I want to print out something really small for testing camera and lens resolution capabilities. I have a HP 4000 Laserprinter which is able to print at 1200 dpi. I am wondering what paper might be best suitable for my purpose?

Also I am wondering if glossy paper brings benefits here? The Internet is full of different paper all promising good quality, but which properties are most important to look at? I usually use only standard paper but this brings no benefit for 1200 dpi. I am afraid the ink is soaked too much. I don't want to print this much so price does not matter in the end.

This is a sample image which I want to print, the lines should be at the distance as specified.

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is off topic, as are "shopping" type questions on most if not all Stack Exchange sites. You can probably get a lot of information on various digital photography forums, as users there are likely to have experience. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Oct 27, 2021 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Laser printers don't use ink, they use a dry toner which is fused to the paper by heat, so there should be no 'soak-up' spread at all. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 27, 2021 at 15:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ZeissIkon other than one sentence which asked for a specific place to look (now removed!), I think this is a good product recommendation question as it asks for "how to tell if this paper fits my purpose", along with a well-defined purpose. Good answers to this question should stand the test of time and still be relevant years from now; any bad answers which link to specific products, vendors etc can be downvoted or flagged appropriately by the community. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Oct 27, 2021 at 16:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Thomas, as this is PS printer maybe it's wise to use vector source instead of bitmap. Based on my humble experience this will provide better resolution of the print. Do not forget to install PS driver in to the operating system you use. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2021 at 6:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RomeoNinov Will check this out for sure. Thanks for the hint. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thomas
    Oct 28, 2021 at 11:00

1 Answer 1


Typically, finely printed details are created with photo lithography. The source image is created at a larger scale than the final image to reduce the effects of mechanical tolerances. The larger image is then optically reduced to the smaller final size.

In the extreme this is how silicon wafers are turned into semiconductor chips.

For a photographic test chart, the simplest method would be to use film to photograph an oversized original source image, and then to use traditional darkroom printing on a polyester paper to produce the test image at the desired size.

This would allow precision down to the fineness of silver crystals at the photographic and printing steps.

Ordinary computer system printing simply is not designed to that level of accuracy.

The 1200 dpi of a laser printer does not provide 1200 line pairs per inch. It is designed to provide high quality output at a nominal 300 or 600 dpi by filling in the spaces between dots.

Films designed for microfilm work are still available. That would be a good base material for high precision work.

Of course the requirements may be over specified. In that case, it is probably best to empirically test available papers and printers to see what best fits the job because paper is a highly variable material at small scales.

In addition, Mylar or other plastic media might be a better substrate for test images due to higher dimensional stability with changes to temperature and humidity. Again, testing is warranted if such things matter.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Small remark: as all the lines are horizontal and vertical the resolution of the printer do not need to be reduced as there is no need for dithering the lines. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2021 at 6:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for this answer, you mention polyester paper might be used in a darkroom printing, I can see polyester based paper is available in special stores, so this might be worth a try. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thomas
    Oct 28, 2021 at 10:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RomeoNinov It is not dithering. Assuming dotsare approximately circular and ordinary features are wider than 1/300 inch, the “extra” dots solve close packing by creating overlap. This creates more uniform density of infill areas and hence better typography. In your vertical and horizontal scenario, the “extra” dots make the edges crisper. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2021 at 19:12

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