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Color printer for smaller offices?

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  • Color printer for smaller offices?

    Whaaat's up and Happy Friday! Yeah, I probably won't get this answered until Monday, but I wanted to get y'all's opinion on something.

    I work in a smaller office and I am the lone graphic designer, at least for print projects (we have a web designer and do video production). The only color printer we have is an Epson Stylus Color 1520. The only thing I like about this printer is that it can print on paper up to 13" x 19" in size. It's an inkjet, so it's not so sharp, and the color is always much more bland than what would come off the press, so much that I have problems explaining to my boss that what will actually be printed will NOT look like what is on the page, no matter how many examples he sees from the past. (He doesn't get that it can't be exactly accurate)

    Do you guys have any suggestions for a printer that can print more vibrant colors and that won't break the bank. I'm looking into color laser printers, and don't want to spend a whole lot, because I have to justify the cost to him, but don't want a crap product either. I know that a point I could give to him about the color laser is that we could do some of our smaller color copy rips in house instead of sending it out. Any suggestions on a printer for this purpose would be great!

    now that I've written a novel about it...

  • #2
    How much is not much?

    You can't get an 11x17' colour laser for under $1000 unless it's used.
    You could get a 8.5x11'. Or a new thermal wax printer like the Xerox 8400...

    What you should really get is a Xerox Phaser 7550 or 7300 but they're over $3000 easy.


    • #3
      Under $1000 is a safe assumption.

      Since we have the large format inkjet we could use for fold up comps, etc, the 8.5 x 11 would be perfect. It is more for color and clarity rather than the smudged up desaturated mess I get with 8 point colored typeon an inkjet.

      That Xerox 8400 looks nice, that may be an option. What exactly is a "thermal wax" printer? I see it uses solid ink technology, which I'm not really familiar with, because I should think about the ink costs of this bad boy.

      It definitely looks like the type of printer I'm looking for, though, thanks


      • #4
        The Xerox 8400 uses a really hard wax instead of toners or inks. They used to be really bad and you could use the paper like a crayon the wax was so soft. But I've played with the output from this one and it's not too bad. You can still scratch it off with a fingernail but not as easy as before. Solid ink is a bit cheaper than colour lasers.

        It's not a laser, so the quality isn't quite as good, but the colour is pantone certified and it's good for in-office stuff.

        If you want a cheap cheap colour laser the HP2550 goes for about $400 on the street. The color is "pleasing" and not pantone certified so it sucks for proofs but it does 'okay'. The resolution bites. Small coloured 5 point text is unreadable. But it's a damn fast black and white printer.

        You could also pick up a used Phaser 740 for like $200. Beautiful prints. But keeping it running might be a chore. It's also REALLY slow, like 4 pages a minute or something.


        • #5
          Are you using actual Epson stock 300dpi inkjet photo (not glossy) paper in that printer? We get pretty darn close on an Epson 3000 (on most colors) when using the matched paper. I'm not at work or I'd give you the stock number. It's called Super A3/B, has a brite-white matte coated side, and works great with the settings for 300dpi inkjet photo paper (gotta check that your driver is matched too). Might not be too good if trying to comp images for glossy stock printing... Epson glossy paper is too f*ing expensive.

          The 3000 is obsolete but it has a bigger brother out there with 6 color inks. Haven't checked it out in person yet.

          How can someone in video production not understand that what you see on paper and what you see on screen (or the final printed piece) are two different things? Gawd, I hate doing color matching for video or TV. I should just print out a color chart at mural size and tell em to shoot it and pick from that. But I digress...

          PD is a grande format digital print dude. His advice/opinions may not apply to the 4color/offset/web world of printing


          • #6

            yeah, we use the Epson paper with it. All of our 4-color work is on glossy stock, though, so it's a little tough to get a feel for it. It seems like it varies, plus the resolution is crappy, and it seems like it runs out of ink after about 100 sheets! (Ink isn't exactly cheap for it either)

            I'm just trying to think of the best way to present proofs to my boss, and if it can be at a good cost, and be something the entire office can use for color, then that's great too.


            • #7
              the top rated laser printer at pcworld is the Dell costs around $449...according to their test results the text and graphics are outstanding and good respectively...speed is good at 25 ppm monochrome and 5 ppm color...other features include max resolution 2400 by 600 dpi monochrome 2400 to 600 dpi color, it is also network compatible through year warranty and 24/7 toll free support...hope this helps, for more info:


              JohnQ grafix Questor
              Printing Quotes
              "increase your businesses marketing"


              • #8
                You can't use that as a proof printer. Not Pantone certified. Not Postscript.


                • #9
                  I know it ain't laser but I've got a hewlett packard colour inkjet cp1700PS, it uses the same ink cartridges as the designjet series. Inks last forever (did a run of 100 A3 posters with full colour and still have more than 1/3 of the tanks left) also has easily replacable print heads (they pop out like the cartridges would in a normal inkjey) and individual 4 colour ink cartridges. Don't know where you can get one, i picked up a brand new POSTscript model off ebay for 175. You can print on paper up to Super B and get amazing vibrant colours on


                  Didn't mention whether you're on PC or Mac (Mac has issues with the postscript software seeing as they haven't updated for OS X, unless i'm mistaken, PD ?)

                  hand :
                  eye :
                  mouth :


                  • #10
                    I've got and have used the Epson Stylus Photo 2200 for over a year and have printed photo's, posters and on canvas. If you match the Photo or Matte Black Ink, the right paper and the right Profile it is wonderful. It has seven ink colors. I think it's the best inkjet on the market except Epson's next size up(I think the 4000?). It prints on rolls and has a cutter.


                    • #11
                      We had an HP 4550 color laserjet. Recently upgraded to a Xerox 8400. Worlds better. The color is far better and more crisp, vibrant... Speed- well I can't vouch for other printers, but what took hours for our laser takes, well, minutes. It does not jam like the laser did. It has a straight path instead of an s-path. For us, that makes a huge difference since we use so many different types of papers, weights, textures... It can print on some crazy stuff. It actually can print on an envelope without jamming! Can you tell we were fed up with our laser. We've put the laser into a backup status and print mainly b/w text pages and use it as a basic work horse when we need to.

                      As for cost. I think you can still get a basic model for 999. We got an upgraded version for about 1600. More memory and it does double sided printing. Other than that, I think it is the same machine. The ink does cost a little more on a regular basis, but is you follow some basic guidelines, you can make it go further. On the other hand, there aren't any drumkits to replace, fuser kits, not to mention a few other parts that cost in the hundreds. It cleans itself pretty well too. If I did not say so yet, pretty jam free. We still haven't gotten used to how fast and accurate it has been.

                      As for the scratching mentioned above, yep. Can't argue. We make custom invitations and other paper products. It has yet to be an issue. You can pour water over a print and not worry. I can't have any envelopes smear in the rain. Back to the scratching- like anything, if you push it far enough, you'll ruin it. But we've been aggressive in our tests, and we've felt that normal things aren't an issue. Yet!

                      Good luck. Hope this helps.






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