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We're planning to buy a large color networked laser printer / photocopier / scanner device, something around the $10,000USD range. This, as standard, understands PCL (version 5e, I think). How do I ensure we get decent color reproduction from this device?

We have a Windows Server 2003 print server, on which I can see drivers for other network printers have an tab on their "properties" dialog named "color management". This lets you associate an ICC or ISM color profile file with a given device. I understand I can (quite cheaply - around $30USD) print out a test page from the device to send off to a lab and get back a color profile to associate with the device. Then, if I understand correctly, I can calibrate monitors with a coloromiter (something like the Pantone Huey) and ensure that what is seen on the screen is what comes out on the printer.

However, the printer sales people are also offering us a Postscript module for the printer at around another $1,000USD. Seemingly this gives "better" color reproduction, although that is about the most detailed explanation the sales people can give. We have Ghostscript installed on the print server, so if any applications can only print Postscript we can create a redirected printer with the Postscript interpretation being done by Ghostscript.

Can anyone explain what it is about Postscript that gives "better" color reproduction? What makes Postscript worth paying $1,000 for?

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I find Postscipt worth paying for as professional graphics apps, as well as all macs & *nix machines use postscript nativly, and the translation from PostScript to PCL is not complete (by design PCL was to be a cheap rip-off so HP didn't have to pay Adobe for every printer).

In theory colour should be really close with both, however if you send jobs out to be printed using postscript is better there as well as almost every professional printer should be using PS.

If you don't have the equipment to recalibrate (remember each set of toner will be slightly different) just use the vendor's profile as it should be a good average; that assumes the printer is coming from a vendor like Xerox who do things properly (the top HP kit is also good).

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