Types of Inkjets

Inkjet are by far the most common printers, with the widest range of prices and capabilities. Essentially, the many models fall into three distinct types of inkjet printers:

■ Dual-purpose inkjets are usually the least expensive. In fact, like the traditional razor and razor blade sales strategy, the manufacturers of these printers are often willing to lose money on the printers themselves because they'll make their profit from selling the consumables. Great for families who need business documents and school reports, but print only occasional pictures, these four-color printers do an adequate to good job on text and photos. However, some inexpensive dual-purpose inkjets generally require having, maintaining, and swapping two sets of inks—one set for text and a different black cartridge for photos. Dual-purpose printers have the lowest duty cycle of all inkjets, but they do have the advantage of being comparatively small and taking up limited desk space. If you're going to print a lot, we suggest spending a bit more money for a better built, more robust printer that will last longer, be faster, and for which the consumables will generally cost less.

■ Photo inkjets are optimized for photo quality, and they often have more ink color cartridges to help produce a wider gamut (a greater range of printed colors). Generally they are faster and more robust than dual-purpose inkjets, have better duty cycles, and the consumables are usually less expensive. However, you'll also tend to use better (more expensive) paper because you'll be more pleased with the quality of the prints. Many now offer archival inks and paper, which means your prints will last much longer than traditional inkjets (if stored and cared for properly, that is). When you use the right inks and paper for the printer, you'll be very pleased with your photos. They also tend to do a very good job with text, too. It's important to look for the word "photo" in the printer's name to help you distinguish photo inkjets from dual-purpose models, because the two types may look very similar. (See Figure 20-1.)

■ Professional-quality inkjets are often the most coveted printers among artists and professional photographers. Depending upon the model, you can output exhibition quality prints (even continuous tone) and/or large photos. They are less expensive than in the past, and it's possible to buy a great professional inkjet that prints poster-sized photos for under $1,800; tabloid-size printers can be had for as little as $500. Professional floor-sized models have wide carriages for still larger prints, such as enormous posters or even sections of billboards. Generally, the more expensive the printer, the more economical the consumables, because large printers have correspondingly larger ink reservoirs. In addition, each color ink reservoir is replaced individually when it runs dry, rather than having to replace the entire multi-ink cartridge most inexpensive inkjets use when one color runs out. Pro printers are heavier and better built, with a much greater duty cycle than the smaller photo printers.

0 0

Post a comment