Imaging Spectrum Blog

Why is there so much paper left over in my Photo Printer?

Oh no! The ribbon in my media kit ran out before the paper, is something wrong?

Why is there so much paper leftover in my photo printer?

The purpose of this blog post is to explain why there is paper left over after you run out of the ribbon in your media kit. The comforting thing is “there is nothing wrong.” The manufacturer of dye-sub photo printers build in extra paper in your kit so do not be alarmed.

We get calls from people new to dye sub printers asking why there is paper left over after the ribbon runs out. The caller usually thinks there may be something wrong with their printer. Let me put your mind as ease. When you turn your printer off and on, the printer has to go through a calibration process which requires the paper roll to sync with the ribbon. To do this, the printer will eject some blank sheets of paper. The extra paper needs to be on the roll, so there is no cost to the calibration process.

Regardless of which professional dye sub printer you have, there will be paper left over after the ribbon runs out. (Check out our Printer Comparison Chart to see print counts for all dye-sub printers.) Another common comment we hear is, “I don’t think I got the proper amount of prints out of my roll, because there is so much paper left over.” There is a way to check this. You can unroll the ribbon and hold it up to a light, as you will see a faint image left behind on each of the colored patches on the ribbon. If the ribbon is completely used (which would mean you have your proper print count), all the color patches will have a faint image on them.

Another frequently asked question is “Is it possible to buy the ribbon by itself so I can use up the rest of this paper?” The answer is no. Unfortunately, the manufactures do not sell the ribbon by itself. (In fact, most of the cost per print is in the ribbon and dye, not the paper.)

If you have any questions about your dye sub printer’s performance, feel free to give us a call.

Steve has over 30 years of professional imaging industry experience and is Sales Manager at Imaging Spectrum.


  1. Steve B

    November 12, 2013 - 9:54 am


    If you bought the printer from Imaging Spectrum, feel free to call us so we can help.

    Thank you for the note.

    Steve B
    Imaging Spectrum

  2. Dennis V

    November 12, 2013 - 2:27 am

    I have a photo booth operating sony upcx1-f digital photo printer,will print

    a few pictures then will roll more paper then it needs then register paper jam

    could that be dirty sensors PLEASE HELP

  3. Steve B

    October 3, 2013 - 11:45 am


    Yes, that is true with some printers. Thanks for your comment.

    Steve B

  4. John Jarrett

    October 3, 2013 - 11:16 am

    I always thought it was for periodic cleaning. It uses up about a foot of paper to do this.

  5. Evelyn C

    October 2, 2013 - 3:18 pm

    Thanks for the info! The cartridges I discard, what I do recycle is the black paper roll after finished using it. I stick photo strips to it and use it as a pencil/pen cup.

  6. Justin Elledge

    October 2, 2013 - 2:33 pm

    I take my DNP cartridges to Staples for recycling. I don’t know if they actually make their way back to DNP, but I get a gift card for it every time.

  7. Steve B

    October 2, 2013 - 1:45 pm


    Thank you for the comment! At the moment we are not aware of Hiti having any plans to recycle cartridges. Great idea!!! If they do, we will post it here!

    Thanks again.
    Steve B
    Imaging Spectrum

  8. Tonya Alvisi

    October 2, 2013 - 1:10 pm

    Great article! Is there somewhere I can recycle my Hiti Printer cartridges? This would be great info to get out to everyone.

  9. Martha C

    October 2, 2013 - 12:29 pm

    Good to know as I’ve always wondered about this. Thank you!

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