Can Color Laser Printers Print Photos

Can Color Laser Printers Print Photos

Color laser printers have been widely accepted as the best option for color printing needs.

But are color laser printers good for high-quality photos?

Considering that office or personal color laser printers cost significantly more than office or desktop inkjet printers, this is a question many consumers may be asking along with how color laser printers work.

In short: new or refurbished color laser printers are capable of printing photos, but there are some important dynamics about these printers that are definitely worth considering before you buy one specifically for this reason (especially if you’re a photographer). Thus, this guide will give you a full lowdown of a laser printers’ ability to print photos. If you’re further in your search, you can also reference our guide to choosing a color laser printer. 

Color Laser Photo Printing vs. Inkjet Photo Printing

Most consumers generally have two options when purchasing office or home office printers: inkjet and laser. Anyone that has an understanding of the different types of printers will tell you that an inkjet printer can likely print at a higher resolution than a color laser printer (given they are of the same caliber). 

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that laser printers are the inferior photo printing option. 

  • Inkjet Printers – It would be easy to assume that a higher resolution means better photos, but that isn’t always the case. While it is generally accepted that inkjet printers can handle higher resolutions and offer accurate photo printing, they also come with drawbacks. 

One major problem is that a typical inkjet printer soaks up ink when printing; and they’re slower than laser. Because inkjet ink is more expensive than laser toner, volume photo printing will end up costing you a lot of money. Furthermore, inkjet ink is water-based, so your photos are more likely to lose print quality over time. 

  • Laser Printers – Conversely, a color laser printer will be able to handle a large amount of prints without running out of toner. The downside to laser printers is that they deal with lower resolutions and a more limited color gamut, therefore, they’re not the optimal choice for higher resolution photographs. This is because a laser printer utilizes four toner colors when printing, while quality inkjets use six. 

Additionally, it’s important to note that you must use the correct paper for laser printing, as anything that is heat sensitive will not be suitable. Thankfully, photo paper for laser printers tends to be cheaper than its inkjet counterpart, thus you’ll save money on paper, too. 

For most average consumers wanting a fast and cost-efficient machine, a laser printer will work fine for printing photos. 

Requirements for Color Laser Photo Printing

There are a few important things to remember when printing photos on a color laser printer:

  • Remember to adjust the settings on the printer! You need to indicate which photo paper you’re using and adjust the type and size settings accordingly. Also be sure to set the printer to photo and choose color or black and white (monochrome) as this will have a major effect on the quality of your prints.
  • Remember to adjust the settings of your computer, too! Just like your printer, your computer needs to be calibrated correctly, so ensure that both are communicating fluently. If not, a simple change in your overall printing settings can result in poor quality prints. 
  • Buy the right paper! As we already mentioned, color laser printers can only use color laser printer paper, a minimum of bright white 24lb is recommended. Choosing the correct paper for inkjet printers is also important for printing photos, as each type of printer uses a different mechanical process to fuse toner to the photo papers.
  • Know your printer’s limitations!  
  • A laser office color printer uses a four-color mix CMYK, so there is a chance that a specific color will not print correctly if it is out of CMYK gamut. If a photo requires a higher resolution, or specific paper material (glossy or coated paper), then you may need a better printer or professional printing to ensure a high-quality image.  Should you want more options for you color print gamut, consider the refurbished C60/70 with the new Vivid Color kit including gold, silver, white and clear. Call X-Digital for a quote,

Production Color Laser Printer Models that are recommended for Printing Photos

The Xerox Versant 180 and 3100 are excellent with photos because they offer excellent print quality and time saving pre-press automation.

Versant offers STUNNING IMAGE QUALITY delivering four times more pixels than other color laser presses while still printing at blazing fast speeds. It’s a winning combination of technologies, including Xerox® EA Toner, offering 2400 x 2400 dpi with 10-bit RIP and an advanced Compact Belt Fuser that provides just the right amount of consistent heat and pressure for a given stock. Every job is rendered with jaw-dropping detail, crispness and clarity from first print to last great for photos.

Also important for photos, color consistency and color to color registration is accomplished via Automated Run-Time Color Controls—This is an internal subsystem of closed-loop process controls which work continuously during printing automating color consistency.

The AUTOMATED COLOR QUALITY SUITE ( Xerox ACQS) is a powerful combination of advanced color management software and integrated hardware that transfers complex decisions about color maintenance from the operator to an automated system, eliminating the time and error associated with manual color management. Once initiated by the operator, ACQS automates the printing and measurement of calibration charts, and calculates precise adjustments to color tables based on the results.

The Performance Package option not only increases speed by 25% but it includes an inline spectrophotometer for automating color calibration. The 17 X-RITE® INLINE SPECTROPHOTOMETER (ILS) is built into the paper path where it measures spectral data and hands it over to the ACQS color management software for print server calibration and stock profiling.  By removing the need for an operator-intensive handheld spectrophotometer and manual process, the ILS reduces errors and time spent on calibration while ensuring stable, accurate and repeatable color. And because the process is pain-free and easy, operators are more likely to often use and complete calibration and profiling.

Another option for excellent production color laser printing is the  luminescent print quality of the Iridesse. The luminescence is the wow factor drawing many to the product.  The toner particle size of the inkjet toner is smaller yielding enhanced image quality. The Xerox Iridesse production laser printer is perfect for printers with a monthly volume of 225,000-475,000 prints per month. It has a duty cycle of 2.5 M. perfect for the busy shop with high peak loads. The Iridesse fully automates image transfer, density uniformity and registration making it an extremely efficient printer for the busier shops that produce high quality impactful print. It offers jaw-dropping embellishment effects helping you achieve remarkably brilliant results. Iridesse™ redefines digital printing with award-winning Color FLX Technology, which layers CMYK with up to two Specialty Dry Inks in one single, incredibly productive pass – all while maintaining “spot on” registration from color to color. Color FLX Technology lets you: Print stunning CMYK alone, 

Print CMYK + spot specialty effect, Print Metallic Gold White achieving ultimate brilliance with iridescent metallic hues. This press is built to run. Four, five, and six colors. A rainbow of iridescent palettes. Mixed media. Heavy stock. Extra Long Sheets up to 47.2″ (1.2 m) and high-value inline finishing.  Iridesse™ is synonymous with new capabilities and new levels of production confidence.

The Final Word 

So, do color laser printers print good photos? Of course, they do! 

However, it’s important to recognize that these printers have some limitations regarding photo printing. When buying a color laser printer, it’s advised that you do your due diligence to ensure a specific unit can meet your requirements for all of your print jobs.

Still, most color laser printers will be able to fulfill your average photo printing needs. Thus, should you need any questions answered or find yourself looking for a professional laser printer, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts here at X-Digital! 



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