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Advice on desktop 'proofing' printer

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Mike Parkes

Mike Parkes


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I'm looking for some advice on buying a desktop "proofing" printer, with a budget of around $300-$500. My mapping niche is a little unusual - I am interested in designing and printing wall maps for personal enjoyment. Workflow is a combination of budget tools - Global Mapper for most of the original interpretation and rendering of GIS data, an old version (5) of Paint Shop Pro to upgrade and modify the raster image, Microsoft Publisher to add various text and do page layout, and then Acrobat Distiller to convert to PDF for the final file.

The "proofing" printer would be used to allow me to print sections of the PDF file to visualize design options (font choices, line weights, colours, shading ,etc), prior to printing the final large-format image through a print shop. A nice to have feature would be a "tiling" capability that can automatically print an oversized image on multiple sheets.

I had been leaning towards a quality inkjet printer optimized for raster images/photos (e.g.Epson Stylus 1400) before reading that essentially no consumer inkjet printers in this price range are post-script compatible, and purchasing this compatibility through a RIP can cost as much or more than the printer itself.

Will a non post-script printer do a noticeably poor job at printing the vector elements in PDFs? (While my current version of Paint Shop Pro renders purely raster images, I am considering upgrading to a later version with vector support. At the moment, the only vector elements in my files are text and some simple graphic elements using Publisher.) Am I better off going with a colour laser, or will its deficiencies in printing the raster image outweighh its advantages for printing the vector elements?

All advice appreciated!

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