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PeterParker Dec 25, 2012 07:42 AM
How do you configure a new color laser printer (and what is PostScript)?
Hello,

alright, so, after 10 years of using a combination of a b/w laser printer and a color inkjet (various models, though), we switched to a color laser printer, a totally new HP Color LaserJet 200 Pro M251nw, with AirPrint.
The first prints were excellent and anything we tried ever since was really great.

However, now there's just a real desire to calibrate it well (if that is possible) and learn how to handle it appropriately. So, how do you do that? I'm really sorry, but, reading articles (or stuff like, yes, amazon comments), people talk about trying around for 8 hours, they recommend the PostScript driver etc.
There's a big configuration website for the printer with many settings, but I really don't know yet how to use it. And, what is PostScript, really? Do I need to know? Is there more than one driver for the printer? The installation manual said I should use the CD for driver installation; I tried, but the application on the CD notified me it won't work with 10.8 and I should use Software Update. So I did and it downloaded stuff for two minutes or so, ever since, it works. (It also works with a different Mac on 10.5 using a Generic printer driver, although I don't know how good that is, yet). Now what? Any ideas? Any great websites to read? What to do?

Advice needed, I hope someone knows...
Greetings,
Pete
 
Spheric Harlot Dec 25, 2012 08:58 AM
If it works after following instructions, why are you looking for something more?

What on earth are you looking to do?
 
jmiddel Dec 25, 2012 09:53 AM
The OP says he wants to calibrate it, I suppose to optimize color print fidelity. A question: does the color seem off, and if so compared to what, you
monitor, reality, other prints from your previous printers?
 
Thorzdad Dec 26, 2012 04:10 AM
Beyond whatever self-diagnostic routine the printer itself does (and I'm not familiar with these desktop lasers to know if they do anything) there really isn't any calibration to be done. So long as you have a current driver installed (and it appears that OSX supports your printer natively...no need to install HP's software) printing should simply work.

Postscript is a programming language used mainly as an advanced page description language. Its primary use is in the professional printing industry to allow accurate data transfer between the different stages of print...design, pagination, rip, plate making, etc.

If the printer is putting-out great prints, I'd advise you resist the urge to tweak it. If it ain't broke...
 
cgc Dec 26, 2012 07:15 AM
Are laser printers even very color accurate? I've always though (read) that color lasers are the worst in terms of color accuracy.
 
Thorzdad Dec 26, 2012 07:25 AM
It's almost entirely a function of how good the drivers are. Paper quality plays a part, too. I think they're at least as color-accurate as good inkjets.
 
jmiddel Dec 26, 2012 03:25 PM
Does anyone have experience with these consumer color lasers? I never had a color printer, and would like to just have one printer that can do b/w and color, and that is not an inkjet. My main question regards color fidelity, so I can preview stuff that will be professionally printed when done.
 
Thorzdad Dec 26, 2012 05:25 PM
What will be your source? A professional app like InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator? Or, are you talking about some Word files you're taking to Kinkos?

When you start talking about pre-press color proofing, you're off into a whole new territory. For color accuracy, you need to start with a properly calibrated monitor and build from there.
 
Waragainstsleep Dec 27, 2012 12:59 AM
All printers are evil. If it works, don't mess with it, it won't just stop working it'll try to kill you while you sleep.
 
Spheric Harlot Dec 27, 2012 02:00 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep (Post 4208969)
All printers are evil. If it works, don't mess with it, it won't just stop working it'll try to kill you while you sleep.
That's much less of a joke than I'd like. Printers hate us. Leave them alone, feed them paper and ink, and pray they'll leave you alone and just do their job.
 
raleur Dec 27, 2012 06:49 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Thorzdad (Post 4208937)
What will be your source? A professional app like InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator? Or, are you talking about some Word files you're taking to Kinkos?
When you start talking about pre-press color proofing, you're off into a whole new territory. For color accuracy, you need to start with a properly calibrated monitor and build from there.
This.

If you're printing your own stuff, even from InDesign or Photoshop, then as Thorzdad says, your monitor calibration is the most important part of the system. If the printer's not giving you what you see on your screen, try changing the monitor profile first.

The same is true if you're preparing something that you'll eventually be sending to a service bureau.

But if you're working on stuff that requires very high levels of accuracy- like 1200 dpi art prints- and you're sending it to a service bureau, ask the bureau to send you his profile, and use that. But keep in mind that even then, you'll see some variance between your laser and an offset because the processes are different.
 
Thorzdad Dec 28, 2012 03:44 AM
Oh, and, if you are sending stuff to actually be professionally printed (i.e. offset), your files need to be in cmyk, not rgb.
 
cgc Dec 28, 2012 07:21 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Thorzdad (Post 4208848)
It's almost entirely a function of how good the drivers are. Paper quality plays a part, too. I think they're at least as color-accurate as good inkjets.
I would only use a color laser if color accuracy was not needed and my output consisted of grayscale or a mix of mostly text w/ graphics.

Color lasers color gamut isn't nearly as wide as a cheap ink-jet or dye-sublimation printer and the way color laser printers layer colors makes it less than ideal for work where color-accuracy is critical. Lasers excel where speed, low cost, or low color accuracy are required/acceptable.
 
PeterParker Dec 28, 2012 09:40 AM
Alright, thanks for the many replies! I haven't calibrated the screen for quite some time, so I will try this, too.
Generally, I found the prints somewhat too dark and I still wonder why. The main image source would be Photoshop Elements, or simply the ocassional print from 'Preview' and Word...

I don't know, it just seemed a much more advanced machine to me, so I thought some work with it couldn't hurt. I still think about all this, though... Hmm.
 
raleur Dec 28, 2012 10:06 AM
Images printing too dark is often a sign that you're working in RGB instead of CMYK. I don't know if Photoshop Elements allows you to convert to CMYK, but try that if it does. I'm afraid you're out of luck with Preview and Word.

Something else to consider is your ambient light: if your display is in a dark room, then it's very possible that your eyes are adjusted to the monitor glare, which will always appear brighter than anything you print. Make sure you have a well-lit room when you calibrate the display, and try to use the same conditions when you're editing your images in Photoshop.
 
Thorzdad Dec 28, 2012 10:57 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by raleur (Post 4209243)
Images printing too dark is often a sign that you're working in RGB instead of CMYK. I don't know if Photoshop Elements allows you to convert to CMYK, but try that if it does. I'm afraid you're out of luck with Preview and Word.
Except, most, if not all, consumer/small office printers use sRGB as their default colorspace. I know it doesn't make sense, but look at your printer's profile in the ColorSync Utility.


Quote
Something else to consider is your ambient light: if your display is in a dark room, then it's very possible that your eyes are adjusted to the monitor glare, which will always appear brighter than anything you print. Make sure you have a well-lit room when you calibrate the display, and try to use the same conditions when you're editing your images in Photoshop.
Every professional Photoshop studio I've ever worked in or visited always had the ambient light turned down, in order to minimize reflected glare and light washing-out the screen. A darker ambient space allows you to see images and color more accurately. I've worked in places where not only were the lights turned down, but the artists also had hoods fitted around their monitors in order to further block any potential glare or reflection. These guys were doing serious color-critical work.
 
raleur Dec 28, 2012 11:19 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Thorzdad (Post 4209251)
Except, most, if not all, consumer/small office printers use sRGB as their default colorspace. I know it doesn't make sense, but look at your printer's profile in the ColorSync Utility.
That's interesting- I knew it was included, but not that it was default. In any case, there will still be differences, and I wonder if changing the workflow to CMYK wouldn't minimize them in this case.
Quote, Originally Posted by Thorzdad (Post 4209251)
Every professional Photoshop studio I've ever worked in or visited always had the ambient light turned down, in order to minimize reflected glare and light washing-out the screen. A darker ambient space allows you to see images and color more accurately. I've worked in places where not only were the lights turned down, but the artists also had hoods fitted around their monitors in order to further block any potential glare or reflection. These guys were doing serious color-critical work.
Thanks for clarifying- this is true. Sorry, I didn't mean to make it sound like you need to work in an operating room- that's not good either. I was thinking of cases where the monitor was the only light in the room- students who wanted to know why the pics they edited at home were darker than those they did in the graphics lab.
 
PeterParker Dec 31, 2012 02:40 AM
Thanks already...

I will try recalibrating the screen as soon as I get back to my parents - other than that, I wanted to share that the prints are really oustanding, we just haven't seen anything like this, in some way.
So, thanks for all the input, I'll check about CMYK/RGB/sRGB, too in the future.

There is one somewhat-related question, too: How do you really calculate those toner prices? With a b&w laser printer, it's simple enough, but now... For each of the four toners, HP says you can print 2400 pages with it - what does this mean? Can I print 2400 pages with a complete set of toners or what do they mean?

Something else: I just started using 300dpi images at 27cm x 18 cm - trying to get understanding what this is like. After a few prints of these, the printer said memory was full and became a bit sluggish. It took a while to "clean up", apparently - even b/w prints took a moment to be printed. Or does this only happen in the first few days of use?
I don't really know if memory can be extended, I think it said it has 128 MB RAM and that this would be total. Any idea?


Quote, Originally Posted by jmiddel (Post 4208924)
Does anyone have experience with these consumer color lasers? I never had a color printer, and would like to just have one printer that can do b/w and color, and that is not an inkjet. My main question regards color fidelity, so I can preview stuff that will be professionally printed when done.
I wondered about the same thing and started a thread on color laser printers a while ago:
http://forums.macnn.com/0/forum/4912...y#post_4184087

Greetings,
Pete
 
PeterParker Jan 6, 2013 08:18 AM
Hello,

as a follow-up... I recalibrated the screen and it made a huge change. It's rather inhabitual, as, I suppose, you shouldn't change screen profiles quickly but simply remain with one. Now the screen and the printer are pretty close. Somehow, I find the printer somehow shows less precise contures than you can see on screen, but maybe that's normal dpi confusion I'm now confusing with now having a new printer.
There is also no option in Photoshop Elements to switch to CMYK.

My question on price-per-page-calculation remains, too. There are four toners, and each says it can print 2400 pages. Now, can I print with the whole lot of them more than 2400 as this is a per-toner-number - and then it depends on my habits as colors are always mixed...? Or how should you think, I'm just trying to get an overview, so...

And I find the black when printing texts to be quite stronger than in the past, with our old b/w laser printer. There is a 'draft' option when printing, but it makes no change. I don't really know what to think. It Looks sort of elegant, but I wonder if it is necesseary and it feels rather out of habit, hmm.

Thanks for all the input!
Pete
 
Thorzdad Jan 6, 2013 08:36 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by PeterParker (Post 4210393)
I recalibrated the screen and it made a huge change. It's rather inhabitual, as, I suppose, you shouldn't change screen profiles quickly but simply remain with one. Now the screen and the printer are pretty close.
Ideally, you should re-calibrate your monitor at least once or twice a year. So, you will be changing profiles (to the new one) an a regular-ish basis.

Quote
Somehow, I find the printer somehow shows less precise contures than you can see on screen, but maybe that's normal dpi confusion I'm now confusing with now having a new printer.
I think what you're describing is what generally happens when you view a low-resolution image on screen, and then print it. Screen-resolution images are going to look good on-screen, but print terribly. This is also dependent on whether the printer is set to print the image at actual size, or "fill the page", a.k.a. enlargement.

Quote
My question on price-per-page-calculation remains, too. There are four toners, and each says it can print 2400 pages. Now, can I print with the whole lot of them more than 2400 as this is a per-toner-number - and then it depends on my habits as colors are always mixed...? Or how should you think, I'm just trying to get an overview, so...
Those calculations should be taken with a mountain-sized grain of salt. Because, in color printing, the colors will be uses at varying rates, you might well get 2400 prints from the yellow toner, but only 1000 prints from the black. I woul suspect that the manufacturer's 2400 estimate is based on printing small images at the lowest quality setting. If you're doing borderless 8.5x11 photo-quality color prints, you're going to get a lot fewer prints out of the toners.

Quote
And I find the black when printing texts to be quite stronger than in the past, with our old b/w laser printer. There is a 'draft' option when printing, but it makes no change. I don't really know what to think. It Looks sort of elegant, but I wonder if it is necesseary and it feels rather out of habit, hmm.
It might be printing black as a mix of black and other colors, what we call a "rich black" in the printing trade. In whatever app you're printing from, is there a way to set the color of black text to a 100% grayscale black, and not a 100% RGB mix?
 
Spheric Harlot Jan 6, 2013 09:32 AM
Hey Thorzdad!

I thought animated sigs were not allowed…? ;)
 
Spheric Harlot Jan 6, 2013 11:41 AM
Aww. I didn't mean for you to ACTUALLY change it! :(
 
Thorzdad Jan 6, 2013 11:50 AM
Gotta set a good example, and all that rot, y'know.
 
andi*pandi Jan 6, 2013 12:26 PM
aw, missed it.
 
Thorzdad Jan 6, 2013 12:29 PM
Oh ok...Back by popular demand.
 
raleur Jan 7, 2013 12:08 AM
Follow Thorzdad's advice, he's spot on!

Maybe I can help explain some issues a little more:
Quote, Originally Posted by PeterParker (Post 4210393)
Somehow, I find the printer somehow shows less precise contures than you can see on screen, but maybe that's normal dpi confusion I'm now confusing with now having a new printer.
It sounds like you've already figured it out, but the things to check are the file resolution (300 dpi should give you very crisp images) and whether the printer is resizing the image. Your printer may also have a low-resolution "quick print" mode that could produce similar results.

Quote, Originally Posted by PeterParker (Post 4210393)
There is also no option in Photoshop Elements to switch to CMYK.
If your recent display calibration is giving you good results, then I wouldn't worry about this.

Quote, Originally Posted by PeterParker (Post 4210393)
My question on price-per-page-calculation remains, too. There are four toners, and each says it can print 2400 pages. Now, can I print with the whole lot of them more than 2400 as this is a per-toner-number - and then it depends on my habits as colors are always mixed...?
In my experience, those estimates are always exaggerated. For example, they may base the 2400 number on pages that are mostly text, with some colored charts or small pictures, as you would find in typical business printing.

Of course, a full-page photograph will consume much, much more toner because it puts a lot more color on the page. If you have photos with a lot of sky, you can expect to run out of blue very quickly, and so on. The best thing you can do is pay attention to your levels until you get an idea of what you use, so you'll know when you need to buy a replacement cartridge.

Quote, Originally Posted by PeterParker (Post 4210393)
And I find the black when printing texts to be quite stronger than in the past, with our old b/w laser printer. There is a 'draft' option when printing, but it makes no change. I don't really know what to think. It Looks sort of elegant, but I wonder if it is necesseary and it feels rather out of habit, hmm.
Your printer uses HP's ImageREt technology, right? That could explain why your text is in rich black instead of simple black. Can you change that or turn it off in the settings?

Also, have you changed paper? Coated papers will make black appear richer.
 
PeterParker Jan 9, 2013 04:12 PM
Hey everyone,
so, I'm still trying around... I thought buying a new printer may be a good opportunity to really try some things I haven't thought about for quite a while. For instance, I actually went to the closest copy shop and bought pages in various weights (80 gramm, 100, 120, 160, I don't know what's that in English, though).

So, thanks for all the replies! I'm continuing to try around and I'm finding out this and that, so...

A few questions remain open:
1. Toner prices: My question really was how to think about this. I know toner prices depend on their use, i.e. they depend on what you print. What I meant is, how e.g. '2400 pages' are worked out with four toners - does this mean I can, theoretically, print 2400x4=9600 pages in total, when black and the colors would be used exactly identically, or does this mean I can print 2400 pages in total in case of identical use of black and colors. Anyone understand this? I just didn't work this out yet.
2. Trying around, I rembered a note in a Photoshop book I read some time ago, telling you should always print from Photoshop (instead of Preview) as results are normally better. In addition, they suggested to tell color management to use the setting 'colors handled by Photoshop' instead of 'colors handled by printer'. Can you confirm this? I tried and I found the difference to be pretty noticeable between printing from Preview and from Photoshop, although I explicitly told Preview not to resize anything and simply to print at 100%. However, I couldn't find a real difference when I changed the setting where colors were to be handled. Do you sometimes use Preview to print, or only for the quickest prints? (note: So, I got the remark always to consider resizing, if it is done quickly, it may be done carelessly; if you have to do it at all, it always changes the image.)
3. I still wonder about extending RAM, hmm. So, it has 128 MB of RAM, I think. When I print a 3 MB jpg, and I try to print another one instantly afterwards, sometimes it says memory would be full and it couldn't print. When I wait half a minute, it's never a problem. (That's my observation until now, at least.) Any thoughts? Did you extend the RAM, is this necessary? Additionally: Can you really print 'huge' 30 MB Photoshop files, and many? I don't know if I ever really tried. Do you ever save in JPEG when you want good quality?

Thanks already...
Pete
 
raleur Jan 10, 2013 01:35 AM
Hi Pete,

I think I can answer some of these, but I hope others can fill in the rest of the information.

1. Toner estimates: since the 2400 estimate is probably used for marketing rather than accuracy, it's hard to say which is correct. My guess is that they want to tell you that four new cartridges will print a total of 2400 "full color" pages. You'll have to read the legal small print to see what they really mean.

Also, if your printer is always printing with 4 colors, even for black text, then I would say 2400 is the maximum number of pages for the four cartridges combined, not separately.

2. Photoshop vs Preview: I remember that this was true in the past, but I can't tell you if it is still true. Personally, I always use whichever application created the image to print it, and have never printed from Preview, so someone else will have to help you with this.

Photoshop vs Printer: Several years ago, this could be a real problem, but I don't think you will see much of a difference today. I still let the application handle the color management, but I do this from habit- maybe someone else has experience with this?

3.RAM: In my experience, doubling the RAM will increase the printing speed, but not a huge amount. The general rule to follow is: what size are your typical jobs, and do you have enough printer memory to hold them? If you want to print a 30 MB file, your printer should hold it without any trouble, and you probably won't see much improvement from extra memory.

Saving in JPEG: I use JPEG only for the web, never if I want to keep quality. For print, EPS is still the standard, but I know a growing number of printers who accept Photoshop files.
 
PeterParker Jan 13, 2013 01:13 PM
Alright, very cool, thanks very much! I'm continuing to try around and I think I'm getting there. Feels much better already.

There is one more question now, this one is a bit more practical, however: Can I continue printing on my old inkjet paper as long as I still have it? I won't need it any longer in the future, but I wondered if I actually have to throw it away now. Any thoughts?
 
raleur Jan 13, 2013 09:15 PM
Yes, you can print on any paper that will fit- the only problem you might notice is that certain weights/qualities could jam or feed poorly.

I recommend using standard copy/printer paper for most things, and saving the expensive stuff for your final prints.
 
PeterParker Feb 9, 2013 01:28 PM
Hello!

There is one more question: Can I buy a toner, not open the box, and then have it standing around for a few months? Not long, maybe two or three months? That's something I have been wondering about for many years...

Greetings,
PeterParker
 
Spheric Harlot Feb 9, 2013 01:56 PM
You can have toner sitting around for years without trouble.
 
olePigeon Feb 12, 2013 02:24 PM
That's one of the big advantages of a laser printer over inkjet. With inkjets, HP and others have now put "expiration" dates on their inkjet cartridges. So regardless if you use them or if it's completely full, they will "expire," forcing you to buy new cartridges instead of just wiping the head with some isopropyl alcohol.

Calibration kits are pretty darn cheap. You can get one to make sure your printer is more accurate.

Also, it's generally a good idea to stick with laser printer paper (not copy paper, unless you like really, really thin semi-gloss.) Inkjet paper is more course & porous for the ink, leaves fluff in the printer, and may cause feed issues. Over the long run, the fluff and course paper may cause sensor errors, feed errors, and paper jams. It doesn't really cost any more or less to buy the right kind of paper.
 
olePigeon Feb 12, 2013 02:29 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Thorzdad (Post 4208821)
Postscript is a programming language used mainly as an advanced page description language. Its primary use is in the professional printing industry to allow accurate data transfer between the different stages of print...design, pagination, rip, plate making, etc.
It also used to be stored and processed by the printer. Some laser printers still do it that way, but many have moved to host based printing. Back in the day, it used to be that so long as you had a generic PostScript driver, you could print to almost any laser printer. Now, you're lucky if you can print to your LaserJet every time there's an OS update. :mad:
 
Thorzdad Feb 13, 2013 04:28 PM
 
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