I recently bought a professional color laser printer (>1.5k$), but until now I worked only with black and white lines and text (100% black).

I'm now moving to colored prints, what've found is something lot different from the inkjet I was used. The light colors are a mess of grain and lot of times there's also other artifact in the prints that make the print very low on quality. Graphics, seems to come out straight from a photocopier while I'm using a PDFs derived from good resolution tiff files.

Tried various settings in the driver, cranking the dpi to the maximum helps but not so much. The quality is still poor, and I'm wondering why. I'm using plain paper and plain paper setting. Maybe using photo paper settings and proper paper could be better but hey, even in the low end setting should be something more decent than this.

Following there are some tests after the original psd one (these are scans but in the real life everything is way worst):

enter image description here ORIGINAL PSD FILE

enter image description here LASER PRINT, bad patterns, moire like on some patches

enter image description here INKJET PRINT (it's non calibrated but you get the point, all is more smooth and pleasing to the eye)

enter image description here

weird artifact on gradients on laser, a broken gradient in the middle too

enter image description here poor color rendering, the gradient are broken and weird, matte colors are all fuzzy and uneven, grey are heavily dithered in an uneven and not pleasing way


1 Answer 1


Paper will make a big difference. All your complaints are essentially due to paper grain and how toner fills that grain.

You seem to be comparing ink with toner. Toner is not ink, it's a powder which sits on the surface of the paper then is melted by the fuser and essentially "baked" into the paper.... powder doesn't have any dot gain to fill the minute crevasses of a paper's grain the way ink will. Ink actually spreads slightly when the paper absorbs it.

The cheaper the paper, the more grain it will have.

I'm assuming toner, if it's a wax printer the paper grain issue may not be as problematic, because when wax is melted to liquid (same basic procedure with the fuser), it can fill some gaps.

The only true way to test quality is to eliminate the lowest denominators first... paper.. settings.. then complain.

What you'll find is that paper which doesn't work well for an InkJet, because the ink tends to smear... works better for a laser printer because there is less grain.

  • I see, thanks! I was supposing it a bit because I saw something like that on a super high end Canon gigantic digital press in a fair, they gave me a certificate sheet to proof that the machine was FOGRA-39 compliant and there was following tons of patch with the various deltaE values. What made me wonder was that this test chart compliancy test report was on a plain paper and the patches looked horrible, so my guess was: If this machine that is a beast and capable of printing excellent demos realtime on a plain paper sucks this bad, probably the culprit is the paper and the relative setting. Oct 10, 2022 at 20:25
  • "Plain paper" is a relative term.. it could mean 20# or 24# "copier" bond.. or 24#, 28# "laser printer" paper. To most people the difference goes unnoticed much of the time. But once you know what works well for you, the difference is fairly apparent.
    – Scott
    Oct 10, 2022 at 21:09
  • I improved paper but it seems the same that I'm unable to get decent result, I'm missing something else? Like a RIP ? There are free ones that I could try ? Oct 13, 2022 at 20:44

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