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I have Samsung ML-2850 and I'm wondering if the quality of greay areas could be better. This is an example print:

print example

As you can see, letters and black parts are pretty nice, but the part around the "6" should be filled grey. This is printed with 1200dpi and still I can't manage to get a better quality of grey parts. Is this normal for cheap homer b/w laser printers? Is there anything I can do? Are there special b/w printers which can print also greay levels nice?

Edit: It seems as if I overestimated the quality of grey parts printed by laser printers. Finally I printed the document with a professional laser printer. It is a bit better, but still you can see the dots.

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how much zoom you have applied in this image? And what program is used to generate the image, which operational system ? some more information would be good to help us... – woliveirajr Apr 25 '12 at 15:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

the part around the "6" should be filled grey.

As you perhaps know, all "Black and White"/"monochrome" laser printers are exactly that, they cannot really print intermediate colours or shades such as grey. They simulate gray by printing small dots and varying the spacing and arrangement of those dots. This is called dithering or halftoning. From a distance our eyes cannot distinguish the dots and see gray.

You can increase the quality of this illusion by tweaking the printer / driver settings but you cannot eliminate it completely.

The ML-2850 supports Postscript, it's a long shot but try a Postscript driver (you can add a separate printer entry in addition to the existing one) - The default driver is probably PCL6 or SPL.

Are there special b/w printers which can print also greay levels nice?

No, to get a solid gray you'd need an offset printer to do spot color

Using a limited number of color inks, or specific color inks in addition to the primary colors, is referred to as "spot color" printing. Generally, spot-color inks are specific formulations that are designed to print alone, rather than to blend with other inks on the paper to produce various hues and shades. The range of available spot color inks, much like paint, is nearly unlimited, and much more varied than the colors that can be produced by four-color-process printing. Spot-color inks range from subtle pastels to intense fluorescents to reflective metallics.

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Try to set your printer quality. Some printers allow you to set the quality to "Draft", "Best", or something along those lines.

Also, check the "Halftoning" option in "Advanced options" (if you have something like that).

enter image description here

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Ah sorry, I forgot to mention that. I did check these settings. Do I get you right that your Canon is able to print grey levels more beautiful? – lumbric Apr 25 '12 at 15:20
I suggest editing your question. – Xavierjazz Apr 25 '12 at 15:26
@lumbric Please post your document online somewhere, and I will download it, print it and take a picture for you. – Ove Apr 26 '12 at 7:13

Are there special b/w printers which can print also greay levels nice?

Yes, for consumer use (not as offset which is not for normal consumer printing), but that would be inkjet, not laser printers. Monochrome inkjet printers like Epson M series (M105/200, etc.), Epson K series (K100/200) are some examples.

Monochrome laser printers usually have difficulties with printing solid block of color, being black or grey shades.

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Inkjet printers also use dithering - the arrangement of dots may differ but they are still dots, not continuous pigment. So far as I can tell, the printers you mention are normal inkjets and will use dithering to simulate shades of grey. – RedGrittyBrick Nov 11 at 17:13
@RedGrittyBrick, Wow, very interesting to know this. However, to my eyes, the shades of grey produced by inkjet and offset are much nicer than the ugly one printed by my laser printer (P1102). Don't know how high-end laser printer do any better, though. I once printed using a color laser printer in my university and things looks much better, almost comparable to inkjet output. Any idea? – Huy - Vuong Do Thanh Nov 12 at 4:34

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