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  1. Sep 13, 2006
    alexandereci

    alexandereci Printing Ninja

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    I'm looking at two printers, let's call them A and B. Printer A prints at 5760dpi but at 4pl, while printer B prints at a lower 4800dpi but at 2pl. How can printer A print at a higher dpi with bigger pl? What does pl mean? I always thought dpi was the way to "measure" how fine a printer can display printouts?
     
  2. Sep 13, 2006
    ghwellsjr

    ghwellsjr Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    The term "pl" means picoliter which is a very small volume of ink. It would take a trillion activations of a 2-pl nozzle to fill up a 2-liter soda bottle!

    Each dot can contain 2 or 4 picoliters of ink (in your case) but the spacing between them determines the dpi (dots per inch). You have to read carefully to see if the dpi rating refers to the spacing of the nozzles on the print head (probably not) or the spacing of dots on the page as a result of several passes over the same area with a slight motion of the paper so the dots don't overlap. Also, the dpi can be different in the horizontal and vertical directions, one governed by the speed with with the nozzles can fire, and the other detemined by the spacing of the nozzles and the number of passes.
     
  3. Sep 13, 2006
    alexandereci

    alexandereci Printing Ninja

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    There's something that reads "ink droplets can be placed with a pitch of 1/4800 inch at minimum" --- so I guess it's "so the dots don't overlap" rather than the spacing on the printhead.

    If a "dot" can contain 2 or 4 pl of ink, then what's the difference between a 5760dpi 4pl dot and a 4800dpi 2pl dot? I understand that higher dpi means more dots per square inch, it's the pl size that's confusing me.
     
  4. Sep 13, 2006
    mikling

    mikling Printer VIP Platinum Printer Member

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    Visit Qimage software page where they suggest that anything over 600dpi or something like that may well be undetectable to most folks. So don't get hung up over the dpi issue nor the pl issue. It is likely that the paper and ink combination you use to print will make a bigger difference.
     
  5. Sep 13, 2006
    alexandereci

    alexandereci Printing Ninja

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    Lol, I read that "greater than 600dpi issue" too, but don't really take it seriously. After all, if it's useless to go beyond 600dpi, why do we have printers in >600dpi range?
     
  6. Sep 13, 2006
    ghwellsjr

    ghwellsjr Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    When I referenced the 2 or 4 pl of ink, I meant that one of the printers could print as small as 2 pl and the other one as small as 4 pl.

    When a printer is speced with a size of drop, that is the smallest size drop it can print, but it can also print larger drops. Remember, we are talking about the volume of ink that is deposted by a nozzle on a given squirt. It is not directly related to the size of the dot on the printed page but rather to the darkness of the color. If you want a very light color, the printer will use the smaller volume of ink and not very many of them. Darker colors are achieved with larger drop sizes and more of them.

    The advantage of dpi's higher than 600 dpi is that you can get more shades of color and better blending from the different color inks.

    Printers also achieve better control of color by providing lighter colors of ink like the photo cyan and photo magenta.

    To answer your original question, there is very little difference between 5760 dpi and 4800 dpi but a big difference between 4 pl and 2 pl. It's possible that your two printers use different kinds of ink. My guess is that the 4 pl is a pigment ink printer and the 2 pl is a dye ink printer. Pigment inks require a larger nozzle and therefore a large size drop simply because the ink contains particles that can easily clog the smaller nozzles.

    Another factor is the speed of the printer. The more dots, the longer it takes, in general, but you really have to see the printers in action to see how fast they are and how well they print.
     
  7. Sep 13, 2006
    alexandereci

    alexandereci Printing Ninja

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    Ah, so dpi is for how "fine" a printer can print, but pl is for how well a printer can "mix" shades, is that right? Assuming that two printers can print at the same resolution, but with one on 4pl and another on 2pl, the only difference between the two would be the color shades?

    Nope, both are dye-based printers (for CYM) but use pigment for black.

    Not that I care much for how fast the printer prints, although some printers are faster than others, I'm not really in much of a rush --- quality is more of a factor for me than speed.
     
  8. Sep 14, 2006
    ghwellsjr

    ghwellsjr Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    I wouldn't say it's the only difference, because you can still achieve more shades by printing the larger droplets further apart but then you have to worry about the coarseness of the print. The point is that all these factors influence the quality and speed of the printout.

    The ideal printer would be able to print infinitely small droplets, infinitely close together, infinitely fast, and be free! Since that is not possible, real printers have to trade off these factors in such a way that the printers will sell. I would say that you really have to look at the printouts to compare printers.

    If the printer that can produce 4 pl droplets costs half as much as the one that produces 2 pl droplets, then you might be tempted to buy the cheaper one, even if you know the printouts won't be as good. However, as anyone who has actually bought a printer knows, the cost of the printer is almost inconsequential if you do a lot of printing and so you really want to look for a good one that uses cheap ink.
     
  9. Sep 14, 2006
    alexandereci

    alexandereci Printing Ninja

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    Actually, the 4pl high dpi printer (an Epson C67) is more expensive than the 2pl lower dpi printer (a Canon iP1200). That is why it is very confusing to me. Not only is the "more expensive" printer at higher pl, it has a separate printhead (so supposedly, it should be of better quality) unlike the "less expensive" printer at lower pl but with integrated printhead (which is supposed to be "disposable"). How can a "good" printer (Epson) print at higher pl than a "use and discard) printer (Canon)?

    The idea is, if the printhead is in the printer (as opposed on in the cartridge), then wouldn't it make much sense to make a quality printhead capable of lower pl?

    Since in our discussion you state that the 5000+ dpi of the Epson and the 4000+ dpi of the Canon does not make as much of a printout difference compared to a 4pl vs a 2pl, this is confusing me all the more! Epson increases dpi but sacrifices pl? Canon can print good shades but is disposable?
     
  10. Sep 14, 2006
    ghwellsjr

    ghwellsjr Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    Doesn't the Epson C67 come with Durabrite inks? If so, they are pigment based but many third-party cartridges substitute dye-based inks.

    The Epson Durabrite printers have a reputation for clogging if not used regularly.

    The Canon printer you listed uses cartridges with a built-in head. If I were going to go that route, I would at least buy an HP where there is much more availability of replacement cartridges. But I wouldn't go that route.

    But I wouldn't own either one of these printers, even if they were free. Read Neil's website (link at top of page) before you make a decision about a printer, please.
     

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