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  1. #1
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    HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    I've been puzzled over this for a while, and perhaps someone can shed light.

    I love my trusty old (15 years?) HP-LJ4L printer. 4 ppm, 300 dpi etc. It has churned out many a proposal, a few of which have netted me money.
    But is stinks at graphics.

    When I print a letter (text), the characters are crisp, black, solid, indistinguishable (to my eyes) from an expensive printer.

    But when I print a PrtScr snapshot of a GUI form, the smooth grey GUI form background comes out looking like a cheap UK tabloid photo, and the characters on the GUI (Times New Roman 10pt regular) are nothing to write home about. I understand that the characters on the PrtScr are not TNR10 as in my text - they are just part of the bitmap image.

    I've examined the printer setup/options and find nothing that will seems to switch the graphics printing to the same fine quality as the text printing.

    I'm puzzled because, in the text case, the printer is obviously capable of making nice crisp images, but when I ask for a graphic to be printed, the printer seems to shrug and say "Not my job".

  2. #2
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    Re: HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    A screenshot is just a bitmap image of the screen, so it's typically 96 dpi (dots per inch). That is much lower than what your printer uses for text - 300 dpi. So a printed screenshot has about almost 10 times (300^2 / 96^2) fewer dots per square inch than text - no wonder it looks blocky. If you print a high-res image, quality should be much better, but a screenshot isn't high-res.

  3. #3
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    Re: HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    Have you checked the HP LaserJet 4L/mL Printer series - Download drivers and software - HP Business Support Center for the latest driver and other troubleshooting information?

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    Thanks Hans, that makes it a feature of the PrtScr key, effectively. I did another PrtScr and pasted it to Paint. The Image Attributes appears as 102x102, not much different from 96x96 and about 10% linear resolution of the printer.
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  5. #5
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    Re: HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    Thanks Joe. I've grabbed the most uptodate driver (2002) and will install it tonight.

  6. #6
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    Re: HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    FTR - I too still have a trusty 4L - it has been semi-retired for a few years now, just hanging off a spare PC, taking a long rest in standby mode. It never was (and didn't promise to be) a good graphics printer. But it did put out some very "crispy" text documents - including 100 or so resumes when I got out of the Air Force.

    Don't expect any improvement with the new (post script) driver - other than quicker response in XP. I installed it last year when I (finally) migrated the host PC to XP.

    I did discover that using original (and more expensive) HP cartridges yielded better results. Something to consider.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  7. #7
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    Re: HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    Thanks Bill.
    Yes, mine has churned out text (course notes, typos (!) & proposals) quite happily. I feel no urge to upgrade, as the local camera shot charges cheap to produce the occasional photo print from my camera.
    Hans's comment about the screen snapshot makes sense, and I might seek a better way of obtaining graphics of my GUI forms.

  8. #8
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    Re: HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    <hr>I might seek a better way of obtaining graphics of my GUI forms<hr>
    I bought an inexpensive HP623 color inkjet for graphics and that arrangement worked great for several years. Today's inkjets produce very satisfactory results with plain text - and certainly produce pages of text quicker, and probably cheaper than your laser. I suspect you would end up using it most of the time, and, at most, the laser for the final product. As long as the inkjet has a dedicated black cartridge, I think you will be quite satisfied. Some budget models make black by combining all other colors which typically does not look as good.

    If your concern is inkjet printouts smearing, they've come a long way with that - the ink dries really fast now and is quite stable. Better inkjets produce absolutely gorgeous output in text and color graphics (MUCH depends on the paper quality!). We no longer use a laser - but have an OfficeJet 7140xi multifunction, sitting on the home network. My wife finished her degree on it - I heard no complaints from her, or her professors. And, of course, inserting a color graph on a page of text brings "pop" to the page that a black-only laser can't.

    Do note the first thing many companies do with RFPs, proposals, resumes, etc. is image them and dispose of the originals anyway. Even universities do that to fight plagiarism. That's just the future of document management. Kinda knocks that "first impression" concept into the bit-bucket, huh? Others companies may not be paperless, they just make copies on the cheapest paper they can get and file the original.

    I think your LJ-4L has served you well - it may just be time to put the old girl out to pasture!

    PS - I bought the wife a new digital camera for Christmas and got a little $60 HP 335 Photo Printer thrown in on a promotion. I am amazed every time she prints something at the quality of the image. For these quinquagenarian eyes, I can't tell the difference between the print out and prints from the photo shop, except under very close scrutiny. It is limited to 4 X 6 prints but that's no problem 99% of the time - I don't like big portrait type pictures anyway - I want something suitable for mailing or a wallet. If a shot deserves a blow up, I can do it on the OfficeJet, or take the memory stick to the photo shop for a professional blow-up.

    JMHO
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  9. #9
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    Re: HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    > I think your LJ-4L has served you well - it may just be time to put the old girl out to pasture!
    Well, no, not yet.
    I'm not "into" graphics in a big way - that's why it has taken me 15 years to query the quality. Just every now and then I want to print a single page of a user guide and make pencilled comments on the GUI form layout - hence the "PrtScr, Edit Paste, File Print" approach.

    Now that Hans has pointed out the limitations of the screen snapshots ("... screenshot isn't high-res. ...") I should work out whether I can overcome this limitation. Maybe I just need a better device than PrtScr.

  10. #10
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    Re: HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    I think that's just fine, and it certainly says something about HP printers.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  11. #11
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    Re: HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    I remember the massive research I did prior to purchase - cost, ppm etc. I'd examined every printer ad in every computer paper, came up with a short list of 6 printers, showed it to a pal who said, 'Of course! When you're buying a printer, the only real question is 'Which HP?', not 'Which printer'". I've certainly had my moneysworth.

    To make it (decision to replace printer) worse, the firm that supplies refurbished cartridges delivers next-day to my apartment door (not the building door!)

  12. #12
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    Re: HPLJ-4L graphics printing

    Yeah - great little printer - it was between HP and Epson and HPs always won - unless you wanted dot-matrix. It was one of the first to go into sleep mode - no power switch! Fun to watch the non-techies scratch their head. The only complaint was a tiny paper tray but that never seemed to bother me much. I did have an occasional paper jam with labels but it churned out all kinds (weights) of bond paper.

    Well, good luck - and I hope we did not jinx it with all these accolades!
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

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