dye sub color printer
colorful box up-close
we were curious how Alps quality would be, dye sub printer for $500!
Dye sub avoids the dot structure and streaking with plague Epson
ink jet printers (problems they do not reveal in their clever full-page
advertisements). Dye sub is also superior to color laser in this
respect--minimal streaks, minimal banding in dye sub.
Alps, the company, has sort of disappeared from the scene and these
printers are no longer sold in the USA. Even the box the Alps comes
in looks colorful.
have seen reviews of Alps printers for years, but this was the first
time I ever saw one up close.
design is minimalist, but hey, the cost is a bargain. If you want
a fancy desktop designer printer, plenty are available for $8,000
and upwards. You can buy an Alps and still afford to send your kids
to college. We
have a considerable amount of experimentation still to come.
the Alps color printer.
subsequently sent a package of Hammermill laser paper. Hammermill
has a good reputation for premium papers. We will be testing a host
of other papers as well (links are at the bottom of this page).
photographs at the right show the dye sub mode (right) and the plain
laser paper with Alps standard inks. The dye sub is not only superior
in overall appearance, but the dye sub does appreciably better with
the background, which is rather splotchy on regular paper. Banding
is noticeable on virtually all laser printers that we have tested,
and on our
1520 as well. So banding sort of comes with territory when you use
desktop digital printers. In dye sub mode, however, we did not yet
notice any visible banding. You do get, however, slight "tracks"
from the fact that the ink ribbons are in narrow bands.
right photo shows our first two print samples, while we were
still learning how to operate the Alps. The paper her is a
good quality laser paper, but really a photo quality or photo-realistic
the $8000 Kodak printer, each page costs about $5 to print because
the ink sheets are the full size of the page (each ink color). But
naturally with the Kodak printer you get no banding and no tracks
whatsoever--pure continuous tone.
1999, Alps had new models available but the company did not survive.
Someone e-mailed us that Alps USA had closed down. We do not have
direct confirmation of this but also received no answer to our E-mail's
sent to Alps.
by Lance Beck, FLAAR Digital Imaging
Center. Test organized by Nicholas Hellmuth, Director.