images in Postcard and Credit Card sizes or Black & White photographs. The Portrait Image Optimize feature helps you automatically deliver backlight correction for the photo prints, face detection and noise reduction while printing.

Canon Selphy CP790 Compact Photo Printer

Print quality of these prints in this Canon Selphy CP790 Portable Photo Printer is pretty close to traditional silver halide photographs. There is very little of the dottiness of inkjet prints, as the ink in dye-sub printers is very briefly vapourised, or sublimated, to transfer it from the film in the cartridge to the print and the inks mix, giving what is often referred to as continuous tone print, without ink dots. Photo test prints look good, with smooth transitions between colours and sharp detail in foregrounds. By default, colours are rather dark, but flesh tones are natural enough. Overall, these images are easily as good as the best to come out of equivalently-priced inkjet printers and far better than some traditional photos.

Canon has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to pricing the consumables for the SELPHY CP790. The rival companies, such as HP and Kodak, are offering colour prints for cheaper price. But, it is worth paying a bit more for the convenience of printing wherever and whenever we wish.


The Canon Selphy CP790 Compact Photo Printer is available with a standard warranty of one year.


Stylish and compact, simple and smart, the SELPHY CP790 is a great little printer in lot of ways. Although CP790’s ‘toadstool in a bucket’ design might be a bit gimmicky, there is no denying it is a convenient way of carrying printer, cassettes, power supply and spare consumables. It is very easy to use and is versatile, printing from USB, PictBridge, memory cards, optionally Bluetooth and even infrared. Prints quickly and can produce lab-quality photos. With its range of creative functions and convenient features, it is also ideal for families for cherishing memories. Unfortunately, its expensive running cost lets it down.

Check other Canon Photo Printers, Compact Photo Printer Reviews in this website.

Canon Selphy CP790 Photo Inkjet Printer – Technical Specification Table

Manufacturer Canon
Model Name SELPHY CP790
Technology Thermal dye sublimation
Type Compact photo – dye sublimation – colour
Form Factor Portable
Dimensions (W x D x H) 247x 178 x 86 mm
Weight 1.1 Kg
Max Resolution (colour) 300 x 300 dpi (Dots per inch)
Sheet feed capacity 20 photo blanks
Features 3.0" LCD Display, My Colours, Portrait Image Optimize,
Red-Eye Correction, Storage Basket, Easy-Scroll Wheel,
Power Save, Voice Guidance through PC
Connections 1 x USB – 4 pin USB B
1 x infrared – IrDA
1 x direct print port – 4 pin USB A
Interface USB, Infrared, direct print USB
Connectivity Technology Wireless, wired
Connection Type USB 2.0
Print Speed Up to 0.8 min/page – 4 in x 6 in
Supported Flash Memory Cards Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Microdrive,
MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card, Memory Stick Duo,
xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick PRO Duo, miniSD,
CompactFlash Card, MultiMediaCardmobile, MultiMediaCardplus,
MultiMediaCardmicro, SDHC Memory Card,
miniSDHC, Memory Stick Micro (M2)
Media Type Photo paper
Media Support Postcard Size (100mm x 148mm)
Credit Card Size (54mm x 86mm)
Wide Size (100mm x 200mm);
Credit Card Stickers Mini Size – 8 stickers per card
Credit Card Size Stickers
Fade Resistance Up to 100 years in album
Ink tank types Three colour with clear ribbon
Power Device Power adapter – external
Direct Printing Specifications PictBridge, Canon Direct Print
Power Supply 60W
Noise Level 62dBA
Certified for Windows Vista Certified for Windows Vista software and devices have
undergone compatibility tests for ease-of-use,
better performance and enhanced security.
Options Bluetooth adapter, battery, different paper cassettes
Printing Software Canon Selphy photo print and driver
Accessories BU-30 Bluetooth Unit
NB-CP2L Battery Pack
CA-CP200 Compact Power Adapter
PCL-CP300 L Size Paper Cassette
PCC-CP300 Card Size Paper Cassette
PCW-CP100 Wide Size Paper Cassette
Compatible OS Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista,
Apple MacOS X 10.4 – 10.5
Warranty 1 Year