Printer ink

What you need to know about printer ink and cartridge problems.

The basic colours used by an inkjet printer are cyan, magenta and yellow (CMY), plus black (K). Originally most inkjets had only two ink tanks: black and a tri-colour cartridge. When one colour ran out, the entire cartridge had to be replaced.

Number of cartridges

Now most of the top-ranking inkjets have four or more ink tanks.

You can certainly see the impact on quality. Photo cyan (PC) and photo magenta (PM) are among the inks appearing more often. These are lighter colours – about half the saturation of regular cyan and magenta.

Other new inks are solid colours such as red and blue. It's more efficient to print directly from one tank, rather than generate a red or blue from CMYK print-heads. Then there are "gloss" inks – these are used to overprint a clear lacquer, giving a glossy surface to the print, and possibly helping its archival properties.

The cost of ink

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