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Discussion: Laser Color Printers

in: Orienteering; General

Nov 22, 2022 7:48 PM # 
I've been looking into getting a color laser printer to replace my aging Canon inkjet, partly because it's getting fussy and partly so as to avoid having to drive out to a print shop for every event. With CoNav events, I expect to print nearly 1,000 pages/year, so I woudl pretty much break even in a year and a half vs current print shop costs.

== Has anyone bought and used a laser color printer for O-map printing that nearly perfectly meets the PrintTech Project Test Sheet 2019 (laser) color, detail, and overall quality, and if so, could you please post the brand and model number here?==

I've taken a thumb drive around to Staples, Best Buy, FedEx, UPS, a local print shop, and Office Depot/Max locations and printed copies of a map snippet and of the PrintTech Project Test Sheet 2019 (laser) on a total of 11 different printers I've found.

The results are summarized in the link below. While some are good, basically none of them is entirely satisfactory.

- Two of the printers were "digital," behind the counter printers at print shops, but I compared them to the laser Test Print anyway.
- On my map snippet, I get a white gap parallel to and on one side of contour lines between contour lines and surrounding 410 green. This does not occur on the green/contour example on the Test Print sheet (both generated the same way out of OCAD, I'm pretty sure). This is the "WBC" column in the linked file.


Nov 22, 2022 8:36 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
My Xerox C60 is/was the IOF MC laser reference printer, it costs me just 0.33NOK (i.e. $0.033) per page for all consumables and the colors are pretty much perfectly calibrated. The main issue is that I had to lease the printer itself, at $400/month so I really need to print a lot to break even. :-(
Nov 22, 2022 10:19 PM # 
@TM For that level of cost you should use it to print... Nevermind.

On a lark I imported the PrintTech Project Test Sheet 2019 OCAD11 into OCAD 2020.6.2.3917 (which I think is called 'OCAD20' - ?) and compared colors by adding a small "chimney" of the spec'd color atop the color sample.

Most were spot-on (greens, purple, grey), but on zooming in you can see in the link below that the two browns are slightly different, and that the Yellow 50% is ever so slightly different. Any ideas why? It could simply be that the CMYK color definition changed?

Granted, none of these differences would ever cause a runner to confuse Landforms for Paved areas or Open for Rough Open, but I was surprised to have been able to have seen any difference at all.


These differences are less significant than are those that I observed with my printer research.
Nov 23, 2022 12:49 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
That's interesting!
The PrintTech brown is defined not as a symbol but directly as an area object with CMYK=51,178,255,0 whereas the Brown color defined on that sheet is 15: "Brown - line symbols" defined as 0,56,100,18. Scaling by 255/100 would translate that into 0,143,255,46, or going in the opposite direction:
51,178,255,0 -> 20,70,100,0.
They key here is that the OCAD file used for PrintTech does NOT use the ocad color table for the brown patch!

A new ISOM (or ISSprOM) map with the latest OCAD update use the same 15: Brown - 0,56,100,18 definition, so this looks like a glitch in the PrintTech sheet!

Brown 50% seems to match much better. I checked that patch as well, here Brown 50 is defined as 0,28,50,9 which is exactly 50% of the 15: Brown values.

The PrintTech patch is defined as 0,71,127,23 which corresponds to 0,28,50,9 (rounded to the nearest integer percent value) so effectively identical!
Nov 23, 2022 1:58 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I cross-posted this, with a link back here, to the FB OrienteeringMapper group!
Nov 23, 2022 3:31 PM # 
Good idea, thank you!
Nov 23, 2022 7:02 PM # 
I have never done any color comparisons, this discussion is very interesting....I can only state that my Xerox Phaser 6510 has been super reliable (one of my main criteria), and cost about $US 270.00 about six years ago. No longer available new, but some refurbished ones. This is its replacement.

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