Those that haven’t looked at the output of color inkjet printers recently will be bemused at the idea that the things could be be used as output devices for digital cameras and that the output could be regarded as anywhere near photographic quality – what about all those lines and stripes within the color, all […]
Those that haven’t looked at the output of color inkjet printers recently will be bemused at the idea that the things could be be used as output devices for digital cameras and that the output could be regarded as anywhere near photographic quality – what about all those lines and stripes within the color, all those random variations of intensity? The answer is that such weaknesses have long been eliminated on even utility models, while top end models such as Epson America Inc’s Stylus Color 800 produce output hard to distinguish from a photograph – and the thing only costs about $450. The 800 splashes its spots of ink onto the pape – ideally quoted or glossy – at a density of 720 dots per inch, with vertical resolution of 1,440 dots per inch and prints, taking about seven and a half minutes to print a 5 by 7. The printer uses one black and one color cartridge, which are installed at all times where other printers require the black cartridge to be replaced with one that uses special inks for high-quality color printing. Key to the ultrafine printing capability is a proprietary piezoelectric print head technology. The company points out that where most color inkjet printers use thermal technology that boils ink and splats it onto the page, Ricoh’s piezo technology uses electromechanical pressure to provide the ability to place ink on paper more accurately with consistent dot shape and size. The company claims its new Micro Piezo technology result in smaller dot sizes to enable a greater range of half-tones, ultra-realistic flesh tones and smooth color gradations. It offers both Ethernet and LocalTalk networking options for small workgroups and an Adobe Systems Inc PostScript Level 2 software driver. It can be attached to both a Windows and Mac OS machine at the same time, with auto-switching between the two environments. For electronic photofinishing, end-users are given full control to set the levels of brightness, contrast, saturation and individual color from cyan, magenta and yellow, manually.