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True Postscript printer choices
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Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
posted
Hello experts,

I'm anticipating replacing my Xerox 6120 color laser printer. Love the printer, but the toners are EXPENSIVE and very difficult to replace. Also, couldn't replace just the low cartridge last time. Printer wouldn't work until ALL were replaced. I've looked online at the moderate Xerox printers. Looks like cartridge replacement has been updated to an easier method.

I know the Xerox "crayon" printers are popular, but there are some aspects I'm not comfortable with (must be on all the time so color is ready. Potential problem, then, with power outages. Also, like to unplug everything when we travel & nobody's at home.)

MY QUESTION: What is the experience of DTP pros who must proof for commercial printing? My sense is that Postscript is still a requirement for accurate proofing - at least of B&W. HP "true" PS printers are several thousand $'s. Is their PS emulation on moderately priced printers a good idea or not for this purpose?

Are there other office printers with true PS? I looked at the "partners" list Adobe has on the web, but other than Xerox (& HP), the companies look like commercial printing equipment producers.

Any input is welcome. Trying to assess whether I really need PS. Color laser is costly, but much faster than inkjet printers. I need the "quality company image" for some of my marketing, and color laser is important - unless someone has a better idea.
Thanks all for ideas.


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2066 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
iBBS Addict
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Mary Jo:

I have this HP Color Laser Jet link and I am very happy with it. It is attached to our Ethernet network and can be printed to from any Mac or PC in the house. Wired or wireless.

If you would like to do a reasonable test on my printer we can arrange that. Also one of the office supply stores advertised it for $250.00 in this weekends Free Press.


Brian Stone

248-546-9339
 
Posts: 1640 | Location: Oak Park, MI, USA | Registered: January 31, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
posted Hide Post
Brian - Looks tempting.
Xerox considers this one to be the competitor to your HP
http://www.office.xerox.com/pr...haser-6140/enus.html

I've looked at online info on the Xerox a number of times. More costly, but at a lower price the HP is tempting.
I think OfficeMax has it on sale currently.

QUESTION: Is it difficult to change toners?
(I know they're ALL expensive.)


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2066 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
posted Hide Post
HP sale here
http://www.officemax.com/catal...&cpncode=23-11978342


Still interested in opinions regarding how essential true Postscript is. (Currently my Xerox 6120 is my only true PS printer.)


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2066 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
iBBS Addict
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Mary Jo

quote:
QUESTION: Is it difficult to change toners?
(I know they're ALL expensive.)


There is No Difficulty to change toner cartridges. I just replaced the black one in my color laser and it took longer to open the box and plastic bag that it did to insert the toner cart., and then close the toner drawer.
 
Posts: 1640 | Location: Oak Park, MI, USA | Registered: January 31, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
iBBS Addict
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Re: Price of toner cartridges I just priced all four of them for mine and Amazon had the lowest price I could find (almost 1/2 off) and they are HP factory new.

Amazon – Black - $58.99 - http://www.amazon.com/CB540A-I...1%2529/dp/B0015YCRZG

Amazon – Yellow - $54.24 - http://www.amazon.com/CB542A-I...id=1230257628&sr=1-1

Amazon – Cyan - $57.49 - http://www.amazon.com/CB541A-I...id=1230257706&sr=1-1

Amazon – Magenta -$57.49 - http://www.amazon.com/CB543A-I...ref=pd_bxgy_e_text_c

Amazon Prices as of 7/14/2010
 
Posts: 1640 | Location: Oak Park, MI, USA | Registered: January 31, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
posted Hide Post
Thank you Brian. The OfficeMax deal looks pretty tempting.


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2066 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Council Member
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quote:
Originally posted by Mary Jo Disler:

MY QUESTION: What is the experience of DTP pros who must proof for commercial printing? My sense is that Postscript is still a requirement for accurate proofing - at least of B&W. HP "true" PS printers are several thousand $'s. Is their PS emulation on moderately priced printers a good idea or not for this purpose?



The major benefit of having a true Postscript printer is the ability to verify/proof jobs that are headed for commercial printing - this relates to b&w, spot colors, full-color, etc. Postscript is used by most commercial printers for press, and it is device-independent. So, if you can print a Postscript file from your printer, without errors, it will generally print problem-free at the commercial printer. A Postscript printer will allow you to print paper separations and check for problem fonts. A black & white Postscript printer will serve this purpose well (a color Postscript printer isn't necessary). I've been using an old black & white Apple LaserWriter Select 360 (with Postscript) - and it still works great after all these years.

Before handing a full-color job to a commercial printer, I will normally print a full-color composite from an inkjet and print paper separations from the LaserWriter. Paper separations will provide one black & white print for each color plate, and/or spot colors or varnishes. I then hand off all the proofs with the digital files.

You'd have to determine your need for a Postscript printer. But usually it isn't necessary unless you prep a lot of jobs for commercial presses. One alternative is to use Acrobat Professional. Save your file from your original program as a Postscript or EPS file, distill it in Acrobat, and then Preflight it in Acrobat. Note that Acrobat is also Postscript.

Here's a link for a little more info about the need for a Postscript printer.
http://desktoppub.about.com/cs.../postscriptprint.htm
 
Posts: 684 | Registered: February 15, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
posted Hide Post
Mike - That's pretty much the "do I need" answer that's helpful. (Boy do I wish my old Apple LW didn't bite the dust! - Had the same one you still use for 11 years. You must be setting a record!)

My needs for commercial printing average once a year presently.

I do use Acrobat Pro v.8 & Distiller, so can produce the files. Just the proofing part is the big question.

I have experienced a handful of times when a pdf from someone else just printed gobbledy-gook on my "everyday" Samsung B&W, and had to print to the Xerox to solve the issue.

The link you included eventually led to this page, which has info on the HP PCL "language" FWIW.

http://desktoppub.about.com/gi...orner/pclcorner1.htm

Thanks again, Brian & Mike


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2066 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
iBBS Addict
Picture of Calvin
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quote:
(Boy do I wish my old Apple LW didn't bite the dust! - Had the same one you still use for 11 years. You must be setting a record!)



So what happened to your old Laserwriter 360? Do you still have it?


Calvin Carson

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


"portions of todays programming are reproduced by means of electrical transcriptions or tape recordings."

"....Mailbox!....Open.......... MailBox!"

"I was exposed to the GUI and have been stuck ever since!"

"Remember.. Under our clothes...we are all naked"
 
Posts: 1722 | Location: Detroit,MI,USA | Registered: June 10, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
posted Hide Post
Calvin - No I didn't keep it. It was making ominous noises and quit working. When I looked into possibly getting it fixed, the cost was comparable to getting a new one. Sadly it wound up in a recycling center. Summer or Fall of 2006 roughly.

Purchased the Xerox then. Great printer, but getting cranky & one toner is low. It's the first in their line of budget color lasers. As mentioned, when one toner cartridge completely went, it wouldn't run until I replaced ALL the cartridges. Just too expensive to do again.

The LW Select was so terrific, but just B&W, which was a different story. I think I only purchased 4 toners in 11 years.


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2066 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Donna
posted Hide Post
Do color laser printers make better color prints than inkjet? I have always had b/w laser printers, but am considering getting a color printer. I've never had a color printer, except for a snapshot printer.I'm wondering about document printing, not necessarily photos.
 
Posts: 2263 | Location: Ann Arbor MI USA | Registered: October 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Past President
Picture of Terry White
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I was going to stay out of this one simply because I don't really print very often, but I will offer a couple of tips:

1) I was sold on (and still am) the Tektronix (now Xerox) Phaser line of printers for years. These are the solid ink printers that actually melt the ink during the printing process. As far as your concern about leaving it on, it goes into a power saving (sleep mode) after being inactive for a period of time. Basically it use just enough energy to keep the ink warm in the well. You can power it down if you're not going to use it for an extended period of time, but note that doing this will use more ink as it warms up each time you fire it back up.

2) Look at the cost per color page. That's what sold me on Phaser from the start. Back then Tektronix was pushing printers with FREE Black ink for life, because they knew you'd want to print color once you started. Ahh, the good 'ole days. Anyway, even though the days of free black ink are gone, I still find the Phasers the cheapest overall cost per page to print in color vs. InkJet.
Toner was always said to be the least expensive per page, but the cost of the hardware always kept me back.
Truth about Solid Ink

3) Lastly to address your Postscript vs. non-Postscript question. This one all depends on how accurate your proofs need to be compared to what the printer is going to do. When you print in one language and the printer/service provider is printing in another, there is always the chance of things looking different. Only you can answer whether or not that's important to your work or not?

If my Phaser 8550DP died tomorrow, I'd probably place an order for a Phaser 8560DN the next day.


----
You can never go wrong by doing the right thing.

http://terrywhite.com

There are two kinds of computer users: those who have lost data and those who are about to — backup your Mac!
 
Posts: 6152 | Location: Atlanta, GA | Registered: June 10, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
iBBS Addict
Picture of Calvin
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I have to second what Terry has said about the Tektronix/Xerox Phasers. I love the "MagazineSlick" finish you get with thermal wax inks. They have gone down significantly in price from when I first saw them 10 years ago. They are fast and clean.

If you are serious, you may still can get one to use for a week or two to see if you like it. There is a place in Livonia that handles that line and other laser alternatives.

734-522-0245. LASERCOMP INC

http://www.lasercompinc.com/


Calvin Carson

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


"portions of todays programming are reproduced by means of electrical transcriptions or tape recordings."

"....Mailbox!....Open.......... MailBox!"

"I was exposed to the GUI and have been stuck ever since!"

"Remember.. Under our clothes...we are all naked"
 
Posts: 1722 | Location: Detroit,MI,USA | Registered: June 10, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Council Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mary Jo Disler:

I do use Acrobat Pro v.8 & Distiller, so can produce the files. Just the proofing part is the big question.

I have experienced a handful of times when a pdf from someone else just printed gobbledy-gook on my "everyday" Samsung B&W, and had to print to the Xerox to solve the issue.



You may want to delve a little deeper into Acrobat Professional as it may provide what you need. There are many tools/features in the Advanced/Print Production menu, including Output Preview (separation plates), Preflight, Add Printer Marks, etc. With Output Preview you might be able to print each color plate separately to a black & white inkjet (I'm not absolutely sure because it's been awhile since I messed with it).

Regarding the gobbledy-gook output: it could have been caused by a number of things depending on how the original PDF was Distilled.

If you really loved your old Apple LaserWriter, you may try looking around on eBay, etc. Occasionally, I've seen one for sale.
 
Posts: 684 | Registered: February 15, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
posted Hide Post
Donna: My 4-yr old Xerox made respectable photo printouts on normal paper, though I never really tried the laser photo gloss paper to compare with inkjet. I tend to think that inkjet still excels in the continuous-tone color reproduction that makes better photo prints.

Others here are more expert on photo printing than I, and I sense a trend toward just getting them done by a service or store, as it's so inexpensive now. I have a VERY basic HP PhotoSmart D5160 (about $30 at an office store on sale & with some coupons a couple of years ago.) Does a very respectable job, as far as I can tell, and prints CD labels (my real reason for getting it).

Re "everyday" color printing (letterhead, etc.), color lasers are much, much speedier. Waiting for a hi-res printout on inkjet can be frustrating, if you do very much.

======
Decision & purchase made: I have seen prints from the solid ink Phasers. It's fantastic! However, I just couldn't ignore the sale price of the HP Brian mentions, and the discount price he posted on toners. (It's about the cost of 2 of the 4 toners my Xerox would require.) With a special Discover Card coupon, I purchased it for $239 (originally a $399 printer) plus tax.

For now, my plan is to print "everyday color" and some marketing stuff from the HP color laser. If/when my B&W Samsung everyday laser goes (or I'm pressed for true postscript for a commercial job), will look at the Xerox B&W laser printers.

I'm not a dtp pro, so this is the decision for average small business/home use.
So be it for now.
Sincere thanks to everyone for input. Terry - Much appreciated your comments on the solid ink Phaser (even though you might have been reluctant to jump in on this one!)
Calvin - Glad to know your opinion and local resource.
Mike - The experience of a high-level pro always welcome.


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2066 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Newbie
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Hi, Mary Jo.

I wasn't watching the discussions back in July or August, so I missed you on this one. Everything about these things is cost/benefit, and it sounds like the HP you got will be a good choice for you, especially as you describe how you use it.

But in case a future need pops up, or in case someone else happens to be interested later, a couple of things might be useful.

I got a Xerox Phaser 6130N last year and I'm very happy with it. It's true Adobe PostScript 3. We use mostly for "office color" which is bright and clean -- charts, graphs and educational materials. But with some color management (old X-Rite methods and hard-won knowledge) I can get a respectable color proof or photo on glossy stock when I need to. I was able to leverage some DocuColor 6060 experience in how to prep files. Plan to do more of that as I slide into retirement and spend more time freelancing. Cartridges ain't cheap, but they are best price direct from Xerox and they last a while. They change easily, by the way.

I would never dis Terry's 8560DN. It is a superb printer. I guess I just feel more comfortable with toner powder and I like the finish I get when making a one-off brochure or mock-up. But if I ever start doing more straight photo work, I may have to get one.

As for B&W printers -- my LaserWriter Plus made it from 1986 to 1993 before the fuser assy went. The LaserJet 6MP I replaced it with in '94 is still chugging along. HP makes good printers.

About Postscript: I don't think it's essential for in-house color printer. Just print PDF's and they should GO OK.

Make good PDFs that meet PDF/X-1a standards and you don't need to print for verification. In fact, if you're doing a high profile job for fair compensation, make softproofs for the client until you get layout approval and then have the printer prepare a final approval proof from the print PDF (it's usually a line item on the print job quote anyway -- why not use it as intended?). If you're proofing a newspaper ad for a local business, the softproof might be adequate by itself.

As Mike G pointed out, Acrobat Pro has good preview and prep tools -- actually good enough to remove the need for separations at your end. I've done several thousand laser separations on old LaserJets or LaserWriters, as well as film separations for shooting plates the old-fashioned way. At one time that was the only way to verify your postscript. But these days, there is little reason to submit anything to a printer other than PDF, which you can prep correctly and preflight very well on your work computer.

To prep advertiser submitted PDFs for a twice-monthly newspaper (supercalendered paper), I save hours and hours of troubleshooting and stress by using Enfocus PitStop Pro (about $590 from Amazon). The Acrobat Pro proofing and preflight tools have come a long way and are almost as good as PitStop, but not quite enough for me to stop using it. Anyone who has to send final output to printers on a regular basis will get the investment back on a few big jobs.

OK enough testmonial.

Regarding Distiller: If you use Quark (for some strange reason) export PostScript and distill it. If you use any Adobe product for layout/art, just export (InDesign) or save-as (Illustrator, Photoshop) directly. You do absolutely nothing except waste extra time and effort to make PostScript separately, unless you're using an automated workflow setup of some sort, using specialzed proprietary software. If that's the case, you probably know more about this stuff than I do, so ignore me.

Have fun, everyone.
 
Posts: 6 | Registered: August 08, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
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Cliff - Very helpful, although your work is far, far more sophisticated than my occasional publications. I'm not a true desktop publisher pro - just do some of my own projects, and like to do them intelligently.

Re the old Apple Laserwriters - a lot of us longtimers had many years of use. I had 11 terrific years from a LWSelect, only 4 toners. Mike Gawet is STILL using a Select. (How old?) Would buy another in a heartbeat, but alas!

No, no, no, I don't use Quark! InDesign over several versions. Currently CS4. Fabulous program - and the commercial printer I work with is a happy camper when I send files. I use Distiller in connection with high res exports from a music notation program to be sure commercial printing is high quality. Can't go directly to an Adobe product from Finale.

(To blow my horn a bit, I received a very high compliment on the quality of my music notation work from a very picky music publisher at a convention in June. - I have to share credit with all the MacGroup folks who have so generously shared know-how.)

So far I'm very happy with the HP color laser printer choice.

Thanks ever so much. Discussions like this and the generous input from MacGroup members are what keep things going for me. Sometimes I talk with computer users (either kind) who don't belong to a user group, and am surprised that they don't seem to know some of the "basics" (whatever that is these days).


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2066 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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