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February 1, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Graphic Sciences Ltd, an eight-man Richmond, Surrey firm has launched a laser printer controller that will capture near photographic quality using a standard Canon laser printer. The company is already in negotiation with Rank-Xerox in the UK for a version for the Xerox range of laser printers. Picture Master is based around a MS-DOS micro-resident printer controller, MS-DOS software and a controller card resident in the Canon laser printer; it will print with 300 by 1,200 dots per inch resolution, giving up to 64 shades of grey and costing between UKP1,995 just to create photo-style images and UKP3,495 for the whole system. The company says that a complete photo quality publishing system including the micro and laser printer comes for under UKP10,000. How does it work? Most laser printers, including the ever popular Canon and all of its variants, have a potential 300 stopping places for the laser in every sweep of its drum, but it can only turn itself on and off again every three stopping places. This means resolutions of 100th of an inch are the maximum achievable. But the Graphic Sciences controller allows the laser to write in any position, and also allows 1,200 sweeps of the laser on one vertical inch of drum. The net result is near photographic quality and the output looks something like newsprint photographs on laser printed text, with the whole process taking well under a minute. The system consists of video camera; digitising pad; preview monitor; half tone laser controller and system software; a 19 black on white 1,600 by 1,200 pixels screen and adaptor, linked to either an 80286 or 80386 machine. Currently it will work only with Canon based laser printers and in conjunction with the more popular publishing systems such as Venturer Publisher from Xerox Corp, and Aldus Corp’s Pagemaker. Graphic Sciences has also launched its own laser printer, the ProLaser 800, based on the Canon Series 2 laser print head, but with the promise that it can produce a full A4 page of 300 dots per inch in under a minute (including loading the fonts, passing the data to the printer and printing the page). The company claims that some systems can take up to 45 minutes to do this. The Prolaser comes for UKP2,995, has 2Mb memory expandable to 4Mb, and 10 fonts as standard. A successor to the ProLaser 800, which will offer 600 by 600 dots per inch resolution and be rated at 50 pages a minute is due to be launched shortly

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