The (continuing) joy of photo printers (and free software)

Way back in 2007 I picked up a Canon SELPHY ES1 compact photo printer. After some gnashing of teeth, I hacked support into Gutenprint, and all was good. Canon meanwhile announced three successive generations of their ES-series of printers, and I just assumed they worked the same way, since the CP-series were all compatible with each other.

It turned out the ES-series weren't. In fact, every generation was subtly incompatible. (Indeed, the latest generation of CP-series is also incompatible with everything else!). But thanks to a motivated soul, I was supplied with printer dumps for nearly every dyesub printer Canon created. It piqued my interest, and I started generating dumps for the rest of the ES-series, filling in the support matrix for all paper types. The code was committed to Gutenprint about a week ago, but remained untested.

I decided to trolling eBay for the second and third-generation printers (ES2/20 and ES3/30, respectively), and much to my surprise, my low-ball bids on two of them won. My "new" ES2 turned up a couple of days ago, and the ES30 should be here tomorrow. I spent late last night and part of tonight rewriting the smart print spooler the ES1 needed, and about 30 minutes ago I finally succeeded with successful prints with the ES1 and ES2.

The ES2 is slightly larger than the ES1, has a better UI and a more efficient paper path. It also adds Memory Stick support. Otherwise, it's identical under the hood, with the same print speed and output quality as the ES1. We'll see what the ES3/30 brings to the table when I eventually end up with one.

But in keeping with tradition, here's the first picture I (successfully) printed with the ES2:

This was shot outside my office a couple of years ago.

I'd like to find a coloriometer so I can get a calibrated printer profile, but as usual, there's an endless line of more important stuff I'd like to get first -- like some grids for my studio flashes. Damnit, photography's an expensive thing to dabble in..