Saving ink

  oldal 20:51 18 Mar 2003

IF Epson/Canon/Lexmark et al provide hardware/software that produces top quality photographic prints using the latest technology ,how can a company market an "ink-saving " program that reduces ink consumption by up to four times with no reduction in quality.
I assume that to produce a top quality print the amount of ink and its placement must be precisely controlled.
Are the printer companies providing printers/software that use lots of ink to bolster up their replacement cartridge market or is the "ink- saving" software a con. (at £30.00 /copy on special offer)
I would appreciate comments from any print experts out there.

  Lone Crow 22:16 18 Mar 2003

The software is no con - at least, not according to the various PC mags that have tested it. Many prints are produced to a higher standard than is necessary to please the eye, but it depends upon conditions. If you print a photo to a very small size you could probably reduce the ink used by a high degree and see no appreciable difference, but if you blow it up to A4 size you'd be hugely disapointed! So under many conditions you can reduce the ink laid down on the paper and not notice the difference, and that's what the software does. Some printer drivers already have that feature built-in. My HP software has 3 print quality settings plus ink density settings, too. Some laser print drivers have a similar range of settings. You have to delve a little deeper into the software to find them, is all. Cheers. LC.

  rins36 23:00 18 Mar 2003

Lone Crow

I can see both points of view on this, but i used a coloured ink cartridge in less than a month printing various sized pics to get the best quality, so why do these ink saving companies promote themselves?

  Lone Crow 01:18 19 Mar 2003

Sorry, but I'm not sure quite what you're saying. The inksavers promote themselves on the basis of saving you ink, and therefore overall costs in time. But you also have the option to print at full quality if and as required. The software just gives you easy access to a wider range of options, but you still have to make the choice yourself according to the needs of each print job. LC. (Not back again now until wednesday evening).

  €dstow 08:25 19 Mar 2003

We use a lot of ink here so I took up the free one month trial for one of these inksaver products.

I didn't buy, even though it was only $30 or so.

Draw your own conclusion.


  Lone Crow 22:43 19 Mar 2003

Had you already tweaked your driver setup before you tried the inksaver? Could be there wasn't much improvement still to be made! I suspect that the inksavers are possibly just a novice's easy-in to tweaking ink settings. Perhaps some driver software doesn't give a range of settings beyond the usual Draft/LQ choices. In those cases it might be worth having sava software? LC.

  €dstow 08:16 20 Mar 2003

My tests were done on Epson printers in a "straight out of the box" state. They weren't scientifically controlled tests. What we did was load the software on to one computer/printer combination and use that to compare a similar setup without the software under heavy use conditions. We didn't find any noticeable difference between the two setups, certainly not enough to justify installing the software on all our machines.

Possibly we could have found real differences if the tests had been conducted on a genuine scientific basis using the same hardware setup with and without the ink saver installed and printing hundreds of the same test pages. Life isn't like that though and I just couldn't justify using the software.

It may be under domestic or small office conditions that these things operate better. Our assessments were done on machines with very heavy workloads.


  Lone Crow 22:45 20 Mar 2003

Thanks for your full reply. I would have thought (by the sound of what you say) that your situation would have been exactly the one where good savings would have shown up! However, if you were using the Draft (or Speed) setting for your print runs I would guess there'd be less leeway there than on the LQ settings, perhaps. I have no vested interest either way because I find my HP drivers allow all the tweaking possibilities I could want! Cheers £d. LC.

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