This is a follow-up I didn't get around to until a couple folks asked me about what I bought. I was trying to choose between the HP5180 and the Canon MP600 multifunction printers.
I chose the MP600, mostly for the reasons I indicated here. My wife picked up the printer for me from Yodobashi Camera, a major electronics retailer in Japan that sells much more than just cameras. They had a 'points' campaign and were giving 20% value in points for various printers. [Usually it is 5-10%. With 20%, I get ¥4000 I can use towards a future purchase or this one.] I was surprised when she called me from the shop and asked if I sure I wanted the Pixus and not the Pixma. This confused me, as I thought I had told her the wrong printer. The sales person told her that the Japanese version is Pixus (export model is Pixma), apparently because they use a different kind of ink. So, I have to buy all my ink from Japanese retailers - no biggie. Apparently there aren't any other differences between the Pixma/Pixus MP-600, at least functionally. The only differences I could see was that they did include the CDROM tray, for printing on CDROM disks, as well as a USB cable. My understanding is that both of these are absent from export models of the MP-600. The other difference is that the bundled OCR software only has Japanese menus (no other install options). Otherwise, the print drivers are in English, and you can use English on the LED menu.
Set up was fairly easy, thought the MP-600 has a rather large footprint. You can put paper in two different feeders: the vertical sheet feeder and the horizontal paper cassette. You can switch between the two with the click of a button on the printer itself. Or you can select from within the print dialog box. This is handy, as we need to print in both US Letter and A4 size paper. However, my guess is that most folks will put some sort of photo paper in the cassette. Scanner function works well, and calls up an app called "MP-Navigator" which saves it to file on your hard drive or opens it, depending on the option you choose.
Print speed is actually so-so. It takes a few seconds to wake up the printer, so if its your first print in a while - this slows the process down. You can choose 'duplex' mode from the print dialog box. I like this, but duplex printing is even slower. Quality of printed pages is good, though I didn't make a lot of comparisons. Although I can easily connect the printer to my AirPort Express, you can only print via airport and cannot use the other functions like scanning to the computer, or downloading photos from a memory card. With an airport connection, you also cannot access the printer utility from your computer. However, these functions can be accessed easily from the printer's LED menu itself.
We had a bit of a scare when printing our first photograph on photo paper. I loaded the cassette with some Epson 4x6 glossy photo paper and gave it a shot. [Loading the cassette was a bitch, so I may try by feeder next time.] The first photo we printed looked.... awful. I began to wonder if ignoring the directions to use only Canon paper broke my printer. My wife noticed that I had printed on the wrong side, and began to berate me. I wondered how this could be, and we discovered that you had to load the cassette with the printing side of your media face down. WTF! That seems bass-ackwards to me. However, once we printed on the correct side of the paper - we were both very impressed with the results. [And Epson paper works just fine...].
Another nicety we noticed is that if the front door from the printer is up, the printer will open the door automatically so that the output has some place to go. Nice touch! We also like that we can close the LED flap to save space, and that the printer puts the LED and other functions into a sleep mode. I'll take the trade-off for warm up time if we can save energy.
I haven't had the chance to try photocopy function, card slots, pict bridge, or even direct download from camera yet. My guess is that we won't use these much - but we will see.
In any case, we are quite happy with the new printer. Having everything networkable would be great, but the slow file transfer speeds via ethernet (or heaven forbid airport) would be a drag. Now I have to figure out if I have an open USB port on my iMac or whether I should just leave it as an Airport printer.
So, the Canon MP-600 gets a MacKenchi "Thumbs Up" for now. Let's see if it stands the test of time.