In the past two decades of having owned both inkjet and laser printers, I've noticed a common issue among laser printers. While high-end ink jet printers have always produce high quality photographic images that look great when viewed from any angle, the same cannot be said for laser printers: While they are getting close to photographic quality, the prints always seem to have an uneven shine to it which is a lot noticeable when viewing them tilted.

What is that "uneven shine" called? Have laser printer companies done research to deal with that uneven shine?

  • Melted wax or toner is always going to look different than ink and typically why Epson, with their high-end inkjet printers, is favored among photographers.
    – Scott
    Sep 12, 2021 at 2:27

1 Answer 1


The shine is called toner, or in case of phasers wax. See laser printers work electrostatically selectively charging a drum. This charged toner is then deposited to the paper and melted in the fuser unit so it sticks to the paper.

Now this toner is a extra layer of material on top of the paper. Since its different from the paper it also has different reflectivity from the paper itself. Also since the electrostatic force is strongest at edges the surface created can be a bit uneven, but that is getting less and less of a problem.

This is kindof the tradeof that you make, on the other hand you get a device that is extremely simple, has nearly no moving parts and is fast. On the other you get a coat of foreign material that is crearly deposited on the surface.

Its also not always just a negative thing. There are situations where the methodology is useful. Like the fact that you can transfer the toner to a different surface and use it as mask for etching etc.

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