Canon PIXMA Mg5420 Or HP Photo Smart 7520

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In need of a new printer, having done a bit or research, and considering either the Canon PIXMA mg5420 or the HP Photo Smart 7520.

There are Linux drivers for the Photosmart which are supposed to handle both the printer and the scanner. But in my research I haven’t found
(yet) anyone who’s gotten the scanner to work with Linux on the Photosmart, let alone the sheet feeder for it. Allegedly there are instructions and requirements for using the fax on Linux. But I’d like to hear from someone who has actually gotten all of this working on Linux (either debian or CentOS) and which version of which distro is needed.

The Canon PIXMA mg5420 doesn’t have a fax or a sheet feeder for its scanner, but I’m guessing it’s even dodgier to get just its single-sheet flatbed scanner and its printer working with Linux. So has anyone had success with that?

I’ve also read horror stories about the how often new ink cartridges are required, that basically you pay for the printer a second and third time buying cartridges (not to mention how often a print job is interrupted by a trip to buy new cartridges). Any first-hand reports on that?

Whoever thought spending money would be so tough?

Thanks for your knowledge and experience.

14 thoughts on - Canon PIXMA Mg5420 Or HP Photo Smart 7520

  • Yeah No experience with the specific models you mention, however I have used both HP and Cannon inkjet/scanner/fax type machines. Yes, inkjets are cheap to buy, and you mortgage the house and your firstborn to keep buying the cartridges to keep them going. I also use laser machines, and find these considerably cheaper per page
    (I’m talking color – as I used to run a business where we printed dozens of full color pages per day) and over 10,000 full color per year +
    35,000 b/w. Observations:
    HP does give support for Linux drivers, although it normally takes some digging – CentOS is normally reasonably up to date with the hplip and hpijs packages, at least in CentOS6 – had no problem doing multipage scans with a PSC2200. Cannon has been a little tougher, but I am using a PIXMZ mp820 fine at present – need to load a specific package to get the scanner working :
    scangearmp – it is barely adequate – doesn’t do multiple pages into one file and produces huge hi-resolution files – great quality but hopeless if you need to scan something and email. Brother actually seem to do a bit better in support of Linux. I also use OKI C51xx and C52xx laser machines – cheap to buy second hand and I’ve put probably 100,000+ pages through a couple of these machines
    – my cost per page, full color including initial capital cost of the machines was US$0.07. It does work out cheaper to buy a new machine once the belt needs replacing. HTH – YMMV

  • I have the HP Deskjet 3512 and use the HPLIP 3.14.3 Linux drivers from HP.

    The printing works quite well, though I haven’t got the scanner to work, yet.

    Brian Bernard

  • Hi Ken

    I’ve got a HP Photo Smart 6520 which lacks the efax capability, the sheet feeder for the scanner, and the fifth cartridge (black for photo prints), when compared to the 7520 model. Both printer (incl. duplex) and scanner work well and out of the box on CentOS 6.x x86_64 with the drivers (version 3.14.4) from the HP website. Configuration and basic scans can also be done in a web browser when the device is connected to your network.

    You are right, you’re going to spend a lot more money on the cartridges than on the printer itself. I always go for the HP XL cartridges or equivalent refills to save some money. Last year we needed 2 sets à 4 cartridges for some home office stuff and the occasional photo print. YMMV, especially if you want to use the device on a more professional basis, but then I’d recommend a more professional printer anyway.


  • The Canon MG5420 is supported by Gutenprint, so printing should be ok. Sane supports the MG5400Series for scanning (at least in GIT but as yet untested) so scanning should work too or can easily be made to work

  • +1 for HP printers in general (though I’m familiar mostly with laser ones). Very robust, you will be able to get supplies during very long printer life (e.g. we have LaserJet 4050 at least 13 years old, gets used all the time, print quality is decent, and HP still manufactures toners for it).

    Stay away from Xerox. They went bad some 6 years ago or so in my book;
    they invented way so no aftermarket manufacturers will make supplies for their printers. I wouldn’t care about that, but: they stopped making consumables for printers 6 or 7 years old. So, I (yes, me too) have Xerox paperweight perfectly capable to work, but without supplies…

    I don’t know much about Canon, someone may weigh in here.


    Valeri Galtsev Sr System Administrator Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics University of Chicago Phone: 773-702-4247

  • If you cannot find a native, free solution…

    I use this commercial print driver with my Brother HL5370DW (bw laser)
    and I’m very happy:

    30 day free trial… so there’s nothing to loose.

    I have a Brother ink jet as well… don’t use it in linux but it would probably work. I’ve purchased non-OEM color ink cartridges on Amazon for $4. That is 3 color and 1 bw cartridge shipped, as a set, to my door, for $4 total. And they seem to be working as good as the OEM.
    Wish I would have bought more…

    If you really need a specific printer and it’s not linux compatible, you could do this:

  • Valeri Galtsev wrote:

    Buy a refill kit, if you get an inkjet. I, personally, had *really* bad experience with HP inkjets*, and don’t plan to ever buy one again. Laserjets, on the other hand, are wonderful. Around ’07 or ’08, I bought an LJ 1018 (almost immediately replaced in HP’s offerings by the 1022, which is annoying), but my 1018’s just fine, thank you, though there is an annoyance that it’s a “winprinter”, and has to have some data sent to it every time you power it on.

    If you’re going to buy ink/toner, here’s an unbiased recommendation: They have among the best prices that I found on the Web, and the service when I got quotes for work, but for a small order and a rather large one, was such that when my 1018 needed a new toner cartridge, I ordered (a compatible) from them… and got exactly the same competent level of service. I like them.

    Note – esp for HP, buy compatibles. As an example, an OEM for my 1018 is about $80… while the compatible toner ->w/ shipping< - was about $32 or so. mark * Ok, HP Designjets seem to be ok, but those are professional inkjets… like the, ahem, z3200ps we have, that takes a 100′, 42″ wide roll, and has *12* cartridges….

  • Canon has official Linux Support too (albeit they are somewhat outdated
    11/2012 – I remember that I recently had to backport some old and deprecated packages in Ubuntu 14 for a related Pixma because of dependencies):

    I also considered to buy a new printer with some neat extra features I
    currently do not have. In fact I came to the exact same models you have in your research, so at least thats something. I agree, the cartridges for inkjets are extremely expensive, but as long as you keep it to average private uses (i.e. printing the annual tax forms) its imho cheaper than the huge investment costs of laser printers. Also both have separate cartridges for the colors, so thats a plus (although try _buying_ them separately, almost impossible…).

    My experience from scanning with a very old multi-purpose HP printer was very pleasant, as SANE found it without any hassles. SANE in general worked very nicely for flatbed scanners in my experience anyway, provided the necessary drivers are installed. I have never scanned with a Canon before, but their drivers for printers seemed very solid to me and they integrated perfectly into the printing GUIs of my applications (which HP never did). Canon however has the tendency to recalibrate its cartridges when there was an outage while still being turned on, so wasting a lot of ink. But always turning it to standby (before cutting the electricity) is probably best anyway.

    If you decide on one, feel free to tell on which one your decision fell. I’d really liked to know!


  • B&W laser printers are as cheap as $70, for example, Brother HL-2240, and have vastly lower price-per-page… they print well on the cheapest copier paper (inkjets tend to need premium surfaced papers or they look very smudgy), the toner cartridges are /way/ cheaper than inkjet inks per page.

    we have a cheap older brother all-in-one here thats printed 18600
    pages(*) so far, using 1 drum and 8 toners. its had 20 total paper jams in all that. its also scanned/faxed/copied 2600 pages with 8 document feeder jams (per its status page). its an ethernet network printer, so the whole household can print to it directly.

    (*) 2 high school students, plus tech-writer wife who was also running girlscout activities, red cross training, etc, took its toll on the pulp forests. thankfully both kids are away in college and my wife has wound down her volunteer activities.

  • Basically I would choose based on what you will print. It these are tax returns and other important documents, then it has to be laser. These documents then will survive flood. If these are photographs, then it has to be ink printer (color is the one I would get). As ink blends, but the powder of laser printers doesn’t. Hence the difference in reproducing half-tones, gradual color changes.

    Just my 2c.


    Valeri Galtsev Sr System Administrator Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics University of Chicago Phone: 773-702-4247

  • Water immersion survivability is dependent on the quality of the paper as well as the type of print medium. I do not know if others have experienced this but the quality of copier/printer paper now available to us exhibits noticeably inferior stability when wetted from paper of the same weight from the same brand-name supplier obtained as recently as four years ago. I can attest to that because I have compared the two. Increasing the paper weight improves wetted stability only marginally and certainly not the the level exhibited in the older paper stock. And this is so-called ‘premium’ stuff I
    am writing about.

    I suspect the increasing use of recycled, and therefore shortened fibre, in production of modern papers has something to do with this.