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Color Printer

In todays world of vibrant colors, color printers are a valuable assett. Any photographer, or design affectionado will need one if he or she wants to transfer their graphics or photos to paper. Color printers may also help in board room meetings to distinguish one graph line from another by using colors. Color printers help us in many ways everyday.

Color printers are quite magnificent machines. To be able to relay the same colour as seen on the computer, onto a peice of paper is an amazing task. And over the years this task has become much more efficient. Color printers, and printers in general have changed so much since they were first created. There were no color printers when printing first emerged.

Color printers today can be found for relatively cheap. You can probably get a color printer for under $100. Even for a top of the line color printer, it will probably cost you under $200.

Things to consider before you buy a Color Printer
If all your needs require is a color printer and if or the most part you are used to print black and white documents, then you should definately get a color printer. But if you need to print documents with colored pictorials or photographs, then a color printer is a fair expense. Your next preference will be determining between an inkjet color printer or a laser color printer. While nothing meters the speed and excellence of a color laser printer, it's the most costly option. A color inkjet printer can keep you with good quality at a more modest price.

Color Printer Speed
Now let's talk about the importance of speed when it comes to a color printer. First thing to do is remove the lower-end inkjet color printers from your printer list. Medium-range color inkjet printers will print text at 15-18 pages per minute; on the contrary printing a page full of vivid colors can slow down the color printer. Compare this with laser color printers, some of which can print color at 25 ppm, and shoot out the first page in less than 10 seconds. The thing is what speed you need on your color printer and what kind of color printer you can afford.

Color Printer Quality
An inkjet and a laser color printerboth can print very high quality photos. However, if you're looking at an inkjet printer, be aware that all color inkjet printers are not capable of doing this. Generally, the more-expensive the inkjet printer, the better its lasting value will be. Color inkjet printers are meant to be able to print high quality photos, and this is the type of color printer you should get if printing vivid colored photos is crucial to you.

Color Printer Resolution
Firstly, you should check the color printer resolution to see how many dpi (dots per inch) the color printer can achieve; the higher the dpis are, the higher the color printing quality will be. The typical resolution of 640x640 can be quite sufficient for most types of printing jobs, except for photo-type quality printing. Also observe to see if the color printer offers you a range of resolutions, so you can choose different resolutions for different printing tasks.

To have the ability print true black documents, most inkjet printers require a separate black cartridge inserted. Furthermore, watch out for inkjet color printers that have different kind of cartridges for each color they need; it's more economical to take out only the color that you want, than to replace the printer cartridge unit itself. Replacing a laser printer's toner cartridge is much more costly than taking out an inkjet cartridge, but printing with a color laser printer is cheaper, per page.

Color Printer Reliability
Some low-end color printers are practically designed to be throwaways. And some brands are more reliable than others. It's more economical to spend $800 on a printer you'll be able to use for 5 years than $200 each year to replace a printer that's worn out. Examine the color printer's construction. Is the cartridge attached to the printhead? Replacing a printhead is much more expensive than replacing a print cartridge.
You should test A Color Printer Before You Buy
Not once buy a color printer without checking its functioning and status in the place you bought it from. Alwayys Read the specifications to see if it fits your needs of you or your computers and see how the printer responds when it's working. Check out the different modes of the printer for example how the color printer prints both a text page and then a graphics page or a photo page. It's important to know that some printers don't do both equally well. If it's a color inkjet printer, one should observe to the sharpness of the text and images; some inkjet printers do a poor job when it gets to sharp lines.

Choosing the Right Type of Color Printer

Have you ever thought what kind of printer should you buy to be able to print all of your digital photo albums quickly and smoothly? Every kind of printer has its benefits and disadvantages, so think what you need from the printer and how much money you can afford.

The following examples gives you a small description of the pros and cons of every kind of printer, listed from least expensive to most expensive:

Portable ink jet printer: This type of printer has a decent size, but its output isnít waterproof.

Desktop ink jet photo printer: Handles halftones and shades better than a regular ink jet printer. Its output also isnít waterproof.

Portable dye sublimation printer: This portable type color printer prints images very swiftly. This color printer is quite costly per print, and you can print a maximum size of only 4 x 6.

Desktop dye sublimation printer: This desktop type color printer prints water-resistant and vivid colored pages. On a sidenot this printer has quite a slow print speed, and each print is costly.

Color printers

Let's examine some things about how color printers work. Color printers must print several of the printer's dots for each image pixel (except for dye sublimation printers, which can make any color on any printed dot). Inkjets have only 3 or 4 colors of ink, a few have 6 colors, and this is all they can print. They CANNOT print any one of 16 million colors on any one dot. So to represent each image pixel in various colors, shades, and intensities, the image is dithered, meaning the printer uses a pattern of several of its dots to simulate the color of each pixel in the image.

For instance, for the printer to print one "pink" pixel on the inkjets, we know according to the color palette it should mix some red and some white. There is no white ink, white is the bare paper color, no ink at all. To print red, the printer only has the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK) ink colors, and so must use a few magenta and yellow ink dots, not necessarily the same numbers to each ink color, to attain a certain gloominess of red. To make lighter shades of red, blank white space is used in the right amount. Black ink dots are used to darken some colors. The everyday visual effect of all these characteristic magenta and yellow ink dots, white paper, and at times black ink too, looks pink to us. But all of these multiple ink dots embody or replicate the color of only one pink image pixel.

So it is clear that we don't get anywhere near 600 or 720 or 1200 or 1440 dpi of "image" resolution from our printers in Color mode. This requirement for multiple printer dots for one image pixel greatly reduces the printer's real image resolution capability to a fraction of the printer's advertised dpi. Printer specifications are real and accurate and meaningful, but are not to be confused with image resolution. Printer ink dots and image pixels are simply very different things, and one color image pixel requires many printer ink dots. This is why we need a 1200 dpi printer (ink dots) to print an image at 250 dpi (pixels). And like B&W printers, attempting higher resolutions on color printers simply limits the pixel size area, allowing fewer ink dots, which then limits to even fewer possible color tones. We need the several ink dots in that space to simulate the correct color of the pink image pixel.

Most Inkjet printers don't utilize properly the four CMYK halftone screens from an image setter like thecommercial printing market wants. We never create CMYK images unless we are doing prepress for an offset ink press. There are unnecessary losses in RGB/CMYK conversion, particularly in the bright colors. Our inkjet printers are designed to expect normal RGB images. Their printer driver expects to convert RGB to CMYK ink, and uses dithering (stochastic with error diffusion) to produce the required color combinations from the three ink colors.

Dithering is the use of scattered dots, somewhat randomized instead of ordered halftone grids, which looks smoother on low resolution devices. The printer's limited combinations of three ink colors can rarely make the exact color for an image pixel. There is usually an error, a difference in the desired color of the image pixel and what the printer's dots of three colors can do.

Error diffusion means that the color error difference is carried over to four adjacent image pixels, one to the right and three below the pixel in error. Those next pixels are intentionally overcompensated in the opposite amount. If the possible dot combination for one pixel is not red enough, the next neighboring pixels are made overly red, so to speak. Then their own error term is carried over to their neighbors in turn. As this process moves across the image, compensating the color error, it all balances out and we see the right color.

Consider for a second what you see on a color printer page. Photo quality on an inkjet printer requires images around 250 dpi. But, video screen images are seen on the screen at about 75 to 100 ppi regular size. Yet, usually the video image looks better. The big difference is that every RGB phosphor dot on the screen can reproduce ANY of the 256 intensity values. But a printer's ink dot can only be either there or not there (two different values). Inkjets must simulate pixel colors by using combinations of several ink dots of only the four CMYK colors. Inkjet printers are relatively crude devices, and instead of more spatial resolution, what they really need is more color depth or color resolution - they need a better way to reproduce the color of an image pixel in a very small space on paper. They can't use more pixels, smaller pixels simply limit even more their ability to accurately simulate the correct color of each existing image pixel.


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Color Printer Article by Svetlana Lozovenko
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