What does internal color depth of a printer mean?

22. October 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News, Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

One of the most important factors in achieving high-quality prints is choosing the right printer ink. There's no need to spend a fortune on OEM ink though. You can easily find compatible inks that produce exceptional results. With that being said, there's only so much an ink cartridge can do. The technology that your printer relies on plays a pivotal role as well. The best ink in the world isn't going to matter if your printer is incapable of achieving decent internal color depth. Like many people, you may be unaware of what internal color depth is and what it means. You can learn about it below.

Factors that Affect Print Quality

As mentioned above, the quality of the ink you use has a major impact on the quality of the prints you produce. As far as the printer itself goes, many other things come into play as well. The number of cartridges that it uses has a huge impact. The more colors of ink it uses, the better the quality will usually be. More than anything though, its quality is influenced by its internal color depth, which defines the kinds of color tones that can be achieved.

What is Internal Color Depth?

Internal color depth refers to the richness of the color tones that a printer is capable of producing. Figuring out your printer's internal color depth capabilities is fairly easy. Internal color depth is measured in bits. By understanding what constitutes a decent internal color depth and what doesn't, you'll be able to determine whether your printer is up to par or not. When considering the number of bits, more is better. In other words, you should try to get a printer that has the highest internal color depth possible.

Understanding Internal Color Depth Measurements

To give you an idea about what internal color depth measurements actually mean, consider this: A typical computer screen offers 24 bits of internal color depth resolution. In the old days, computers were only capable of supporting internal color depths of up to 18 bits. On this scale, an internal color depth measurement of one bit equals black and white printing. Most people can't make do with that type of printing, which is why it's so important to take internal color depth into consideration when shopping for a new printer. Don't worry though. It's not difficult to find a high-quality printer.

24-Bit Internal Color Depth: The Gold Standard

The vast majority of today's printers offer 24-bit internal color depth technology. A total of 24 bits may not sound all that impressive, but it reflects a very rich and vibrant internal color depth. It is typically referred to as true color, and it comes remarkably close to replicating real-life images. With 24-bit internal color depth, there are 256 shades of red, blue and green. When put together, they are capable of producing 16,777,216 internal color variations. On Macs, true color is referred to as millions of colors. In either case, it represents some of the clearest, crispest and most vibrant results possible.

Taking it One Step Further

24-bit internal color depth is more than enough for the vast majority of people. If you have a pressing need for even better results, you can invest in a special video card that lets you increase your internal color depth even more. The next step up is referred to as deep color, and it produces billions of internal color variations. The results are absolutely spectacular. For all intents and purposes though, true color is more than enough. It's nice to know that additional options are out there though.   

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