Laser Printers, Advice & Reviews

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K Vince's picture
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Joined: 10 Nov 2010 - 1:03pm
Laser Printers, Advice & Reviews
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Hi All,

A friend and I have started a general graphic design office. We're in need of a printer that outputs text at acceptable resolutions, isn't going to break down on us and isn't going to cost a fortune. Though it will primarily be used for printing generic office documents, I would like for it to be able to print out quality drafts and tests when needed. I don't know much about the standing of laser printers in the current market or which brands to trust. Most of the posts on the forum concerning the topic are outdated and reviews on the web are scattered about and from people who aren't concerned with the same things we are (ie text qualities, etc.)

If those of you on the forum feel like sharing your opinions and experiences please do. It'd be greatly appreciated.

Just as an example: Would this be a suitable printer: SAMSUNG ML-2525W? (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16828112184) Is Samsung trustworthy? Are all printers around $100 going to break down in a few months? Does it even matter which brand I choose?

Thanks!

Korey

K Vince's picture
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Joined: 10 Nov 2010 - 1:03pm
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Oh and I take it that equal X and Y resolutions 1200 and beyond are sutiable dpi? Ie. 1200x1200 over 1200x600.

Christopher Timothy Dean's picture
Joined: 22 Oct 2006 - 10:49pm
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@12345678910, Korey or Chandler: You'll find you get better responses if you use your real name. It is somewhat of a convention here. Especially with a name like 123456789010, and incongruent sig and profile, people will more than likely think you're spam, bot, phishing &c and not even bother clicking.

K Vince's picture
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Joined: 10 Nov 2010 - 1:03pm
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Apologies. Updated.

Todd Macfie's picture
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Joined: 18 Jun 2009 - 4:25pm
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I have a Brother HL-5250DN. While I get a lot of prints out of it, the resolution is completely terrible for proofing type.

If you do buy a cheaper laser printer, you will probably have the same issue. Plus, the added frustration that drum and toner kits cost more than a new printer. Lame.

I am also curious about other reviews for type-specific use.

Bob Evans's picture
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Joined: 18 May 2005 - 7:20am
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You might try good quality HP LaserJets used and refurbished online or E-Bay.

Ramiro Espinoza's picture
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Joined: 1 Aug 2002 - 9:32am
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I bought a refurbished Nashuatec (or Ricoh, it is the same) P7026N (A3, real postcript, network capabilities). The printer works fine and I love it for font proofing. BUT the problem is the drivers do not work with OSX 10.6 (and the one provided for the company does not work).
So... support is an issue when you buy a second hand machine. Many companies stop giving support to new OS for old models.
I keep an old G4 laptop as printer station, but is it bothering...

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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> Many companies stop giving support to new OS for old models.

I've got the same problem with my old laser printer.

Bob Evans's picture
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Joined: 18 May 2005 - 7:20am
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You can check on HP's website to see what they have for updated drivers for various models before you buy - many refurbished lasers are not that old if you look around.

K Vince's picture
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Joined: 10 Nov 2010 - 1:03pm
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Great. Thanks guys.

Christopher Timothy Dean's picture
Joined: 22 Oct 2006 - 10:49pm
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I got a B&W Brother 3000DN more than 5 years ago for <$300 and it’s been an incredible workhorse. Very cheep, and never a problem. They are even cheaper now and come with built in duplex capabilities. If I were to get a colour, I would start looking at Brother. Maybe 10 years ago I worked for a company in Toronto and they had (I think) a “Phazer Tectronics 780,” which I believe has since been bought out by Xerox. It was very good and extremely expensive. >$3,000 Canadian in 1998.

David Sudweeks's picture
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Joined: 6 Jun 2007 - 12:44am
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I second Bob's recommendation of HP network printers. I picked up a LaserJet 5000n for $50 advertised on craigslist.
The upsides are that it handles 11x17, A3, and sheets slightly larger; it can also handle pretty heavy weight media when loaded manually; it does high-volume printing very well; its toner lasts a long time; after setting it up on the network, it's really simple to add the printer to other computers, particularly ones running OS X; for general graphic design proofing (usually with lots of greys on the page) the print quality is fine—for lettering and type design it's great; it's pretty reliable. In four years I have never had a problem more complicated than a paper jam.
Downsides: It's big and heavy; setting it up on the network is just slightly complicated, or not at all, depending on how the previous owner configured it. It took me 30 minutes (and you'll need to know a few particulars about how your own network is set up); Also, buying second-hand can be risky. I got lucky and found a machine that had hardly been used and its imaging and output were perfect. Particularly with these older models though you'll find some that have been mistreated, and often the result is repeating defects—some of which disappear with a new toner cartridge, some don't. Just be sure to check its test page output carefully before buying.

I also second Christopher on Phaser's color. It's the best color laser output I've seen. The place I was working that had it did have to call in professionals occasionally to recalibrate it and replace parts a few times over the course of the 9 months I was there.

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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Some of the better models in the Xerox Phaser line can be great for a graphic design office; wonderful color rendition, can print 11 x 17, etc.. But pricey, though. I think the one I use cost over $4,000. And it weighs a ton. But they have cheaper models in the Phaser line too.

Gerben Dollen's picture
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Joined: 20 Aug 2007 - 8:52pm
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@Ramiro Does your refurbished Nashuatec have a LAN connection? It might work over the network! I couldn't get my Xante AW1200 to work anymore ith OSX 10.6, using the USB cable — but it does work if plugged in onto the router :-)

Igor Freiberger's picture
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Joined: 20 Jun 2008 - 8:44pm
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Let me add a second question to this thread: does anyone have different type results with original and recharged toner?

With my HPs (LaserJet 4P, LaserJet 2100m and ColorJet 2605dn) original toner produces type bolder than I expected. It's clearly more tinted than I see on screen, although contour quality is excellent. But with recharged toner cartridges these same printers produces lighter, less tinted texts. Actually, type printed with recharged toner is more near to off-set print result, but contour quality is not so perfect.

Was this an issue to you? Which kind of test must be considered more reliable to show how my font will play at commercial prints?

About color printing, I worked intensively with a Tektronix about ten years ago, just before the company was purchased by Xerox. Although expensive, Tektronix color results were fantastic. Pure B&W text were not so good, always darker than it would be. Phaser printers and also its print results suffered a lot with humidity and heat climate conditions. In other hand, HP ColorJet 2605 I use now produces rather good results for color text and graphics, but has a poor, swashed output with photos. It's much cheaper and hardly affected by humidity.

Ramiro Espinoza's picture
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Joined: 1 Aug 2002 - 9:32am
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Hi Gerben:

I have always used my Nashuatec with the ethernet cable, but not that the Appletalk protocol is not supported anymore by OSX 10.6 I can not get the printer to work setting its IP. I tried everything and I can not get it to work. The computer does not find the printed in the network... I finally gave up and I use my old laptop with it. :(

Matthew Butterick's picture
Joined: 28 Jul 2009 - 3:14pm
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I have an HP color laserjet, which is a fine workhorse printer, but as Freiberger says, if you're proofing type, it comes out bolder than you expect. I don't think this is a function of the toner but rather of the Postscript emulation that the HP print driver uses. Using recharged toner cartridges probably does adjust for this gain.

But this summer I got a Xerox Phaser monochrome printer with true Postscript. Everything comes out a lot sharper and without the HP bloat.

What I concluded: If your target output device is a true Postscript printer (e.g. professional offset printing), then it's worth having a true Postscript printer to proof with. I am not sponsored by Xerox, but it's the only true Postscript printer I found at a reasonable price.

Igor Freiberger's picture
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Joined: 20 Jun 2008 - 8:44pm
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Just to add a new information: there is an updated HP Universal Printer Driver for PS printers. With my 2605dn, it produces much better output, almost eliminating the issue with bolder results. In other hand, the PCL driver is useless due to its low quality (at least for my printer).

Andrew Osman's picture
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Joined: 12 Sep 2011 - 10:49am
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Hi all, hoping to revive this thread, maybe there are different models available now etc..

http://www.printerland.co.uk/Brother-HL-5440D-P123386.aspx (I hope this link is OK to post - I am not associated and/or promoting.)

Does something like the above provide reasonable proofing?
PCL6, Postscript®3, IBM ProprinterXL, Epson FX‐850 but that does not mean a great deal to me.

Any further advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Andrew