Laser and inkjet running costs

  Wilham 21:23 03 Oct 05
Locked

An extract from our PCA home page reads... "Before buying a colour laser, ask exactly what needs to be replaced, how often, and at what cost." Good advice, but ask who?

From not far away is written... "In general, expect to pay £10 to £30 for an ink cartridge, and £50 or more for a toner cartridge." Well I'm satisfied with my Canon carts from a list of 32 Canon compatibles at click here
priced 74p down to 69p, inc vat, plus modest postage.

I'd like a colour laser because my wife has proved to me that none of my inkjet printers, even with original ink and top price paper, can match the quality of her Boots' shop 50 for £5.
I'm an avid diy man, and if Boots can do it with a 6 year old laser, so ought I with a new one.

I've had several mono lasers in the past. Reviews I've seen of the lower priced colour lasers don't answer the questions in the first paragaph of this thread. They focus on pages per minute speed, not the cost of laser glossy paper, nor if the gloss comes hard enough to wipe clean after sticky-finger handling.

Where can I find impartial answers?

  TOPCAT® 23:19 03 Oct 05

Several sources on the subject at click here Reckon you'll need to use genuine toner whilst warranty is in force. TC.

  Wilham 16:41 04 Oct 05

TOPCAT, thanks,- and yes, I've noticed them.

I'm irked I can't diy pictures as good as my wife's (and now mine) 10p snaps from Boots. It doesn't make sense when I read the following from our PCA home page under 'Photo printing on a laser'...

"Unlike with most inkjet printers, printing on glossy paper with a colour laser doesn't tend to improve print quality."

I want to shout "Rubbish!".

  Diemmess 17:41 04 Oct 05

IMHO colour printing is almost a black art.

The software you use for tweaking the original photos and your skill in doing the tweaks, can have a make/break effect more noticable than the printer (provide you ignore bottom budget printers)

It all depends on how much control you wish to have.

I have a younger son who finds Boots better than spending hours at a keyboard, but it depends on how you want to spend your time.

  Wilham 19:36 04 Oct 05

Diemmess, I fully agree with you.

In making up a Boots 50 batch I included several under-exposed as experiment. They came back better prints than than my tweaking would produce, -I assume done without human touch.

I wonder if such photo auto-control is available as software for my computer?

  TOPCAT® 23:34 04 Oct 05

Supposedly fixes out-of-focus photos. Possibly a free trial download at: click here

TC.

  siouxah1 15:46 05 Oct 05

Wilham,
I would suggest carrying out some intensive investigation before committing to colour laser

All my observations here are referring to the lower end of the colour laser range. In particular the Epson Aculaser C1100.

COST
Each toner replacement, and there are four, costs in the region of £50 each. The Black is of higher capacity than the cyan, magenta and yellow.
One would also need to factor in the cost of the photoconductor drum which I believe is good for 40,000 sheets.
The printer I have used has printed x72 A4 photo sheets and X22 B/W sheets (text) and has used about 50% of the toner. I am sure you can do the maths on that.
Perhaps the cost will reduce as more supplies become available. The toner came with the printer so not sure if they are of reduced capacity, but would think not.

QUALITY
The B/W printing is excellent.
The colour photo output can be on plain or special gloss paper. (Not the usual photo gloss paper.) This costs in the region of £16 per 250 sheets from Epson.
The photo output on both plain and gloss paper is fair to good. Not much difference between them. However the perception of quality on the gloss is better.

It is very speedy and convenient.

However I would not compare the output of the laser as anywhere near that of my Canons ip5000 and i9950. There is in my opinion no comparison.

How the upper end of the laser printers perform is not known to me. I would not in any way attempt to replace my inkjets for a laser at the moment, good though they are, unless I could afford the very best.

Regards Brian

  siouxah1 16:08 05 Oct 05

If you would like an example, A5, prnted on the Aculaser 1100 contact me via the yelloe envelope.

Brian

  Wilham 16:50 05 Oct 05

Topcat's 'Focus Magic' click is great, and for some time I've been curious about the forensic photo methods.

siouxah1's first hand info is useful and his kindness splendid. Thankyou both.

With the above help I'm looking for answers to the following...

(i) Can any of the present colour lasers on the market, say priced less than £500, produce glossy prints matching Boots specifically in hardness of glaze? If not, why not?

(ii) Is there software available that will auto-set photo printing to maximise the brightness range of a picture? (I think professionals used to call this 'Setting the gammma')

  Diemmess 18:26 05 Oct 05

With no claim to do anything special I've dabbled, usually needing instant results from a few, rather than a whole mass of holiday snaps.

By chance I have had Corel Photopaint far longer than a digital camera. Adobe Photoshop in its ever more elaborate versions users would claim, does it better.

However I discovered for myself that the greatest single improvement at the click of the mouse is to let my software adjust "level equalisation."(Corel Photopaint v 9)

This has done more to brighten and balance the contrast of the picture than have me plodding around with all the other adjustments....... Including Gamma which seems (to me) to help some difficult exposures into a state nearer to what I intended but for me is no cure-all.

I am still fascinated by the sheer punch of Messrs Boots prints!

  Wilham 22:06 05 Oct 05

Diemmess, thanks. I think you have found an answer to my second question. The 'level equalisation' you mention is worth a visit.

Leaves remaining problem, how does Boots' six-year-old Fugi laser printer produce that hard gloss on prints?

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