To answer a few questions and ask a few more
I have the From Camera To Print videos and have watched them. But it's more of an overview of the entire process and I'm not sure it's enough for me.
Starting at the monitor I calibrate the CG19 monitor with Eizo's software Colornavigator and a spyder 2 puck. I select luminance 100 cd/m2, white point 6500K and gamma 2.2. I get white at 100.1 cd/m2, black at 0.4 cd/m2, 6486K. My area around the monitor is dark, around 3-3.5EV, which is around 20-30 lux.
Question is, how do I know if the calibration is good without introducing something else that has it's own calibration/profile?
The lab I use takes any profile embedded into the image file and uses it. They have softproof profiles for their machines but they don't recommend converting the image into that profile but rather say stay in the working profile and only use their profile for softproofing.
I don't have a viewing booth so maybe the prints I get from the lab are good and the ambient lighting where I view the print is too low or maybe the prints are too dark. They look too dark to my eye. How can I determine which?
On the z3100 I use the embedded i1 to calibrate and profile.
I've also tried the factory profiles since I use HP's papers.
And again, since everything at this point is an unknown, how do I know which is "right"? Monitor, lab prints or z3100 print?