Color Laser Printer Selection and the Importance of PostScript

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by eirik, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. eirik macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    #1
    Hi All,

    I've narrowed my Color Laser Printer (multi-function) search to the Brother 9840CDW ($624), Ricoh SP C232SF ($650), Konica Minolta 4690MF($640)/4695MF($1050), and Samsung CLX-6200FX($510). Prices are ephemeral. I'm tempted to take another look at Dell in case I mistakenly dropped them from consideration mistakenly.

    Konica Minolta seems to support PostScript. Brother seems to offer emulation via Ghostscript. Ricoh and Samsung employ emulation via PCL.

    I'm interested in buying the new Adobe Creative Suite in 2010/11, when its GCD/OpenCL enabled (fingers crossed).

    Now to the nub of my question...

    Should I be concerned about this Postscript emulation? What do folks with the current Creative Suite (Windows too) and Color Laser Printers observe today? Does emulation make a big difference on printer output and performance?

    Thanks,

    Eirik
     
  2. cmcbridejr macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #2
    Having worked for Canon in the printing industry for over five years, I may be a bit biased and tell you to take a look at Canon's products.

    Nobody touches Canon in quality, reliability, and innovation. Canon is also the most environment aware companies in the print industry.

    As far as the models that you are looking at, here is my professional opinion...

    I would drop Brother, Samsung, and Dell from the list and not look back. Ricoh is the second largest manufacturer in the industry behind Canon, but they make a better b/w device than color. Konica Minolta is fourth in market share and has color output that competes much better than Ricoh and is really more on par with Canon. The only negatives I ever hear about KM is reliability. Again, please remember that I am biased having been with Canon for five years. However, I chose to be there because they are the best. Also, I moved on to working in a new industry, so I am not just trying to "sell" you on Canon. This is just my professional input.

    As far as Post Script, yes it makes a big difference. With PS, you most likely will not run into issues with fonts, formatting and page layout, there is a greater control over color accuracy, and the output may actually be faster. If you do not care so much about any of the above, then emulation may work for you.

    Double check to confirm that the KM has true PS and not emulation. If it has true PS at that low of a price, then I would be surprised and certainly have to recommend that device over the others.
     
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    A few things:
    • There is no substitute for genuine PostScript Level 3. There is no need to guess. If they don't say PostScript 3, then they don't have PostScript 3.
    • I love Canon. I own one of their scanners. Back in the day, they made the engines for most of the laser printers on the market including the Apple LaserWriter family and HP's LaserJet family. I will assume that their whole widgets are good. Around here, however, Canon service is 50 miles away. Xerox by comparison is around the corner and down the street.
    • I would go with Xerox. Genuine PostScript. Fast as the wind. Built like an anvil. Service readily available.
     
  4. eirik thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    #4
    Color Laser Printer

    Glad to hear confirmation of Postscript's value.

    I'll reconsider Canon. Not sure why I dropped them from the short-list. I like the Xerox products but their prices per features were painful.

    The more expensive KM is definitely PS 3. I need to re-check the other.

    Its looking like a sub $600 device is unlikely. Hope springs though!

    Thanks,

    Eirik
     
  5. cmcbridejr macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #5
  6. cmcbridejr macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #6
    Upon further research, I discovered that the KM has PS emulation and is NOT True PostScript. Their marketing is quite deceiving on how they word that their printer is PS capable. It is NOT true PS, but emulated through their in-house developed Emperon controller.

    I was quite surprised that there would be a $1,200 printer with true PostScript. I think the cheapest true PS that Canon offers is at least $8,000 or more. Canon also uses EFI's Fiery controllers for the PostScript ripping, which is why they are expensive, but they are the best. EFi is the industry standard for making PS rips. You are not just getting a rip, but also powerful software with EFI.

    I am guessing that spending that much money to have PostScript is not what you were initially wanting. However, if this is for business purposes, then you really need to consider.

    When I worked at Canon, most customers financed these printers. You may be able to get a great PS printer for around $200 per month with service, but they may not be what you are after, as you have not really said what you need true PostScript for.

    So, what do you need it for?
     
  7. eirik thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    #7
    Personal Use

    Looks like you all nailed it. This is for personal use, possibly professional. Postscript is clearly not practical for my needs. Use of Adobe Creative Suite, when a new Mac enhanced (GCD/OpenCL) is NOT even a MUST, but a desire.

    So with that in mind, let me re-define the issue. Any recommendations for or against various emulation solutions?

    Thanks,

    Eirik
     
  8. cmcbridejr macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #8
    PS Emulation has come a long way (and is still getting better everyday) and many printers today do a good job with the handling of fonts, page layouts/formatting, and ripping of jobs with PS emulation.

    Without true PS, you may run into some issues once in a while, but if this is for personal use, it may not be so critical.

    If you are trying to run a business and your clients expect to see on paper exactly what they see on their computer monitor, then without a doubt you need true PS.

    So, to help steer you in a direction of which printer to get... there are basically two classes of devices that you need to determine will be best for you - consumer grade or commercial grade.

    The consumer grade printers are found in retail stores like Office Depot, Staples, etc. These printers typically have a lower cost on the hardware, but will cost an arm and a leg in the long run if you produce more than an average of 500 prints per month, due to high toner costs.

    The alternative is a commercial grade printer that can be purchased from distributers or even direct from manufacturers. These printers will have a much higher upfront cost for the hardware (because they are much more robust), but the total cost of ownership will be much lower if you print an average of 500 prints per month.

    I have done research for many companies and have found that an average of 500 prints per month seems to be the "magic number" when determining a return on investment with the commercial grade devices. These commercial grade devices (color capable) will start at about $1,000 and go up.

    You will also need to determine if you want a single-function device that accomplishes that single function really well, or if you want a versatile multi-function device that does everything, but may not be the best at accomplishing everything.
     
  9. cmcbridejr macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #9
    Wow!

    Not many people know that unless they have worked in the industry. You know your stuff.

    Have you worked in the industry?

    Yes, that's true that Canon manufacturers the print engines for other companies. They still do today for many of HP's offerings. HP is really in the business of selling toner. They practically give the printer away for free because they know they will get you back on the toner. It is like Gillette's business model. Give the razor away and then charge an arm and a leg for the blades.

    I know Dell outsources their printers, as well. They just put a plastic shell with a Dell logo on an outsourced engine. Samsung may do the same thing. Not sure about Brother either, but these companies are all consumer grade, which I never competed against.

    The top dogs (in order of market share) are Canon, Ricoh, Xerox, Konica Minolta.
     
  10. W. Frost macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2009
    #10
    I was going to start my own thread, but this one is so close to the information I'm seeking, I figured I'd chide in with my question.

    I am looking for a color printer that prints dots, and will support multiple line screens. I assumed I had to go with PostScript, but perhaps not.

    What are my options for a color printer that prints real dots and screen angles?

    Thanks!
     
  11. cmcbridejr macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #11
    Dude, I have no idea what you are talking about.

    Can you elaborate further?
     
  12. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #12
    No. This is not a personal criticism, but it is troubling to me that knowing who made a printer engine is now considered to be industry-level knowledge. I have been using personal computers and peripherals since 1977. For many years since then, ordinary users knew stuff.
     
  13. cmcbridejr macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #13
    As mentioned before, I worked for Canon for over five years and part of my job was to meet with corporate officers from many different companies to consult them on document imaging products and technologies for their business. I rarely came across anyone (except those who worked in the print industry) that knew Canon manufactures many of HP's print engines.
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #14
    Such information used to be available if you knew where to look. Now, it's kept confidential for the most part. :rolleyes:

    For example, most don't know who actually made their computers these days (i.e. boards). HP's are primarily made by Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision). They also make most of Apple's system boards and all the devices (i.e. iPods,...) so far.

    To me, companies don't want users to know where it actually originates, as they don't do anything but market and sell products ODM'ed from another company. It would damage the "brand confidence" seems to be the thinking IMO. HP, but made by who? type reactions, as many haven't ever been heard of. They'd get nervous over the quality. There's validity to this argument IMO.

    It's one of the reasons customer support is so bad. No real training on the products, as their own engineers can't answer the questions, since they never designed or tested it thoroughly.
     

Share This Page